Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,
The month of September marks a time for many ceremonies in the camp, as the Polish people continue to pay their respects. Marek has shared the pictures below. He will be attending the reunion in New Orleans and looks forward to meeting new attendees as well as renewing friendship with past attendees. A reminder that Sept. 18th is the cut off for registrations, with later ones accepted on a space available basis.
News from Marek
September 1st , 2015, marked the 76th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland which was also the beginning of WW2. In Poland, September 1st is also Veterans Day. That date was chosen for the recent ceremony held at the renovated Stalag VIIIC Victims Memorial at the camp. The honored guests were Daniel Marchewka Mayor of Zagan (He gave a speech.) and Major General Jaroslaw Mika (Zagan’s Black Division commander).The ceremony was also dedicated to the veterans, and one of them, Mr. Piotr Gubernator, also gave a speech (see picture).There was also a gun salute and a wreath-laying ceremony.
The Mayor of Zagan, Daniel Marchewka, and Major General Jaroslaw Mika
The Mayor and Marek
“Two very special guests visited the museum on September 6, 2015, F-16 fighter pilots, First Lieutenant Tomek “Lenny” Grzybowski, and First Lieutenant Marcin “Digits” Kawecki, 10th Fighter Squadron ‘Dragons’ from the 32nd Tactical Air Base Łask, Poland. The pilots honored the victims of the camps by laying a wreath on the monument. On behalf of the Air Base commander, they gave us a very nice F-16 plaque. “Lenny” was born in Zagan.”
First Lieutenant Grzybowski, Marek, and First Lieutenant Kawecki
Wreath Laying – First Lieutenant Grzybowski
Golf tee found in East Compound. (Golf ball pictured for scale purposes.)
11th Armoured Cavalry Division Takes Stalag Luft III by Storm
“We had an extremely busy weekend. [9/12 & 13] The biggest display of the military equipment of the the 11th Armoured Cavalry Division Zagan was organized at the museum. Tanks, guns, armoured vehicles, armoured infantry carriers etc. The display will be a part of The 11th Armoured Cavalry Division Day. It was a great publicity for the Tank Division but also for the museum. I would say that approx. 1500 people visited the museum on Saturday!”
1943 Comic Book Featured Lt. Ewart (Ed) T. Sconiers – Ed Renière – Belgium
It was rumored that POW Sconiers’ story had been featured in a comic book, and Ed, in Belgium, has located it! Pamela Sconiers Whitelock will speak at the reunion, updating everyone on the repatriation of her uncle, buried in Poland for 71 years, the only deceased SLIII POW that was not brought home.
Ed: “It seems they misspelled the writer’s last name : Demby instead of Denby (who is in fact Emanuel Denby)
Found what seems to be a copy for sale at:
POW # 957 Don Stine, a B-25 pilot who went down in Tunisia early in the war, passed away June 25th, 2015. Don was known as one of the famous artists in the camp making portraits of other POWs, including Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark, and Doolittle Raider, Davy Jones, his roommate. He carried the large portrait of Jones on the Forced March as he related to me recently:
I delivered the portrait in August of 1945, on my honeymoon, in Long Beach, CA. There were about a dozen water color portraits of senior officers that were locked up in the senior officer’s mess that I did. I considered those the best work I did in the camp. Most of them were left , but the portrait o f Gen. Clark that was recently sent to me by email survived, and was a good example.
I just got my driver’s license renewed, and it’s now good until I get to be 100, which I’m going to try for.”
Link to obituary:
Tuskegee Airman Calvin Spann Passed Away Sept. 6, 2015 – John Lanza
Taken POW before the War Started – Barb Edy – Canada
Thanks to Barb for identifying three men in this photo of Canadian POWs that was used in a newspaper article that was recently found amongst many wartime items scrapbooked by her family to keep for father’s return home from war.
Alfred Burke Thompson, a RCAF co-pilot, second from the right in the first row, had been taken prisoner in September 1939, one day before Canada was officially at war with Germany. When his Whitney was shot down over eastern Germany, while the crew was dropping paper flyers there, he and his crew were captured. Thompson was taken to Berlin to pose in propaganda photos with Luftwaffe Chief, Hermann Göring, and remembered discussing ice hockey with him.
Before daylight, Thompson made it out of the tunnel during the Great Escape, and he was spared the fate of the 50 escapers who were murdered by the Gestapo. Back row, second from the left is F/Lt Peter Roper. Fourth from the left is F/Lt. Ralph M. Johnson. Others are unidentified.
POW Emmet Cook’s Log Book – Mary Ruwell – Archivist, U.S. Air Force Academy
POW Emmet Cook was one of the excellent artists in the camp. He lived in South Compound. His hands were burned when his plane blew up. When they healed, Emmet drew his famous “I Wanted Wings” cartoon that so many POWs copied in their Log Books. Emmet drew some originals for his friends as well. The cartoon was eventually licensed by Walt Disney. It also became nose art on several planes. Unfortunately, some of his prize sketches were auctioned off recently on ebay before the family knew. Mary has sent the link to his donated Log Book. After going through this wonderful piece of history, I found that there is something here for everyone. I see so many names of the fathers of many who read this newsletter, from several different countries. “Mutt,” as Emmet was affectionately known, drew many pictures of his friends, and they can all be seen here. Nearly every prominent POW name I know is represented in this book. They have all signed it. The link to this Log Book will be a gift to many. Enjoy.
Souvenir of the 50th SLIII Reunion in Cincinnati, OH – Marcia Forsblad, Daughter of POW Leland Forsblad
Emmet Cook crafted this plaque to mark the 50th anniversary of liberation for several of his good friends from the camp, including Marcia’s father:
The names on the plaque are McCaleb, Forsblad, Grice & Cook. It’s 10″x6″ & quite intricate on detail.
From POW Jule Spach Regarding Our Last Book – Jule Spach
Jule was a friend of Wes Hatfield, father of Andrea Hatfield, daughter of German SLIII censor, Lisa Knuppel, who spoke at the CO reunion. Jule was a friend of Bob Van der Stok, one of the three successful escapers after the Great Escape. Jule recommended Bob’s book, “The Pilot of Orange.”
I had planned to write you long ago, but I have been under the weather with some health problems for over a month. Your book arrived just before I got sick, and I was able to read it from cover to cover.
Marilyn, it is wonderful, and I learned so much from reading it. I had always heard what a fine man Col. von Lindeiner was, and your book more than confirmed it. The beginning of your book told of his views as to the beginning of the war. Fascinating. I had never heard as to how he was so close to being involved in the assassination of Hitler.
The end of your book too with the story of Lisa, both during her stay both at Stalag Luft 3 and her life after the war told me so much of her. I just regret I didn’t have more of an opportunity to know her when she lived here Winston-Salem.”
Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson Learns of AFME Audience Choice Award – POW Alex Jefferson
Alex has been featured in several videos lately. See links below to learn more. Congratulations to our favorite, Alex, so deserving of these honors.
New Comic Book Company Honors Tuskegee Airmen – Marek Lazarz
Keith Ogilvie’s Treasure Hunt – Keith Ogilvie, son, Canadian POW Keith “Skeets” Ogilvie
Ogilvie was a Spitfire pilot who had once shot down a German fighter attacking Buckingham Palace and was one of the last to emerge from the tunnel the night of the Great Escape. He saved many items from the camp. His son shares what he continues to find. The first is a picture of Senior British Officer Group Captain Massey in the center of the picture.
On the back of the picture, he wrote: “The Hun
in this picture got me many of these with a request
for some tea in exchange!”
Another Henri Picard sketch – Keith’s father
“Skeets” (Picard was one of the 50 murdered
after the Great Escape.
Charles Lindbergh in Ottawa 1930
“Here’s another picture of Ann and Charles Lindbergh getting into the aircraft, ready to depart for Moosonee, Alaska, and ultimately Japan and China on that 1931 journey. Their first stop had been Ottawa.
More of Col. Keeffe’s Treasures – Jim Keeffe, son of Col. Jim Keeffe
“Just today I found my dad’s short snorter. He actually has at least two of them because I found one a couple years ago. Then I found another one today. It has these bank notes taped together: 1933 1 Dollar Silver Certificate 19?? 1 Peso Banco De Mexico (no date) 1937 Deux Dollars Banque Du Canada 1940 Banque de France 100 Cent Francs 1944 10 Francs Emis en France (military bank note) 50 Franc Letzburg (Luxemburg) (no date) * 1939 20 Reichsmark note (see attached file) 1944 50 Mark Alliierte Militarbehorde (German Allied military banknote) 1943 100 Francs Banqve Nationale de Belgiqve (Belgium) 1943 10 Francs Banque Nationale de Belgique ** 19xx 10 Shillings Bank of England (see attached file) 19xx 5 Shillings British Military Authority bank note There are lots of signatures from ex-POWs and members of Dad’s crew, but also….
Here is the amazing part…. * This note is signed by Henry Soderberg! [YMCA representative from Sweden- the Protecting Power] He wrote: “Henry Soderberg YMCA – represent. Stalag Luft 3 With best wishes!”
** This note is signed by Jimmy Durante!
“No telling how my dad ran into those two giants and had them sign his short snorter.”
Speaking German – Kip McVay -Daughter of POW Birch McVay
Kip sends the following anecdote regarding her father:
“At Stalag Luft 3, Birch McVay was with a group of British officers who were older and wiser and all intent on escaping. To make an escape, high school French wouldn’t be enough. He had to learn German. One Brit in the group took responsibility for teaching it. A German book was used when they were able to sit at the table with him. The instructor spent a lot of time with Birch and his heretofore charming Southern accent. One day, as the Brit sat across from Birch and listened to him recite, the teacher somberly and sadly looked at him, closed the book, shoved it across the table, and said, “Mac, you don’t speak German with a Southern accent.”
Spitfire Replica – Devon Geiger Neilsen – Daughter of POW Bill Geiger
Pilot Officer Bill Geiger flew with the RAF Eagle Squadrons, and was #4 of over 2000 men listed in Behind the Wire, the secret ledger of South Compound POWs recorded by POW Ewell McCright. Devon sent the following:
“I’ve attached a photo of my Spitfire Mark Vb that found its way into my home. When I bought it, I didn’t know which Spitfire model it represented, but after studying all their characteristics, I’m fully convinced it is the same one my father flew when shot down. POW Sel Edner would have flown one of these when in Eagle Squadron 121, too. “Bub” Clark [later Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark] was also shot down in a Mk. Vb. I’ve found out from the RAF Museum that the Spitfire my father was shot down in was a “presentation aircraft,” a gift from the township of Fife in Scotland. It had been named ‘Thane of Fife’ when first produced for this purpose. I’m sure my father never knew about that, but it was quite interesting to hear. I was sorry the good people of Fife didn’t get more ‘bang for their buck’, though!!”
Germans Flying B-17s – Mike Eberhardt – Son of POW Charles Eberhardt
Josef Eimannsberger, the German researcher assisting Mike with the location of Mike’s father’s B-17, sent the following picture of a B-17 captured by the Germans. Josef sent the following comment:
“The German Air Force had had about 15 B-17 planes flying. See markings on plane in photo.”
He also suggested that those trying to locate which B-17s were captured by the Germans and flown, Google “B-17 captured by Germans.”
He said that more serial #s of the planes could be found in “B-17 Flying Fortress Story”
by Roy A. Freeman with David Osborne, ISBN 1 85409 522 6.
“The most captured a/c was flying in ‘Kampfgeschwader (KG) 200,’
in English: ‘Bomb Wing 200.’ In Google you can see many pictures with captured B-17s.
Maybe you find more s/n in books about KG 200.”
Dr. Ittershagen’s (the surgeon at Hohemark Hospital near the interrogation center in Oberursel, Germany) first name was Ernst. I had inadvertently typed Ernest. Manfred Kopp, historian in Oberursel, just sent me a picture of the doctor. Names are under the picture below and include German staff and American POWs.
(from left): Uffz. Bill, Sgt. Donald Ford, Dr. Ittershagen, Hptm. Horst Barth, Col. Charles B. Stark, Sgt. James Shelzer. In front: Sgt. Winter and Sgt. R. Little.
Rolex Watch of Great Escaper Sold
Flight Lieutenant Laurence Reavell-Carter was one of the fifty murdered after the Great Escape.
2nd Rolex for Sale
Flight Lieutenant Gerald Imeson
Ditching a B-24 – September 20, 1944 – Barry Schoen
Spitfire in the Air after 71 Years – James Castle – UK
POW Stories – Marek Lazarz – Poland
Missing Air Crew Report Data Base for Fighter Pilots – Marek Lazarz – Poland
Secret of the Norden Bombsight – Barry Schoen
75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain – Joan Woottenhttp://news.sky.com/story/1552559/spitfires-mark-75-years-since-battle-of-britain=
Until next time,
Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers