Stalag Luft III Newsletter – June 2017

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – June, 2017

 Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

The new room is finished!  Marek has completed the building of the replica room which now sits inside the museum at the camp. He has been successful in searching for artifacts that are original and would have been used in the camp.

keintrinkwasser pitcher on the left

KLIM cans and original record player

The portrait of P/O Robert M. Buckham made by Polish POW Kazimierz Zakrzewski-Rucinski hangs on the wall. Marek received the scans of his works from his daughter Helena Zakrzewska-Rucinska and then made a high quality reprint on canvas.

The view from the window is South Compound, a street named Stillman Strasse that Lt. Col. Robert “Moose” Stillman created. As a POW, he got to work creating a main street in South Compound, where it had been previously difficult to walk. With a small crew of workers, he dug out an area and cleared it and then filled in the holes to create, “Stillman Strasse” [Stillman Street] making life just a little easier for the prisoners who now walked instead of flew.

The plaque below hangs by the room to thank all of you who donated to the room’s development and construction. Your funding enabled Marek to construct the room and to purchase the artifacts that make it so authentic. The names of POWs associated with these families will soon be placed on the POW plaque, as well, and he will send photos of that plaque to the families. Beautiful work, Marek!

Plaque for the new room – thank you donors!

 

Marek’s letter explaining how he came up with the idea for the new room is below:

New Guitar and POW Camp Sagan

Marek recently purchased a guitar for the museum made by a French POW formerly in Kriegsgefangenenlager Sagan (POW Camp Sagan), a WW1 camp that existed in Sagan from 1914 until 1920 when it was dismantled. This is where the museum sits today. The guitar was made in 1915! The self-made guitar was constructed by Auguste Naranowski, a French POW of Polish descent.

“A musical instruments collector from Warsaw contacted us after he discovered that the guitar was made in POW Camp in Sagan during WW2.”

Below, are two pictures of the general view of WW1 POW Camp Sagan. It was built on the so-called “excercise place” – the Army training field of the German Field Artillery Regiment from Sagan. The camp held Russian and French POWs during WW1. In 1939, Stalag VIIIC was built on the same spot.

Name on the guitar

Marek’s Incredible Co-incidence:

Satisfying the requirement for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s research grant to Marek last summer, he has now written about the American men who flew in the Eagle Squadrons during the war, getting into the war early flying with the RAF.

“The man who is helping me to build the POW room is a good friend of the museum. He donated several items. He is a president of the local historical association, and he is owner of the construction/plumbing company. He is currently restoring a private house in Zagan. The owner of the house is a local collector, and he has a small collection of dog tags and buttons. He found them years ago somewhere near the camp. My friend saw the collection and told me about it. I asked him to take a pictures of the dog tags (I need the POW numbers for my archive.). The collector just gave the dog tags to my friend, and my friend brought them to the museum. Dog tags are from Stalag VIIIE Neuhammer (20 km from Zagan), but one is a US Army service dog tag and belonged to George Carpenter! Carpenter was No. 121 Eagle Squadron and in 1942 was transferred to USAAF 335 Fighter Group. He was shot down in April 1944 and was held in West Compound. What a find! I will put it in my article. Today was the last chance to do it as the periodical is almost finished.

Carpenter’s dog tag – no explanation as to how it got left behind in the camp

Read about Carpenter here:

http://www.4thfightergroupassociation.org/uploads/8/2/0/3/8203817/335_carpentergweb_a.pdf

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/person/7389

Lt.  Ewart T. Sconiers

Following up on Lt. Sconiers, our Belgian friend and member of “Ewart’s Army,” Ed Reniere, visited Henri-Chapelle, the American Military Cemetery in Belgium. It is at this cemetery where Lt. Sconiers’ name is engraved on the Wall of the Missing. Traditionally, when one of the men who was missing is found a stone rosette is placed next to that name. Ed was there for Memorial Day to see that rosette, and he has sent the following pictures which were taken by Patrick Demaison.

Ed standing as the Wall of the Missing paying tribute to Lt. Sconiers on Memorial Day. He points to the new rosette.

Ed’s floral tribute

Visitors to the cemetery that day came up to read Ed’s words. The four flags on the panel Ed made, below, represent the four countries that ended up participating in Lt. Sconiers’ recovery.

[graphics would not copy from original newsletter]

Remembering

 

 

1st Lt Ewart Theodore SCONIERS Bombardier – 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron

 

Born 29 November 1915, DeFuniak Springs, Florida

Died as a Prisoner of War – 24 January 1944, Lubin, Poland

 

… After 73 long years, finally recovered and

brought home thanks to the efforts

of the DPMO / DPAA.

In name of the SCONIERS and HARRELL families and of “Ewart’s Army

MEMORIAL DAY – 27 May 2017

 

 

Ed:  “I attended the Memorial Day ceremonies yesterday at two American cemeteries. The first event was at the Ardennes one in Neupré, the one in the afternoon was at Henri-Chapelle. I was at the cemetery long before the ceremony began and put flowers and paid my respects to Ewart. I was particularly moved seeing and touching the rosette that has been applied recently next to his name on the Walls of the Missing there. Afterward, many people, Belgians and Americans, looked at the flowers and the small panel. Some took pictures, and I could tell part of the fantastic story to a few of them. I had mixed feelings standing there at the foot of the wall. Emotion. Respect. Gratitude. A joy tinged with sadness. Thinking of all of you and those watching us from above, with a certain pride of what the global team has achieved in this very special journey.”

We hope Ed will be able to join us at the funeral in Florida next January.

 Sconiers’ Trip Home – POW niece – Pamela Sconiers Whitelock

It was a poignant moment for Pam and all of us seeing the picture below of her uncle being brought home from Poland through Germany to Offutt AFB for DNA testing. Delta, with great respect, flew him back to the U.S. with his army escort, the pilot announcing the WWII POW’s remains were on board.  See Pam’s words below for everyone reading this newsletter:

Delta ceremony honoring Sconiers

 

Sconiers’ proud escort from Europe

Pam: “We hope you will help spread the word about the fundraiser to support the “promise keepers” of Lt. Sconiers’ recovery.  Please use your social media platforms, email distribution lists, word of mouth, etc. to share the link.”  http://www.youcaring.com/KeepingThePromise

Children’s Day in the Camp

Marek: “On 1st June, we had a big event at the museum–actually two events in one– International Children’s Day and also attendance by the 11th Repair Battalion from Zagan. The soldiers organized a big display of their equipment for the local kids: tanks, heavy trucks and recovery vehicles. There was also a special military ceremony to honor Battalions Day. Several soldiers were promoted or awarded for their service. It was great publicity for the museum as well. I organized several guided tours during the whole day.”

                            Polish Battalion

Story of a Stalag VIIIC Guardgrandson, Heinz Kahan

Through the newsletter, I was contacted by the grandson of a German guard trying to find out which camp his grandfather had been assigned. Marek was able to determine it was Stalag VIIIC that sat next to Stalag Luft III.

 “Back in the ’60s, my mother told stories of her father (my grandfather) part of Landesschützen Btln 314 being guard at ‘a prisoner of war camp’ and him taking extra food to the prisoners in the pockets of his uniform to Frenchmen and Russians. Her village was Kunzendorf about 5 miles NW of Luft III. I have searched archives, and his unit was, indeed, assigned to prisoner camp duty there. Are there any stories like his that have been saved in your archives?

 His name was Günther Czernotzky. He was already 40 at the time. He died in March 1945. The front had moved through Kunzendorf in Feb., and he along with two others ended up behind the lines. He knew the area well and held up in a brick factory outside of town. They managed for a couple weeks by sneaking into town at night to get food from his family. His plan was to ride out the next few weeks until the war was over. Someone in town told the Russians. They sent soldiers out to the brick factory. They ran in three directions, 2 of the 3 being killed. The lone survivor told the family later what had happened. He [Heinz’s grandfather] was not found until spring 1946.The Russians had setup a supply/ammunition depot outside of town, and the road leading to it was off limits.

When they closed the depot in 1946, the road re-opened, and a man saw a roadside make-shift grave. My mom and great-grandmother (his mother) went along with some men to see if it was him. Not much was left after a year.His mother identified him by his gold tooth and the tatters of the sweater he was wearing which she had knitted for him.

My mother did the same stretch to Spremberg in a civilian trek. Kunzendorf – Sorau – Triebel – Bad Muskau – Spremberg About 25 miles, like I wrote earlier, Kunzendorf was only 3-4 miles west of Luft III. She likely walked in the steps of your father a month later. I am now the keeper of the Erkennungsmarke (dog tag).

Günther’s German dog tag

If anyone has information on Gunther, his unit, etc., I can put you in touch with Heinz.

POW Bill Styles Silk Map Comes Home to his Daughter – POW daughter, Linda Berkery, US

Following up the story of Linda’s quest to find the fisherman who picked up her shot down father in Denmark, she just received the silk map her father gave to that fisherman. Until she found contacts in Denmark, Linda had no idea the silk escape maps had been given.

The note accompanying the silk map:

Dear Linda,  

Hereby the legendary and beautiful scarf. 

 Note after she thanked him:

 Hi Linda,

 I am so glad to convey the scarf to you it got its last oversees travel back home . Best regards,

Jesper

   

Linda, pleased to have “part of her father” back

SLIII POW Bill Styles’ story has gotten lots of publicity lately both in Troy, NY, for Memorial Day and also in newspapers in Denmark where he was shot down and rescued from the North Sea. The City of Troy hung a special banner to pay tribute to him.

Banner

Below is the article in the Troy newspaper:

 

“My father’s Memorial Banner is now hanging in our local hometown of Troy, NY. (Home of Uncle Sam!) They put up all the banners this week, and Dad’s was the first – his banner is fittingly located out front of a German Bier Garden – which used to be called “Bombers” – A good spot for a POW B-17 pilot- he is flying high! Our family plans to go down and toast Dad with a German beer on Monday afternoon. Now that’s a new Memorial Day tradition for us.”

The Danish flag accompanies the American flag this year.

Bill Styles’ Rainbow Story

 

Bill’s touching letter to his wife:

 Linda also came across the YMCA letter below and sent it to Marek for explanation:

“There are several addresses of the YMCA offices at the bottom including German–Berlin. The letter was written in late August 1943. Just a few days later, in early September, Berlin was bombed, and the YMCA headquarters for Germany was evacuated to Sagan. I’ve never seen that kind of letter, very interesting. I only saw the reports written by YMCA representatives (including Henry Soderberg.

More Visitors for Marek – POW, daughter, Deborah Anderson – US

Deb and her son, Erik Anderson, recently visited the old camp to locate the hut of her father, Lt. Wilfred Boyle:

Deborah and Marek

Deborah’s son, Erik

“Other pictures were taken at the site of my father’s hut #135 where one of the tunnels was located in the South Compound. The other tunnel that Marek located was from hut #137 where my friend, Allister Carlson Webster’s father, lived (last picture ).”

Hut #135

Hut #137

Jim’s Training Accident – SLIII POW Jim Stewart – Canada

“Cannot be certain but believe this was my first landing on HMS Argus, 24 Feb. 1943! No self-centering wires back then and “batsman” landed me with drift….that’s my story. Just another one of my foolish experiences! Google CAM ships and MAC ships through Wikipedia for fascinating picture of how little we had back then to eventually win “Battle of Atlantic. It always was a one way ticket on the CAM Ships, ditch or bail out, but in 1942 and 1943 the MAC ships were coming into service and, with the remote chance that one might be available, we practiced all sorts of Dummy Deck Landings on the runway at Speke and actual landings with Royal Navy on Firth of Clyde.  The carrier was supposed to be moving directly into the wind, but a crosswind meant you were slipping to the side at point of landing, “drift.” Me and my gremlins…….only my pride was hurt!  They just got me another aircraft and after that, I made 3 successful landings. Most disappointed that Hitler did not award me an Iron Cross.  After all, German losses, 1 Focke-Wulf 200 destroyed; compared to my British, one Hurricane destroyed, one damaged; two Typhoons destroyed.  Hardly cost effective!”

Luv,

Jim

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAM_ship

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_aircraft_carrier

Copies of Our Books Available Again

Information on the books:

https://www.amazon.com/Interrogation-Liberation-Photographic-Journey-Freedom/dp/1491846887/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498427814&sr=1-1&keywords=from+interrogation+to+liberation

https://www.amazon.com/Commandant-Captive-Friedrich-Lindeiner-Interviews/dp/1483425398/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498427916&sr=1-1&keywords=from+commandant+to+captive

100% of the proceeds go to the museum.

Mike Eberhardt and I supply the museum in Zagan with our two books with all proceeds going to the museum. Marek has told us he just sold the last two copies of the von Lindeiner book to Zagan’s Military Police unit who bought them (with some other items from the gift shop) as souvenirs for their counterparts from the US and Czech Republic who all will visit Marek at the museum. Mike has discounted copies again of both books, From Interrogation to Liberation, and From Commandant to Captive—the Memoirs of Commandant of SLIII Col. Friedrich von Lindeiner.  Contact Mike at: Mikeceber@sbcglobal.net

Memorial Day – POW son, Alan Hopewell – US

For 142 years, Americans have taken the last Monday in May to remember those who have died in our wars. Like all deaths honored by the state, flags fly at half-staff.

However, on Memorial Day, the U.S. flag only flies at half-staff for the first half of the day, and then is raised to full height from noon to sundown. This unique custom honors the war dead for the morning, and living veterans for the rest of the day.

No one knows the exact date this tradition began, but an Army regulations book from 1906 carries instructions for the procedure, so it predates the 20th Century, said Clark Rogers, executive director of the National Flag Foundation. In 1924, Congress codified the tradition into U.S. Code Title 4, Section 6, with the proclamation, “For the nation lives, and the flag is a symbol of illumination,” explaining how the noon flag-raising symbolizes the persistence of the nation in the face of loss, Rogers told Life’s Little Mysteries.

“The first part of the day honors those who sacrificed, and the second part of the day honors those who are still with us,” Rogers said.

Also, if you experience difficulty from your HOA flying our nation’s flag, the federal law of 2005 provides that owners of residential property have the right to fly our nation’s flag.  Some HOAs have tried to target a “flagpole” as a violation of HOA rules as a means to skirt the issue, but court cases have ruled against HOAs for this interpretation, stating that a pole is necessary to fly a flag, which is protected by federal law.  There are also some states that specifically prohibit HOAs from attempting to restrict property owners from flying our nation’s flag; Florida is one such state.

Col. Keeffe’s Filing Cabinet – POW son, Jim Keeffe, III – US

35th Stalag Luft III Reunion – Jim has come across the program from the 35th reunion which shows some of the names of very prominent POWs in the camp. The program has humor and is very clever. Some might remember many of these names:

                 Cover page

Inside cover page

Cartoons from POW camp Artist Joe Boyle were also featured:

 

POW Joe Boyle’s cartoon

Sketch of Hut – POW nephew, Hugh Carter – US

“Attached is an actual sketch made by Steve Pritz, my Uncle John’s cooking partner in Stalag Luft III. He was an artist and did many sketches while in POW camp. This is only one that survived as he tore it out of his sketch pad as they headed out the door for Spremberg and Moosburg. These are John’s own words from ‘Pilot Missing…’ A shame the entire sketch pad did not survive.”

            “Steve was good enough to provide a drawing of Combine 3 he made while in Stalag Luft III “ –  Steve relates:

“I tore this out of my ‘drawing book’ just before we started our forced march from Stalag Luft III as the Russians were moving in on Berlin. It was sudden departure to the unknown and we took only what each of us considered extremely usable for self survival! The drawing book did not fit in with our ultimate objective!! The drawing does not show all of the two tier bunks that outlined the actual size of the combine. There was only one layer of floor boards with cracks between. In the winter, we had cold air blowing in from underneath the building. I really don’t know why I kept it, along with my POW dog tags, POW spoon and knife, etc.! But it is here somewhere for my grandchildren to find sometime in the unknown future. We were housed in Barracks No. 43 in the Center Compound.”

 

Because We Flew – SLIII POW Leonard Spivey – US

 Because We Flew

Once the wings go on, they never come off whether they can be seen or not. It fuses to the soul through adversity, fear and adrenaline, and no one who has ever worn them with pride, integrity and guts can ever sleep through the call of the wild that wafts through bedroom windows in the deep of the night.

When a good flyer leaves the job and retires, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know in the world of flying, there is a fellowship which lasts long after the flight suits are hung up in the back of the closet. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

Because we flew, we envy no man on earth.

~Author Unknown

Links

POW and Boy Who Turned Him in Reunited after 50 Years – Dr. Susann Meinl – Germany

 http://www.wfmynews2.com/news/features/world-war-ii-enemies-become-friends-50-years-later/446153969

 Pearl Harbor and D Day Documentaries – Tom Colones – US

Tom with DVD covers

Over the years, Tom, a friend of Stalag Luft III, has filmed some incredible documentaries. Below are some of the most recent ones.

http://www.wwiifoundation.org/2016/07/08/pearl-harbor-trailer-ii/

http://www.wwiifoundation.org/2014/12/16/omaha-beach-honor-and-sacrifice-trailer/

 All the excellent films the foundation produces are available on this link:

https://wwiifoundation.intelivideo.com/

 Thomas Colones [tcolones@yahoo.com]

WSPA TV – CBS – Spartanburg, S.C.

Plaque for Roger Bushell Dedicated

[Please note the error that the camp was “in Nazi-occupied Poland.” The camp was in Germany and that area was given to Poland after the war in war reparations.  MW]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4613262/Man-dreamed-REAL-Great-Escape-honoured.html

Why We Fly – Joe Lawrence – US

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNlx9y-DEtc

Raising the Hunley – 19th Century Submarine – POW nephew, Hugh Carter – U.S.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsIz8phe21Y

Ground Version of Honor Flight – POW son-in-law, Bill Vucci – US

https://www.vetsroll.org/

Did You Know? – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

The number of lost planes in WWII:  U.S. 94,000, Russia 106,000 and Germany 76,000.

POW Humor

I leave you with a poem from Stalag Luft III:

A DREAM

Last night I held a lovely hand A hand so soft and neat I thought my heart would burst with joy So wildly did it beat No other hand unto my heart Could greater solace bring Than that dear hand I held last night Four Aces and a King.

Author Unknown

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – May, 2017

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – May, 2017

 

Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

There are many stories to report this month, one involving my co-author, Mike Eberhardt, and his recent return to Germany to his father’s crash site.

 From Poland, Marek has notified me that within about ten days the new room he has constructed in the museum, a replica of a typical POW room,  will be complete. He has designed special thank you cards for donors and with each he will include a picture of the finished room. Shortly after that, all the donors’ names will go on a plaque he has specially designed to hang in the new room, and POW names will go on a separate plaque.

 Other News from Marek

Stalag Luft III had well-stocked libraries in each compound. Marek is in the process of collecting authentic books to simulate what was there at one time.

“We bought this book recently. It is from the No. 1 Library of POW Camp Oflag II D. The book was sent to the camp by the Polish section of the YMCA (see stamp). Oflag IID was in Gross Born (Borne Sulinowo today, Northern Poland). Many Polish officers (Army) were held there.

 

 Newest book

“Here is my personal find. I found it at the hut 137 (South Camp) Stalag Luft III. Actually, it was with the help of wild boars in the camp who disturbed the surface around hut 137. There were many POWs in Zagan wearing non-SL3 dog tags.” 

M-Stammlager (Stalag) XIIIC is stamped into the dog tag, and that camp was in Hammelburg, Bavaria. Apparently, the dog tag belonged to one of the USAAF NCOs who served as orderlies in the officer’s compound at Stalag XIIIC, the camp where Gen. Patton’s son-in-law was a POW and was later injured during an attempted rescue by Patton’s forces. According to Marek, the man who owned the dog tag either volunteered or was transferred to Stalag Luft III to again serve as an orderly.

Rare Buchenwald Currency at the Museum –  This 2 Reichmark banknote belonged to a Polish prisoner.

In 2004, Tunnel “Dick” in North Compound, was excavated by a British team. They found some artifacts now displayed in the replica hut #104, constructed by the British. Below is the trap door of “Dick.” The entrance of “Dick” was inside the drain of the shower room of hut #122. 

   Trap door

American Visits Marek – Kevin Pearson – U.S.

 A research friend of mine for years, Kevin, is an expert at identifying B-17 parts and has travelled to many WWII historically-significant places in Europe, sending me pictures. He has also excavated a B-17 in Germany. Recently, he visited Stalag Luft III.

 Marek and Kevin at Tunnel Harry

After visiting Stalag Luft III, Kevin went on to the cemetery in Poznan to see the grave markers of the 50 murdered POWs after the Great Escape. Their ashes were moved from the camp to Poznan after the war. Below are Kevin’s pictures taken at the cemetery of the grave markers.

  Remembering the 50

Stone marking the ashes of Roger Bushell,

mastermind of the Great Escape

German Town Commemorates Three B-17 Crew Members Killed in March 1944POW son, Mike Eberhardt

Two years ago, with the assistance of some German researchers armed with only one vague clue, Mike was able to discover and then visit the crash site of his father’s B-17 (“Little Audrey”) which crashed on March 18, 1944, outside Munich, near a small town named Aschheim. His 2015 visit included a personal meeting with a man, who as a thirteen year old, witnessed the crash, which resulted from another B-17 (out of formation) dropping a bomb on the plane in which Lt. Charles Eberhardt served as bombardier. Following the 2015 crash site visit, Mike also recovered pieces of his father’s B-17 with the help of the German researchers who scanned the site with metal detectors.

 While seven of the crew parachuted and survived (three of whom, including Lt. Eberhardt, being aided by local German farmers before being turned over to SS troops), those who perished included Sgt. Vincent Mellina, Sgt. James Schmitt, and Sgt. Franklin Baier.

 On April 23, 2017, at the invitation of the Aschheim Veterans Group, Mike returned to the crash site where the three deceased crew members were honored in a ceremony. The event was attended by a large number of local citizens, Mike’s researchers, the mayor of Aschheim, and the president of the Aschheim Veterans Group, both of whom delivered moving speeches. A bugler played while a canon was fired, and Mike was honored with an opportunity to be photographed standing behind makeshift crosses from which photos of the three deceased crew members hung.  In the photo below, Mike is flanked by the eyewitness he met two years ago, and another eyewitness discovered since his initial visit.

 Mike also visited the local Catholic Church where, in the courtyard, the three were buried by the citizens of Aschheim until their bodies were recovered and moved to national cemeteries after the war.

 Mike was made a member of the Aschheim Veterans Group.  The ceremony was covered by the Munich newspaper which featured a photo of the crew.  A large dinner, with lots of beer, concluded the eventful day!

 [Some pictures below were sent by Dr. Susanne Meinl who lives near Munich and also attended.]

 

                       Lt. Charles Eberhardt’s Stalag Luft III ID card

 

IMG_5016IMG_5014

The Germans greet Mike (middle of photo) in front of the Town Hall.

 

 

         The tree at the right is one Mike’s father would have

         seen. It was the landmark the Germans used to

         determine where the plane crashed.

 

Remembering one of the crew, KIA that day

 

 Mike, second from right

 

Mike is flanked by two eyewitnesses who said they went to the

B-17 that day to steal a bag of uniforms and chocolate from the

co-pilot. Mike holds Edelweiss flowers given to him in the name

of the three crew who died.

 

    The bugler plays for the ceremony.

 

 The ceremonial canon

Mike presents researcher, Josef Eimannsberger with a certificate

of appreciation from the Friends of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The three lost crewmen

 Attendees pose with Mike

Kriegie Konnections:

Devon Geiger Nielsen – Douglas Bader Connection – [Kriegie daughter of William D. Geiger, Jr.]

 Who tied the knots in bed sheets dropped from Douglas Bader’s hospital window in St. Omer, France, after his capture? – Mystery solved.

Devon has submitted the story below after her research on her father connected her with the story of famed RAF legless flier and SLIII POW Douglas Bader, who was eventually thrown out of Stalag Luft III for starting trouble and frequent escape attempts. Lt. Col. A.P. Clark was given Bader’s bunk in North Compound that day after he witnessed Bader’s removal from the camp as Bader walked through a gauntlet of German guards, strutting defiantly as if he was inspecting the troops.

  Douglas Bader – RAF

 Bill Hall Ties Sheet Rope for Douglas Bader Hospital Escape

by Devon Geiger

As a WWII history buff, the name Sir Douglas Bader was one I knew well. I had collected photos and articles about the famous “legless” Royal Air Force ace. Bader was in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain before being shot down and taken captive in the summer of 1941. Douglas became an equally famous POW for his brilliant and courageous escape attempts. My father, William Geiger, was in Stalag Luft III with him until the Germans moved Douglas to Colditz Castle, a camp for “incorrigible” Allied officers. Dad spoke of this amazing man who had lost his legs well before the war, but still became a fighter pilot ace.

 It wasn’t until recently, however, that Marilyn Walton introduced me to Bader’s relative, Wendy McCleave in the UK.  And this is why she did: I had been telling Marilyn about my long-overdue success in finally locating the Canadian family of William (Bill) Hall, my father’s best friend during his long stay in Stalag Luft III. I relayed to Marilyn how wonderful it was that Bill Hall’s son had sent me his father’s recollections of being an RAF Eagle Squadron pilot and prisoner of war. (Shot down on July 2, 1941, Bill Hall was the first Eagle Squadron pilot taken captive). One of Bill Hall’s stories was about his time as a hospital patient in German-occupied St. Omer, France. Bill had to have several operations on his shattered knee during the summer of 1941. In August of that year, Douglas Bader was admitted to the hospital in St. Omer, too, and became a ward-mate of Bill Hall’s. In early September, Bill assisted Douglas with an amazing, one-man escape from their hospital room by tying sheets end-to-end and hanging them outside the 4th story window.

 

Tied bed sheets that facilitated Bader’s escape hang from Bader and Hall’s window at St. Omer hospital.

 I sent the excerpt to Wendy in February. Reading a firsthand account is a very moving and poignant experience for any family member, and I’m very glad she got this opportunity.

 Wendy had known of the hospital escape, but this recounting chronicled interesting details and allowed her to realize it was the Eagle Squadron Pilot Officer Bill Hall’s knot tying that helped Bader successfully reach the ground.

 Although Douglas was recaptured, this courageous escape attempt set the stage for his future activities in captivity and also inspired other POWs. Both men were freed in 1945, and continued flying.

 This is an excerpt from Bill Hall’s own memoir:

 Bader had been shot down near St. Omer, and there was great excitement amongst the Germans. The German officers from the squadron based nearby, came in every evening. Bader flew with artificial legs, and he had lost one when he bailed out. The Germans found it jammed in the wreckage of his aircraft and brought it to the hospital. It was all twisted to hell, so they took it away and repaired it for him. Bader persuaded the Germans to request over radio to the British, to drop a new leg for him. The RAF dropped it over St. Omer en route to a bombing mission.

 Our nurse, Sister Erica, was very kind to us. She could speak only a few words of English, but she would occasionally bring us a lemon, a couple cigarettes or pieces of candy. She sewed a button on Bader’s tunic, I remember. There was also a French ward maid who had connections with the French underground. When Bader planned to escape, she plugged the sink in our room, and a French plumber who was part of The Underground came to fix it. What transpired from that meeting, I never knew. It must have been Sept. 9 that Bader made the plans to escape. I tied several bed-sheets together for him with square knots, and he secured this to a bed-stand. Sometime between midnight and one o’clock, (it would have been between guard changes), Bader threw the rope of sheets out the window, and told me there was enough and even some to spare. It was a very calm night, and the courtyard below was all cobblestones. I heard Bader slide down a sheet, step on a knot, and slide down another sheet, and step again on a knot until he reached the ground. In the quiet of the night, every step he took his legs squeaked like the devil, and I could hear him squeaking off up the cobblestones, and making quite the racket. How he got away with it I’ll never know.

 The next morning when the Germans found him gone, all hell broke loose. The other English chap and the Pole were shipped off to Frankfurt en Maine. I was rushed to the operating room to have my body cast changed to a traveling one, and the next day, Sept. 11, I was shipped off to Hohemark Hospital in [near Oberursel, Germany, near the interrogation center. [ sic – Originally read near the Belgian border, but correction was made for the sake of accuracy and clarification.] Bader had been recaptured, but I didn’t see him in St. Omer. We did pass at the gates of [Stalag] Luft III in January 1943. He was moving out as I was being taken in.”

 Credit: William (Bill) J. Hall’s autobiography, courtesy of Bill Hall’s son and family

 

Portrait of Canadian P/O William (Bill) J. Hall

 

German holds the box that was dropped containing the leg.

 Germans inspect the newly-dropped prosthetic leg.

 British military report on the mission to drop the leg

 Linda Berkery –  Danish Connection [Kriegie daughter of William J. Styles  Jr.]

In trying to figure out her father’s wartime history, POW daughter, Linda Berkery, knew two things. One was that on the 1945 evacuation march from Stalag Luft III  that her father pushed his POW journal into the hands of a German housewife while on the long march from Stalag Luft III to Spremberg, Germany. Styles had written “forwarding” information at the front of the book, and it was returned to him by the woman in August, 1945.

 

Styles’ notation in German requesting return of the journal

And Linda also knew that a nice Danish fisherman saved him from drowning after his B-17 crashed into the North Sea. Co-pilot Styles was on his eighth mission to Germany and flew on Duration Plus Six that day. Unable to bomb the intended target, Warnermunde, Germany, the crew flew to heavily-defended Kiel, and was hit by intense flak. The No. 2 engine smoked and failed and another engine went out. The plane plunged into the sea about 50 miles from Denmark and 150 miles from their 100th Bomb Group base at Thorpe Abbotts, England.

Styles and his pilot, Richard Carey, got out. Two gunners, escaped the ditched fuselage through the overhead hatch, but they were severely injured. Six crew members were trapped in the radio compartment and went down with the plane. Above, a friendly bomber circled low intending to blow the rubber dinghy toward the survivors, but instead it blew the boat further away.

The skipper on a small Danish fishing boat named “Bertha,” saw Styles’ plane go down and went searching for survivors. Within the hour, he found the four Americans floating in their Mae Wests and pulled them to safety, using splints from a wooden fish crate to set broken arms and legs.

Decades later, Linda flipped through her father’s returned Wartime Log and stared at original photos showing her father and his pilot right after the rescue. She wondered who took the photos and how her father got them. She found an aged newspaper clipping with the same photo, her father’s name appearing in the headline. He was marked with an X, and the skipper was marked with XX in the newsprint.

  

Original newspaper article

Taped inside the journal was a handwritten letter from Denmark posted August 3, 1949, and Linda felt the need to know more and to try to locate the fisherman’s family.

After posting everything on Facebook, a translation came the following day. VESTJYDEN, the local paper in Esbjerg, reported:

      “The fisherman explains that the cutter “Bertha” was fishing on Sunday

       afternoon on the 25th of July [1943] when the crew observed a large formation

       of American airplanes. The last of the airplanes continued to lose altitude and

       had to do a water landing some distance away from the cutter, which immediately

       set course for the airplane, and saved four men of the airplane crew.

       The cutter remained at the crash site until midnight since it appeared possible

       that the Americans would send a floatplane to rescue the crashed crew. One of

       the crew of the airplane was seriously wounded, and since the cutter during the

       evening had been observed by a German fighter plane and also did not have

       enough fuel…[he]decided not to set course for England but instead went

       in the direction of Esbjerg…and arranged for medical help and ambulances. These

       were waiting at the dock…Unfortunately the Germans had gotten wind of the activity

      and demanded to have the four American fliers turned over to them once they

       arrived. Despite protests and demonstrations, the Germans took them in their

      custody…” [The article was torn right at the end.]

 The letter dated August 1949 was from Sven Lundager Pedersen:

           “I remember you very well. Also your three friends I remember well.

            Parson[s] was one of them and I believe that one was named Lepper.

            I forgot the name of the third one. [Carey] I am sending you a newspaper

            article and have marked you with an X and myself with XX.

            I am also sending you two pictures…I hope you remember me and ask

            you to write to me and tell me how you have been doing in the past years.

            Also please information about your three friends. I will end the letter with

            the warmest greetings to you and your family.”

Soren Flensted from the site, AIRWAR OVER DENMARK agreed to contact the newspaper in Esbjerg to share Linda’s story. Finn Buch, from Denmark, sent a photo of the fishing vessel and located the address from Sven’s letter. Unfortunately, the home of the skipper was now part of the town hospital. Finn sent a declassified listing of what was taken from her father at the time of rescue: two ID tags, one crucifix, one crucifix with a chain, one watch, one pocket lighter, and two maps. Michael Faley, archivist for The100th Bomb Group Foundation, introduced Linda to Jeanne Carey, daughter of Pilot Richard Carey, telling her she now had a sister.

The Danish newspaper printed Linda’s search during last Easter week. In just hours, she and the fisherman’s family were connected. She expressed her gratitude and told them her father had lived a good life and had four daughters. Pilot Carey had nine children. The  Danish family never saw the photos before but rapidly shared the story with children and grandchildren.

 

The Danish newspaper has run several articles about Linda’s quest

to find the family of the fisherman who rescued her father.

 

Bertha – the ship that rescued the downed airmen

 

Original picture from the day of the rescue – Linda’s

father, Bill Styles on the right

 

 Carey and Styles

 

 Pilot Carey with injured crew member

Linda soon located and communicated with the son of one of the fishing crew. He said he listened to the story wide-eyed as his father shared about the rescue. It is his father who took the photos and is in the photo that Linda couldn’t identify. The son told Linda that her father gave him maps, and he still has them, and agreed to send Linda one of the silk escape maps that passed from her father’s hands to his that day.

Linda will return the original letter to the Danish museum, and as all of the story had enfolded and continues to, Linda is overwhelmed to realize that the son of a Danish fisherman has something her father gave at the time of his rescue, and with its return into her hands, it is like getting a small piece of her father and his history returned to her.

Silk escape map Linda will receive from the

Danish fisherman’s son.

 Photos Now Attached to U.S. Graves in Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial at Madingley – POW son, Mike Woodworth – U.S.

 The American Cemetery will be posting pictures of most of the Americans buried there including some children and the body of a “Red Cross Lady” turned spy.  See link below:

 http://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/cambridge/moving-project-scheduled-for-cambridge-cemetery-over-bank-holiday-1-5022101?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

 Historic Letter Found – POW daughter, Anne Bettinger – U.S.

 I was looking at the latest issue of the newsletter (thank you for all you do!!) and wondered if you would be interested in seeing a 2-page letter my dad, George C. Bettinger, wrote to his parents after liberation at Camp Lucky Strike.  

 I found it buried in a box in my garage a few years ago. Pristine condition, never opened or touched since 1945 except being moved from my grandparents’ house to my folks’ house to mine at some point. I’d never seen it before. Talk about shocked!”

 

Letter from the Past – POW niece and author, Louise Williams – sent by POW son, Mike Netherway – Australia

 “Marilyn – This was on the news a couple of days ago, and  I thought you might like to see it – some interesting German images of Rusty Kierath & John Williams, shortly before their executions [after the Great Escape]. I guess the expressions on their faces say it all? The story of locating Williams’ last letter is highlighted by the story of the pilot and his ground crewman’s daughter.”

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-25/the-mystery-of-australian-pows-final-hours-in-nazi-germany/8465800?WT.mc_id=newsmail&WT.tsrc=Newsmail

  •  Account of North Compound POWs’ Experiences on the March –  Ed Reniere – Belgium

 http://www.trasksdad.com/PopsProgress/Stalag3March/March.html

 More on the march:

 https://wallyswar.wordpress.com/stalag-luft-iii-sagan-and-the-winter-march/

(cut and paste this link.)

