Stalag Luft III Newsletter #17 from Marilyn Walton and Mike Eberhardt – May 19, 2015

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Stalag Luft III Newsletter #17 from Marilyn Walton and Mike Eberhardt – May, 2015

Greetings to everyone. Having just celebrated the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the end of the war in Europe, it seems fitting to read what one of our POWs was doing on that day in 1 945. From RAF POW James Stewart, held at Stalag Luft III and Buchenwald:

“70 years ago (VE Day), I scaled the fence of Stalag 111a, (nasty camp), Luckenwalde, south of Potsdam (liberated by the Russians on 22 April) and, with a few other brave souls, after a somewhat nail-biting passage through the Russian lines in the American truck, scrambled across the demolished railroad bridge at Magdeburg on the Elbe to reach freedom in the American lines!”

We can only imagine the jubilation Jim and the other POWs felt on the day they were liberated as the cataclysmic war came to an end.

News from Marek at Stalag Luft III Museum

Stillman Strasse

Some of you might recall a photo from the camp of POW Robert “Moose” Stillman who, with the help of a few others, cleared the land to make a better place to walk in South Compound. This “road” was later called “Stillman Strasse” (German for street). In mid-April, with the help of a Polish Army bulldozer, Marek cleared this overgrown area again to bring back Stillman Strasse. In doing so, he found 10 domino blocks, a few buttons, and a German fire extinguisher near the South Compound kitchen. Eventually, Marek will put signs with barracks’ numbers along with the name of the road.

Poland and Germany 2015 217

Dominoes

Lt. Col. Robert Stillman, later brigadier and then major general, led the first bombing mission, a low level squadron effort, to strike an electrical power plant in Ijmuiden, Holland. Later, the squadron was told

it had been bombing at such a low altitude that the British bomb fuses being used didn’t have time to arm after release. As a result, Stillman was ordered by higher USAAF command authority to conduct a second bombing raid on the same target the following day. All ten attacking B-26 bombers were lost. Out of the sixty men total, thirty-four were killed, twenty-four were taken POW, with one dying in captivity, and two crew members from one plane were recovered from a rubber life raft in the icy North Sea. The group commander, group executive officer, and both squadron leaders were all either killed or made prisoners. Killed in action that day were a 450th Squadron pilot/co-pilot team of twin brothers. Stillman, reported KIA, later showed up at SLIII reporting he had crash landed in a short muddy field, where he had hit an obstruction. His plane had flipped upside down and while he was still unconscious, he was buried alive in the mud. Dutch farmers ran to his aid and dug him out.    

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POW Stillman

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General Stillman

     

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POW Stillman working with others to clear the area

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Stillman Strasse in the camp

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Stillman Strasse restored – 2015

    Von Lindeiner’s Secretary – Lisa Knüppel – The Real Fraulein Helga

On Hogan’s Heroes, it was Fraulein Helga who represented Col. Klink’s secretary. In an ironic twist of a series of events, Mike Eberhardt discovered the real commandant’s secretary at Stalag Luft III– Col. von Lindeiner’s secretary, Lisa. That discovery allowed us to write about her and the series of events that led up to him making the discovery in our newest book, “From Commandant to Captive.” We tell her complete story in the book. Lisa’s three daughters recently made a generous donation to the museum. Their mother’s picture has just been placed on the donation wall at the museum.

 

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Lisa Knüppel

Donation wall

Lisa’s Picture on the Donation Wall

Red Cross Newsletters

Marek recently acquired some Red Cross newsletters for the museum dating from February 1944 – April 1945.The pictures in them are very small (most 1 inch x 2 inches) so it is very hard to say which camp is shown, but it looks like VIIIC that sat just next to Stalag Luft III.

POW Bulletin    POW Bulletin 01

Great Coat Found

One unique find for the museum recently came in the way of a great coat that was found in Lipna, where many of the POWs stopped at the barns there during the Forced March. Marek is tracking the history of the coat now.

