385th Bomb Group - POW Uniform Grouping
Article about: Found this grouping about a year ago posted on Craigslist by the nephew of the vet. The initial grouping consisted of the veteran's service coat, 3 overseas caps, 1 laundry bag and 1 khaki s
385th Bomb Group - POW Uniform Grouping
Found this grouping about a year ago posted on Craigslist by the nephew of the vet.
The initial grouping consisted of the veteran's service coat, 3 overseas caps, 1 laundry bag and 1 khaki shirt. The nephew invited me into his home, and needless to say I was amazed by the items he had. After speaking with the nephew, I was able to add 1 tog tag, a photo of the vet, another khaki shirt, the PT shorts, the flight cap and the 3 SSI; 1 AAF HQ, 2 8th AAF (one British made stubby wing).
The diary's, paperwork, POW dog tag, etc, he allowed me to photograph. These have since been given to his son, who has made a display, including the vet's medals and burial flag. He provided me with a photo of the display, which I've also included below.
Regardless, I'm pleased to be the caretaker of a small part of this grouping.
Some details not in the screenshots/photos below:
Service - 385th Bomb Group, 548th Bomb Squadron
POW Date - 8th of May, 1944
Aircraft - B17, Jeanie Ricky (42-31786)
Position - Waist Gunner
Target - Berlin
Ejection area - Bremen
In any case, I'll start with some of the paperwork:
Enlistment and POW records from the Archives
MACR with the vet's account of what occurred
A quick synopsis from the time he was captured, to his release:
The vet was a Waist Gunner, flying B-17's. On May 8th, 1944, their target was in Berlin. While in flight, heading to their target on the Jeanie Ricky (42-31786), they lost engine #3, and had to leave formation. They were shot down by FW 190's, however the crew was able to eject the aircraft. All crew survived, however were taken prisoner.
Initially, they were taken to a Luftwaffe Airbase, then sent to Frankfort for interrogation. From there, they were transferred to Stalag Luft IV.
The vet stayed at Luft IV until January 1945; 8 long months. Due to the advancing Russians, the camp had to be evacuated. All POW's were then relocated to Stalag Luft XIII D.
After two months, again, due to advancing Allies, this camp was evacuated, and all POW's again were transferred. The trek was by foot, took 12 days, and covered 91 miles. Final location, after arrival on April 16th, 1945; Stalag Luft VII A. The largest POW camp in Germany, consisting of over 127,000 POW's.
Conditions in the camp were deplorable, however the POW's would need only wait another 13 days for the greatest sight they have seen in almost a year; two P51's buzzing over the camp! Date was April 29th, 1945.
A couple hours later, ground troops arrived at the camp; Co C, 395th IR, 99th ID and the 14th Armored Division. They took control of the camp after facing off with remnants of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier and the 719th Infantry Divisions. 200 Wehrmacht soldiers in the camp surrendered. Per his account, Patton personally inspected the camp, and was astonished by the conditions.
After a few transfers, heading back towards allied territory, the vet eventually made his way to St. Valorie, La Harve. The trip back to the states was on the USS Admiral Benson. He arrived in New York Harbor on June 12th, 1945 for furlough. He saw no additional overseas service, and was eventually discharged on October 25th, 1945.
Holy crap! Excelent piece of history! Breathtaking!
Very nice find friend.
Fantastic pick up. I love anything with a connection to the 8th AF. My uncle served with the 8th attached to the 384th Bomb Group 545th Bomb Squadron (B17 tail gunner) who was shot down and also a POW(Stalag 17B). I have been collecting/putting together both the enlisted men and officer uniforms along with flight helmets and such to keep the memories of these gents alive.
Its great to know that the nephew has given his son the important items. That POW dog tag is a treasure all its own and should be kept by the family.
His trip to Frankfurt , was to Oberursel,
Here is a snip from wiki about it. My uncle and his crew passed through the place.
"During the Second World War, many captured American and British airmen passed through Oberursel as they were interrogated and processed into the German POW camp system at the "Durchgangslager der Luftwaffe" or "Transit Camp of the Luftwaffe" located in the town. The camp name was commonly shortened to "Dulag Luft", or simply "Dulag". Almost all allied airmen who were shot down and captured spent some time at that camp before being moved to their permanent assigned "Stalag".
The only gent still alive from my Uncle's B17 (left waist gunner) told me the whole story(All recorded) about that day and where they were taken. When he was telling me about that part he said" We were the lucky one's, when we got to Frankfurt there were airman hung on the light post"
They were shot down on April 13th 1944 on a mission to Schweinfurt.
Awesome job Yuengling
Thanks for sharing your uncles story, Phil. Amazing that you were able to speak with another airmen who was on the crew with your uncle. Even better that you documented it.
I too covet 8th related items. My great-uncle served with the 8th (Aerial Gunner with the 398th BG, 603rd BS). He was killed in action on October 15th, 1944. Their plane crashed while heading out on a bombing mission over Cologne, Germany. Researching his service is what sparked my interest in collecting militaria.
Same here. I was into axis items then started researching my Uncles service in 2009 and I have seen the light and my main interest is now collection 8th AF bomber crew items..I'm a member (NexGen)of the 384th Bomb Group website as a combat data specialist. Adding mission crews from there copies of the original loading list on to our data base on the site. It has been quite satisfying starting with my uncle only having been on 12 missions entered on the site data base to completing the task and finding that he was on his 25th mission when he was shot down.
Getting to speak to my uncles crew member has been the pinnacle of this endeavor. My uncle passed in 1972 and would never speak about his service or his time at Stalag 17B. Phil Chaperon the left waist gunner of my uncles B17 is as sharp as a tack and even remembered stories they talked about on their missions. Finding out how they were shot down during a ME 109 (15) attack and the death of 4 of the 10 crew members along with their B17 exploding in midair and them being blown out has enlightened me as to why my uncle never spoke about what happened during the war.
Good luck in your collecting. I will always be interested in seeing anything else you might find.
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