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WWII US pilots POW signatures on a diary page!

Article about: I found this genuine page in an old diary, handwritten by a Yugoslavian mountaineer in the year 1944. On the upper part of the page (in dark ink) is written text, which, translated on Englis

  1. #1
    filip1
    ?

    Default WWII US pilots POW signatures on a diary page!

    I found this genuine page in an old diary, handwritten by a Yugoslavian mountaineer in the year 1944.

    On the upper part of the page (in dark ink) is written text, which, translated on English means:

    Signatures of American aviators who forcibly landed on the liberated territory in 1944.

    In the dark ink on the right side is written: "Sop. Seliste, Decembar 1944.". Sop. Seliste is a place probably somwhere on the border between todays republics Croatia and Slovenia.

    I am not sure what happens with this aviators later, but it seems that some of them became a POW, maybe some of them was killed later.

    This is a original and genuine piece of the history, handwritten by a long-time mountaineer, who recently passed away, and I acquired this diary from his son. He didn't read it, and he didn't know anything about its content, so I was unable to find out anything more about this people who signed in his diary.

    I will appreciate all opinions about this subject, and I will be thankful for a help in transcribing these names.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: WWII US pilots POW signatures on a diary page!

    I did a little research on some of the names I could read and spell correctly. T/Sgt. John J. Cassidy was a POW at "Stalag 9B Bad Orb Hessen-Nassau, Prussia 50-09" Stalag 9B is considered to be one of the worst prison camps because it was overcrowded when the Battle of the Bulge prisoners began to arrive. However, 9B was not a Stalag Luft so if T/Sgt. Cassidy was in fact with the Army Air Corps then he should have been sent to a Luft camp. But he also could have been shot down late in the war and arrived at 9B when Germany was moving prisoners away from the eastern front. A lot of Air Force personel ended up in Mooseburg and it was not a Luft camp. Unfortunatly it didn't list his state of residence. I interviewed several POWs from Stalag Luft III who have the last camp they were in listed as their POW camp on their records. This might be what happened because I found a Harry W. Love listed at "Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11" He was an officer and his name here is listed as Lt. Love. I know the man who has the camp ledgers for Luft III I will send him an email and have him look up the name. If he has it then we can not only find his room but his unit and arrival date. From that we can track backwards and find a Missing Air Crew Report and maybe the other names will be on it. Also both of these men were returned home. I hope I can help you learn more about this I think it is awsome that you have it!

  3. #3

    Default Re: WWII US pilots POW signatures on a diary page!

    Ok here is what I found. The Stalag Luft III camp ledger says the following:
    "LOVE, HARRY W. 2/LT 0777006
    1717 PARK VIEW AVE.
    LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
    MIA OCT18,44..... STALAG LUFT III CENTER COMPOUND OCT 29,44
    8 AIR FORCE 390 BOMB GROUP 568 BOMB SQUADRON
    B17G BOMBARDIER"

    Now I did some research on the 568th and tried to find a mission list in my records and I found that they went to Kassel, Germany that day and 2nd Lt. Love was on a plane named "Powerful Katrinka" and it had a second name "Bugs Bunny" the serial number was 338189. Now that I had that I could find out about the crew and my book reads as follows: "Accepted by USAAF 8 Jul 44. Cheyenne Mod Center 8 Jul 44. Kearney 14 Jul 44. Manchester 1 Aug 44. Dow Field 3 Aug 44. 8th AF 3 Aug 44. MIA Kassel 18 Oct 44. Hit in right wing by flak, went into flat spin and disintegrated. Crashed near Cochem. Conwell, Love , Ledford, Hutt POW, rest KIA." (Once I read this I was excited because I think my Great Uncle worked at one of the Mod Centers but I'm not sure which one). Ok so I tried to find the crews full names and I found that they are: Cleon H Conwell, Gaymond L. Hutt, Willis T. Ledford, and our Lt. Love. Tail gunner, Waist Gunner, R/O, and Bomb. were all that survived and Lt. Love would have been the only officer and the only man in the nose of the aircraft to survive. But he could have been walking back to check the bombs with the R/O at the time the plane was hit. It was common for the R/O to do it but sometimes the Bombardier. did it and if they needed to hand crank the doors open because of damage he may have needed Love's help. This might explain why he survived. I'll try and find an MACR and see if it lists how they got out. I'm going to bet he went out the bomb bay. I will try and find out more about the Kessel Mission and see if I can find out how many planes were lost. It seems like the 487th BG was in on that mission also so the other names could be from different groups. I do think that this is the same Lt. Harry Love because oftentimes the officers were split from the enlisted men by the partisans hiding them and they were kept together. Since he was the only officer it could explain why his crewmembers are not listed. But I cannot see all the names very well so they could be on there.

  4. #4
    mrchips
    ?

    Smile Re: WWII US pilots POW signatures on a diary page!

    Quote by soalebm View Post
    Ok here is what I found. The Stalag Luft III camp ledger says the following:
    "LOVE, HARRY W. 2/LT 0777006
    1717 PARK VIEW AVE.
    LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
    MIA OCT18,44..... STALAG LUFT III CENTER COMPOUND OCT 29,44
    8 AIR FORCE 390 BOMB GROUP 568 BOMB SQUADRON
    B17G BOMBARDIER"

    Now I did some research on the 568th and tried to find a mission list in my records and I found that they went to Kassel, Germany that day and 2nd Lt. Love was on a plane named "Powerful Katrinka" and it had a second name "Bugs Bunny" the serial number was 338189. Now that I had that I could find out about the crew and my book reads as follows: "Accepted by USAAF 8 Jul 44. Cheyenne Mod Center 8 Jul 44. Kearney 14 Jul 44. Manchester 1 Aug 44. Dow Field 3 Aug 44. 8th AF 3 Aug 44. MIA Kassel 18 Oct 44. Hit in right wing by flak, went into flat spin and disintegrated. Crashed near Cochem. Conwell, Love , Ledford, Hutt POW, rest KIA." (Once I read this I was excited because I think my Great Uncle worked at one of the Mod Centers but I'm not sure which one). Ok so I tried to find the crews full names and I found that they are: Cleon H Conwell, Gaymond L. Hutt, Willis T. Ledford, and our Lt. Love. Tail gunner, Waist Gunner, R/O, and Bomb. were all that survived and Lt. Love would have been the only officer and the only man in the nose of the aircraft to survive. But he could have been walking back to check the bombs with the R/O at the time the plane was hit. It was common for the R/O to do it but sometimes the Bombardier. did it and if they needed to hand crank the doors open because of damage he may have needed Love's help. This might explain why he survived. I'll try and find an MACR and see if it lists how they got out. I'm going to bet he went out the bomb bay. I will try and find out more about the Kessel Mission and see if I can find out how many planes were lost. It seems like the 487th BG was in on that mission also so the other names could be from different groups. I do think that this is the same Lt. Harry Love because oftentimes the officers were split from the enlisted men by the partisans hiding them and they were kept together. Since he was the only officer it could explain why his crewmembers are not listed. But I cannot see all the names very well so they could be on there.
    I am wondering if you have a ledger for RAF SL3 POW's, in partcular POW # 20?

  5. #5

    Default Re: WWII US pilots POW signatures on a diary page!

    I do not have the ledger but I know the man who does. Do you know the POWs name or just POW #20?

  6. #6

    Default

    I found this page due to the expert knowledge of Lianne Pyburn. I wanted to tell you all that I am the daughter in law of Willis T. Ledford. He is passed away now but I am married to his son Kenneth L. Ledford and we live in Toccoa, GA. I live but a rocks throw from Camp Currahee 6 miles up and 6 miles down. Band of Brothers fame. Willis T. had 4 children: Michael T. Ledford/Jasper, GA, Kenneth L. Ledford/Toccoa, GA, Joseph A. Ledford/Cleveland, Ga. and LaJuana Ledford Duck of Braselton, GA. I have been doing genealogy for some 25 years and my greatest delight was one night when visiting I sat down and he recounted his experiences to me. He finally received the POW medal before he passed away and he also had the Purple Heart. I wish his name had been on the diary. But if anyone would like to correspond with me I will be so happy to share some of his stories with you. He wanted very much to walk rather than ride the train but I believe it was Mr. Love who had a broken leg and he wanted Willis T. to go with him. And so he stayed with him. We have the spoon that he was issued in the POW camp and they evidently got "one" spoon. It has survived all these years. God Bless all these men, the ones that were blessed to live and the sorrow I feel as he told me of seeing those parachutes go up in flames. My Father was US Navy and served aboard the USS Stribling and the USS Cincinatti. Karen Thompson Ledford/Toccoa, GA

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