Folded Wings

 With condolences to the families –

 Wallace Kirkpatrick – POW daughter, Joe-Beth Kirkpatrick – Texas

Died on March 3, 2017, at the age of 96.

 

Wallace Kirkpatrick  Postwar 1945

 

Kirkpatrick second from the left at Stalag Luft III

 

Finding his khaki blouse in a cedar chest, Wallacegrumbled when he couldn’t get it buttoned.

 One is the funeral home’s obituary and the second is an article from the San Antonio Express-News because of an earlier feature story from 2015:

 http://grimesfuneralchapels.com/obituaries/wallace-b-kirkpatrick/1395/

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/religion/article/

 Arnold Wright

 

Arnold Wright

 

POW 05 Arnold Wright & Tuskege Airman Alexander Jefferson

Arnold with Alex Jefferson at a Stalag Luft III reunion

 A bright light in the Stalag Luft community has dimmed with the death of Arnold Wright, who transcribed the secret ledger from South Compound, containing over 2200 names, and put it into book form, naming it Behind the Wire. This book has been an invaluable resource for researchers, and it also helped Arnold acquire 18 Purple Hearts for Stalag Luft III POWs, including one for a dear friend of his, Tuskegee Airman, Alex Jefferson.

Arnold attended Stalag Luft III reunions for many years and counted the original Stalag Luft III Board as his best friends, including Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark. Doolittle Raider, Major General Davy Jones, was also a dear friend, as was Major General Lewis E. Lyle. Arnold knew everyone. I am one of the many who will miss his many phone calls and mailings of pictures and articles from his vast collection of material he recently donated to the A.F. Academy. Award-winning journalist, Mary Hargrove’s last article, done in cooperation with Arnold, was about the POWs at Stalag Luft III—her favorite piece she admits of her entire lifetime journalistic career. Mike Eberhardt drove to Arkansas several times just to sit and talk with Arnold. It was our joint pleasure at a Stalag Luft III Reunion to watch as Arnold was named the second recipient of the Lt. Gen. Albert P. Clark Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Keeping the Story of Stalag Luft III Alive, presented by Lt. Gen. Clark’s daughter, Carolyn Clark Miller. Anyone who knew Arnold knew his sense of humor and love of pranks that endeared him to so many. We are all better for having known this soft-spoken and hilarious man and will miss him tremendously. Below is the text of his award that was read by Carolyn Miller for the presentation:

 “I have heard a great deal about Arnold from my father and, although I had never met him in person, we have corresponded. So we have met via snail mail.

 When my Dad met POW Ewell McCright, captured early in the war, he was told McCright had received some bad news in a letter from home and became despondent. As his despondency continued and grew deeper, my father recognized that he needed a meaningful diversion, so he asked Ewell to undertake the dangerous job of recording detailed information on each new American POW who entered South Compound, carefully recording each man’s name, rank, serial number, and other pertinent information, including his shoot-down history. McCright carried out this mission, scrupulously recording the information in detail for 2200 POWs. The ledgers were kept hidden from the Germans and secretly carried on the forced march in the winter of 1945, disguised as food hidden in a pair of pants draped around Ewell’s neck. He carried them 52 miles to Spremberg and onto the box cars that took him to Moosburg, Stalag VIIA, where they were nearly confiscated twice. Only a sympathetic guard in one case and a bribe to another guard in the other saved them. Eventually, the ledgers were flown back to the States, and later they were used at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

 Upon Ewell’s death, his heirs learned that he had willed this treasure trove of information to Arnold, a man whom he had never personally met, but knew by way of Arnold’s reputation and affection for WWII veterans.

 Over the course of more than two and a half years, Arnold laboriously transcribed the information, and published the ledgers at his own expense, and the transcriptions became the basis of his book, “Behind the Wire.” Based on the documentation in the book describing many POWs’ injuries, this labor of love also allowed 18 former POWs to obtain well-earned Purple Hearts, including Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson, whom you heard earlier today, when their military records burned in a fire in the St. Louis repository. Informational books for Center, West and North Compounds followed.

 The recipient of awards too numerous to name, Arnold also received the Presidential Appointment Selective Service System award in 2003, and in 2004, he received an award from VFW Post #2256 commending him on the publication of his six books, including My Country Called, which told 685 stories from Saline County, Arkansas, WWII vets, and Out of the Blue, a compilation of acts of heroism by WWII airmen.

 Arnold is the first person from Arkansas to receive an Air Force Scroll of Appreciation, the highest honor given from the A.F. to civilians. As a WWII historian and author, and an honorary member of Stalag Luft III, Mr. Wright’s contribution to keeping the story of Stalag Luft III alive can only be described as outstanding.

 http://benton.smithfamilycares.com/obituaries/Arnold-Wright-3/#!/Obituary

 Penn State Grant Recipient – POW daughter, Dr. Marla Okner – U.S.

 Hello, Marilyn!

 This is Marla Okner, and as you can see from the “email trail” below, we briefly corresponded a couple of years ago, prior to my research trip to the Netherlands. At that time, I signed up for your Stalag Luft III newsletters, and I’ve been enjoying them ever since.

 The reason I’m writing now is to thank you. It was in the March edition of your newsletter, I think, that you mentioned the Eighth AAF Archives that are housed at Penn State, and the opportunity to apply for a summer travel research grant to use those archives. I decided to apply for the grant, and I just found out yesterday that I won the award!! I’m so excited! 

 Thanks again for your marvelous, informative newsletter! My plans are to visit Penn State in early August, and I’ll contact you again once the trip is complete.

 Best regards,

 Marla

 Links

 One Life, One Flag, One Mile – POW nephew, John Lanza – US

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ GJokaiyJNVA

 Book Recommendation – POW son, Mike Woodworth  – US

 To Kingdom Come An Epic Saga of Survival in the Air War Over Germany by Robert J. Mrazek.

 https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Come-Epic-Survival-Germany/dp/0451235754/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495575021&sr=1-2&keywords=to+kingdom+come

 Book Recommendation – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

 I highly recommend “Given Up For Dead” by Bill Sloan.  This is a riveting and exceptionally well-written account of the oft-forgotten Battle at Wake Island in the two weeks following Pearl Harbor where Americans defended this tiny atoll before finally surrendering only after inflicting enormous casualties on the Japanese invaders.  Survivors then endured a POW experience worth remembrance.  Bill Sloan wrote this book in 2002 when he still had personal access to many Wake Island survivors.

Corrections from last newsletter – I inadvertently left out the fact that the books being sold by Martyn Rees, son of the late RAF POW Ken Rees, are signed by Ken. So sorry.

Martyn

martyrees@gmail.com

The deal:

I will need an address. Pay by PayPal using

kenlathangue@gmail.com

Cost is: £20+ £5 P&P UK. Outside UK £8 P&P

 Also, the second daughter of Bob Doolan, pictured with her father on his 100th birthday, is Patti Schoborg with her sister, Mary Lance

 Did you Know – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

 At one point early in the war, France had 3000 more tanks than the Germans.

 Finally,

 As Memorial Day approaches, and we pause to pay tribute to all our wartime veterans who lost their lives, take a moment and remember the men lost on D-Day.

 Remembering D-Day – 9,000 Fallen Soldiers Etched into the Sand on Normandy Beach to Commemorate Peace Day

 A British artist, accompanied by numerous volunteers, has a unique way to remember those lost on D-Day.  At the beaches of Normandy, with rakes and stencils in hand, the artist and volunteers etch in the sand 9,000 silhouettes representing the fallen. Titled, The Fallen 9000, the piece is meant as a stark visual reminder of those who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944, during WWII. The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread, nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help with the temporary installation that lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide.

 

  cid:image132.jpg@01D2D4A6.C989DA00   

 

 

 

 

Until next time, 

                 Marilyn Walton                                                    

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers              

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – April 2017

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – April 2017

Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

In the very near future, I will be sending out a separate newsletter on the remarkable recovery of SLIIII POW Lt. Ewart T. Sconiers, a story many of you have followed. His remains, hidden for so long, are coming home after 74 years! The story has been an incredible one, start to finish.

Happenings in Zagan:

 The following links show some of the activities in the camp for the 73rd anniversary of the Great Escape, held annually in Poland. The American troops present this year seemed to enjoy the running race as much as the Poles did!

Marek signaled the start of the recent race with a shot from an A-34 tank!

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0LB_3F5jHE&feature=youtu.be

https://www.army.mil/article/184953/prisoners_of_war_ceremony_commemorates_international_heritage

 Polish Children Learning about the War – The Great Escape Historical Contest

Marek:

“For the Great Escape memorial ceremony, seventeen teams (three children per team) also took part. There were three age categories: primary school, middle school, and high school. They started with an 80-question quiz. Afterward, was the most exciting part: The sand relay race. The teams moved a mug full of the same yellow sand the POWs dealt with digging the tunnels, from one bucket to another. The last competition required the teams to recognize national flags and military buttons. After the awards ceremony, all were invited for a barbecue. It was a lot of fun and at the same time great history lesson!”

 

                80-question quiz in the replica of Hut #104

 

                   Marek’s briefing before the quiz

 

                                Marek explains the rules.

 

               Mirek monitors the Recognize the Flag Contest

 

                                      Sand relay race

 

                                          Sand relay race

French Documentary on the Great Escape Release

The first documentary on the Great Escape that the French have done has just been released. Many of us who assisted with it were given credit by the French. Marek, received special recognition. Many of the contributors are also contributors to this newsletter! We hope there will be a version with English subtitles or voiceovers.

 

  

                                    Marek’s special recognition in the film

Incredible Find – Ingo Hauck – Germany

Dr. Gustav Simoleit, former college professor and adjutant to Col. von Lindeiner at Stalag Luft III, arrived at the camp with a suitcase in his hand. During the Forced March in Jan. 1945, he was sent to Stalag VIIA with the Americans in Moosburg, Germany, where he surrendered the camp to the American forces on April 29, 1945. Researcher, Ingo Hauck, was contacted by a man who had it. The man got Ingo’s contact through this newsletter.

 

                      Dr. Simoleit in his office at SLIII

 

Dr. Simoleit, left – April 29th, 1945 – the surrender at Stalag VIIA

 

                   Dr. Simoleit’s name inside the suitcase

 

 Thanks to Dr. Susanne Meinl in Germany for translating the list of contents in the suitcase! This paper was pasted inside the suitcase.

It is not known when the suitcase with all its contents was separated from Dr. Simoleit, who became a POW of the Americans. During the souvenir taking after liberation in Moosburg, it is not beyond the realm of imagination that the contents were divided among POWs and liberators.

 Beginning left side under Dr. Simoleit’s name:

Schuhe und Gamaschen – shoes and leggings

Hemden – shirts

Kragen – collar

Unterhosen – underpants

Strümpfe – socks

2 – Uniform – second uniform

Mantel – coat

Regenmantel – rain coat

Koppel – belt

Schwert – sword

Dolch – dagger

Pistole – pistol

Fernglas – binoculars

Signalpfeife – signal whistle

Kartentasche – bag for maps

Hausschuhe – carpet slippers

Handtücher – towel

Taschentücher – handkerchief

Stiefelanzieher – metal to put on boots – boot tighteners

Waschzeug – utensils for washing oneself – wash kit

In the middle:

Essbesteck – cutlery

Kochzeug (?) – cooking utensils

Briefpapier – stationery for letters

Schreibzeug – writing utensils

Radiergummi – eraser

Taschenmesser – pocket knife

Taschenlampe – flashlight

Bücher über Flak – books on AA Guns

? Buch –???

Spiegel – mirror

Rasierzeug – shaving kit

Feldflasche – field or military bottle

Handschuhe – gloves

Hosenträger – suspenders

Knöpfe (?) – buttons

Sicherheitsnadeln – safety pins

Dr. Orville Barks – SLIII – POW son, Jim Barks

(Dr. Barks was one of the American doctors at Stalag Luft III.)

“What I have recently confirmed about where my father was in Friesing [Germany] is that the former nunnery at 21 Domberg was converted into a POW hospital.  That’s where he was at the end of the war and was liberated at that building. 

The photo attached is of him on the left.  I haven’t found out who is with him in the photo, but I believe he was from New Jersey.  But it was taken by Captain Jos. J. LaRusso, who was part of the liberating unit, and who sent the photo to my mother in a letter to her dated May 26, 1945. The bottles of wine in the box were given to them by Capt. LaRusso. 

 

 Glemnitz’s Grave Ingo Hauck – Germany

After much research, Ingo was able to find the grave of SLIII’s Hermann Glemnitz, one of the most colorful German characters in camp. He is buried in Berlin.

Inscription on the grave says: Married-Couple Glemnitz
Their daughter, Gerda Kirchneck is also there.

Gerda and Mrs. Glemnitz attended SLIII POW Reunions.

 

Clandestine photo of Glemnitz in camp

 

      Hermann and daughter, Gerda, at SLIII Reunion

 

 Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark with Hermann at reunion

 

 

                                            Glemnitz Grave 

Ed Carter Edwards’ Card from Buchenwald – Bernd Schmidt – Germany

 Bernd, a German researcher, who lives in Weimar, has sent along this medical card kept on the late POW/Buchenwald POW, Ed Carter Edwards. It was sent to me when I and other researchers tried to find out what the injection was that the airmen kept at Buchenwald were given twice as they were lined up standing in formation. The injection was given into their chests. When Ed went back to the concentration camp, he questioned historians there as to what it could have been. The injections, which were very painful, were given not all that long before the airmen were released to Stalag Luft III.

 

 Mystery Solved – Joe Eubanks

Three months ago, I featured a query regarding the identity of a POW painted by POW Don Stine:

Mystery POW – American Likely in North and South Compounds – POW son, Jim Jones, son of Doolittle Raider, Davy Jones – U.S.

This oil painting was found in Oregon. It was painted by American POW Don Stine. Is this face familiar to anyone?

 I recently heard from the owner of the mystery painting, Joe Eubanks – US.

Below, he relates his journey of discovery researching this painting:

 Marilyn,

I wanted to give you an update on the painting done by Don Stine which I now own.  His son, Jerry Stine, forwarded you a picture I sent him which you included in your December 2016 newsletter.

 I have identified the man in the painting as Captain Robert Adamina. He was a P47 pilot who was shot down on May 14, 1943, after he downed a Focke Wulf 190. He was escorting bombers on a raid over Antwerp that day. He bailed out over the North Sea and was picked up by a German fishing boat.

I identified him by finding a grainy small photo of him in wartime prisoner of war bulletin on your site. He was amongst a group of 12 others in a photo, but their identity was not supplied with the caption. In later issues of the prisoner of war bulletins, I was provided by last name only for the men in the photo. From that last name, I was able to locate pictures to positively identify him.

 I have been in contact with his only living relative, and she told me she wanted me to keep the painting and tell her father’s story. She is going to help supply me some of his story. I was able to share many details with her about her father’s story which she didn’t know. She had also never seen the pictures I found online and attached to this email.

 Here are some attachments of those pictures I found online of him.  I knew you would appreciate hearing how this all came together.

 Jerry’s father, Don Stine, is pictured in the group photo as well. He is the third to the right of Mr. Adamina who is wearing the crusher cap.

 

                              Capt. Adamina

 

                                Capt. Adamina

 

         Capt. Adamina in the Red Cross Bulletin

 

Middle – Picture where Joe identified Capt. Adamina

 100th Birthday SLIII POW 2nd Lt. William J. Bramwell – POW daughter, Joan Wootton – US

 

The flag Joan and her daughter displayed is from the town of Lokeren in Belgium which is where his plane crashed and was given to him by the town. Joan and her husband, Mike, brought it home from the 70th anniversary commemoration of the date of the crash Nov. 5, 1943.      

100th Birthday – POW daughter, Mary Lance – US

 As mentioned in the last newsletter, POW Bob Doolan celebrated his 100th birthday. Mary has sent pictures.

 http://local12.com/news/local/gallery/local-wwii-veteran-celebrates-a-century

72th Anniversary of the Liberation of Buchenwald – Bernd Schmidt – Weimar, Germany

“Today was the ceremony of 72th Anniversary of Liberation of Buchenwald.
25 survivors attended, but no liberators. Maybe the liberators are in a high age and can’t come.

But I was very surprised to met Craig Carter-Edwards, grandson of Ed Carter-Edwards, who you knew very well. We are so sorry that Ed passed away in February. So, Craig was coming to Buchenwald again in the name of his Grandpa.

With the new generation, the memories will be living in the future too.
Bernd “

 

                  Bernd and Craig

Craig is proud to provide the following link—Ed putting his experiences into his own words:

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

POW Ken Rees Book—POW son, Martyn Rees – UK

Martyn has discovered some copies of his late father’s book, “Lie in the Dark and Listen,” and is selling them.

By age 21, Ken had already trained to be a pilot officer; flown 56 hair-raising bomber missions by night over Germany; taken part in the siege of Malta; got married; been shot down into a remote Norwegian lake; been captured and interrogated; sent to Stalag Luft III, survived the Great Escape and the forced March to Bremen. Truly a real-life adventure story, written with accuracy, pace and drama.

Martyn

martyrees@gmail.com

The deal:

I will need an address. Pay by PayPal using

kenlathangue@gmail.com

Cost is: £20+ £5 P&P UK. Outside UK £8 P&P

Fantastic Holdings at the Army’s Military Museum – POW son, Alan Hopewell – US

Priceless contents at Fort Belvoir, VA, when and if the museum opens –  those interested in opening the museum have to raise another $100 million from private donations to  build the museum.  The museum will be on Ft. Belvoir so when it opens it will be an Army Museum open to the public like the Smithsonian in DC or the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico.   

https://www.army.mil/article/78318

Intersection of Hearts and History – Ross Greene, US

Thanks to Ross for this incredible story told to him by a former Vietnam vet and employee of Southwest Airlines who was shot down twice in Vietnam flying Hueys. His brother was shot down once in Vietnam flying a push-pull aircraft, and his father was shot down flying a P-47 in WW2…two generations of proud veterans.