Old Negatives Scanned

The finding of old negatives from so long ago always holds some wonder. Marek located some of them and had them developed. Shown below are some of the pictures taken when Gen. Delmar Spivey and fellow POWs visited the camp in 1976. The Air Force holds two interesting letters between Gen. Spivey and “Wings Day” about this trip plus a write-up by POW Joe Consolmagno.

Spivey guest book

General Spivey Signs the Guestbook

visit 1976

Touring the Museum

visit 1976 05

General Spivey Speaks

visit 1976 03

Inside the Old Museum – 1976

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Outside the Museum

spivey

Ceremony

Old Guest Book

Marilyn sign

Searching older guestbooks, Marek found Marilyn’s signature from 2004 and that of her husband, John.

WWII Crash Site Research Assistance

Some of you know that Mike Eberhardt, like others of us, has been able to locate and visit his father’s B-17 crash site outside Munich. In Mike’s case, some real detective work was required, and he was aided by two German crash site researchers in Bavaria. These researchers not only found the crash site (and some small pieces of the aircraft with the aid of metal detectors), but remarkably found three living eye-witnesses to the crash and to the crew members’ capture by SS troops. All the eye witnesses were teenage boys (Hitler Youth) at the time of the crash, and Mike has met one of them to obtain his account of the crash (which killed three crew members). Mike will likely meet the other eye witnesses soon when he returns to Germany.

One of these German researchers has an incredible persistence in turning over the smallest of details which has certainly aided Mike in his re-construction of the events on the day of the crash—particularly since his father never spoke of the crash and his capture while he was alive. If any of our newsletter readers have a need for research on a crash site in Bavaria, please contact Mike, and he can put you in touch with his new German friends. Between them, they have researched over 700 crash sites and seem to have an unfulfilled appetite for more.

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White arrow marks Lt. Charles Eberhardt.

Ever Wonder about the Car the Germans Drove in the Great Escape Movie?

One of the scenes from the movie, “Great Escape,” shows Germans driving into the camp to visit the commandant. POWs break into the car and steal a book. In reviewing Col. von Lindeiner’s memoirs for our new book, we found that he mentions this incident and this car. The Germans drove an 8-cylinder rear mounted engine car that day. It was a Czechoslovakian Tatra T77, very popular in Germany after 1938 when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. Marek sent the picture below of one of these cars—very luxurious for its time! Von Lindeiner demanded the return of the Germans’ stolen book within two hours. It was returned within the specified time, however, two stamped entries had been made: “Passed by the British censor” and “Seen by Winston Churchill.” The POWs were masters in producing in a short time any desired stamp made out of rubber soles of shoes. The book contained no classified information, and no damage was done to the car.

 

Tatra T77

Tatra T77

 

Jerry Sage’s Watch – Kevin Wilson

More than one Allied SLIII POW has claimed the title of “Cooler King,” of Great Escape movie fame, Davy Jones (Doolittle Raider) and Jerry Sage among them. Jerry Sage had served with the OSS and, with help from other Americans shot down, concealed that fact and found his way to SLIII. He wrote his autobiography after the war, called, “Sage.” It is an excellent book. Recently, a watch belonging to him was appraised on the t.v. show, “Antiques Road Show.” See the story below regarding this incredible watch. The watch was a chronograph style watch, not the standard watch some POWs in camp ordered from Switzerland from the Rolex company and paid for after the war. The family believes this one was perhaps a gift to him after the war, as he had one similar to it that the Germans took when he was captured. After the war, Jerry was given the prestigious honor of being made a Member of the British Empire.

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/04/14/antiques-roadshow-see-the-great-story-behind-a-rare-rolex/21171910/?icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl14%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D643350

More on POW Clem Pearce Ed Reniere

The picture below, from the last newsletter, brought a response from Ed Reniere in Belgium. Pierce is on the right below, next to Col. Keeffe.  At age, 18, Clem was a flying officer with the Canadian Air Force. He died in 2003 at the age of 77. See link below:

SLIII reunion with Wings Day

Clem Pearce on the left

https://vimeo.com/62974830 – The irony of a tragic loss

You will find another story from Clem here:

http://sandyscollectedthoughts.com/remembrance-day-remembering-the-enemy-who-saved-his-life/

More on Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland – (formerly Breslau, Germany)

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This unique building was mentioned in the last newsletter. The Hall was opened in 1913 and since 2006 it has been on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

You can find more here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centennial_Hall

…including its change of names when the post-war communists occupied Wroclaw. Before the war, the Nazi Party organized several meetings here. Adolf Hitler attended many of them. You can see some historical pictures here:

http://dolny-slask.org.pl/540439,Wroclaw,Wydarzenia_publiczne_w_Hali_Stulecia.html

 POW Son at Work on Edit of Behind the Wire

Mike Woodworth, son of 2nd Lt. Charles Woodworth of South Compound, has taken on the massive task of reviewing over 2000 names in the transcription of South Compound’s secret ledger, “Behind the Wire,” covertly carried out of South Compound during the Forced March. The book, written nearly microscopically, was transcribed by Arnold Wright, and it took years. Mike has been double checking the spelling of towns and names to add to Arnold’s initial efforts, which will make the book even more valuable to those researching the history of the men in that compound. If anyone knows of corrections to be made, let us know. A PDF version of BTW is available on the Air Force Academy Library website. You can find it at: http://afac.sdp.sirsi.net/client/search/asset/1009220

http://afac.sdp.sirsi.net/client/search/asset/1024480

The links show the original document of Behind the Wire, but it is not complete. It is a long list to look through, and Marilyn did look through it and found MANY entries for the fathers of the people who receive this newsletter. If you want to see what McCright’s handwriting looked like in the original ledger, you can see it here. This is a big file and will take longer to load. The A.F. Academy holds this part of the ledger. The rest can be found at the Library of Congress.

Except for the first few pages, this document consists of handwritten pages with the first 1261 names in BTW in the same format as Arnold presented it. Prior to the list of SLIII names, the document starts with what appears to be a list of stalags, followed by a table of contents that does not appear to be related, and then a list of names, apparently of Barth (Stalag Luft I officers camp) POWs.

As this project nears completion, we will have more to say on how it can be accessed.

Polish Magazine Paying Tribute to Lt. Sconiers

From Stephen Marks in Lubin, Poland, burial site of SLIII POW, yet to come home, Lt. Ewart T. Sconiers, comes a link to a recent article about Lt. Sconiers. This article was in a shopping mall publication distributed at the mall! No one is quite sure how it got there.

http://www.cuprum-arena.pl/wydarzenie/cuprum-magazyn-edycja-1

 Happy 97th Birthday, Joe!!!

1921 kids

Picture of Joe and his sisters taken in 1921

The cute little boy above is POW Joe Consolmagno, who turned 97 on April 7th, making him one of the oldest surviving POWs from Stalag Luft III. Joe remains a constant source of information for this newsletter.

 SlII POW Artist, Don Stine Turned 96 on Feb. 20! – Don Stine

Congratulations Don!

SLIII POW William Bramwell Turned 98 on April 11th! – Joan Wootton

Bramwell, a second lt., was a B-17 pilot shot down over Belgium on Nov. 5, 1943, injuring his spine upon bailing out. He was quickly picked up by the Germans and fortunately sent for fairly extensive medical treatment, first in Brussels, then in Frankfurt, and other nearby rehabilitation hospitals. He was scheduled to come home on a troop exchange because of his injuries but was delayed multiple times and eventually was sent to Zagan, arriving August 15, 1944. He stayed until November 28, 1944, in North Compound, according to his journal. When he left for repatriation for injured flyers, he went to Annaburg, a gathering point for British and American flyers, where he departed for Switzerland on Jan. 14, 1945, eventually coming home on the ship, Gripsholm, leaving from Marseilles Feb. 8, l945.

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Lt. Bramwell, first row on the left

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Lt. Bramwell

SLIII POW Ira Salz Turned 95 on Jan. 20th – Steve Salz

Happy Birthday, Ira!

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“Here’s a photo of my father, Ira Salz, taken last summer at the Air Power Museum in Farmingdale, NY.  The crew of the B-17 treated him like royalty. My dad was a B-17 pilot, shot down over Hungary on July 2, 1944, and was a prisoner in Stalag Luft III. Second picture is Dad playing with the Luftbansters. He is playing the sax front row, center.

 POW Hal Halstead’s Interview – Mike Woodworth

For a POW’s first-hand account of his experiences, see the link below:

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/a-pow-s-story/article_225d5af4-e2aa-11e3-91b8-001a4bcf887a.html

 Harold is 91 now and has attended the reunions for many years. Greetings to him from the Stalag Luft III community!

POW Leonard Spivey Flies on B-17

POW Leonard remembers his B-17 days as he recently flew aboard Texas Raiders, the  Gulf Coast Wing  of the CAF. The flight was taken at Colorado Springs in August, 2011 during the reunion of the 381st Bomb Group Memorial Association.This restored B-17 honors ther Group by carrying its insignia  and is frequently flown to their reunions.

The second photo is of me standing under the nose hatch which was the usual entry point by the navigators and bombardiers and sometimes pilots.  I was a navigator and shot down on my 13th mission, August 19, 1943 over Holland.  Detail of the mission is found in the book Mission 85 by Ivo deJong, now B. General in the Netherlands Army.  I was in Center Compound during all my time in SLL III.

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View from the nose

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 Padre Mac and the “Vitamins” – Sue Moyer , Second Schweinfurt Memorial Association, sent this story involving the well-loved Scot, Padre Murdo MacDonald, who was incarcerated at SLIII and tended to the religious needs of the POWs there.

“The men were always told to make certain they exercised to stay in as best shape as possible. I can’t remember where the kidney beans came from, but they were in dry form. Some of the men decided to save and use the kidney beans for Padre Mac, telling him they had gotten “vitamins” and that he should take them to help with his health and well being.  Great lengths and many men were involved in handing off Padre Mac’s daily dose of dry kidney bean vitamins.  It became another distraction for the men and one of great amusement as they watched him swallow the beans day after day. And, of course, Padre Mac later recalled the incident as knowing full well what was going on, but the men were having such great fun that he played along as a morale booster.”

Interview with the Late Charles Woehrle

For those who have not read this wonderful interview with the late POW Charles Woehrle, it is well worth your time to read it. Thanks to Mike Woodworth for sending.

 http://homepages.csp.edu/saylor/POWproject/Interviews/German_Interviews/WoehrleC.html=

POW  Rupert “Pud” Davies’ Castle Escape – Tim Davies

British POW, Rupert “Pud” Davies, became well-known to theatre audiences in the North Compound, and after the war as well, when he became a famous British actor, playing the role of Maigret in the popular series by that name in the 1960s. His experience as an escaping POW from Spangenberg Castle, Oflag IX-A, also brought him fame. The castle is soon to become a hotel.

http://www.spangenberg-hotel.de/

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RAF POW John Madge, left. In the middle is “Pud” Davies in his frayed Navy uniform.

 

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“Pud” Davies as “Maigret.

Castle is on the Hill! (4)

The castle at the top of the hill

 

The Way In (4)

Spangenberg Castle where Davies hid

ESCAPING FROM SPANGENBERG CASTLE – A NICE TRY!

“After ditching in the North Sea on 22 August 1940, Pud spent eleven hours hanging onto a punctured rubber dinghy before being picked up by a German trawler. He was sent to Oflag IX-A/H at Spangenberg. Spangenberg is a castle started in 1238 and completed in its present form in the 17th century. This old stone castle, surrounded by a moat, was a rabbit warren of passages and steep, gloomy stairways up the various old towers. The POWS explored every nook and cranny and reckoned they knew the building better than any of the guards.

In February 1941, the POWs learnt that the camp was being closed and that all prisoners and guards would be moved elsewhere. There had been a number of escapes from the castle and it would be re-opened as a POW camp after security had been tightened. [The castle re-opened as a POW camp six months later].

A plan was hatched: before the mass evacuation Pud would hide in a window niche on one of the tower stairways, walled-in with old stone bricks from building repairs elsewhere in the castle. He would wait until the camp was empty then lower himself down the outside of the tower on a makeshift ‘rope’. Having squeezed himself into the niche with some Red Cross rations, his colleagues bricked him in using mortar mixed with dirt to make the new wall blend in.

The POWs didn’t know the exact date of the evacuation but before long Pud heard the shouts as his absence was noted and heard the search parties with their dogs combing the castle. The sound of boots and a dog rang out on the steps of Pud’s tower and he crossed his fingers that his mates had a good disguising job on the wall next to him. As the boots reached his level on the steps, the dog barked furiously and started scratching at the wall. To Pud’s relief, the guards shouted “Dummer Hund, das ist eine Wand!” [Stupid dog, that is a wall!] and dragged the dog back down the steps.

In fact, it was about nineteen days before the prisoners were assembled for the transports and, determined not to risk being seen through the little window, Pud just listened to the trucks driving off.

After another two days in his cramped position the camp was quiet and Pud risked looking out of the window. But the camp was not yet quite deserted – he could see a couple of guards. By now getting very stiff, he realised that if he didn’t stretch his muscles soon, he would not be able to climb down the ‘rope’. (I do not remember how high up he said his tower window was but, from looking at pictures of the castle, it was probably around 70 feet.) Pud decided to wait one more day. Even if there were still a few guards around the castle, he reckoned he had a good chance of escaping undetected. So, on the third day after the evacuation, Pud lowered the ‘rope’ out and started the climb down.

In fact, the Oflag IX Security Officer, August Seybold [rank uncertain] was in the castle, supervising security improvements, together with a couple of guards. One of the guards saw the rope being lowered and telephoned Seybold who told the guard to wait at the bottom of the tower – Pud was caught without drama.

In 1962, as a guest on the BBC programme, ‘This Is Your Life’, Herr Seybold said to Pud:

‘I have often wondered what became of you….there had been too many escapes from that camp and I was sent there to stop them for the future….it was a very good attempt and you were unlucky in not succeeding.’

After ‘short’ stays in other camps, Pud was sent to Stalag Luft III.”

See link below to watch “Pud” as Maigret.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA_7vh6kig0

Flying High at the 70th Anniversary of VE Day in DC

Three from our Stalag Luft III family had the pleasure of attending and participating in the Arsenal of Democracy’s World War II Victory Capitol Flyover on May 8th, celebrating the 70th anniversary of VE Day.  Marianne Leary and husband, Richard Calvert, along with Barry Schoen, joined thousands in the celebration. The flyover of the nation’s capital included 56 World War II vintage military aircraft sequenced in 15 historical formations representing the war’s major battles. The flyover ended with a Missing Man formation with an F-4U Corsair trailing smoke and turning heavenward from its sister planes, a P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, and TBM Avenger.

Press credentials in hand, Marianne, Richard, and Barry attended a special day for the press the day before the main event. Marianne provided to pilots of the P-51, “Gunfighter,” a number of mementos that belonged to her father, a former P-51 pilot and Stalag Luft III POW. To the Tuskegee Airmen’s Red Tail P-51 pilot, she gave a copy of POW Alex Jefferson’s book, Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free, to carry onboard the ceremonial flight, along with a copy of the biography of John Pohe, The True Story of John Pohe, one of the 50 killed after the Great Escape.  Press day featured exclusive access to the planes preparing for practice formation flights and allowed time on the edge of the runway to watch the planes take off and land.  Flights onboard some of the planes were made available. Marianne flew onboard a B-25, Richard on a PBY, and Barry a T-6 Texan. The unexpected journeys were a highlight for all. The pilots of each of the planes spoke of how important it was to preserve the stories of the men who flew in these planes so long ago. Each flight is a tribute to their sacrifices and endurance throughout the war.

Friday, there were many places along the Potomac River and Mall area of DC to view the flyby.  The three chose the foot bridge to Teddy Roosevelt Island, which sits in the middle of the Potomac River. Their vantage point marked the spot where the aircraft turned down the Mall. The glorious planes flew barely 1,000 feet overhead, the sound of their engines roaring loudly. A special thanks to the Commemorative Air Force for hosting the press flights onboard their aircraft.

Barry & PIlot

Barry ready to fly

Marianne Rich Red Tail

Marianne and Richard give the P-51 pilot Alex Jefferson’s book and John Pohe’s biography.

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Pohe Book

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Alex Jefferson’s Book

 

Marianne P-51

Marianne taking aboard her father’s picture and his burial flag

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Marianne and Richard aboard the B-24

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Marianne took this picture from the air during flyover practice.

The entire show, complete with speakers and aircraft flyby can be watched here:  http://events.dacast.com/?webcast_id=9

Below is a picture found by John Lanza of the P-51 Mustang, the plane of the Tuskegee Airmen, that flew in the memorial celebration on May 8th .

Tuskegee Airplane at Arsenal of Democracy 5-8-15

P-51 Mustang flying near the Washington Monument

 New Book by Col. Wolfgang Samuel

In Defense of Freedom

Col. Samuel has written many books. His latest pays tribute to the men who fought in WWII. The twenty-eight stories in this book serve as a graphic reminder of the selfless heroism of America’s World War II Army Air Forces flyers and how necessary they were to achieve Allied victory. Wolfgang Samuel, and the men he interviewed, reveal the peril they faced to achieve a daunting task, impossible without their bravery. And their sacrifices were stunning.  American bomber crews suffered the highest casualties (KIA, MIA, POW, wounded) of all American armed services in World War II. The stories preserved in this book bear that grave danger out. A member of a heavy bomber crew in the 8th Air Force in the period from mid-1942 to spring 1944 was less likely to survive than a US Marine fighting on Iwo Jima or Okinawa.

New Film about Douglas Bader 

1a Wendy McCleave

Bader getting into his Spitfire

This link is about the new film about the famous legless fighter pilot and SLIII POW Douglas Bader, Escape from Warburg . Thanks to Wendy McCleave in London, relative of Douglas Bader, who oversees the website about him. This website is an exceptional tribute to an extraordinary man. Thanks to Wendy for posting our new books on the website!  The Website and Facebook Page

 Map of Stalag Luft III – Ric Martini

PicSL_3_Map

Stalag Luft III

Thanks to Ric, son of POW Frederic Martini, held at SLIII and Buchenwald, for this interesting map of SLIII.

POW Nicknames – Tom “Ma” Wilson

A recent exchange with POW Tom Wilson involved the clever use of nicknames in the camp. Below is a list of the humorous names the men came up with for each other.

Tom: “Guys in my room that I remember had nicknames were:”

Joe Consolmagno – The Wop

Harold Bertram – Pinky

George Matthews – Bubble Butt

Harold Wood – Woody

Runner – Dusty

Quentin Burgett – Burgy

Oerther – Shorty

That encouraged Marilyn to find the nicknames of her father’s roommates:

Tribbett was “Uncle Raffe,” a hillbilly.

Newcomer, Jeffers, was “Dead End Kid” (Marilyn’s father)

Tall, McDarby was “Earthquake Magoon”

Beatty was “Mr. Chips,” a school teacher from movie fame

Roberts was “Robbie”

Don Stout was “Hose Nose”

H.P. O’Neil was “Hot Pile”

Downing called himself “Trigger”

Kauffman was “Snow Shoe”

Morris Jones was “Available Jones”

Send us any nicknames you are aware of!

70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Buchenwald

Three of our Stalag Luft III POWs returned to Buchenwald where they had once been held to mark the anniversary of the camp’s liberation in April. Ed Carter Edwards, (RCAF) Chat Bowen, (USAAF,) and James Stewart (RAF) made the trip. Many of the American liberators of Weimar and Buchenwald were present. Over 82 European survivors came for the special event, which included the three Allied airmen, plus many dignitaries, Canadians, Americans, and local citizens.

Wreathlaying Ed  Jim

Ed and Jim

KLB Memorial PLaque

Jim placing a flower on the memorial for the 168 Allied Airmen

  

3 klb and last of Danes

Chat, Ed, James with Danish compatriot, Frede Rasmussen a former Danish policeman held with them

KLB Jim Stat   Ed

Jim, Chat, Ed

Follow the link below to accompany Ed on his emotional journey back to the camp:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ed-carter-edwards-recalls-buchenwald-so-cruel-so-savage-so-brutal-1.3056580

The late POW Frederic Martini was also held at Buchenwald. The first picture below was taken en route to the ETO; the second at arrival at SL III. The contrast is well worth noting, testimony to Ed’s words.

IMG_0478    SL VII ID - Version 2

Folded Wings

POW Joe Spontak – Dec. 27, 1914

POW Calvin E. Willis – Dec. 17th, 2014, at the age of 98.

Joan Sweanor

We were sorry to learn of the death of Joan Sweanor, wife of POW George Sweanor, who attended the Colorado reunion. She passed away April 29th, 2015. Her obituary is below. Condolences from the entire Stalag Luft III family go out to George and his daughters as well as the Spontak family and the Willis family.

http://www.shrineofremembrance.com/book-of-memories/2129924/Saunders-Sweanor-Joan-/obituary.php?Printable=true

Words of Remembrance – POW Jim Stewart

From the late F/Lt Frank Ziegler, our 609 (WR) ‘Typhoon’ Squadron Intelligence Officer:

“The end of the war took away the purpose that for many years had united young men of a dozen different countries in friendship and mutual loyalty.

Flying together and fighting together, it had been a way of life and fulfillment that few would experience again, even if for so many it had been a way of death.”

Flight into the Past

Karl Duggin, former high school student of POW Oran Highley, the POW who conducted the Messiah in the SLIII camp theatre and later taught high school music classes, recently got to fly on the Collings Foundation’s B-17 to pay tribute to former bombardiers, Highley and Toyek. On 23 April 2015, in Murrieta, CA, Karl flew on B-17G #42-31909, experiencing the bombardier’s compartment that was so familiar to both men.

“There was something very special I wanted to do to make this flight a commemorative flight. On 23 April 1943, the 306th Bombardment Group (H) Special Order No. 108 was issued, assigning Lts. Oran R. Highley and Claude V. Toyek to the 367th Bombardment Squadron of the 306th at Station 111 in Thurleigh, England, for combat duty. Lt. Highley and Lt. Toyek had been classmates in bombardier class 42-15, graduating 31 Oct. 1942, and receiving their commissions and wings at Victorville Army Airfield, CA. Three weeks later, both were on the same mission to Wilhelmshaven, Germany, flying in the same element, Toyek left wing, Highley right wing, when both aircraft were shot down. Both men survived, were captured, and spent the rest of the war as POWs in Stalag Luft III. I have been fortunate to make the acquaintance of John Toyek, son of Lt. Toyek, and received a wonderful picture of his father in uniform taken after liberation. To honor them, I wanted to be in flight, at their respective posts, with their pictures so they could also be along in spirit for the ride. I can’t explain the feeling of being airborne in this magnificent airplane, trying to feel and picture what it would have been like at -50 degrees, target of flak, with enemy aircraft attacking, and the noise and chaos of air combat, and then, the long ride home with dead and wounded on the floors, hundreds of empty .50 caliber shell casings, and the experience of slipping on the blood while dressed in the heavy, bulky, flight suits. These men were unbelievable and heroes in the utmost sense! I sat in the bombardier’s seat, holding the picture of Lts. Highley and Toyek. I took a look through the Norden bombsight which was open to see through. This was an experience that I will never forget!

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Karl trying out the bombsight

Videos of Interest

Evacuation Videos from Stalag Luft I – Barth, the alternative officer’s camp for fliers. This camp was evacuated by the Russians, and the 2nd Schweinfurt Memorial Association sent this interesting link showing those officers leaving the camp in May, 1945, to go home.

http://secondschweinfurt.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

WWII Pilot Returns to Iwo Jima – Barry Schoen

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153711487717519

What If Our B-24 and B-25 Pilots Had this Technology? – Diane Stamp

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/04/02/f-35-pilots-to-wear-400000-helmets-that-can-see-through-plane/?intcmp=features

Celebrating Lancasters – UK and Canada – New Documentary – John Lanza

https://www.youtube.com/v/5Ol2rem6d3g&autoplay=1&rel=0

Lancasters Fly Side-by-Side – Barry Schoen

It has been 50 years since two Avro Lancaster Bombers flew side by side. These marvels of mechanical engineering, part of a proud lineage that is credited with bringing an end to WWII, finally met high above the English Countryside this past summer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ol2rem6d3g

http://www.suddenlyseemore.com/portfolioentry/reunion-of-giants/

http://www.air-shows.org.uk/2015/01/reunion-of-giants-the-official-lancaster-uk-tour-trailer/

Seven Minutes of WW-II Color Combat Footage of the Marine’s Assault on Iwo Jima. No sound – Arthur Taber

https://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/video/marines-assault-iwo-jima

Capt. Eric Brown – UK Hero – Diane Stamp

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30039300

http://instantwatcher.com/titles/199345 Documentary also available on Netflix.

Two Remaining Doolittle Raiders Accept Gold Medal – Wright Patterson AFB – John Lanza

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gpGCmFPzes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTlHvTFRSBk

http://ocm.auburn.edu/newsroom/news_articles/2015/04/wwii-veteran,-auburn-alumnus-treated-to-surprise-visit-of-b-25-mitchell.htm

WWII Aviation – Arthur Taber

see: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/ww2-70th-anniversary-flyover-180954736/

and: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/what-movies-taught-us-about-world-war-ii-180954671/

and: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/day-after-d-day-180954668/

and: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/kursk-180954670/

and: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/how-become-ball-turret-gunner-180954667/

and: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/wars-oddest-dogfight-180954663/

and: http://www.airspacemag.com/airspacemag/air-space-airshow-planner-180951460/

Links of Interest:

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base A.F. Museum – Airplane Collection Online – Herb Weber

http://www.cdsg.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=381

Invaluable Links for Those Researching Escape and Evasion  – Ed Reniere

There is one link for RAF and one link for the U.S.  The links list names and locations of evaders.

http://www.conscript-heroes.com/MI9-01.html

http://www.conscript-heroes.com/Art38-MIS-X.html

German Propaganda – Mike Woodworth

http://www.509thgeronimo.org/documents/naziprop.pdf

Two B-17s Piggy Back to the Ground – Carolyn Miller

http://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/piggyback-hero-by-ralph-kinney-bennett.html

Motts Military Museum – Groveport, Ohio – Ron Albers

Many are unaware of this nugget near Columbus, Ohio.

Keep them in mind for donations of WWII memorabilia.

This is an incredible collection of wartime history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT-BHDXgh5U

http://mottsmilitarymuseum.org

POW Logbook with Cartoons at Auction – Jennifer Schwartz/Barb Edy

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3058534/Enola-Gay-pilots-flight-logs-Hiroshima-plans-sale.html

This ends the newsletter. The next one will have a collection of pictures from a recent trip to Stalag Luft III, Dresden, Colditz, and Berlin by some “kriegie kids.”

Until next time ….

Marilyn Walton                                           Mike Eberhardt

Daughter of POW Thomas Jeffers             Son of POW Charles Eberhardt

 

 

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One thought on “Stalag Luft III Newsletter #17 from Marilyn Walton and Mike Eberhardt – May 19, 2015

  1. Hi Marilyn,
    My father was Morris M. Jones “Available Jones.” I have been in touch with Marek at the museum and plan to get together information for him to place in Dad’s folder. I would love to learn of anything about my father.
    Thank you, Marilyn Jones Elrod

    Like

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