About Us

An Important Announcement

We are sad to announce that Bruce Bolinger, the incredible webmaster of the AFEES website
and his personal website, WWII Netherlands Escape Lines, passed away on December 9,
2023. For many years, Bruce devoted his time and knowledge to develop the AFEES website
as a significant historical resource about Escape and Evasion in World War II. He worked
tirelessly to preserve the stories of AFEES members, their helpers and escape lines in occupied
Europe. He left us with an important resource that is used frequently by family members,
historians and others.

It is the hope and plan of the AFEES Board of Directors to preserve his work and maintain the
site. Those arrangements have been made with a private company. Discussions about how
the site will be used in the future are underway.

We will not be able to answer your questions as Bruce did. We do not have the knowledge or
skills to assist with your research. Bruce included resources in several places on the website
which might be helpful as you search for information. Check these four Tabs:

  1. The Escape and Evasion Research Tab is a great place to begin. It includes many subjects
    including how to access the National Archives for Escape and Evasion Reports (E &E
    Reports) and how to request official military personnel files. There are links to other
    valuable E &E resources such as the Ralph Patton and Bruce Bolinger Collections at the Air Force Academy Library. Also listed are links to many European websites devoted to
    Evaders, Helpers and Escape Lines.
  2. The AFEES Newsletter Archive and Index Tab includes all Newsletters from May, 1964 to
    2021 and an Index of the names of evaders and helpers.
  3. The AFEES Book about AFEES Members Tab; the book was published in 1992 by Turner
    Publishing Company.
  4. The Escape and Evasion Museums and Tours Tab lists museums in Europe and the United
    States including The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, GA, The
    National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio and The National WWII
    Museum in New Orleans, LA.

The hope is that the website will continue as place where the next generations…the children,
grandchildren, other family members and friends of helpers and evaders can reconnect to tell
and share the stories. We would like to know about community ceremonies held to
commemorate planes and air crew that crashed nearby. Eventually, it might be possible to
add additional stories to the website about the evasion/escape experiences of AFEES
members and their helpers. Those questions and notices can be sent to: Margaret Carlson
Fricke at Fricke.john1atgmail.com.


The purpose of AFEES is to encourage airmen who were aided by Resistance organizations or patriotic nationals of foreign countries to continue friendships with those who helped them. AFEES had its first reunion in Niagara Falls, NY in 1964. Over the years, hundreds of evaders, helpers, family members, and friends have gathered each year to commemorate, remember, and honor all those who were involved in escaping and evading-–both the escapers and the thousands of brave, ordinary people in occupied countries who took extraordinary risks at huge cost to help these airmen.

YouTube Videos About AFEES

Important Pages on This Website

“We Will Never Forget!”

“Our organization perpetuates the close bond that exists between airmen forced down and the Resistance people who made our evasion possible at great risk to themselves and their families.” Larry Grauerholz

Table of Contents.  To view the Table of Contents of this website, click here.  Note that when you click on a page, the page heading in the display of page headings in upper part of the screen will be italicized and in red.    For example, AFEES Contents of Website.  That tells you that you are on the page that you intended to click on.  Just scroll down to view the contents of the page.

70 thoughts on “About Us

  1. I met and old person, Mr Garnier in the village of Neuillac -France -near town of Cognac he help Sgt gunner Edward L.Knapp ( B17 No Regret) December 31- 1943 to joint french resistance and escape to spain. E Knapp returned to england in Mars 1944.

    I beggan this recherch from à child schoolwork about resistance action during the war in charente maritime…writted in 1968…the young boy writted the name of Edward Knapp…helpt by member of his family…

  2. The website for the 447th Bomb Group to which Edward L. Knapp belonged has a list of the crew of his plane showing what became of each man when the plane was shot down plus a photo of the crew at http://www.447bg.com/42-31125.htm. And at the National Archives you can access his report on his experiences. Go to https://catalog.archives.gov/id/305270 and enter his name or the number of his report, which is E&E 506. There is also a French language database on French helpers of Allied airmen. Go to https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/french-helper-list/french-helpers-by-geographical-location/.

  3. On 1st October my new “World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in the Netherlands & North Sea” website was launched!

    The address to go to is: https://www.airwar4045.nl

    Currently the database lists the information on 1362 crashed aircraft, 6456 crew members (230 evaded), and 627 cemeteries/memorials…
    Any comments/corrections and/or more information is most welcome…

  4. I, Ian R Bridle – UK, would like to send my heartfelt condolences to Guy Ugeux, the son of Pierre and Michou. I met them both some years ago and last saw Michou “Lily” two years ago. She was a Wonderful Lady, full of memories of her times in the “Comete Line”…She always welcomed me with a double kiss on each cheek…as a Dear friend, of which she was to me. She sent me as a present a First Edition of the Comete Line, signed and with a message to me, Which I will treasure all my days.
    She was to me a Dear Friend, a Lovely Lady and More so a Heroine of the Comete Line and of WW2…..Thinking of you “Lily” with Deepest Respect and Memories….Ian

  5. I, Xavier Delpouve,

    I am trying to find a letter sent by my great-grandmother, Mrs. Gerard Zoé, in 1953 to RAF Escaping society
    (Honorary Member of the RAF Escaping Society)
    Perhaps this letter is archived somewhere?

    RAF escaping society
    /response to letter: 7 janvier 1953
    “Nous tenons à vous remercier vivement de votre lettre du 2 janvier. Nous ferons parvenir votre lettre ci-jointe au Wing Commander Higginson.”
    secrétaire RAFES : J. Craig
    Thank you very much
    xavier delpouve
    I have others documents sent by RAF to mme Gerard.

    1. I know that the Imperial War Museum in London has certain records of the Royal Air Forces Escaping Society (RAFES), including summaries of the evasion of each member. Perhaps they will have the letter you mentioned. Their Internet contact address is https://www.iwm.org.uk/contact-us.


      1. There are a large number of boxes but they have never been catalogued. I spent many hours trawling through them while I was researching for my book The Twisted Florin

  6. Bonjour,
    My name is Philippe Canonne. I teach History and Geography near Tours (France). I study the air war over Châteauroux (Central France,
    département de l’Indre). I am searching any information about Allied airmen hidden in his area , or who crossed that area for example going to Spain, helpers etc. I offer my help for the French side : archives, database, contacts with city halls, eye whiteness etc … I want also to share my passion with my pupils : We ‘ll never forget !!
    Feel free to contact me.
    Thank you very much indeed.
    Best regards

    Philippe Canonne

  7. Hello,
    I’m looking for information about the evaded crew of the Mosquito LR499 crashed Heeswijk- Dinther NL on the 2. December 1943.

    The crew came together with T/Sgt. Louis H. Breitenbach and I are interested in the memoirs of him, but your Link to them isn’t working anymore.
    Could you send me the PDF directly? Thanks, Thorsten

    Breitenbach, Tech. Sgt. Louis H., USAAF Memoirs: http://resources21.kb.nl/gvn/EVDO01/pdf/EVDO01_ROE01_133.pdf. Describes his experiences, including being shot down, helped by Dutch civilians, capture, POW camps.

    1. Dear Mr. Wubber,

      The website, resources21.kb.nl, no longer appears to be working, so there is no way I can provide you with the pdf file on Sgt. Breitenbach. Are you familiar with what is available on the https://www.airwar4045.nl/ website on Sgt. Breitenbach and are you familiar with this website: https://studiegroepluchtoorlog.nl/22-02-1944-sglo-t3449-boeing-b-17g-42-31399-pu-f/? The latter refers to a Bulletin 042 from June 1979 by Mr. L. Zwaaf that may have additional information.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger

  8. A part of the story about Grover P (Paul) Parker. where he escaped in The Netherlands is incorrect. I will tell you what happened.

    His escape was in Dordrecht. The elder couple where he walked in their house could not keep him and through the resistance (underground) he went to a young couple who were just married: Greta and Kees Oversier (my parents).
    He stayed with them for about 14 days. They taught him some Dutch. My mother made civilian cloth for him. They also practiced how and where to hide (outside and in the house) if the Germans showed up. This was exercised one time when the Germans stopped and knocked on the their door. It turned out they were lost and asked the way. Parker ran out of the back of the house over some creeks and hide in the Jewish cemetery behind the house.
    After 14 days people in the underground took him to the Biesbosch area (a wetland area). There was a resistance group and they kept German prisoners in a houseboat as mentioned in the book. Parker helped them. After awhile he was transferred to the south which was already liberated.

    I have tried to track Parker down but he died over in 1984.
    In one of the towns, Werkendam, is still a resistance medal waiting for him or any family members. It seems that nobody is interested.

    Mr. Cornelis “Kees” Oversier (98) is till living and if necessary would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Kees Oversier jr 1410-592-3347 Glen Arm, MD

  9. I have notified the editor of the AFEES newsletter about your comment. Maybe there will be the opportunity for an article about Parker’s experiences.
    Bruce Bolinger

  10. I am looking for info on a Robert Beng father Albian de Beng Mother was Gaby de Beang grandmother Gardow my parent had him over to the Uk after the war any info would be appreciated Susan Taylor

    1. If you could provide more information as to in which bomb group or fighter group Robert Beng served, when and where he was shot down, and what sources you have already explored, then I might be able to better respond to your question. I checked the following sources for his name but found no mention of him: (1) the index to Evaders on this website, (2) the AFEES 2006 membership list, (3) the Atkinson list of evaders and their escape and evasion (E&E) number, and (4) the list of evaders on the Conscript Heroes website. I also did a search on the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) index of E&E reports for the name Beng and Beang but did not find any report for him.
      Bruce Bolinger

  11. Good Afternoon,
    For the last weeks I have been compiling a list of the men shot down 14 Oct 1943, the mission to Schweinfurt. The list includes the following info: macr#, bomb group, name, rank, duty, unit (bomb squadron), ac# and if they were POW, KIA, EVD, INT or RTD and what camp they were in and the date they began their forced march across Germany.

    This work is for an exhibit for the 100 BG reunion in October in Colorado. I am not being paid for any aspect of this research, except that I am grateful I to have learned about these men. Today I began my search for information on the evadees.

    Years ago David Connor shared with me his memoir and gave me information about your agency. I went back to his file and found access to your name, and subsequently, your website.

    I found the page listing men that shared their stories. Of the 33 evaders shot down 14 Oct 1943, , only four have not shared their stories with your Society.

    I know there are EE forms on evaders, that are much like the missing air crew reports. Is there a way for me to access the stories for the remaining 29 men? Please advise.

    Thank you for your time and attention. I would appreciate a response soon as my deadline is fast approaching.
    Valarie Burgess

    1. Dear Ms. Burgess,

      I serve as webmaster for the website of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES) and am responding to your posted request. First of all, are you familiar with the following page on the 100th BG about escape and evasion? It is at https://100thbg.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=97&Itemid=207. Michael Moores LeBlanc, who wrote it, is an expert on WWII escape and evasion and this page on the 100th BG is written by him. He would have a personal interest in helping you. You can contact him directly at [email protected]. It should be possible for you to find most of the escape and evasion stories of the men by going to the National Archives website. My personal website has instructions on how to do this at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/escape-evasion-reports-available-on-line/. You also may want to take a look at this page containing research tips, also on my website: https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/faqs/how-do-i-learn-about-an-allied-airman-who-was-shot-down/. Also, I and another member of AFEES have been indexing the organization’s newsletters. The index is organized by evaders, helpers, etc. To go directly to the Index to Evaders, click on https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-airmen/. Since not all newsletters have been indexed yet, it may be worth your using Google to search for an airman’s name plus AFEES. This may take you directly to a particular newsletter which contains something about a particular airman.

      Best wishes,

  12. Recently we came across two certificates signed by Eisenhower which I believe may be called Certificates of Appreciation. These were issued to my grand aunt, Brigitte Chavallier, and her husband Jean. I have been trying to get some information about these and, while I have come across several images of these on websites, they don’t seem to give any indication of what these certificates actually are or why my relations may have received them. I would be very grateful somebody could point me in the right direction about getting some information about these.

    Many thanks in anticipation

    1. Dear Mr. Bolger,

      The Eisenhower certificates were given after the Liberation to people in what had been the occupied countries for having aided downed American airmen to evade capture or, if captured, to escape. The help typically ranged from hiding an airman from capture, guiding him to another hiding place, providing food and medical attention, etc. to running a major escape line that may have helped hundreds of airmen. The British counterpart of the Eisenhower certificate was the Tedder certificate. See https://airforceescape.org/memoirs-from-wwii/charlotte-ambach-interview/decorations-received-by-charlotte-ambach/ for samples of both certificates awarded, in this case, to Charlotte Ambach. You didn’t mention the nationality of your great-aunt and great-uncle, so I searched lists of Belgian and French helpers (see https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/ for lists of helpers) but did not find their names. You will want to do a more thorough search. To get a better understanding of how the helpers were recognized for their aid, I suggest you look at the history of one of the offices involved in the process at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/govt-reports/history-of-the-holland-office-6801-mis-x-det/. I also suggest you look at an FAQ on doing research at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/faqs/faqs-resistance/. National Archives II in College Park, Maryland has the WWII records, including the files compiled by Allied Military Intelligence on helpers. You can go there yourself to search the files for any helper file about them or request the archives to do the search for you and provide you a copy. If you opt for the latter, you can email them at [email protected]. Best wishes, Bruce Bolinger

  13. Hi, I’ve found an old file full of letters that used to belong to my great uncle Francois Dorlot and I would like to try to get in touch with the men he helped and/or their families. Would someone be able to help me with this or point me in the right direction please?

    1. Dear Rozen Dorlot, If you go to https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/french-helper-list/d-names/french-helpers-dincuff-to-dubois/ you will see him listed with some information that you may find useful. I also suggest you get in touch with Franck Signorile at http://www.aide-aviateurs-allies-ww2.fr/ who has been identifying downed airmen and their helpers by geographical location, primarily in France. Also, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) may have a file on Mr. Dorlot at their National Archives II branch in College Park, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. which you can order from them. For information on using them, see https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/. Their contact information is:
      National Archives at College Park – Textual Reference (RDT2)
      National Archives at College Park
      8601 Adelphi Road
      College Park, MD 20740-6001
      Phone: 301-837-3510
      Fax: 301-837-1752
      Email: [email protected]

      See also the other websites specializing in escape and evasion in France at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/links-to-other-escape-and-evasion-websites/escape-and-evasion/. If he was a member of the Comet Line, there are several websites specializing in that escape line in that same page under the heading of “Comet Line”. You may find some useful suggestions on researching a person who aided Allied military personnel at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/faqs/faqs-resistance/.
      Best wishes, Bruce Bolinger, Webmaster

    2. Bonjour Rozenn,
      J’essaye de mettre au propre Plouray 43-44.
      Récits autour du sauvetage des aviateurs Américains .

  14. I came across your group researching a different flyer but thought I would share that I have a grouping from an Evader name Byron T. Johnston 493rd BG, 863rd Sqd, MACR #9494 dated 9/19/1944.
    Don’t know what help this might be to someone in your group but thought I would post here or if anyone had anything to add or associate with this report.

    1. Hello Paul,

      I would be interested in whatever information you would care to share with us on Byron T. Johnston.

      Bruce Bolinger, Webmaster

  15. Dear Sir/Madam,
    I received the AFEES reunion invitation for my father. But my father died last year quietly and peacefully. So could you please delete my father from your files. He enjoyed your correspondence always very much. Thanks greatly for all your work. It concerns: Marines van Rijsbergen, keplerstraat 30, Badhoevedorp, Netherlands.
    Kind regards, Ton van Rijsbergen

    1. I have forwarded your request to the AFEES Membership Secretary. I am sure she will take care of it.
      Bruce Bolinger, Webmaster

    1. If you go to this page on this website: https://airforceescape.org/escape-and-evasion-research/book-list/, you will find two books that should be of help: Katsaros, John, Code Burgundy, The Long Escape, Norwalk, CT: Oakford Media LLC, 2008 and Krauss, Marie Augusta, Courage Her Passport, London: Frederick Muller Ltd., 1963. John Katsaros, who is president of AFEES, is still alive and giving talks about his experience (see the Contacts page of this website for his contact information at https://airforceescape.org/contacts/). I don’t think Krauss is still living. See in particular the recent book Keith by Janes, They Came from Burgundy, Troubador, 2017. Probably the most comprehensive source on the Burgundy Line is Keith Janes’ website at http://www.conscript-heroes.com/escapelines/they-came-from-burgundy.htm?LMCL=UEBTS1.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger, Webmaster

  16. Good Morning,

    I’m an assistent- researcher of the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For a new exhibition we would like to tell the story of Harry Dolph and his relationship with the Dutch resistance group, who helped him here in 1944 -1945. In his book on this period Dolph refers in the end to interviews he had in behalf of the research for the book. We would like to know if there is a personal archive of Harry Dolph where we could see these interviews.
    Thank you for your help!

    1. Dear Ms. Schreuder,

      I do not know whether there is (or was) a personal archive of Harry Dolph which might include his interviews. The Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES) does not have an archive as such. The closest there is to an archive would be the following:

      (1) Back issues of the AFEES newsletter which you will find at https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/. There is an partially complete index to Evaders mentioned in the newsletters at https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-airmen/. You will see that there are several references to Mr. Dolph in the Index to Evaders. There are three citations of particular interest, (a) the Summer 1994 issue on the front two pages contains a memorial eulogy to Mr. Dolph by his wife Pat; (b) the Summer 1990 issue, pg. 3, gives his complete address in Paris, Texas; and (c) there is a link to an article about him at https://airforceescape.org/escape-and-evasion-research/escape-and-evasion-articles/evader-author-recalls-days-of-world-war-ii/; and there is an article in the Fall 1999 issue, pg. 11, mentioning his having gotten in touch with Peter van der Hurk, head of an escape line in Meppel & Staphorst; and there is a link to “Behind the Wire” documentary (see below).

      (2) The AFEES Member Stories Database, also on the website, has some information about him at https://airforceescape.org/afees-member-stories/.

      (3) In 1992 AFEES published a book entitled Air Forces Escape & Evasion Society, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, KY, containing accounts varying in length of the experiences of its members. Harry Dolph’s brief account appears on pg. 89 with two photos of him. If you would like, I can make a copy of the page and send it to you. I also see that there are a good many copies of the book available at https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&cm_sp=SearchF-_-home-_-Results&kn=Air+Forces+Escape+%26+Evasion+Society&an=&tn=&isbn=. A copy of the book might be a good fit for your exhibition.

      There is a documentary, “Behind the Wire”, available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL5kU91pWK4&list=PLfO3-TNAQN-paJ3iZVjxoYVJtJ0yUlAQ_&index=20, which has interviews with 23 American and British airmen shot down during the war and Harry Dolph is one of them. For your exhibit, you might want to explore posting the video on a screen for the public to view. The video was produced by the 8th Air Force Historical Society. The person in charge of the video for the 8th AFHS is Bill Curtis whose email is [email protected].

      Mr. Curtis is also the person in charge of the 466th Bomb Group website at http://www.466thbga.com/ which you will want to visit. The 466th BG was the one to which Mr. Dolph belonged.

      The 8th Air Force Historical Society has an extensive library and there is the possibility that they might have something on Mr. Dolph. The person in charge is Dr. Vivian Rogers-Price, whose email is [email protected]. If you do write her, mention that you already have viewed the information on Mr. Dolph in the AFEES Member Stories Database, which we obtained from the 8th AFHS library.

      Bob de Graaff’s book “Stepping Stones to Freedom, Help to Allied Airmen in The Netherlands During World War II”, originally published as “Schakels naar de vrijheid”, mentions that one of the people who helped him with the books was W.J.M. Willemsen. Willemsen also contributed articles to the newsletter “The Escape”, the publication of one of the postwar groups of Dutch helpers of Allied airmen. A few years ago Willemsen’s son donated his father’s papers to NIOD. You will want to contact them about accessing the collection. I am not sure how far along NIOD is in making the collection accessible to the public. But Willemsen might have had some records related to Mr. Dolph.

      There is portion of Bob de Graaff’s book about Peter van den Hurk, one of Mr. Dolph’s helpers. I suggest you check with NIOD to see if they have anything further on van den Hurk and that you also get in touch with Professor de Graaff. I am not sure to which university he is associated with. I believe van den Hurk is deceased. I had some correspondence with him but my file on him is part of the Bolinger Collection that I donated to the McDermott Library at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO in early January. They might be able to locate the file for you under “Smit Org. – Meppel -Staphorst”. There are also articles in the AFEES newsletter mentioning van den Hurk. See the Index to Helpers at https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-helpers/.

      The “Find a Grave” service lists Mr. Dolph’s burial at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/105945640/harry-arthur-dolph. Unfortunately, it gives no information on surviving members of his family who might know if there are any surviving interviews with him. His wife, Pat’s eulogy was given in Marietta, Ohio, but Dolph’s association with that town may have been so brief that there was no obituary article about him in the local paper. At least I did not find anything. You might also check for news articles about him in Paris, Texas where he had been living earlier. You might also contact the local libraries in the off chance that his papers were donated to one of them.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger
      229 Success Mine Loop
      Grass Valley, CA 95945
      (530 273-6442
      Website: https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/

    2. Hello!

      I am Pat Dolph Williams. This is a very late response. I was present at some of the interviews (should have taken notes). There is no personal archive.

  17. Hello,

    Apologies for the public posting, but I could not find an email address to reach out to directly.

    In 2012, M. L. “Al” Sanders was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the College of Education at Florida State University. See https://education.fsu.edu/alumni-and-friends/distinguished-alumni/past-recipients for more detail.

    In Fall of 2020, the College of Education will be installing a Multimedia Digital Center that will incorporate images of our Distinguished Alumni. Unfortunately, we do not have any surviving images of Al Sanders. When searching for information about this gentleman whose award predated my service here at the College, I stumbled across the incredible story documented on your website and the wonderful photos associated with them.

    I would love to know if it would be possible to use the images and share his story in our display. This is a 4’x12′ digital wall that will display the history of our Distinguished Alumni program. It does not have an online component and there are no products or materials associated with the use of the image.

    I look forward to hearing from you and would appreciate the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.

    Warm regards,

    Kevin Derryberry
    Assistant Dean
    Florida State University
    College of Education

    1. Dear Dean Derryberry,

      As the webmaster for the website of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society I believe I can speak for the other members of our Board of Directors in saying that as far as we are concerned you can use anything you find on our website about Al Sanders in your Multimedia Digital Center. I think it is an excellent idea. If you haven’t already done so, you will want to check the website’s Index to Evaders at https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-airmen/ which will direct to you all references to Mr. Sanders that have appeared in the AFEES newsletters that have been indexed to date. You will also want to take a look at the AFEES Member Database at https://airforceescape.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AFEES-Member-database-Rads-Z.pdf. And you will want to look at Sanders’ escape and evasion report (E&E 1595) at https://catalog.archives.gov/search?q=E%26E%201595&f.ancestorNaIds=305270. I have also attached a copy of the report as a pdf file that I have sent you via email.
      Bruce Bolinger

  18. Sirs and Ladies,
    I am in contact with Gilles Collevari who locates downed WWII aircraft and researches the escapes of the pilots over the Pyrenees Mountains for the families of the flyers. He has asked me to research P-38 Army Air Force pilot Paul Miller who crash and escaped during the war. Can you put me in touch with one of your historians so I can introduce him to Mr. Collevari?

    1. Dear Mr. Maddox,

      I will be happy to correspond with Mr. Collevari and provide him any help that I can. As webmaster for the AFEES website I serve as a sort of historical researcher. I am separately replying to you via email.
      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger

  19. Dear Madam, dear Sir,
    My grandfather, Jozef WILLEMS, was leading an Underground group, called the Patriotic Association of the Independence Front in Belgium. He did sabotage, intelligence and other things, but also hid Air Service Members. I have some information in his files. One name I remember is a British soldier, Mr. George Fernyhough (https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/39102/Fernyhough-George-William.htm?c=aw). I have been in contact with his daugher a long time ago. One thing I do not know is which escape line my grandfather handed over the Service Men.
    Sincere Greetings. I wonder if that was the Comete Line

    1. I would check the following about the Comete Line: Le Réseau Comète: http://www.evasioncomete.org/ . This website is maintained by Philippe Connart, Michel Dricot, Edouard Reniére, and Victor Schutters. A master list of airmen helped by the Comet Line is at http://www.evasioncomete.org/aListe.html and French-language summaries of each man’s experiences are at: http://www.evasioncomete.org/aFichesChoix.html. Another useful feature of this website is their chronological list of the airmen’s crossing of the Pyrenees at http://www.evasioncomete.org/aFichesChrono.html. It can be quite useful to know the names and stories of other airmen who shared experiences with the one you are researching. At the time I posted these links, they were not working but this is probably a temporary problem.
      Bruce Bolinger

      You can disregard the links above. An entirely new website has been created for Le Reseau Comete. You will find the new links as follows: “Le Réseau Comète: https://www.evasioncomete.be/. This website is maintained by Philippe Connart, Michel Dricot, Edouard Reniére, and Victor Schutters. A master list of airmen helped by the Comet Line is at https://www.evasioncomete.be/aFichesChoix.html. To view the website’s description of that person’s experiences, click on his name. For a more detailed list of airmen, including dates and serial numbers, click on https://www.evasioncomete.be/aListe.html. Another useful feature of this website is their chronological list of the airmen’s crossing of the Pyrenees at https://www.evasioncomete.be/aFichesChrono.html. It can be quite useful to know the names and stories of other airmen who shared experiences with the one you are researching.”

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger

  20. Dear Friends, I am researching the escape route taken by Sgt Les Woollard who was a member of the Dambuster crew lead by Flt.Lt. Les Knight DSO. I see on this site you have a mention of him in one of your newsletters ;

    Woollard, Leslie – March 2008, pg. 8; Ambach list of evadees, December 1997, pg. 9; Dec. 1998, pg. (RAF); I found this underthe Evader & PoW section.

    Would it be possible to have a copy of this please. Many sincere thanks, Melvin

    1. Dear Mr. Chambers,

      The newsletter issues that you mentioned are all available as individual pdf files on the AFEES website at https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/. All you need to do is go to the issue containing the information you want and print out the page(s) you need. You may also find some helpful suggestions for research at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/faqs/how-do-i-learn-about-an-allied-airman-who-was-shot-down/.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger, webmaster

  21. Dear webmaster, here comes a request for research help from Sweden. For years I have been trying to identify the names of those airmen who managed to escape from Poland, probably from Stalag XXA, to the Aachen area, where they met US forces probably from the US 5th Armored Division, in November 1944. My question is thus: have you ever heard of any US airmen escaping from Poland and managing to get across Germany? Any tips re names, books or other sources would be very, very much appreciated. Best regards from Lars Gyllenhaal in Rosvik, Sweden.

    1. Dear Mr. Gyllenhaal,

      I have no personal knowledge that would be helpful to you. However, I have forwarded your request to a group with whom I correspond on the subject of WWII escape and evasion. Maybe someone among them will be able to help you. If so, I will forward their replies to you.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger, AFEES webmaster

      1. Dear Mr. Gyllenhaal,

        I checked the Index to Helpers on the AFEES website and found the following entries under “Poland”:
        Alanso Family (helpers of Heyward C. Spinks) – Spring 1990, pg. 2;
        “Dreadnaught” (interpreter, 34th Regiment, Polish Home Army) – Sept. 1997, pg. 14-15;
        Dimitri (no last name) – March (Spring) 2001, pg. 27-28;
        Grabowski, Paul – Summer 1987 pg. 10; 2006 Membership Directory, pg. 35
        “The Major” – Winter November 2017, pg. 16;
        “Zenon” (commander, 34th Regiment, Polish Home Army) – Sept. 1997, pg. 14-15;
        Each listing refers to the date and page number of one of the AFEES newsletters.  To view them, simply go to https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/ and open the pdf file of the newsletter issue referred to above.

        The Index to Place Names also lists the following under “Poland”:
        Poland – Winter November 2017, pg. 16
        Gdansk – June 2010, pg. 28
        Bleckhammer – September 2010, pg. 17
        Osewicim – September 2010, pg. 17
        Tatra Mtns. – June 2012, pg. 28
        One of the members of AFEES who is working with me on indexing the newsletters, Margy Fricke, also brought to my attention the following:

        SUMMER, 2003 newsletter.  On page 13, is the evasion story of Frank Heekin.  He crashed near Berlin,  and began walking to a Pow camp in Poland..somewhere along the way  he and the others escaped and spent 19 days hiding either in Poland or Germany.  They were liberated by the British.”

        As we continue to work on the indexing, we will keep you in mind in case there are any other references that might be of use to you.

        Best wishes,
        Bruce Bolinger

        1. Dear Mr. Bolinger!
          Many thanks for your kind reply that I finally found. Very grateful !!
          Cheers from Sweden,

    2. Hi Lars,

      I have just finished the book ‘Unspoken’ by Irishman Tom McGrath, recountng his father’s incredible, one-man escape from Stalag XXA (!) in Torun, Poland in March 1942. His father was a British army corporal, captured in the Ardennes in the early days of the war.

      The author intends to accompany us on our annual Historical Memory hike next year. In June 2023 we will be following his father’s footsteps from St Jean de Luz over the Pyrenean frontier at Ibardin and down to Bera in Navarre.

      Joe Linehan
      President of the Basque Pyrenees Freedom Trails’ Association

      1. Dear Joe,

        Many thanks indeed for your reply! Would you happen to have a way for me to get in touch with author Tom McGrath? He seems to know a lot about the Stalag I am most interested og i.e. XXA.



  22. Good afternoon,

    We recieved an infitation from you for Mrs G. van Dorsten, Vaartweg 1, 7951 RA Staphorst Netherlands.
    I can tell you that Mrs. G van Dorsten died a vieuw years ago.
    Can you tell that the people who send her this letter.

    Best Regards Jan Jonkers

    1. Thank you for notifying us. I have brought the information to the attention of the person in charge of our Christmas card list and her name will be removed.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger

  23. Hello, I’m doing some research and am wondering if there were ever any black airman who were shot down over nazi occupied territory and had to escape.

    1. Hello Andrew,

      I have posted on a WWII escape and evasion Google group your request. Any responses I will pass on to you.

      Bruce Bolinger

  24. We are trying to find tge relatuves of John Bradley, bailed out in Vierlingsbeek, the Netherlands

    1. Dear Mr. Janssen,

      With a common name like Bradley, that may be difficult. What can you tell me about him? Do you know where he lived in the US? Do you know when he was shot down? Do you know the names of the other members of his crew? Were they all killed when their plane was shot down? If he was helped by people in Vierlingsbeek, do you know their names? The National Archives II in College Park, Maryland has the files on American airmen who were shot down and file on their helpers. There may be records that include his place of residence in the US and that and from those it might be possible to trace his family. For example, with Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com you can sometimes find an obituary or other news story about a person. And Findagrave.com may have information about his family. BeenVerified.com may be useful in locating where members of his family are now.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger

  25. Hello,

    I was wondering if you could tell me any information/help put me in contact with a man called Joseph Emanuel Manos. He served in the 331st bomb squadron, part of 94th bomb group in WW2. Joe Manos was a 19 year-old Tail Gunner with the 94th BG when he was shot down over France in 1943 over Le Bourget. He escaped Europe by hiking over the Pyrenees, a hike he completed with my great grandfather, squadron leader Frank Griffiths of the RAF. I’m writing a book about Frank and would love to know more about his escape partner Joe. I would love to get in contact with Joe’s family, or anyone who knew the man well.

    Thanks in advance,
    Adam Hart

    1. Hi Adam,

      I appears that Joe Manos may still be around. The AFEES 2006 membership list gives his address as 9137 Cecile Way, Sacramento, CA 95826-4563, phone 916-363-9138. I did an Internet search on that phone number and found him still listed. See https://nuwber.com/person/563a4ab77686b0176bc4fba7, email [email protected], and at the same address. age 98. Listed at the same address is a Dorothy Manos, age 93, probably his wife. If you go to the Index to Evaders on the AFEES website, https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-evaders-and-pows-m-z/, and look up his name, you will find a great many references to him in the AFEES newsletters. Go to the collection of AFEES newsletters at https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/ to view the newsletters. You will also want to look at the AFEES member database at https://airforceescape.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AFEES-Member-Database-Ky-Rad.pdf. Under his name you will find some more useful information on him.

      Best wishes,
      Bruce Bolinger
      AFEES webmaster

    2. Hi Adam,

      I hope you don’t mind me joining this conversation. I’d very much like to talk to you about retracing your grandfathers evasion route, I saw an article on the Veterans Foundation FB page. My interest is retracing escape & evasion routes through the Pyrenees.

      Kind regards,

  26. I believe Bruce Bolinger interviewed Joe for a YouTube video back in 2017. I’d love to know if he has any further information on the man? Thanks again, Adam

  27. Hello,

    A B17 crashed in Breuil sur Vesle (France) on the 20th March 1944. A propeller of this aircraft was discovered 40 years ago by a villager.
    We are currently building a monument with this propeller in the center of our village in memory of the crew of this bomber. The inauguration will take place on the 6th of May 2023.
    I’m looking for relatives of the crew members. John Katsaros who was part of that crew and was also, I believe, the former president of your organisation. Could you put me in contact with some members of his family?

    Thanks in advance,

    Bertrand, Mayor of Breuil sur Vesle

  28. Hello,
    My father-in-law has told the story of his B-24 crashing with all the crew except himself, after he bailed out at tree-top level. He encountered British military on the ground on the mainland ( not sure if Belgium, Netherlands or exactly where) Anyway, he said it was a week or two before he returned to his base at Seething, England. We have no records to document his story. I read on your website that American flyers who made their way back to bases in England had to pass thru American Intelligence in London before going back to their base. Can you possibly tell me what organization that may have processed him in London so I can then inquire with NARA, the National Archives, to access records that may show information of his return? Do you or your group have any other avenues for me to investigate to substantiate his bail-out and return to England? Did everyone returning have to pass thru London or did some go straight away back to their base? Thanks Dan Cline

    1. What was your father-in-law’s name? There are various sources that can be explored, including the escape and evasion reports at NARA, if his name is available.

  29. Hello .
    I am looking for a picture while on Duty, or later of Floyd H Terry 20820644 from Tx. AirMan crew of B-17 Big Time Operator 42-39789 / 8th -381st BG- 535 SB. E&E382 MACR473 september 3rd 1943. After bailed out, was secured and protected my grand parents then transported to Paris by my grand uncle.
    Thank you.
    From France, Bruno L.
    [email protected] +33663019508

  30. I’m a free lance writer and years ago attended three AFEES reunions and interviewed and wrote about various members who had been shot down over Serbia–Charles Davis for one. Some have been long since published. I must have about 10. I was wondering if you would be interested in having these and maybe have them published in a newsleter of short book?
    You can look my name up on Amazon where I have two books published and for sale.
    I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

  31. My father flew paratroopers into Operation Market Garden. He talked very little about his experiences during the war, but he did speak about watching paratroopers cut down in the air or tangling in their chutes. He was shot down behind enemy lines close to Grave and was picked up by the Dutch Underground, spending eight days hiding by day and moving at night. He remembers hiding in a ditch and watching German troops march by. He said he could have touched their boots. At one point a little brass band greeted them at a barn where they were hiding. The local people thought they had been liberated. He finally made it back to friendly territory, at the very end finding himself and his driver running through a tank battle, and was reunited with his crew. Amazingly none had died. My father could never speak highly enough of the Dutch people who saved so many at such risk to themselves. He never knew the names of the people who sheltered him or the Underground operators who guided him, but he always told me that I owed my life to the Dutch people because without them, I never would have been born.

  32. Hi Bruce,
    I was thinking of my grandpa, Richard “Dick” Smith (a past AFEES president) as I have been watching Masters of the Air. That thought led me to google this site, I am glad to see it is still updated. 🙂

  33. Thank you for this website. It is a great resource for persons who are researching this topic as well as a worthy way to remember courageous people.

    How can I share a story with you? It is about John Rothlisberger, a member of 459th Bomb Group, 758th Bomb Squadron, shot down over Yugoslavia on Nov 11, 1944. After he returned home to Washington, IA, John wrote his own story, explaining how members of the resistance helped him and others to safety. Scarcely two months after he wrote his account, John died in a drowning accident in Iowa City. He was a high school classmate of my mother, and his story was shared at their 50th class reunion. I have a PDF file of the 15-page pamphlet produced by the Caterpillar Club with his story. It is very well written and deserves to be more widely known.

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