Ross: “One of the ancillary benefits of having authored a book continues to be the incredibly diverse and interesting people I have met or communicated with. Last week, I received the following story from Russ Moseley from Salt Lake City. He had found A FORTRESS AND A LEGACY while searching for an interesting WW2 book.”

Russ Mosely:

“My father was shot down by Germans over Rouen, in occupied France, northwest of Paris. He was with the 8th, flying P47s. A French family found him wrapped up in his parachute and hid him four months until the underground collected him and got him out. Here’s where your cousin Thelma and the story in your book ring so similar.

I was a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines (now retired) and one flight, about six years ago, I was boarding an older couple who sat on the front row. As they seated, she remarked they were newlyweds. They had just married, because he had met her at a reunion of pilots. His wife had died, and her husband, who trained with the pilot, had also died. They met, fell in love, and in their 80s married. I kinda let that blow right on by but soon was to learn it was such an amazing story.

The old guy had been a pilot on B25s, which he told me the Japanese called the “twin tailed dragon,” because they knew what a terrible weapon it was against them. He was flying to give a presentation on his WW2 experience flying in the Solomon Islands during WW2.

As we spoke, the conversation caught the attention of a lady across the aisle. Her inquiry of the pilot and her demeanor made it very clear that the conversation had hit a tender spot with her. She said to the old vet, “My father worked on that very same airplane, and he was in the Solomon Islands. He was killed there, and I was born while he was there. I know nothing more of him. My mom died, and I have nothing else to help me know anything about him. I don’t even know what he looked like.”

The old pilot asked her what his name was and when she told him, things got real quiet. He asked his new bride to trade places with the lady. When they were together, the old guy said to her with a palpable solemnity, “Your dad was part of my ground crew, and he was killed in a Japanese attack. I want to show you something.” He brought out a photo of his unit that he intended to use in his presentation. He pointed to a man in the crew and said, “This is your father.”

I must tell you here that there wasn’t a dry eye in the front three rows of that aircraft. I myself was so emotional and so grateful to stand witness to the moment when a lady in her 60s was able to see her father’s photo for the very first time. For the rest of the flight, the old guy held her hand and told her stories about her dad, what he was like and that he remembered his crew chief talking about a daughter he’d never seen yet.

This was the best day of my career. What’s the odds a lady boards an airplane, overhears a conversation, and has the courage to ask the question that answers the biggest question of her life? You know because you did all your amazing research, dug up lost info, wormed out people you didn’t know who had info you did not know and needed to clarify a history that was so important to so many. The result was your book. The best day of my career.

And by the way, I myself, have found and put my hands on the very P47 my dad was flying when it was shot down. I have spent many happy hours with the very family who hid my dad, listening to the stories and sharing tears of joy and sorrow of that time and place. And I have seen the First Communion dress that family made from dad’s parachute after the war. It is now in a museum in Paris.

Thank you for your book. Thank you that through it I was able to learn so much that I failed to ask my dad when he was alive. … Russell Moseley”

Ross:  “I can add nothing else to this moving story. I truly believe that the entire sequence of this encounter was a God-ordained event.”

Folded Wings

P38 Fighter Pilot – Jack Moak – POW nephew, John Lanza

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/islandpacket/obituary.aspx?n=jack-lynch-moak&pid=184729165

SLIII POW Robert G. Ries – POW Tom Wilson – US

Two days before his death, Mr. Ries contacted POW Tom Wilson, 97, asking him to visit. Ries, also 97, was co-pilot to Col. Charles “Rojo” Goodrich, Senior American Officer of South Compound. Ries had not seen Tom for years. Tom was able to visit with him. Robert died a few days later on April 5, 2017, in Wisconsin. Condolences to the Ries family.

Blechammer Tour Dates Announced for 2018 – Szymon Serwatka – Poland

The 2018 dates and details are published on Szymon’s new website: http://www.blechhammertour.com/

The dates are: May 13-19 and Sept. 9-15

Did You Know – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

Of men born in Russia in 1923, only 20% survived the war.

Links

P 51 Pilot Shoots Down Nazis, Japanese, and One American Plane – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

http://southernarizonaguide.com/pima-air-space-museum-bad-angel-mysterious-kill-markings/

Link to Wartime Logs – POW son, Mike Woodworth – US

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4563-ymca-wartime-logs-pow-diaries/

Losing a Wing Ross Greene, US

https://www.facebook.com/TheDisclosureZone/videos/1757574007905700/

Vietnam Wall – Ross Greene – US

The link below is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bios and other information on our lost heroes. Those who remember that time frame, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site.

First click on a state.  When it opens, scroll down to the city and the names will appear.

Then
click on their names.  It should show you a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals

 http://www.virtualwall.org/iStates.htm

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – March 2017

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – March, 2017

Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

Friday, the 24th of March, marked the 73rd anniversary of the Great Escape. In 1944, the escape was also on a Friday. On a sunny day in Zagan, many gathered to remember the fifty POWs who escaped through Tunnel Harry in North Compound and lost their lives, murdered by the Gestapo. Air Commodore Charles Clarke, who flew with the RAF and was a POW at Stalag Luft III, was an honored guest. On Saturday, the 25th, The Great Escape Cup Cross Country Run took place with over 700 runners, including the RAF and US Army. There was also a static display of the U.S. 11th Division equipment that recently arrived at the camp.

  73rd Anniversary of the Great Escape:

 

Marek and the Mayor of Zagan, Daniel Marchewka

Marek, Master of Ceremonies

2nd Tactical Wing of the Polish Air Force delegation

Col. Christopher Norrie, right, and Sgt. Major Christopher Gunn,

left, U.S. 3rd  Armored Brigade Commanders

Inspector of the Polish Air Force, Gen. Krzysztof Zabicki,

right, with Gen. Stanisława Czosnek, Polish Black Division Commander

A/Cdr Charles Clarke, RAF POW head of the RAF ex-POW Association, age 93, was interviewed by Polish television. He was the only POW to attend.

Video of interview with A/C Clarke:

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/781035/Charles-Clarke-prisoner-Great-Escape-Stalag-Luft-World-War-Two

Charles and Gen. Czosnek

Charles’s speech — Marek, left, and interpreter, Monika Parker

 

                       Wreath-laying ceremony

                                                RAF

45 RAF servicemen arrived on 23rd March and spent all day touring the museum and the camp with Marek.

 

                                          RAF Bugler

                      RAF bugler playing Last Post

After the ceremony, Black Division’s Band played the theme from The Great Escape to conclude a memorable and meaningful tribute to The Fifty.

 Stalag VIIC Perimeter

More news from Marek:

 “Replica of the Stalag VIIIC perimeter is finished!  It will be painted soon with special protective varnish. As you remember, the perimeter and two new towers were the idea I came up with last year. I designed and planned everything. The mayor and the city council added additional funds. They liked the project, and here it is.”

American Red Cross War Medical Kit Box

Marek has acquired an interesting find that he will be able to use as he creates the new donor-funded replica of the kriegie room in the museum.

“Another great item for the collection. An original American Red Cross Prisoner of War Medical Kit No. 4. We found it in northern Poland so it is not directly related to  SL3, but I’m 100%  sure that hundreds of these were sent to Zagan too.” Here is an exact description of the kit (scroll down):

https://www.med-dept.com/articles/ww2-american-prisoner-of-war-relief-packages/

Night Time View of the New Perimeter and Tower

Marek has sent these beautiful pictures of the recently completed goon box and perimeter fencing he has installed at the camp. Each new project creates the authentic look of the old camp, restored in such a way that many of our POWs might be stunned to see the result.

Boy and Girl Scouts Remember the Great Escape

Boy and Girl Scouts traveling to Zagan participated in the 9th Annual “The Great Escape” Boy Scout competition at the camp. Over 200 Polish Boy Scouts came to pay tribute. Both girls and boys competed, as they are both under one organization, the Polish Scouting Association.

“It started with an official roll call at Gen. Maczek Plaza in Zagan. After the roll call I (with Mirek) welcomed them, and I wished them good luck. They walked from Gen. Maczek Plaza to the museum. Most of them were dressed as escapees, and their first task was to escape from Hut 104. They had to answer some questions about the Great Escape in order to “escape.” We had two volunteers from the Historical Association SAGAN dressed as German soldiers. They were checking the documents.”

The competition camp ended on Sunday, and the participants stayed in the local primary school. Below, Marek is wearing the same original 1943 US Army greatcoat that so many POWs wore on the evacuation march.

Marek and Mirek

Archival Material Made Public – POW son, Ric Martini, U.S.

While researching his upcoming book, Betrayed, about his SLIII/POW father’s stay at Buchenwald, Ric accessed a tremendous amount of material from several archives. He would like to make all of it available to those who would also benefit from reading it. Click on the link below to view what is available—a wide variety of topics are covered. Many thanks, Ric!https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3f13cqryqu0sh4j/AABmb3H22Ho5bZQXoTkbt3Q1a?dl=0

British Beer Tribute to the Americans – POW son, Tyler Butterworth – UK

Tyler’s wife, Janet, recently bought him a bottle of beer from a brewery in Wiltshire.

“As you’ll see from the picture, it’s called 506. Why? The label on the bottle reads”:

“The American 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment’s motto is Currahee, which means ‘Stand Alone.’ This ale does exactly that. It’s our tribute to the men who were stationed on the land where we now grow the barley that makes this premium beer.”

POWs and Purple Hearts – Robert Sabel – U.S.

“A reminder that all American military personnel who experienced severe frostbite are entitled to the Purple Heart. Next of kin are also authorized to pursue the medal. Medical records are the evidence. The computer has avenues to access for records of POWs. With the guidelines, there should be no problem.”

For information, please contact Robert Sabel:

Robersabel@aol.com

POW Website – POW Ralph Kling – U.S.

Lots to look at on this website sent by one of our POWs.

www.sdpow.org

Ploesti

Many who flew this raid became POWs at SLIII. Be sure to watch this Memorial Video to the men of the 506th Bomb Squadron who flew the deadly low level Ploesti Raid on the oil refinery in Romania:

http://506bombsquadron.com/video.php

 More from the Col. Keeffe “Vault” – POW son, Jim Keeffe – U.S.

Jim has just found many maps kept by his father, including this one of Stalag VIIA in Moosburg, Germany, where the Americans were kept until liberation.

“South Compound was in the area marked ‘Officers Transient Compound,’ and Center (and eventually West) were in area marked ‘British.’”

 

Pictures found in the cabinet:

 

Former RAF POWs returned to the camp and museum for the 50th anniversary of the Great Escape: This picture was taken in the old museum.

Standing left to right: Dennis Plunkett, Sydney Dowse, Ivo Tonder, Ray van Wymeersch, Les Brodrick and Bob Nelson

Who is Laddie MacArthur??

This young gentleman is in several pictures taken at SLIII during the anniversary.

He is with Hermann Glemnitz on Jim’s black/white picture and with Gen. Spivey on the picture that Jim found at the USAF Academy last year. Does anyone know who he is?

RAF ID Requested – Ian Sayer – Switzerland

Ian sent two pictures for identification. First mystery solved. It is RAF F/Lt John Talbot Lovell Shore on the left next to RAF Jimmy James, one of the surviving Great Escapers. The picture was taken at Stalag Luft I in Barth, before they both transferred to Stalag Luft III.

 

Jimmy James is shown again below. There are some names on the back of the photo which was given to Ian recently by the daughter of RAF POW Wings Day.

 

In the back is definitely “Cookie Long,” one of the 50 murdered after the Great Escape.  Jimmy James is in the middle. The words “Trund” and Gilson are also written on the back of the photo. There was a R.M. Trundle who was a RAF POW at SLIII and a G.K. Gilson who was also. Can anyone confirm?

POW Andy Wiseman

Marek sent this picture showing former RAF POW Andy Wiseman in sunglasses below. Andy died a few years ago, but he always went back for the RAF re-enactment marches and memorial activities at the camp. Andy always met up with A/C Clarke at the camp for the anniversary memorials.

“Good old Andy Wiseman seated second from the left (dark glasses). He spoke very good Polish. He was a Polish Jew who went to the UK shortly before 1939. As I remember, he joined the RAF when he was 17. His first name was still Andrzej while in Stalag Luft 3. Andy’s signature in Polish is shown below in his POW diary. He helped to organize the anniversary in 1994, and he attended several Long Marches in the last 10 years. He passed away 2 years ago; we miss him.”

POW Sydney Dowse to Andy’s right

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 SLIII Reunion Table Decoration

At a previous SLIII Reunion, replicas of “goon boxes” sat at each table. During the days of the reunion, each goon box held a Nazi flag. On the last night at the banquet, those flags were replaced by Old Glory, much to the delight of the POWs.

Recently, ebay showed one of the table goon boxes:

 http://www.ebay.com/itm/STALAG-LUFT-III-REPLICA-OF-WATCH-TOWER-WOOD-CARDBOARD-/112325427617?hash=item1a271e01a1:g:bGUAAOSw2gxYs5gT

Marek sent the picture below:

 

Former Guard, Hermann Glemnitz holds his goon box at the reunion.

Bob Doolan’s 100th Birthday Party March 26st – POW daughter, Mary Lance – U.S.

Enjoy Bob’s recent interview here:

http://wvxu.org/post/local-veteran-former-pow-robert-doolan-turns-100-month-and-shares-his-wwii-stories#stream/0

There was a celebration of his birthday (March 21) on March 26 at the Western Hills Retirement Village in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Travel Grant Opportunity – Sue Moyer – SSMA (Second Schweinfurt Memorial Association) – U.S.

A nice opportunity for researchers:

https://libraries.psu.edu/about/libraries/special-collections-library/apply-travel-grant

Militaria Show – Robert Coalter – U.S.

“Some of your readers that live in the DFW metroplex may be interested in attending a Militaria Show this May 20-21 in Cleburne, TX.  Vendors will be buying, selling, trading militaria artifacts, and authors selling books and a number of veterans will be there signing books and pictures.

http://www.texasmilitariaexpo.com/

Robert Coalter

Army Air Corps Library and Museum

Sons of Liberty Museum

Did You Know? – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – U.S.

[Mike’s father, Charles, and the late POW Irv Baum, both arrived at SLIII the day after the Great Escape!]

In WWII, the French used the port of Toulon for anchorage of most of the French fleet.  As the Germans initiated their siege on Toulon in late 1942, the French feared seizure of the anchored fleet and scuttled three battleships, seven cruisers, twenty eight destroyers and twenty submarines.  Without the Germans firing  on the French fleet, it was destroyed and constituted a significant naval setback for the Allies as they sought to build their naval capacity in the early stages of the war.

Prior to WWII, the French had designed and then built three prototype bombers that were designed as sea planes.  Upon the German invasion of France, the Nazis captured these planes and flew them to southern Germany where they were kept on Lake Constance.  When the RAF discovered their location, they were bombed and now reside in the deep waters of the lake.

Links

 New Orleans WWII Museum Link to POW Exhibit

 The museum recently had a temporary exhibit, Guests of the Third Reich:

http://www.guestsofthethirdreich.org/home/

 Danish Boy Finds German Fighter Plane and Pilot – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – U.S.

 http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/08/europe/denmark-wwii-plane-trnd/index.html

Finding the Murderers of The Fifty

For those of you who missed this excellent video we played at the reunion regarding the hunt for the murders of the Great Escapers, here is the full video:

Click on, “click to play video” at the very end of the link:

http://bbcbentomatics.lunchbox.pbs.org/great-escape-reckoning/

Flying Through the Himalayas – POW nephew, John Lanza – U.S.

(If you have trouble loading or playing this in HD, left click on HD on the bottom right of the screen and choose a lower category of HD.)

 https://vimeo.com/121045965

 Drone Flying over Auschwitz – POW nephew, Ross Greene – U.S.

 http://shareably.net/drone-video-of-nazi-concentration-camp-v1/?utm_source=ANAD&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=gardening

Remains of Fighter Pilot Brought home after 70 Years – POW daughter, Joan Wootton – U.S.

http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2016/10/07/remains-missing-south-dakota-fighter-pilot-recovered/91621062/

Unusual Burial at Sea – Bob Frey – U.S.Loyce Edward Deen, an Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class, USNR, was a gunner on a TBM Avenger. On November 5, 1944, Deen’s squadron participated in a raid on Manila where his plane was hit multiple times by anti-aircraft fire while attacking a Japanese cruiser. Deen was killed. The Avenger’s pilot, Lt. Robert Cosgrove, managed to return to his carrier, the USS Essex. Both Deen and the plane had been shot up so badly that it was decided to leave him in it. It is the only time in U.S. Navy history (and probably U.S. military history) that an aviator was buried in his aircraft after being killed in action.

http://loyceedeen.webstarts.com/uploads/GoingHome.mp4

Restoring B-29 “Doc” – POW Kenneth Collins – U.S.

http://mortefontainevillage.pagesperso-orange.fr/marcbrecy/b29.html

Dog Fight Under the Eiffel Tower – Joe Lawrence – U.S.

Under The Tower (hit control while clicking on the link)

Interview with pilot, Bill Overstreet here:

http://www.warbirdsnews.com/warbird-articles/wwii-veteran-aviator-bill-overstreet-p-51-mustang-berlin-express.html

Harrier Jet Lands with No Landing Gear – POW nephew, Ross Green – U.S.

https://rumble.com/v2z8bj-pilot-lands-harrier-fighter-jet-without-landing-gear.html?mref=6i76&mc=8jxox

 Until next time,

 

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – Feb. 2017

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     Stalag Luft III Newsletter – February, 2017

Greetings POWs, Families, and Friends,

After receiving your generous donations, I received this from Marek, who will be in touch with the donors soon:

“I have had two meetings with the carpenter who is going to build the replica of the POW room for the museum. He showed me some drawings and plans and, believe me, it will be great!

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Love the Museum!

Marek has received a lithograph from the U.S Air Force Thunderbirds. Each of the pilots autographed it for the museum. Marek will display it proudly in the museum where all visitors can see it:

thunderbirds-3

Super Bowl in Zagan

For those who watched the Super Bowl, you might have noticed the Hyundai commercial after the game ended. The troops in Zagan, Poland, to be reunited via video with their loved ones at home, were chosen for the commercial.

If you did not see it, watch for the location at the very beginning of the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7n-GxJBw1k

According to Marek, the location where the commercial was filmed is the Army Camp just 500 meters from Stalag Luft 3. It is Karliki Camp.

“Karliki was a small estate deep in the woods south of Zagan. The German name was Carlswalde. The original name of SL3 was Kriegsgefangenenlager der Luftwaffe Nr 3 Sagan-Carlswalde, or simply Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Carlswalde.”

NATO TV Interview with Marek

Daily events in Zagan continue to be broadcast worldwide! Watch for Marek in this video, which also gives a good look at the town of Zagan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtRoGiQLv0I

Gen. Mika Honor

“Major General Jaroslaw Mika, Black Division Commander and great friend of the museum, became General Commander of the Polish Army on Feb. 8th! He was nominated by the President of Poland. Zagan is so proud of him. The picture below was taken in Nov. 2014 during the Polish-British exercise in Zagan. General Mika is on the left, Lt. General Sir James Everard, Commander British Field Army, is in the middle, and I’m on the right presenting a new tanker helmet to Gen. Everard.”

2014-11-21-anglicy-078

72nd Anniversary of the Evacuation of Stalag Luft 4 Gross Tychow

After interrogation at Dulag Luft, many of the enlisted men were separated from the officers on their crews. Most of the enlisted ended up at Stalag Luft IV, and sometimes VI. Many of the American officers and their enlisted crews were reunited at Stalag VIIA in Moosburg, Germany, for liberation together after marching from their respective camps. Stalag Luft 4 was evacuated on February 6th. The enlisted men had been months on the road walking to Moosburg from Stalag Luft 4.

Marek has sent the website below. It is in Polish but you can see some pictures of Stalag Luft IV.

http://zimnawojna.info/wydarzenia/68-uroczystosci-w-modrolesie-i-podborsku

Pole, Pawel Urbaniak, the local historian, is wearing the American military attire.

Children, local authorities, and military representatives were guests who were invited to attend the ceremony. After the main service, they visited the Cold War Museum contained in the old Soviet nuclear missile storage bunker. The museum within it is very new and was opened in September 2016.

“Poland will celebrate the 1945 evacuation of both VIIIC and SL3 and the Battle of Sagan on the 16th of February. Stalag VIIIC was evacuated on February 8th, and the Soviets took the town on February 16th.”

Former Commandant von Lindeiner, who had been exiled from the camp after the Great Escape, returned to fight in that battle and was shot in the foot and the shoulder. According to von Lindeiner, he was fighting for his homeland, not Hitler.

Below is the excerpt (in von Lindeiner’s own words) from the book Mike and I published— “From Commandant to Captive.”

“In the early hours of 12 February, I made a reconnaissance trip on motorcycle into the northern battle section accompanied by another officer. When the early fog lifted, we could see occasional Russian guards on the eastern shore of the Bober. Approaching the village of Greisitz, situated on the river, believing it occupied by German troops whom we had telephoned before our departure, we received Russian fire at close range. I was hit in the shoulder and foot causing me to fall. The Russians thought me dead and pursued my escort officer. By crawling through a barn, a stable, and a deep iced-over trench, I was able to reach the edge of the woods, cross through them, and reach Sagan with my last strength after a three-hour grueling march. The bullet was removed from my right foot, and I was properly bandaged. In the evening, a high staff officer took over my command. A heavily-damaged armored scout brought me, on 13 February 1945, via Soran [sic] Sorau-Kalau-Luckau-Torgau and Eilenburg to Leipzig to Reserve Hospital IV St. Georg. On 5 April, I was transferred to the Reserve Hospital at Blankenburg in the Harz and became there a POW of the Americans and then of the English.”

Winter Holiday

“We have now winter holidays in Poland. I arranged several guided trips for the kids. I rented a bus, and we visited the Black Division, 10th Tank Brigade in Swietoszow (Neuhammer) and our museum, of course. Lots of fun, especially the virtual shooting range and Leopard tank simulators.”

img_02340-2

Lecture at the 10th Tank Brigade

img_02400-3

Marek guides a tour at the museum.

img_02500-2

Virtual shooting range

img_02930-2

Polish children saluting in a tank

Justice for the SLIII Burglar

“Today I was in the court house. The guy who broke into the museum one year ago will go the jail for 3 years.”

For new readers unfamiliar with this incident previously reported in the newsletter: Break-In at Stalag Luft III, Rather Than a Break-Out

“During the night of Feb. 20th, a man broke into the museum to steal the donation box. He took the whole box, destroyed it, and left in the woods. Police took it with them as evidence. Unfortunately, the motion detector was too far from the window, and it did not activate the alarm system. We have to fix it. Fortunately, the box was almost empty. There were no damages to the museum except the window.  We have everything on tape. Police traced the man as he tried to sell a few Australian dollars in the local currency exchange office I called all local exchange offices and warned them that somebody would try to sell the New Zealand and Australian dollars from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The guy came to the exchange office near Kepler’s Restaurant. The lady called me, and could not do much, but the face of the burglar was recorded there.  At the museum, he had waved to the camera two times! I had given the police a CD with the museum’s recording of him. The burglar was captured by the police within weeks of the theft.”

The man had been convicted of previous burglaries, but he continued to commit burglaries in Zagan after the museum theft. Marek was called as a witness and victim at the trial.

IMG_3723

Burglar climbed high to break a widow.

International Tourism Fair

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Mirek and Marek are once again promoting the museum at the International Tourism Fair in Breslau. Above is their promotional stand.

Folded Wings

Ed Carter Edwards – POW daughter, Leanne Cunliffe – Canada

On the morning of Feb. 22nd, Ed passed away after spending six weeks in hospice. A bright light has gone out of many of our lives with Ed’s loss. He was a dynamo of a man who was larger than life. He embraced life with such gusto. We all benefited from that. I know that my life was richer for knowing him. I got to know Ed during the making of the documentary, Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, as he had been one of those Lost Airmen. He was our singing star at the Dayton Reunion, much to the delight of all the attendees. We kept in touch long after that reunion, and due to medical reasons, his doctor would not allow him to travel to the U.S. from Canada for the last two reunions, which was disappointing for him and all of us. But I sent him pictures and full reports afterward, and after each reunion, sick as he had been, he called to sing his classic, “We’ll Meet Again” for me that we enjoyed so much in Dayton. It is hard not to think of his mellow tones and message of that song right now. I appreciated so much the books he would send me from Canada and especially a scarf he crocheted and sent to me.

Ed returned to Buchenwald several times to remember his fellow airmen and all those who were held in that concentration camp. He was present at the dedication of the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in London, where he was delighted to meet the queen. His jokes, his smile, his wit, and his good nature will long be remembered. The RAF motto comes to mind with his loss: Per Ardua ad Astra my dear friend – “Through Adversity to the Stars.”

ed-photo-1-colour2  1341406660489_original1

ed-in-uniform003  ed-on-bicycle002

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Ed at Buchenwald with his fellow Lost Airmen

ed-carter-edwards-queen-bomber-command

Ed with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh – June 28, 2012

ed-carter-edwards-and-james-stewart-buchenwald-1

Buchenwald – Ed with fellow Buchenwald/SLIII POW Jim Stewart

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Dayton Stalag Luft III Reunion – 2012 -Buchenwald/ SLIII

POWs Don Shearer, Ed, Joe Moser, and Richard Bedford

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Obituary:

www.merritt-fh.com

POW Ken Collins and  POW Jerry Farber Reunite

Below are pictures taken at Jerry Farber’s 95th birthday party in Boca Raton, FL, on Feb. 18th.  POW Ken is shown pinning the POW Medal on Jerry.

“Jerry and I were aviation cadets at bombardier school in San Angelo, Texas.  We graduated in the same class and then got separated. We both ended up in Italy in the 15th Air Force and were shot down on the same day, ending up in Luft 111 and were liberated in Moosburg on April 29, 1945. After graduation, I lost complete contact with Jerry until we found each other here in Florida many years later.  In those dark days back in POW camp, one of our mottos was, ‘home alive in ’45,’ never realizing or even hoping that it would be ‘home alive at 95!’ To say the least, it was a very emotional evening!”

Jerry’s arm is in a cast from a recent fall. Happy birthday, Jerry!

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POW Charles Church

Growing up, I constantly heard the name of POW Charlie Church, also known as “Muzzey.”  He and my father were both in South Compound and became very good friends. I knew he had sons, one named Jim, but after a long search I failed to find either one. Son, Jim, saw notice of the 2012 SLIII Reunion in Dayton and contacted Mike Eberhardt wanting more information. Mike passed his email to me, not realizing I had been looking for Jim for a long time. I never knew where the name “Muzzey” came from, but I put Jim in touch with POW Joe Consolmagno, who knew both of our fathers, and he enlightened both of us through this letter he sent to Jim:

“Jim,

I knew your father well at Stalag Luft III and remember him at our Chicago reunion.  At camp, he was nicknamed “Muzzey,” after the author of a history book that almost all of our generation had in high school. I don’t know what the connection with your father was, though. He wore the nickname when I met him.  I was responsible for his female part in “You Can’t Take It With You.”  I had the part of “Reba,” the black maid, and Muzzey wanted very much to be in the play. To avoid the inconvenience of the makeup, I offered the role to Muzzey, which he jumped at. Stalag Luft III was evacuated at the approach of the Russians in January, 1945, in the middle of a performance of the play, and your father had the discomfort of the makeup during the whole week-long ordeal that followed. (Incidentally, during the Mexican war, Lt. U.S. Grant played a female role in an Army play in Texas.)

Regards

Joe C”

Art in the Camp – POW son, Rick Grice – U.S.

Joe Boyle and Emmet Cook were two of the best American artists in the camp. Emmet was the artist who sketched the famous, “I Wanted Wings” cartoon that everyone copied. It was later licensed by the Disney Company. Thanks to Rick for sending some of the artists’ creations and this article about his father:

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“There I Was” by POW Joe Boyle

“There I Was – B17 – You might have seen this one. It was in a book entitled Clipped Wings, about SL3 published in 1947.”

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Christmas 1944 in South Compound – Emmet Cook

“SL3 Night Before Xmas – This is one of many sketches done by Emmet. I happen to have 5 or 6 of them.”

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 POW Charles Grice being captured – Emmet Cook

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News Clipping Reporting the Capture

“FWST Article – Comes out of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. It talks about the in-camp ‘rivalry’ between my dad and Emmet Cook who was perhaps the first American my dad met after he was interrogated by his captors. There are some interesting stories behind their first meeting (Emmet thought my dad might have been a German ‘plant.’  They became best friends and, Emmet turned out to be the Best Man at my parents wedding.”

 Bud’s Odyssey Premiers in Pasadena – POW daughter, Jennifer Kingsbury – U.S.

A film made from Jennifer’s book of the same name will be presented at the Pasadena Film Festival on March 12th for those in California who can come out and support one of our own. For more information or questions, contact Jennifer at: jenniferkingsbury@gmail.com

http://www.pasadenafilmfestival.org/

https://vimeo.com/198783686  trailer

 B-24 Propeller in UK – Trevor Hewitt – UK

“I have just been given a B-24 Liberator prop blade. It was discovered a couple of years back in a melting glacier in Iceland by a party of school children from the Norwich Cathedral School on a expedition to the glaciers in Iceland, and they brought it back. It comes from a very famous B24 named ‘Hot Stuff,’ which was on its way back to the USA after its crew completed its 25 missions. ‘Hot Stuff’ was with the 93rd Bomb Group flying out of its base at Hardwick, Norfolk, about 15 miles from Frettenham. ‘Hot Stuff’ had completed 31 missions, and her crew completed 25. She, and they, were selected to return to the USA to go on a recruitment and war bonds tour. The pilot of ‘Hot Stuff,’ Lt. ‘Shine’ Shannon and his crew flew into the 8th AF base at Bovington, Cambridgeshire, on the return trip to collect a VIP.

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That VIP was Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commander of Forces, in the ETO. Apparently, he was a friend of Shannon’s so elected to return with him when he found out that ‘Shine’ was going home. But when Shannon arrived at Bovington, he found that the general had also with him his staff, two Army chaplains, and a civilian Methodist bishop to accompany him home on the trip as well. That meant that five of the Shannon crew were ‘bumped’ to make way for the extra people as there was not room for them all. Those five were to return on another aircraft. Shannon took off from Bovington and landed at Prestwick, Scotland, to refuel for the next leg which was to Iceland, presumably to the airbase at ‘Bluie West One,’ but, unfortunately, ‘Hot Stuff’ crashed into the Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland, killing all those on board. This crash was a bit hushed up and not really a lot was openly published about it at the time. ‘Hot Stuff’ had, in fact, flown on the same mission as the B-17 ‘Memphis Belle’ to Willhelmshaven, Germany, on March 22nd 1943. She was flying her 31st mission that day when ‘Memphis Belle’ was on her 10th. ‘Memphis Belle’ completed her missions three and half months later.

On the same day as the crash, May 3rd, 1943, Lt. Gen. Andrews was given the job of leading all Allied forces across the Channel on D Day, but he was killed before he received the message. The job was later given to a man called Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Apparently, some of the ‘Hot Stuff’ wreckage was returned to the USA a few years back and is now in a museum stateside, but I’m not too sure which one. I suppose that if Shannon and ‘Hot Stuff’ had not crashed, history would have been different, no film, and ‘Hot Stuff’ would have superseded ‘Memphis Belle,’ meaning a good old B-24 got there first, and it would have been Allied Supreme Commander Lt. Gen. Andrews, not Eisenhower on D-Day.

The airbase in Maryland, where presidents depart on Air Force One, is known as Andrews Air Force Base, named after him in his honour.”

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Lt. Gen. Andrews

Chicago Tribute Report of Kiel Raid – POW son, Mike Woodworth – U.S.

Former member of the flak battalion that shot down my father’s plane and Mike Woodworth’s father’s plane, Ernie Hasenclever, has sent Mike this newspaper article about the raid on which Mike’s father went down. He found the article in the May 20, 1943, edition of the Chicago Tribune.

 http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1943/05/20/=

 100th Bomb Group Reunion – SLIII Invited – POW niece, Val Burgess – U.S.

 Val: “I had mentioned to you before that I was going to organize a reunion with the 100th Bomb Group. The reunion is Oct. 19-22, 2017, in Washington, DC at the Hyatt Regency Hotel – Dulles, in Herndon, VA.”

Val will complete the schedule in the next few months. So far, an optional wreath-laying ceremony is scheduled at Arlington Cemetery and a visit to the WWII Memorial. Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Air Museum is a highlight and is located at Dulles. The Human Spaceflight collection spans decades of achievements from the first U.S. manned Mercury missions through Apollo, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. There will be a symposium about the September 11, 1944, mission – “Ruhland Mission and Its Aftermath.” The “aftermath” includes the current recovery efforts of Howard Schulte, per Jan Zdiarsky’s findings in 2014 and now involves both the German and U.S. governments.  Many airmen who were shot down on the Ruhland mission were sent to Stalag Luft III. This will be a multi-media presentation and will involve a re-enactor group to dramatize mission briefings. Mike Faley, Jan Zdiarsky, and Mark Copeland are primary historians for this historical presentation.

For further information, email Val Burgess, vburgess@burgessdesigngroup.com,

or call (001) 307 674 4080

 Col. Keeffe’s Foreword – POW son, Jim Keeffe – U.S.

Some interesting thoughts of the late SLIII POW James Keeffe, recently sent from his son. Years after the war, Col. Keeffe was asked to write the foreword for a book written by the son of the man who once greeted him on the ground in Holland and helped him evade.

“Here is the foreword my father wrote over twenty years ago for a Dutch book titled, Luchtalarm, by Pieter van Wijngaarden.”

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(Click on word document below.)

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Pilot Missing and A Courageous Grandmother – POW nephew, Hugh Carter – U.S.

“My uncle, John Keith Carter, [SLIII POW] and I collaborated on his story called ‘Pilot Missing.’ My uncle passed 15 February, 2008. He was commissioned 2nd Lt. through Air Cadet Program 25 March 1943. He was shot down during a raid on Anklam/Marienberg, 9 October 1943, on his first mission.”

Hugh and his family proudly wrote of their hero, highlighting the wartime service of Hugh’s grandmother as well.

“I chose name ‘Pilot Missing,’ as it was title of a poem my grandmother wrote (Uncle John’s mother) some years after the fact. In 1966, John’s mother, Lucy Fall (Weaver) Wright, looked back on those dark days of not knowing … then bitter sweet news, and, then again not knowing. Eight long days elapsed between the MIA telegram regarding the fate of John, lost on 12 October 1943, and the POW notification received on 20 October. Lucy writes her own words 23 years to the day after the shoot down remembering what she felt……”

              Pilot Missing…..

 Plane down! Two simple words

But oh the heartache and sorrow.

Ground crew anxiously scan the sky

Hardened faced pal, “I’ll write his folks tomorrow.”

 Is there one heart left to grieve?

Or did a wife and child he leave?

Anxious days with countless hours

Of deep despair, and then hope towers.

 Perhaps he is well. Oh, can it be?

Please God bring him back to me.

Endless time until it’s known

The one in a thousand returns to his own.

 October 9, 1966

“My grandmother was a Red Cross Volunteer Nurse’s Aide. She also worked in the Bell Aircraft Corporation Factory assembly line in Marietta, Georgia, making B-29 ‘Super Fortresses.’ She worked to fill the empty hours until her sons would return safely home to her. Originally trained as a ‘Riveter,’ she advanced to ‘Parts Coordinator’ due to her ‘savvy and cheerful devotion to duty’ that kept the assembly line moving. The ‘Super Fortress’ carried the war home to the Japanese, and a single B-29, the ‘Enola Gay,’ flew into history in a way the world has never seen before or since. After the war, she returned to her primary duty of homemaker and grandmother extraordinaire.”

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          Lucy Fall Weaver Wright

 Sannie” Doolan PassesPOW daughter, Mary Lance – U.S.

 As POW Bob Doolan – 92nd BG — Center Compound — prepares to celebrate his 100th birthday, March 21st, his daughter reports that his wife and her mother passed away Jan. 29th. Deep condolences to Bob’s entire family.

What Does Oberursel Mean?Claudius Scharff, son of Interrogator Hans Scharff – U.S.

The town of Oberursel, Germany, where Stalag Luft III POWs were interrogated translated means “upper little bear.”

Did You Know? –  POW son, Mike Eberhardt

About 27,000 American POWs were held by the Japanese in WWII, and 11,000 of these POWs would die. In contrast, of the estimated 93,941 American POWs held by Germany, 92,820 survived.

Russian POWs held by the Germans fared far worse. The Germans took 5.7 million Russian soldiers as POWs in WWII, and 3.3 million of the POWs died — about 75% died through deliberate starvation.

The Russians took 2.8 million German soldiers as POWs in WWII. According to the Russians, about 380,000 Germans died as POWs. The Germans dispute this figure, and claim the number of POWs who died was closer to one million.

General MacArthur’s September 1944 decision in WWII to engage the 11,000 Japanese troops holed up on island of Peleliu in the Pacific, as opposed to bypassing it as others on the Joint Chiefs of Staff had recommended since it was not viewed by them as key to the island hopping progression of the Allies to get closer to Japan, ended up with virtually all 11,000 Japanese troops killed.  A handful of Japanese POWs were taken. The American Marines and Army soldiers counted 9800 in casualties during the battle for this six square mile island, which was supposed to take four days but took two months instead.  Americans fired 16 million rounds of bullets, used 118,000 hand grenades, and fired 150,000 rounds of artillery during the siege on the Japanese. That math means that 1450 rounds of ammunition, 10 grenades and 14 artillery rounds were used for each killed Japanese soldier—-a number of whom actually committed suicide rather than suffering death (or capture) at the hands of the Americans. There is no estimate as to the use of flame throwers, but they were extensively used to attack Japanese soldiers who lived in and attacked from the miles of caves that they occupied on Peleliu. The cave system was so extensive, and unexplored by the Americans at the end of the battle, that the bodies of two of the most senior ranking Japanese officers (both of whom committed suicide deep in a command cavern) were not discovered until 40 years after the war ended.

Links

 B-17 All American – Joe Lawrence – U.S.

 WWII’s B-17 “All American” Separating Fact and Fiction

WWII Pilot Flies Again – POW daughter, Diane Stamp – U.S.

WWII Air Force pilot takes flight

How Does Boeing Produce over Forty 737s a Month? – Ross Greene – U.S.

Watch this 3 ½ minute video beginning with the train arriving with the main body in the morning.

 https://www.youtube.com/embed/SE71NJl-naY?autoplay=1>

Until next time,

Marilyn Jeffers Walton

Daughter of 2nd Lt. Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter -January 2017

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Stalag Luft III Newsletter – January 2017

Greetings POW, Families, and Friends,

Happy New Year! Mike and I are pleased to report that due to the incredible generosity of the SLIII family far more money than we expected has been raised for Marek to improve the museum.  See Mike’s note below:

OUR LATEST ROUND OF FUNDRAISING FOR STALAG LUFT III MUSEUM

“As many of you know from Marilyn’s prior newsletters, Marek Lazarz, Director of the SLIII Museum in Zagan, was the recipient of a grant from the Air Force Academy Library which allowed him to travel to Colorado Springs in the spring of 2016 to perform some research relating to POWs held at SLIII. On his return flight home, Marek had a few hours layover in Dallas where I met him. Having undertaken some fundraising a few years ago when we raised almost $20,000 that was used to upgrade the museum, Marilyn and I had discussed taking on a new fundraising initiative, but we wanted to learn more about the museum’s present needs. During his layover, Marek and I discussed several such needs, but the most apparent and pressing seemed to be the renovation of the exhibit room at the museum, particularly since Marek has been adding significantly to the prison camp artifacts with many being discovered in recent months. Marilyn has shown a number of those newly discovered artifacts in earlier newsletters. After my discussion with Marek in Dallas, Marilyn and I thought that a modest undertaking might be to see if we could raise $5,000 to help with the exhibit renovation. As usual, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of POWs, their families, and friends. In the span of a few short months, $10,000.00 has been raised and just wired to Poland! Marek will be able to use those funds so that an even better renovation can be made to display the many artifacts he has collected, so that later in 2017 the ever-growing number of museum visitors will see more artifacts in superior displays. Marilyn and I want to thank all who contributed. We will be working with Marek for recognition of all our recent donors, as prior donors have been recognized at the museum. Your generosity reflects the tremendous and important effort to continue the recognition of POWs at Stalag Luft III.”

Mike Eberhardt

We thank all of you, many of whom have previously donated to the museum, for such generous support that you have shown to Marek. Once more, it shows me what a tight bond we all have as relatives of the POWs and how strong the effort is to thank them for their incredible sacrifices for us–putting their lives on hold for years at the peak of their youth and suffering deprivation and degradation as they were held in lonesome and frightening captivity a long way from home. We can never thank them enough. And now the memory of their experiences will be nicely preserved. I echo Mike’s comments above. You are all just the best!

Marilyn

U.S. Tanks and Troops Arrive in Zagan

The second week in Jan., 4000 U.S. troops deployed to Poland along with 250 tanks many of which will be held at Stalag VIIC, the camp area that sat next to West Compound at SLIII during the war. Zagan’s training area has four platforms for downloading the tanks. One is located within the Army Base in Zagan. The second on Stalag VIIIC, third in Neuhammer (Stalag VIIIE), and fourth deep inside the training ground.  According to Marek, not so long ago all these locations were top secret. Two of them were actually used by the Soviets, and they were highly classified at that time.

The tanks arrive:

This link shows the tanks at VIIC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUFA8_ZPe6M

Our troops were welcomed warmly on a very cold Polish day. One event was organized in the centre of Zagan. There was a big stage near Kepler’s Restaurant where many of us have had the pleasure of dining. Marek had a 30-minute presentation on the stage showing Luft 3 pictures on the huge screen.

“The soldiers are very busy now as they have to off-load everything from the trains. Looks like it will take a few weeks as there are hundreds of tanks, trucks, and armoured carriers.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/01/14/waited-for-decades-polish-govt-welcomes-us-troops.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/14/europe/poland-us-troops-nato-welcome/

A brief welcome ceremony occurred Jan. 12th, with the larger one on Jan. 14th. In attendance were the Prime Minister of Poland, Minister of Defence, U.S. Ambassador, and many VIPs.

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“We had a brief welcome ceremony today. It was arranged near the 11thDivision Base. Gen. Mika and the Mayor of Zagan welcomed the troops. Zagan had great publicity today.”

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The whole brigade from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs

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Plenty of media coverage!

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Mayor of Zagan

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General Mika, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo (white jacket) and U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Paul Jones.

The event was organized in two locations: Zagan’s Market Square (where Kepler’s is) with a static display of the U.S. and Polish Army equipment, and stage with two big screens. The second location was General Maczek’s Plaza where the main welcome ceremony with all VIPs took place.

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Ambassador Paul Jones

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Prime Minister Beata Szydlo

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Grateful citizens of Poland

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Mirek and Marek in the snow with museum employee, Teresa. The stage for the ceremony is in the background.

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“After the official ceremony we went back to the museum and walked to see the tanks on the platform on the site of Stalag VIIIC. It was funny because some of the soldiers saluted us.”

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New Acquisition

Marek has recently acquired a book, The Rose and the Ring, by W. Thackeray, that was formerly in the library at Stalag VIIC. The German stamp can be seen on it. Marek was able to get it for just $4.00! At one time, the library there and the libraries in SLIII held thousands of books. There are now very few of them in the museum. Stalag VIIIC held approx. 2000 British POW soldiers (Army).

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 Discounted Books 

My co-author, Mike, has 20 discounted copies of our first book, From Interrogation to Liberation. The books are $33.00 including postage. As with our second book, From Commandant to Captive, we give 100% of profits to Marek for the museum. Anyone wanting to buy the first book, contact Mike at mikeceber@sbcglobal.net  The first book weighs four pounds!

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Lt. Clifford Hopewell – POW son, Alan Hopewell

“Lt. Clifford Hopewell, Stalag Luft III X committee stenographer, would have turned 102 years old December 27th. His mother died soon after he went into the Army and not long afterward he was captured. The entire time he was at SLIII, he never received a single letter – they were all returned to his father for some reason.  When he finally returned home, his father had a whole stack that had been returned. No one ever knew the reason. He said that that was the hardest issue with which to cope.”

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                           1st Lt. Clifford Hopewell

 Charles Warren’s Cigar – Ian Darling – Canada

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“I recently received a photo request that made me smile from Edouard Renière, a Belgian researcher who collects information about members of the Allied forces who evaded the Germans in Belgium during the war. Edouard wondered if I could help him obtain a photo of Charles Warren, an American evader who parachuted into Belgium when his B-17 was shot down.

Yes, I have what I regard as a fine photo of Mr. Warren taken when he was a staff sergeant in the Army Air Forces in 1943. I used the photo in my book about American aviators who survived ordeals, Heroes in the Skies. With Mr. Warren’s permission, I sent a copy of the photo to Edouard. The photo did make me smile, however, because it shows Mr. Warren in uniform with a cigar dangling between his lips. I know the photo would have made my dad chuckle because I remember Dad, who served as an administrator with the Royal Air Force, telling me that men wearing uniforms in Britain were not supposed to smoke in public, let alone to have their photos taken with cigars.

Incidentally, my dad had tremendous respect for the Americans he met in the war. One of his jobs was to help Americans move onto what had been RAF bases in Britain, and he told me American officers never hesitated to do heavy physical work that British officers would have expected the “lower ranks” to do. Later, he served in Belgium as the Allies pushed the German forces out.

Working as an administrator during the war might not have been as dangerous as being a member of a flight crew, but it could still be risky. Dad almost lost his life when a German submarine torpedoed the troopship taking him to West Africa. Miraculously, he was able to get out of his ship even though one of his legs was badly broken. He lived to be 90.”

Folded Wings

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Former Ambassador POW Frederick Irving

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?pid=182821170

Book on Jimmy Stewart – Ross Greene – U.S.

How Jimmy Stewart Became George Bailey – Mr. Robert Matzen is the author of “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe,” published by GoodKnight Books.

“General Martial Henri Valin, head of staff of French Air Forces, decorated the American colonel and actor James Stewart with the Croix de Guerre with palm as a reward for exceptional service rendered for France’s liberation on May 19, 1945, in France.

The first time that Jimmy Stewart appears on screen as George Bailey, the image freezes in close-up as two angelic figures discuss the character in voice-over. One says to the other, “I want you to take a good look at that face.” It’s something that all of us should do as we watch the film. Stewart is supposed to be playing a young man in his early 20s, but the once-boyish 38-year-old had just returned the year before from fighting in Europe, and only makeup and careful lighting could give him a semblance of youth. More seriously, as we know from the testimony of those who worked with him in the military and in Hollywood in those years, Stewart was suffering from what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder.

After two years of subsisting largely on ice cream and peanut butter, he had only just begun to eat real food and keep it down. He had the shakes and at times flew into rages, and his sleep was interrupted by images of bombers burning in the sky and men tumbling to earth.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was Stewart’s first picture after almost five years away, including 20 months on the front lines. As a squadron commander of B-24 heavy bombers, he flew his first combat mission to Germany on Dec. 13, 1943. He commanded 12 missions in his first two months and was almost shot down twice. The experience unnerved him enough that he spent time at the ‘flak farm,’ where fliers went to decompress after seeing too much combat.

It wasn’t fear of losing his own life that had gotten to Stewart. It was his deeply ingrained perfectionism, which made him fear making the wrong split-second decision in German airspace while leading dozens of planes and hundreds of men in combat.

Filming ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ found him back in Hollywood after surviving too many crash landings and close calls. In sunny Southern California, the land of make-believe, this suddenly middle-aged man faced other problems. A new crop of youthful leading men had emerged in his absence. He also faced a crisis of conscience, wondering if acting was a worthwhile profession after the gravity of his daily life in the military.

This back story may help to explain the remarkable emotional energy of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Stewart’s bordering-on-frantic performance was not just virtuoso acting. Co-star Donna Reed reported that both Stewart and the picture’s director, Frank Capra, made the production difficult at times as they second-guessed how scenes were done.

And why not? Both men were desperate to re-establish themselves in a Hollywood that, they feared, had passed them by while they served in the military. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is considered the picture that relaunched Stewart as a more serious, seasoned actor. But for him, making it was just one more trial by combat.

It was the veteran actor Lionel Barrymore —the movie’s villain, Old Man Potter, who helped Stewart to claw his way back. When Stewart wondered aloud during production if acting was worth his time, Barrymore looked him in the eye and asked: ‘Isn’t entertaining people better than dropping bombs on them?’

Stewart seems to have gotten the message. He was able to convey great joy and passion in the movie’s closing scenes, shouting “Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!” as he runs through the streets and saying with a wink to his guardian angel, as he turns heavenward, ‘Atta boy, Clarence.’ Jimmy Stewart returned to Hollywood unsure if he would be able to continue his career as an actor. “It’s a Wonderful Life” showed that he could. It arrives every December like a holiday card from a dear friend, a man who came home from war and found the beauty in peace.”

Letter to Devon – POW son, John Hartley – U.S.

John “Jack” Hartley and Fred Atkinson were crewmates and POWs together at SLIII.  A detailed summary of POW Jack Hartley’s experiences as co-pilot and a POW was written years later for his granddaughter.  Hartley was held in North and South Compounds.

Double click on document:

[link could not be inserted]

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“Crew photo (previously published in Charles Hair’s The Saga

of ’54 and More). The caption is incomplete as my father

and another crew member (both standing to captain Atkinson’s

left) are not identified.”

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Jack Hartley during training

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Jack Hartley with flight instructor

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Jack Hartley posing with their aircraft

(presumably 41-13075)

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“Jack Hartley (center), Fred Atkinson (right), and another captain (unknown to me) in an unknown location. I have always assumed it was taken before they arrived in Africa but I don’t know for sure.

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AP clipping

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Local news clipping re: Jack Hartley

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“Fred Atkinson and John (“Jack”) Hartley

clowning around. After the war, Fred

married Jack’s sister, June. So Fred

Atkinson eventually became my uncle.”

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Postcard from SLIII showing the difference between the original date and the Bay City, MI, postmark. Sent Oct. 1944 and received Jan. 1945

Moosburg – Post War – Werner Schwarz – Moosburg, Germany

After the war, many people lived at Stalag VIIA, including Pakistanis who came in to clean up after the war and stayed in Germany. My contact there, Werner, recently told me that in the former camp area there were several workshops or small factory sites after the war. They were founded by German refugees and expellees from Eastern Europe.

14th Army Division’s Liberation of Stalag VIIA – Bridge on the Isar River – POW son, Jim Keeffe

The 14th Army Division’s description of fight for the bridge and liberation:

https://armyhistory.org/the-14th-armored-division-and-the-liberation-of-stalag-viia/

Below are Jim’s father’s post-liberation pictures taken at the Isar River near the camp after the Germans blew the bridge. An American tank had just started to cross the bridge when the Germans blew it.

Then the 303rd came in and built the treadway pontoon bridge:

See this web site of the 300th Eng Btn. http://www.300thcombatengineersinwwii.com/germany.html

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The two cables running from the partially built pontoon bridge upstream out of the photo are the two cables attached to the blown bridge that had partially collapsed into the river.

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Breaching the dike for the bridge

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Testing the bridge

New Book – POW daughter, Jill Bateman – U.S.

 

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Pilot 2LT Donald Earl Butterfoss celebrated his 22nd birthday

the day he and his B-17 crew arrived at Eighth Air Force Base 128

at Deenethorpe, England. Their first bombing mission was a

milk run to Brunswick, Germany. The target of their second

and final mission was Berlin. Hit by flak on their bomb run,

they managed to drop their bombs and head home. When

barely over the Dutch border, drops of fuel and scrambling

bandits forced the ten-man-crew to bail out.  “Flying Forts”

follows “Butter” from take-off on that misty spring morning —

April 29, 1944 —to the day he was liberated at Moosburg, Germany,

April 29, 1945. Woven into his story are the stories of the Dutch

resistors and hidden Jews he encounters along the way.

While at Stalag Luft III, Butter was assigned to

Barracks 162, Room 22 in West Compound.

His co-pilot 2LT. Robert Westfall, their navigator,

F/O Bernard Boyle, and his bombardier, 2LT Robert

Kerpen, who was also assigned to Barracks 162,

were also in Stalag Luft III.

For those wanting autographed books, contact Jill directly:

Jill Bateman

Maple Avenue Press

3207 Harrisburg Pike

Landisville, PA 17538

mapleavenuepress@gmail.com

717-898-2985 – Payment by check or PayPal.

Provide name and postal address, and to whom the book should be autographed.

Paperback – $15.99

Hardback – $19.99

Postage – $3.99

PA sales tax charged if going to a PA address

Memorial in Watton, England, to Recon Group – Evan Thomas – UK

Their mission: photography and mapping

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http://www.americanairmuseum.com/unit/235

Requests from Others:

Army Air Corps Museum Solicit and Will Continue Unit Websites that Can No Longer Be Sustained

Contact:

history@armyaircorpsmuseum.org

Websites & Veteran Associations:

Mayday! Mayday!

As many of you may know, many WWII veterans’ organizations are shutting down or are being altered significantly with the loss of their founding fathers. A number of these organizations had developed some type of website, some with enormous amount of data and history. Sadly, many have not made provisions for the website to be continued and thus when the bill stops being paid, the website disappears; all the work and information is then lost.  We want to help and we need you to help us.  If you know of a group that is disbanding, and they don’t have plans to continue their website, please have them get in contact with us; we would like to bring their website and information under our wing. If they want to continue to maintain it we can give them access to continue that as well. As one of our top goals for 2017, let’s preserve this history and not lose it!

 In addition:

Presidential Unit Citation

Roster Documents

Many groups received unit citations during their particular conflict. When this occurred the paperwork, in triplicate, would include a roster of all assigned and attached personnel on the date for which the unit was awarded.  We are actively seeking and requesting copies of those roster documents. Please search your papers, talk to your association and help us out with this information and get them to us pronto!

Korea, Vietnam

We may be called the Army Air Corps Library and Museum, but we have items in our collection from the days of the Air Service and World War I all the way through the Vietnam War. In 2017, we are actively looking to expand material we can offer for education and research and build on our website for these conflicts.  Should you or any association of which you are a member have material including roster documents like we mention above including websites and other items of memorabilia, please get in touch with us.

Maurauder Historical Society Request

https://www.facebook.com/B26MHS/

The B-26 MHS is in great need of funds/donations. Fundraising is where we are trying to direct much or our energy so that we can get to a point where we can get all of our archives, all of the donated memorabilia out for the public to see, learn, and remember. We are dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Martin B-26 Marauder and the men and women associated with the B-26. We are encouraging people to become a member of the B-26 Marauder Historical Society this year, donate, and/or refer the Society to a person or business that can make a significant monetary contribution.

Our annual event is the B-26 Marauder Historical Society Reunion. Our 2017 Reunion is planned for June 1-3. We will have special access to Flak Bait, located at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian. It is currently in restoration, and we are scheduled to receive a presentation regarding the restoration and preservation of Flak Bait. We will also be participants in the Battle of Midway 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial on June 3rd as the B-26 had a significant role in the Battle of Midway. We plan to visit Arlington Cemetery and the Air Force Memorial, too. And, as always, we will have talks, special presenters, and the First Generation and Second Generation panels. Jennifer Merritt Office Administrator B-26 MARAUDER HISTORICAL SOCIETY 3900 E Timrod St Tucson, AZ 85711 USA 520-322-6226 www.B-26MHS.org  

 Poland/Italy Tour – Szymon Serwatka – Poland

 Update on this tour that I mentioned before:

“Szymon Serwatka” sserwatka@yahoo.com

Subject: Poland tour – looking for 1 more person, and for 2 people who want to go to Italy! The April Tour is almost a “go” with 4 people already signed-up – I need just one more to confirm the trip!  I need one person, but I can take 3 more altogether. Also, a couple who want to come, wants to go to Italy after Poland, and I decided to offer a voluntary Italy extension to the Poland tour. We would fly from Krakow to Naples, see Capri, Pompeii, Cassino, Mt. Vesuvius, Venosa (15th Air Force had airfields there), and fly back to Krakow. This means that with the original dates, we would be in Italy around May 1st, which is not good as this is a public holiday and travelling there will be difficult.

This is why I need to move the tour to May. The new dates would be:

  • Sat, May 6th – arrivals to Krakow
  • Sat, May 13th – transfer to Italy (Sun, May 14th – departure to the US for those not going to Italy)
  • Sat, May 20th – return to Krakow
  • Sun, May 21st, departure to the US

And if you would like to join the Italy part of the tour, here is the plan:

We would fly to Naples on Saturday, May 13th, and come back to Krakow on May 20th.

There would be 5 nights in Naples, and 2 in Venosa.

  • May 13th – arrival in the evening
  • May 14th – ferry Naples-Capri and visiting Capri
  • May 15th – Pompeii
  • May 16th – Cassino
  • May 17th – Mt. Vesuvius
  • May 18th/19th – Venosa
  • May 20th – afternoon flight to Kraków

Costs for the Italy part of the tour:

$1200 in a double room, $1400 in a single room

This includes:

  • 7 nights in the hotel
  • car rental and fuel
  • flights Krakow-Naples-Krakow
  • entrance and local transportation fees (Capri, Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius)
  • my costs (hotel+flight)

Not included: lunches and dinners

Did You Know?  – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – U.S.

During WWII, U.S. submarines or Allied aircraft sunk four Japanese ships in the Pacific theatre carrying U.S., British, and Australian POWs. The four ships were the Arisan Maru on October 24, 1944, the Enoura Maru on September 12, 1944, the Oryoka Maru on December 15, 1944, and the Shinyo Maru on September 7, 1944.  4,440 POWs were killed; almost 1,000 survived.

Links

 Moosburg Online

A wealth of information. I’ve used this website for years!

 http://www.moosburg.org/indeng.html

Damaged B17s that Flew Home – Marek Lazarz – Poland

 http://www.warhistoryonline.com/military-vehicle-news/damaged-b-17-bombers-that-made-it_home.html

Germans Help Lancaster Pilot Find his Parachute – Barry Schoen – U.S.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/featured/lancaster-pilot-freefall-searchlight.html

Go Inside Big Ben

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qad6Q_RbQQ0?rel=0

Derelict London WartimeEvan Thomas – UK

http://bit.ly/2hH7OVw

WWII Bomb Found in Augsburg, Germany

 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38430671

Book Recommendation – POW son, Mike Woodworth – U.S.

All the Gallant Men,” by Donald Stratton, a survivor or the U.S.S. Arizona. It is a very heartfelt memoir.

 Until next time,

 

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – December 2016

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                           Stalag Luft III Newsletter – December, 2016

 Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!  Just a reminder that Mike and I will be wiring the donations to Poland the first week of January for any of those who would still like to donate.

 Below is a picture from Marek taken Christmas Eve 1943 of Polish POWs in Stalag Luft 3.

It was the last Christmas for Wlodzimierz Kolanowski (standing third from the right, near the tree) who was later shot by the Gestapo after the Great Escape. In the very first row, on the left, is F/Lt Mieczyslaw Wyszkowski (Polish Fighting Team or so-called “Skalski’s Circus”). It was Wyszkowski who jumped the wire to the Americans in South Compound that Christmas night of 1943. He met the American Senior American Officer and passed Christmas wishes on behalf  of the RAF. According to the Wyszkowski’s memoirs, he remained in South for the next few days. Americans gave him a long coat. He even attended the appels. For a few mornings, the Germans were asking him to step up, “Pilot Officer Wyszkowski, please step up!” Wyszkowski later said that he did not want to step up because he was a flight lieutenant, not a pilot officer. He, of course, surrendered after a few days and was sent to the cooler. Wyszkowski finally ended up in Belaria.” [satellite camp outside SLIII proper]

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The Christmas merriment did not stop with Wyszkowski. Below, from our book, From Commandant to Captive, is the letter Commandant von Lindeiner sent to senior officers of North, East, and South Compounds after Christmas, typed verbatim:

 Discipline of POWs Climbing Fences – Christmas 1943

Sagan 27th December 1943

Stalag Luft III Commandantur

To the Senior Camp Officers

Group Captain H.M. Massey     North Camp.

“           “      A. H. Willets      East Camp.

Colonel C.G. Goodrich              South Camp.

On my return here I have [illegible] with regret that in spite of my most earnest admonitions, the trust which was placed in the Ps.o.Ws, the way in which the requests were met half way and the special concessions given to the Ps.o.W. over the Christmas holidays have led to intolerable incidents.

  1. Nine British Ps.O.W. of North camp climbed the barbed wire fence separating North and South Camps in the night of the 25/12/43.
  2. In the night of the 25 – 27/12/43, 15 Ps.o.W. of the U.S.A.A.F. climbed without permission the barbed wire fence separating the South from the North Camp.
  3. In the night of the 25 – 26/12/43, 3 British Ps.o.W. of East Camp climbed the barbed wire fence separating East and Centre without permission.
  4. On the night of the 25th inst. [Latin for “instante mense,” meaning a date of the current month] instead of the allowed number of five Staff officers and 75 P.O W. Officers (i.e. 80 Ps.o.W. in all) 81 officers went from East to North.
  5. I am punishing the officers concerned in [illegible] 1 and 2 each with 14 days close Stuben-Arrest. [confined to barracks] The sentences to begin on 28/12/43.
  6. The special privileges allowed in connection with the close of the year are hereby withdrawn. Closing of barracks and appels will take place on the days of the week in the usual way.
  7. The possession and use of drinks containing alcohol is forbidden effective from today, instead of hitherto ordered with effect from 4/1/44. Existing alcohol will be confiscated and destroyed.

For information:

 Colonel D. T. Spivey, Centre Camp

(Signed) von Lindeiner

 German Christmas Wishes to All of Us – Bernd Schmidt, Weimar, Germany

Dear WWII-veterans , dear friends, dear all who are involved in these WWII cases, We wish you and your loved ones a merry, peaceful and blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year. Thank you all for your efforts that brought the peace to Europe and Germany in 1945. We will never forget it. Yours Bernd & Gerlinde Schmidt and friends Weimar / Germany

 The Winter SLIII Camp Below:

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So far a mild Polish winter in the camp

From Marek: [according to Polish tradition]

“I’m not sure if you know that Santa comes to Polish kids twice a year. The first time is December 6th — St. Nicholas day. We find gifts in the morning underneath the pillow. Then we have gifts underneath the Christmas tree on December 24th.”

Thanksgiving and Christmas – South Compound – 1944 – POW daughter, Carol Robichaud Haley – U.S.

Carol recently came across a transcription of her father’s POW diary that he smuggled out of the camp. In the spirit of the season, it seems only appropriate to pull the curtain back on Christmas in South Compound.

November 16, 1944

“…Latest report is that we are to go on one quarter parcel beginning December 1st if no greater reserves arrive. (If I haven’t mentioned the fact before, we have been on one half parcel for nine weeks.) This means that a small can of spam will have to serve twelve men for one day. We may be hungry before we leave this place.

Last night I witnessed the dress rehearsal of “Room Service,” a three act comedy depicting the trials of a producer of plays and how this particular producer hurdles his problems as he meets them. A very fast moving farce performed in the setting of one hotel room. Katz as Dr. Glass makes his debut on the Stalag stage in a minor role. He is the perfect double for Donald Meeks.”

November 18, 1944

“The Axe has fallen!! What a few days ago was a probability is now a fact. The OKW has issued an order whereby no POW will have more than one day’s supply of food on hand. The German Kommandant of this camp has complied with the order. The order goes into effect Monday, Nov. 20. After that date all food over and above the stipulated amount will be subject to confiscation by the detaining power.

One can easily imagine the flap that we Kriegies are now going through. We have food that we have been niggardly saving these past months. We have economized, we have cut our rations, we have been surreptitiously storing our food from both our Red Cross parcel and our personal parcel for some day when we could really bash.

Since last Christmas we have saved and saved for some day. That day was going to be Thanksgiving and Xmas of this year. Now we must clear the larder of it all before the 20th. We must bash all tomorrow that we have saved for a week of feasting. Tomorrow we must eat and eat and eat again. We must eat until we can eat no more. And then after our day of feasting – what? Famine? No, I hardly think so, but I do expect to haul in my belt and get along on just a little less…”

 November 21, 1944

“Cakes, pies, prunes, and raisins, plenty of Necafe and Klim! What bashing we have gone through in the past few days! Stomachs full, aching with unaccustomed strain, belching the gaseous remnants of often too hastily devoured sweets. A holiday atmosphere prevailed during the feasting. Now that the banquet is over we have settled down to a meager, yet sufficient diet on half parcels of Red Cross food plus the German ration. Our present supply of R.C. rations will last for approximately one more month then we begin to exist on German rations alone.”

“…News of the West front has been much more encouraging these past days. Heavy battles are in progress with gains in some sectors. I’m beginning to wonder if Germany will quit before The Saar Basin, The Ruhr, and The Rhine industrial areas are taken by the Allies. If they don’t it will be a long war. What a hollow laugh we give to those prognostics who say the war will be over this year – Winchell, Churchill, King of Abyssinia and Kriegies only know what others!”

December 3, 1944

…Thanksgiving was celebrated by a gash bash with plenty of spuds and one third of a can of spam. Not much variety but heavy on the quantity side.

 December 15, 1944

…Tony and “Ace” Langborn made an attempted escape yesterday. Didn’t get far – in fact only to the fence when they were caught by two “ferrets.” The sentry in the goon box didn’t see them until his attention was called. Both are now in the cooler but fortunately it is “soft cooler.” It is “soft cooler” for Tony but Ace may be getting hard cooler because of his previous attempts.

…Now that Christmas is drawing near we are busy with decorations. From scraps of paper, water colors, and colored crayons, we are making bells, chains and decorative Xmas paintings and greetings on the walls. This will definitely be our last Christmas here! I would nearly bet my right arm on not being here but not quite. Who knows – this may be another Thirty Years War! If so – Farewell, cruel world – before many years.

December 19, 1944

Very cold today but have hardly been outdoors because of cooking duties. Debus and I fixed up a very good meal tonight consisting of corned beef and barley, carrots, potatoes and a cake. The cake was the usual crushed crackers, marge and prunes. The frosting was our old standby “Kriegie Whipped Cream.” Kriegie Whipped Cream is marge, sugar, and Klim. The carrots, the first we have had in about a year, made the meal.

…We hear that Tony and Ace are now on hard cooler. Their sentence is two weeks. They evidently had a little difficulty and had their previous soft cooler sentence revoked.

Still no mail – damn it!

 December 21, 1944

The week before Christmas and all Kriegies turn their thoughts homeward. Truly, our life here consists of memories of the past and thoughts of the future. Today the Camp Theater Guild presented us with a grand radio program. The talent in camp is exceptionally high. The announcers in today’s program brought back fond memories with replicas of home broadcasts that approached, equaled, and excelled the originals.

The program opened with announcers proclaiming the excellence of American programs, giving bits of various well known broadcasts. Then, amid a musical background, the Kriegie audience was transported back to the Christmas of pre-war days – the Christmas of pre-overseas days – the Christmas of loved ones and cherished memories. The curtains were drawn on the most beautiful of scenes – a dimly lighted room, a Christmas tree beautifully decorated, a fireplace – the portrait of a soldier on the mantle, a girl alone, the wife, the sweetheart of the man in service, and by her chair a radio bringing the program that touched the heart of every listener.

As the announcer speaks, the portrait on the mantle glows giving the effect of a spiritualistic medium – the announcer, speaking for all Kriegies through the portrait, to a loved one sitting in solitude at home. The tunes, Dreaming of a White Christmas, Venite Adoramus, and Silent Night, brought the months of suppressed emotions to the point of overflow. Then as previous Christmases pass in review, the memorable songs and music of yesteryear came, enriching our memories of the unforgettable past.

…Although the theater was cold we left with warm and slightly heavy hearts.

The cold weather is still with us. It seems much colder than the same period last year. In order to combat the cold at night I have taken my two Goon blankers and placed about six layers of toilet tissue in between them then stitched the two blankets together. I hope this suffices. During the day there’s not much to do but keep moving. My vulnerable spot is my feet. They are cold continually. If the socks and overshoes that I have asked Margie to send only come through I’ll be set.

One more hope – please, may I have just one letter before Christmas. It was been about two months since I have had a word – surely I have one due me. Merry Christmas, Darling, one of these Christmases coming will be ours.

 December 26, 1944

…From a Kriegie point of view, Christmas wasn’t too bad. The day was as cold as the weather has been but the sun was shining. It was my lot to be cooking this Christmas, with Debus as helper. It took the entire day preparing the lunches and the grand meal for the day. The lunches consisted of the cookies and cakes we had made while the main meal was a banquet made possible by the Red Cross Christmas parcel. Our entree for the day was turkey. The parcel contained canned turkey, plum pudding, cherries, Vienna sausages, deviled ham, honey, nuts, candy, pipe, wash cloth, playing cards, pictures of state scenes, games. All in all it was a grand parcel for Christmas time. We ate like kings for a day.

When we awoke on Christmas morning we found that Santa had already visited us. A table was covered with presents for all in the room. The gifts ranged from chewing gum to toilet paper. I received a box of B1 vitamin pills. Our Santa was Bob Pearson who remained awake to arrange the table during the dark and cold while all were asleep. Pleasant surprise.

(“That was the last entry until Jan. 2, 1945. Robi didn’t get his Christmas wish of a letter. He finally received a letter on Jan. 9th, written in August that pre-dated a letter he had received two months earlier. He received no more letters before being evacuated on the March. There were very few diary entries in 1945, as you can imagine.”)

Devils in Zagan

On the Independence Run, 11 November 2016, to commemorate Polish Independence Day, many of the runners are shown what looked to be devil dolls. I asked Marek about this:

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“The dolls are actually devils. There is a local legend that tells that Zagan’s Palace was built with a help of the devil. The architect was looking for an idea how to decorate the facade of the palace. He was so desperate that he was even ready to sell his soul for any idea of the decoration. Then Satan appeared, and they made a deal. The facade of the palace was decorated with 197 stone faces of the devil.  So the devil became a kind of symbol of Zagan and the palace. There is a local artist (sculptor) in Zagan who make the figures of the devil. The sculptor’s name is Jerzy Kupczyk and he is very popular in Zagan.”

He and his studio of devils are shown below:

kupczyk

 

kupczyk-studio

Jerzy’s Studio

“He also made a sculpture of Allied Airman. It was made for the 60th anniversary of the Great Escape in 2004 and it is 50 cm high.”

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Sculpture of Allied Airmen

Building of Goon Boxes Underway at Stalag Luft III

Construction has begun on two goon boxes that will stand where the boxes originally stood. For those who visited the camp years ago, notice the new road that replace the old, rutted, dirt road that we and our POWs had once walked on. They walked down this road to enter the camp, and they went out of the gates and turned left on the road to start their long march.

Street lights too!

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“The goon boxes are near the road at the museum, almost in their original locations. Today the road is much wider. The towers are on the site of Stalag VIIIC.”

“Towers are almost finished. We only need to install the lamps. I have also two search lights, but I will put them only for special events.”

[The search lights from the goon boxes continually swept the camp at night to illuminate anyone trying to escape.]

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Arrows mark sites of the two new towers adjacent to Stalag VIIIC. To the right of VIIIC is West Compound in Stalag Luft III.

The American St. Nick – 1944 – Heartwarming trailer – true story – Luxembourg

http://www.wwiifoundation.org/2015/03/22/american-saint-nick-trailer-2/

 Mystery POW – American Likely in North and South Compounds –  POW son, Jim Jones, son of Doolittle Raider, Davy Jones – U.S.

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This oil painting was found in Oregon. It was painted by American POW Don Stine. Is this face familiar to anyone? It could be POW Hal Houston.

 Art Fair at SLIII

Portrait drawing was very popular in the camp. Such portraits and other artistic works were displayed periodically at art fairs in the camp. Below are two photos of some of the works. The first picture shows a portrait of POW Doolittle Raider Davy Jones. Below that is that same photo in color. Jones was able to take his portrait on the march to bring home after the war.

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 Mighty 8th Museum also Trying to Identify an Airman

http://bit.ly/2hDGXw9

 New Signs at SLIII

Your donation dollars at work – Marek has designed and installed two new signs in the camp directing visitors to two popular attractions, the memorial Tunnel Harry and the Memorial to the Fifty murdered after the Great Escape.

  tablice-2016-luft  tablice-2016-memorialHymn to the Fallen

As we have just observed the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, it is timely to remember all our fallen. The link below will show the beautiful cemeteries and the numbers of men buried there—so many it is hard to fathom. My father’s top turret gunner is buried in the Ardennes Cemetery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omd9_FJnerY

Pearl HarborPOW daughter, Carolyn Miller – U.S.

“I was 6 years old, in a Florida restaurant with my newly returned Daddy, when loud cheers, clapping, and sobbing erupted leaving me totally shocked. People came over and saluted and embraced Dad, who was in uniform. My brother and sister and I were told to stand at attention with our hands over our hearts, and “The Star Spangled Banner” burst out of a small radio on the wall. “The war is over,” Dad said. But, I thought, “The war was over when you came home.”

 The following video marks the end of WWII in Honolulu on August 14th, 1945:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31GWG8UmDrg

 Burial on the USS Arizona Joe Lawrence – U.S.

 https://www.youtube.com/embed/MgE2KiPd3xg?feature=player_detailpage

Historic Account of Raid on Kiel – POW son, Mike Woodworth – U.S.

“I don’t know which unit was the one that got my father’s plane, though I suspect it was located east of the harbor. From what I understand, they had released their bombs and were starting to make their turn back when they were hit. The plane apparently went down in the water of Kiel Fjord. The fjord was dredged after the war to clear it of all the wrecked planes and ships, so there is likely nothing left.”

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[Marilyn: As a teenager, Ernie Hasenclever, was in the flak unit that shot down my father’s plane near Kiel, Germany. Those who attended the reunion in Colorado Springs might remember Ernie’s interesting talk when he was a participant with the “German Panel” and the presentation of the flak unit’s badges to Mike and to me.  Recently, Ernie, who has translated so many German documents for me over the years, sent Mike the newspaper article below that details the mission on which Mike’s father was shot down.]

Navigators – Moffett Field – POW daughter, Marilyn Elrod – U.S.

Marilyn, daughter of one of my father’s SLIII roommates, Morris “Available” Jones, found these two publications for Moffett Field, South Bay, San Francisco. The book on the left is from October, 1941. It contains a letter from U.S. Major General Barton K. Yount and shows the first graduating class, 41-B.  1st Lt. G. Y. Jumper was the Commandant of Aviation Cadets. The book on the right is from December 1, 1941, and has her father’s picture in a class for training on the B-13 trainer. There are several pages showing the instructors, head of the field, cadets, and pictures of some of the planes in flight. Below are pictures of the men who went to school there graduating to become navigators.

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Planes in the dirigible building. “That is the building Dad said

they flew through and got in trouble for doing so.”

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Dirigible building in the background

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Open end of the dirigible

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Outer shell of the dirigible being dismantled

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Moffett Federal Airfield today near Santa Clara, California

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 “The air dirigible building more recently with all of the outer skin

taken off. It contained asbestos so it has been quite a process. I

believe Google purchased or is renting the hangers for their airplanes.”

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Recent view

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Norden Bombsight at the museum at Moffett

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Flight attire

Hell’s Angels and Auschwitz – Szymon Serwatka – Poland

Szymon:  “Some of the Hell’s Angels crew (my recent story on warhistoryonline) ended up in Stalag Luft III as well.”

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/guest-bloggers/shot-down-over-auschwitz.html

POW Dog Tags at National ArchivesMarilyn and POW son, Mike Eberhardt

This is a follow-up on information of over a year ago, which might be new to the more recent readers of the newsletter. Briefly, when my co-author, Mike, went back to the village of Aschheim (outside Munich) to search for the site where his father’s B-17 crashed, many Germans there helped him, including two dedicated researchers of WW II crash sites. Besides locating the crash site, based on some sketchy information Mike had discovered, finding some aircraft fuselage pieces, and introducing Mike to a witness to the crash, the German researchers also discussed some records that Mike had obtained during his research, some written in German. One of the Germans asked Mike if he was aware that the National Archive in College Park, Maryland, (NARA) had 126 boxes of confiscated German records. The boxes held the German accounts, known as “KU” files, that were included with the U.S. Army Air Force Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), and with them the individual files for some (but not all) of the captured crews. The files had been held in Oberursel, Germany, at the Interrogation Center. After Mike told me and POW daughter, Carol Godwin, of what he had been told, we visited the archive and found a number of boxes that held the KU files. KU stands for Kampf Unterlagen, or Battle Documents. The KU designation refers to U.S. bombers. Similar reports exist for British bombers, KE, and J, (“J “stands for Jagdflieger – fighter) and there are other reports for the Middle-East ME, Balkans/Central Europe (“KSU”/”KSE”) and of an unknown type “AV.” The various German Luftgau, which were administrative organizations of the Luftwaffe–immobile commands whose authority was limited to certain well-defined and permanently fixed geographical areas, prepared reports on all Allied aircraft that crashed in or near German-held territory. Many of the files held German accounts written by the Luftgau. Some files also held dog tags and others held personal items taken from the POWs at the time of interrogation. In my father’s crew’s case, there were items taken from a gunner’s pockets, Social Security card, etc. One item of particular interest was a leather bracelet embossed with a second gunner’s name.

Since our initial visit to NARA, we were able to facilitate the return of the gunner’s dog tag and bracelet. Mike’s father’s file held dog tags also for all ten crew members, including one for the navigator on that plane, Bill Bright, who is the last surviving member of that crew. Bill’s dog tag has now been returned to him following a formal request to NARA. Another POW, John Pedevillano, recently has received his dog tag following his request. So, NARA (on an “exception basis” to their stated policy to the contrary) has honored the request of three surviving POWs for the return of the dog tags.

Mike and I, Carol, and Carolyn Miller, daughter of POW Lt. Gen. A.P Clark, later arranged a meeting at the archive to further pursue this matter, as many we hear from would also like to have dog tags held there. While the three surviving POWs have been successful, for family members of deceased POWs the matter is clearly more difficult and return of the dog tags contrary to NARA policy. But we wanted to provide this information to the interested readers of this newsletter.

For those who have not requested a MACR, it is easy to do via email, and it is free. In a previous newsletter, I posted that link. There is no guarantee a particular dog tag is in the NARA files since the 126 boxes represent only a small fraction of all the files originally maintained by the Luftwaffe, but in order to ask NARA, a KU number, written on many of the MACRs would be needed, as NARA files the folders in boxes by that KU number. Around 7,000 reports in the original German are held by NARA. Having the German pages translated can provide more information than was used in the ordered printed MACR in English. Those records can be requested with no problem.  Website:  www. archive.gov

The National Archives at College Park, Maryland

8601 Adelphi Rd.

College Park, MD 20740-6001

301 837 – 2000 – toll free # also on site

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Examples of the types of personal items seized by the Germans upon POW capture and interrogation:

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POW Bill Bright with his dog tag from NARA

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POW John Pedevillano with his NARA dog tag

(NOTE:  Recently, Mike was invited back to Munich by his German researcher friends to meet another witness to his father’s crash in March 1944, and the parachuting of seven of the crew members who all landed near Aschheim.  In this case, the witness was the then 14-year old-son of a farmer (now deceased)  who briefly took Bill Bright in before turning him over to the German authorities.  In his research, Mike learned that the farmer who took Bill in was very friendly and engaging and spoke perfect English —and asked Bill who had won the last World Series.  Mike asked his German researcher friends to see if they could identify this farmer and, remarkably, they did.  It turns out in the small community of Aschheim, the farmer was well known —even 70 years later–for his perfect English and for being an avid American baseball fan. The son has recently explained that his father emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s and was involved in Prohibition smuggling in Chicago and New York (where he became a Yankee fan),  before returning to Germany prior to WW II to assume duties as a farmer following his own father’s death.  Mike will meet with the eyewitness son when he returns to Munich in April — certainly to get a photo for Bill Bright! We will follow his progress.)

Christmas “Great Escape” Quiz (Fact And Film) – Rob Davis – UK

  1.  PoWs were duty-bound to attempt to escape, true or false?
  2. What information was a captured serviceman obliged to reveal to his captors?
  3. When the separate area was opened to accommodate USAAF PoWs, how was communication established between the separate PoW compounds?
  4. How many men escaped through the “Wooden Horse” tunnel?
  5. What factor dictated the width and height of the three tunnels “Tom, Dick and Harry?”
  6. Who succeeded von Lindeiner as Kommandant, after the Escape?
  7. Why was the SBO, Group Captain Herbert Massey, repatriated?
  8. What was “Foodacco”?
  9. A fellow PoW whispers to you that he suspects another man of being a stool pigeon.  What does he mean?
  10. A calculation of the volume of sand excavated for the three tunnels Tom, Dick and Harry would fill : (a) a coastal container ship’s hold; (b) a forty-foot shipping container; or (c) one tenth of the Channel Tunnel.
  11. FILM : Which character’s nickname was “Piglet” ?
  12. FILM : Which Russian phrase does Danny teach Willie during the failed early escape attempt?
  13. FILM : As Hendley is ‘making friends’ with Werner the Ferret, what historical fact does Werner quote to try and show Hendley that he’s on the wrong side in the war?
  14. FILM : Whose job “just didn’t work out” ?
  15. FILM : What instruction does Hendley give Blythe as they are about to start the engine on the stolen aircraft?  (Extra point for identifying the aircraft type!)
  16. FILM : Where were the “Trapped into speaking English” and “Café Suzette” sequences filmed?
  17. FILM : What is the first spoken phrase in the film?
  18. FILM : Why did a PoW suffer on one occasion he cried out “Allez, oop!” ?
  19. FILM : What is Hilts’ exclamation when Bartlett tells him that 250 men are planned to escape?
  20. FILM : Why is Ashley-Pitt’s uniform different to the other PoWs?

1 False

2 Name, rank and number

3 Semaphore

4 Three

5 The size of the bed boards taken from the men’s’ bunks

6 Oberst (Colonel) Braune

7 He had sustained a serious ankle injury in a pre-war accident, and this had been aggravated when he was shot down

8 A points system between PoWs, for buying and selling food or any other desirable item

9 A traitor or informant planted by the Germans

10 B

11 Flying Officer Ives

12 “Yavas lublu” (“I love you”)

13 That in 1812 the British burned the US capital.

14 von Lindeiner the Kommandant (as quoted by Hilts)

15 “Don’t move or you get a mouthful of propeller”

16 Fussen

17 “Aussteigen!”  (“Get out!” [of the trucks])

18 He fell through the bed of his bunk, as too many bed boards had been appropriated for the tunnels

19 “You should be locked up.  You, too!”  [as if they weren’t already!]

20 He was a Fleet Air Arm pilot.

Another Man Found His Brother at Stalag VII-A – POW son, Steve Salz – U.S.

As a follow up to liberating brothers finding POW brothers at Stalag VIIA in Moosburg:

“My dad also told me that his brother, Ted, was in Patton’s Army when they liberated the camp.”

SLIII Vet POW son, Gary Hill – U.S.

https://www.abqjournal.com/773354/flight-aboard-bomber-rekindles-memories.html

The above link is the Albuquerque, NM, Journal newspaper from May 13, 2016.

“It is about John Henry and another vet who served on a B-17. John Henry is 94. He was one of Dad’s two buddies who went through their whole evading story following the plane’s downing  in late July, ’44. They went to SLIII in late October 1944 and were in West Compound.  (The three were:  Harlan Hill (Coopersville, Michigan) Ed Masseh (Phoenix, AZ) and John Henry (Morgantown, WV). John Henry was the flight engineer on my Dad’s crew.  He lives in Albuquerque, NM.

 B-17 – New Orleans SLIII Reunion – John Lanza

John took these unique pictures of the B-17.

dsc_0430a-big-plane-waits-for-little-plane-to-take-off  dsc_0423a-b-17

The Whole Nine Yards

During WWII, U.S. airplanes were armed with belts of bullets which they would shoot during dogfights and on strafing runs. These belts were folded into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. The belts measured 27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets on various targets. They would say, “I gave them the whole nine yards,” meaning they used up all of their ammunition.

Ian Darling’s New Book

Canadian, Ian’s, follow up book to his book on Canadian aviators is proving to be very popular. This time he has turned his attention to American aviators, some of whom have come to our reunions.

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Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heroes-in-the-skies-ian-darling/1123315507?ean=9781454917496

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Heroes-Skies-American-Aviators-World/dp/1454917490?ie=UTF8&keywords=heroes%20in%20the%20skies%20ian%20darling&qid=1465308389&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

New Book by Carolyn Edy

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ABOUT THE BOOK

This book demonstrates the ways in which the press and the military promoted and prevented women’s access to war, outlining the rich history of more than 250 women who worked as war correspondents up through World War II. It also reveals that the concepts of “woman war correspondent” and “war correspondent” helped and hindered the work of all war correspondents even as they challenged and ultimately expanded the public’s understanding of war and of women.

Face book’s advertising page for the book offers a discount code:

Amazon is sold out temporarily, but you may order the book today at a 30% discount through the publisher. Like this page and then comment below or respond via messenger if you’d like to receive a discount code and more information. The author’s page can also be contacted on Face book, and she will send you the code.

Available also from Amazon:

USA:

https://www.amazon.com/Woman-Correspondent-U-S-Military-Press/dp/1498539270

Canada:

https://www.amazon.ca/Woman-Correspondent-U-S-Military-Press-ebook/dp/B01MQIMB84

Book Site:

https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498539289/The-Woman-War-Correspondent-the-U.S.-Military-and-the-Press-1846%E2%80%931947

WWII Stats

During the 3-1/2 years of World War II that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, “We the People of the U.S.A. ” produced the following:

22 aircraft carriers

8 battleships

48 cruisers

349 destroyers

420 destroyer escorts

203 submarines

34 million tons of merchant ships

100,000 fighter aircraft

98,000 bombers

24,000 transport aircraft

58,000 training aircraft

93,000 tanks

257,000 artillery pieces

105,000 mortars

3,000,000 machine guns and

2,500,000 military trucks

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and, ultimately, conquered Japan and Germany.

Did You Know?POW son, Mike Eberhardt – U.S.

During WWII, 14,900 U. S. airmen lost their lives in over 6,000 crashes during training sessions just in the U.S. This does not include an estimated 7,000 -10,000 more killed while training from overseas  air bases during the war or while forming up for actual missions.

Links

Working Washington Caps Link – The patriotic link from the last newsletter did not work for some. Try this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUGL_3f2Quw

1940 – Kate Smith – God Bless America!

 https://www.youtube.com/embed/TnQDW-NMaRs?rel=0

WWII Foundation Documentary Films AwardsTom Colones – U.S.

http://www.wwiifoundation.org/

Kamikaze Attack: Harrowing Footage from 1945

This clip gives you a picture for what it was like in the gun turret.

Click on the video—no need to sign in.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4zkp7hvrgbcd7gd/D-qPNsG9ym#lh:null-Laffey%20Enhanced%20vo%203.wmv

Ten Body Bearers – U.S. Marines – POW nephew, Hugh Carter – U.S.

“The Last to Let You Down”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/for-marines-who-carry-their-own-to-burial-%e2%80%98the-last-to-let-you-down%e2%80%99/ar-AAl18nI?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp

Repairing Lightning Rods on Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro

Click here and hang on tight:  What a View!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxlKZereog0

Jumping with No Parachute – POW Ken Collins – U.S.

http://surprise.ly/v/?PK0Hl0kWELE:0:0:0:100

 Memorial Statue at Bury St. Edmunds – Evan Thomas – UK

 http://bit.ly/2gTyTI8

Found Dog Tag Returned – Evan Thomas – UK

http://bit.ly/2gS9lvd

 Scott Brewer’s Dog Tag  – Evan Thomas – UK

 http://www.greenharbor.com/wr69/dogtag.pdf

 Union Station – DC – USAF Band WWII Christmas Flashback – Joe Lawrence, U.S.

USAF Band WWII Holiday Flashback

 Honor Flight – The Documentary

 http://www.honorflightthemovie.com/#

 Puppies! – In the Spirit of the Season:

Enjoy this short video and help animal shelters at the same time. Purina is donating 1 pound of dog food to a shelter for every viewing of this video.  Enjoy it and forward it on to all your friends!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ SJoE_lNQdHU

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers