Stalag Luft III Newsletter – January, 2016
Greetings POWs, Families, and Friends,
Hoping everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, with all the joy the season brings. And now a new year begins.
From Marek – Poland
WESOŁYCH ŚWIĄT!!! Merry Christmas!!!
A valued artifact in the museum’s collection is this bible that was given to POW James Vaughter, who lived in South Compound, barrack 129, room 7. It was presented to him by beloved Padre Mac, the chaplain from Scotland, known to all in the camp. Note the inscription and the comment added by Vaughter about the march. It was donated to the museum by a visitor.
Padre Mac’s signature on the right
Marek: “Shortly before Christmas, I installed 4 security cameras at the museum (3 outside and 1 in main exhibition room). I had only an alarm system before. It was necessary because, as you know, the museum is located far from the town. Now I can see the museum even in my cell phone. It was possible to install the cameras because of your generous donations. THANK YOU SO MUCH!”
Henry Soderberg was at the museum in 1990. He has since passed away. The engaging Swede, who worked for the YMCA and looked after all POWs, led a group back in 1990. His signature in the guest book is fifth from the top below:
Marek: “I’ve found this in “Mud, Wings and Wire” by Harry X. Ford: “A group of former Stalag Luft 3 kriegies and their wives visited Sagan and the site of the camp on August 8, 1990. They were on a trip that was put together for Stalag Luft 3 and Oflag 64 by Henry Soderberg. The group included Carol and Ted Runyon, Grace and Welles Adams, Ruby and Louise Moffatt, Muriel and Dan Reading, and Edgar Kaufman.”
POW Eugene Francis Frink – Nov. 22, 2015
Condolences to the family of B-24 pilot, Gene Frink–his wife, Barbara, and his four children after the loss of this 93-year-old war hero and survivor of five Ploesti Raids. Frink flew 44 missions before being shot down over Austria when he became a POW at Stalag Luft III. Many of us remember him from the reunions and will miss him greatly.
Eugene with wife, Barbara and Eugene wearing his WWII uniform
Honored on Remembrance Day – POW Ed Carter-Edwards – Canada
Ed has just sent this picture taken Nov 11th, 2015, that was taken at his church for the Remembrance Service. Please keep him in your prayers as he undergoes medical treatment soon.
Jack Williams Collection Sold – Martyn Perrin – UK
The picture in the last newsletter of the memorial to the fifty murdered in the Great Escape, was, as noted, part of a collection sold by the Williams family in England. Jack Williams, one of the Great Escapers, was murdered by the Gestapo. The collection made an incredible £165,000. That is £194,700 including premium. At today’s exchange rate, the collection sold for $288,598.26 in U.S. dollars. According to Martyn Perrin, it has gone to a serious military collector who will keep it all together in a museum.
A Story Once Told by POW Mcllroy to His Son, Simon – James Castle UK
Two of the prisoners of war in his room at Stalag Luft III were called Evans. To distinguish between the two, the one in the bottom bunk was known as “Good Evans” and the one in the top bunk as “Evans Above.”
Can You Identify Any of These RAF Officers? – POW son, Keith Ogilvile – Canada
“While poking through some as yet unopened envelopes of clippings, I came across the attached. My mother was travelling Europe in December 45-January 46 as part of an RCAF R&R exercise referred to as “Carnival”. One of the places they went was the Isle of Sylt, a former U-boat pen and operations centre, now occupied by allied forces. She found this clipping in the mess and saved it (that’s her writing on it). It clearly shows my father’s Long March mate, Samuel Pepys, and a number of other ex-SLIII POWs, whom I don’t recognize.”
[Samuel Pepys was a descendant of the famed English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade as a young man.]
POW Glenn Harrison – Thomas Elgaard – Denmark
Thomas attended two reunions, in Dayton and Colorado Springs, and became friends with POW Glenn Harrison. He made Glenn the poster he is holding that shows some of the history of Glenn’s wartime service with the 96th Bomb Group.
Shuttle Booster Video – POW Leonard Spivey – US
“Incredible shots by booster-mounted camera from launch through water touchdown. This is about as close as we are going to get to the real thing. Cameras are mounted on the sides of the Space Shuttle booster tanks. Notice when it breaks the sound barrier.”
306 BG – Barb Neal – US
“Much information can be found at the website for the 306th Bomb Group. In an earlier newsletter, there was a picture of seven men standing behind a mound of dirt, mostly comprised of sand from tunneling. The correct spelling of two of the surnames, as taken from the 306th records, are in bold print below for anyone researching those two names.”
– Capt. LR McKessen — Lewis Robert McKesson [note surname spelling]
– 1st Lt George Matthews — George Lloyd Mathews [note surname spelling]
“For all 7 pictured men, more info can be seen at the website, 306bg.us under the ‘Education/Research’ tab & then by scrolling to ‘Archives’ –then scroll down to ‘306th Bomb Group Association Records & Documents’ and select ‘Russell Strong Card File.’ There, choose the first letter of the surname, and when the first card of that letter opens, click on the ‘Index’ button at the upper left. That opens the entire listing of ‘M’ names as file names under thumbnails of the scanned 3”x 5” index cards; when you find the man’s name, click on the thumbnail to open a full-size version of the card. The cards were typed by founding secretary, Russell Strong, from review of many original records; if he had further personal info about a man, he typed it on the back of the card; card backs are shown in the same scan as card fronts for all cards that had anything on the back. The originals of the cards are at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, in Pooler, GA.
Our website also contains copies of Mission Reports; Missing Air Crew Reports; Special Orders; and many, many more documents in that Archives section, as well as photos of some of the air crews (organized by pilot’s surname) under ‘Education/Research’ & then under ‘Photo Albums from WWII.’ More crew photos are always heartily appreciated. Our website continues to grow steadily.”
More Pages from Vince Lisanti’s Log Book – POW Vince Lisanti – US
As promised from earlier newsletters, below are more pages from POW artist Vince Lisanti’s Log Book. Double click on icons to open. More pages will follow in future newsletters.
Preparing Red Cross Parcels – POW son, Michael Scott – US
“I’m sure this scene was duplicated in every town in America during WWII. This is the local Red Cross office in Johnstown, PA, (Dad’s hometown) preparing a POW food parcel. The older woman to the left is Dad’s Aunt King (called Aunty by the boys).”
POW Ed Dement in the News – John Lanza – US
Picture from SLIII – South Compound – POW son, Larry Simmons – US
“A photo from inside Stalag Luft III that shows my father and other POWs from his barracks. The picture was labeled on the back as, “South Compound, early 1943.” My father, Andrew Van Simmons, was shot down on 4/17/43, immediately after dropping bombs on the Bremen Focke Wulf factory. The name of the B-17 was “Unmentionable.” That was his 18th mission. He was a navigator in the 306th Bomb Group, 423 Squadron, which was based in Thurleigh, England. My father is the third person from the right, in the front.
Gary Sinise – 8-Minute-Film on the WW II Museum Visit by a Group of WW2 Vets – John Lanza – US
15th AF Slovakia
Colditz Castle POW Escape Plane – Barry Schoen – US
Color Footage of Stalag VIIA – no sound
Poem of Hero Lost in the War –POW son, Mike Woodworth – US
The poem was written by Lt. Raymond Farquhar of the 464th Bomb Group shortly before he was KIA 10/16/44 on a mission to Linz, Austria.
Tribute to the SR-71 …The world’s fastest plane. . . Ross Greene – US
Gary Sinise’s Trip to the WWII Museum with WWII Vets – Doug Descant – US
Big Band Era – Union Station – Trevor Hewitt – UK
Auld Lang Syne – POW daughter, Barb Edy – Canada
And finally take a moment to remember 1946, the first New Year’s Eve at home our POWs enjoyed:
Wishing everyone a blessed New Year!
Until next time,
Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers