Occasionally AFEES gets requests for help in researching the stories of American evaders in WWII and/or the people who helped them. On this page we will reproduce the requests and the responses from the webmaster, with the most recent first. Suggestions from visitors to the website are welcome. This page contains requests back to August 2017. Prior to that the AFEES website had not yet been set up to provide for comments. See also the page on this website about Escape and Evasion Research.
September 1, 2021
Request: John-Thor Dahlburg, a writer from Toulouse, France, plans to write about Marie-Louise Dissart, code-named “Francoise”, who ran an escape line in Toulouse, helping some 700 evaders. He requested help in locating people who might have personal recollections about her or her associates. The December 1997 AFEES newsletter, pp. 18-20, has a lengthy article about her.
Response: We directed him to various sources of information, including escape and evasion reports at the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland; websites focusing on WWII escape lines in France; the AFEES Member Stories Database on this website; RAFES membership records at the Imperial War Museum in London; the British National Archives; and the French National Archives (with which he was already familiar). We also sent an email to our mailing list asking anyone with information on Dissart to contact us.
August 29, 2021
Request: Charles Novak contacted us about evader Jack W. Stead, said he had a copy of Stead’s account of his experiences as an evader, and whether we also had a copy. He also was seeking to contact relatives of Mr. Stead. Mr. Novak is a member of the family of Marcel and Paulette Guyon who were Mr. Stead’s helpers at the beginning of his evasion. He provided us with a copy of Mr. Stead’s WWII memoirs which had been passed down through the Guyon family.
Response: We posted the memoirs, “Bailout Over France and the Journey Home” on the AFEES website and offered suggestions as to how to locate descendants or other relatives of Mr. Stead
March 14, 2021
Request: Christelle Zuccolotto, a junior high school English teacher in southeastern France, who is organizing a commemoration on May 27, 2021 of the crew of the B-24, Aphrodite’s Disciples, which crashed near her school on March 5, 1944, requested help in obtaining documentation regarding the crew for the commemoration. Members of AFEES were able to provide her with information on the crew and further contacts.
March 14, 2021
Request: Michel Degive, formerly of Belgium, wrote that his family had a quilt containing “AFEES” and the symbol of a helping hand receiving a parachuting airman. We researched the subject and created a new page for the website on AFEES Emblems.
Request: After crossing into Spain, what town did my father, Paul S. Miller, end up in? Why was he arrested? How did he reach the US forces? Where did he go after that?
Response (excerpts): The AFEES Member Database gives “Obriceta”, Spain as his destination after being shot down. A search on the Internet turned up Orbaiceta, also written as Orbaizeta, which was en route to Pamplona. Spanish WWII historian Juan Carlos Jimenez de Aberasturi noted that Orbaiceta is a border point and that it was likely that Paul Miller passed through there. Once detained by the Civil Guard or the Spanish Army, they were generally taken to the Pamplona Prison, he said, where they remained until they were claimed by the allied embassies. If they were detained closer to Irun, the border with France, they were taken to San Sebastian and imprisoned until they were also claimed by the embassies. He suggested writing to the General Archive of Navarra and asking if they have the records of the Pamplona Prison and, if so, a listing for a detainee by the name of Paul Miller. The webmaster also noted the risks of crossing the French-Spanish border, including German patrols on the French side that also sometimes crossed into Spain. From the point of view of the Spanish government, the airmen were foreign nationals involved in a war to which Spain was not a party. One notorious Spanish concentration camp was Miranda de Ebro which held some airmen.
June 20, 2020
Request: 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
Bruce Bolinger, Webmaster
April 22, 2020
Request: I am writing a book on W. C. Hawkins’ s escape from France during WWII. He was a member of AFEES for a long time.
I wonder if it would be possible to send me a copy of the notice regarding Hawkins included in the book Air Force & Evasion published by by Turner Publishing Company in 1992 ? I already have a lot of information but would like to check.
I have also been trying to get in touch with his daughter Susan, but have failed so far. If you have a recent address, I would be grateful if you could let me have it.
By the way, I am writing from France.
Yours truly, Bernard Sellin
Reply: Thank you for your email. Attached is a scan of pg. 95 of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society book published by Turner Publishing Co.k Paducah, KY, 1992. Unfortunately, the amount of information about Mr. Hawkins’ experiences is very brief. The Member Database on the AFEES website has more information. See https://airforceescape.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AFEES-Member-Database-Dy-Ku.pdf. The original printout is at the 8th AF Historical Society Library and appears to have been compiled by AFEES members. See https://airforceescape.org/afees-member-stories/ for its origins.
February 27, 2020
Request: Good Morning, I’m an assistant-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! Denise Schreuder
Reply: 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 a 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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@example.com. 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.
January 6, 2020
Request: I believe I told you some time ago that I was gathering letters of WW2 soldiers – with the intent of putting together a book, about the soldiers, and researching where they were when they wrote the letters – sort of a tie between their genealogy, what happened after the war and historical aspects of what was happening in their units at the time they wrote the letters. It’s alot of research and trying to put it all together is tough.
January 30, 2020
Request: Seeking information on Burgundy Line and on Marie Augusta Krauss.
Reply: 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.
December 20, 2019
Request: 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?
Reply: Dear Rozenn 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
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
December 16, 2019
Request: 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, Thomas Bolger.
Reply: 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 (see https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/) 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 Archives2reference@nara.gov.
November 23, 2019
Request: Following an earlier email requesting information on his uncle, Donald Nickerson, Paul Sorenson wrote: “Hello Bruce, I am going to send you the little information that I have right now about my Mother’s brother Donald Nickerson. He passed away in 1997. I recall speaking to him before his death about his service. I know that he served in England on a B-17 and I believe said he was a tail gunner. At that time I really didn’t think to ask about his Bomber group, unit, plane name anything. Shame on me. I do have a few items that he gave me. One of them was an official picture of him taken at his graduation of gunnery school. He is posing with his flight gear manning a 50 cal. So this is what I have so far. Donald Nickerson (no middle initial) 023-16-9995, born 1/30/1923, died 2/18/1997, lived in Everett, Mass. I was able to locate his official enlistment papers, so I will put the link that gets you right to it: https://aad.archives.gov/aad/print-record-detail.jsp?dt=893&mtch=9&cat=GP23&tf=F&q=donald+nickerson&bc=,sl,sd&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=2482037&rlst=1678856,2201076,2482037,2498537,2541886,5534043,6013403,8408484,408078 . If I can find or think of anything else, I will send it. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. Warmest regards, Paul Sorenson.”
Reply: Hi Paul, These are the results of my search re your uncle Donald Nickerson and some suggestions.
November 17, 2019
Request: Currently I’m investigating the “adventures” of James O. Ruscitto in the Netherlands. His plane was shot down in September 1944 near our village in The Netherlands. The local underground helped him. He got a fake ID and stayed in several places in our village, until it was liberated by the Poles in October 1944. The AFEES Member Story Database mentions the names of several of his helpers. What could possibly the source of this information? His E&E report doesn’t mention these names. Until today I didn’t find any other report or story which is mentioning these names. Do you have any idea? Every snippet of information is welcome. Greetings, Berry Bots, Gilze, The Netherlands.
Reply: Dear Mr. Bots, It may be that Mr. Ruscitto didn’t know the names at the time he was debriefed for the E&E report, since that was done right after the airman was returned to Allied control, but learned them later through his own research after the war. I was not active in AFEES when the Member Story Database was compiled, so I don’t know what was involved in putting it together. However, I think it is likely that it is based on information provided by each evader on his membership application at the time he joined AFEES, which could have been many years after the war. I looked at the AFEES Index to Helpers (see https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-helpers/) but did not find any of the names listed, nor was there any entry in the AFEES Index to Evaders for Mr. Ruscitto. But the indexes are still being compiled and there is the possibility that one or more of these people were referred to in an article in the AFEES newsletter. I suggest you do a Google search combining Ruscitto with AFEES and that might turn up a reference to him in one of the AFEES newsletters which are posted at https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/.
September 30, 2019
Request: My name is Frederic Henoff, I am a member of an association for aviation 39-45 remembrance (link: https://www.absa3945.com/ and http://absa3945.e-monsite.com/ the latter under construction) and I saw on your website a book called “Trough the eye of the needle” by Joe Consolmagno. I have a rather special request, I was wondering if any of you at the AFEES association had a copy of this book. I would be interested in an excerpt, the one about the story of Charles R. Grice. This excerpt, along with others, will be used to write a small booklet to be published for the commemoration planned for May 8, 2020 at Edern (a village in Brittany, France) in memory of the crew of the B-17 nicknamed “SUSFU” lost on January 21, 1943; a bomber belonging to the 303rd Bomb Group. We are currently looking for relatives of the aircrew members in the hope of their attendance, a commemoration where our Minister of Foreign Affairs – Jean-Yves Le Drian – who is Breton and native from the region should be present. Thank you beforehand for your assistance. Kind regards, Frederic Henoff.
Reply: Dear Mr. Henoff, Dear Mr. Henhoff, I am responding on behalf of AFEES. Fortunately, I have a copy of the book. I scanned the title page, the copyright page, and the five pages of Mr. Grice’s account, and have attached them to this email. I was also pleased to receive the two links to your association’s website. I have added them to the AFEES website page of escape and evasion websites (see under France) at https://airforceescape.org/escape-and-evasion-research/other-escape-evasion-websites/ and my own website at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/links-to-other-escape-and-evasion-websites/escape-and-evasion/. I hope your commemoration is a great success. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would send me some photos of the commemoration next year so that I can add them to this page on the AFEES website: https://airforceescape.org/reunions-and-memorials/memorials-to-allied-airmen-in-wwii/. Best wishes, Bruce Bolinger
September 20, 2019
Request: 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.
Reply: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, Bruce Bolinger
August 30, 2019
Request: I am studying the downing and the Escape of Robert Sheehan, pilot of the 63 Fighter-Group,who came down on The 7 th november 1943 in Holland , near my Hometown Eindhoven. He was the first escaper of the USAF.
I hope may be there are articles written about his Escape in some journals.
Thank you for your help. Anton Louwers
Dear Mr. Louwers,
This email is in response to the request you posted on the website of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES) for information on the experience of Robert Emmett Sheehan, 56th FG, 63rd FS. I do not know of any articles written about him but I did find some sources of information that should be useful.
1. Here is a link to a list that I compiled of Dutch helpers of Allied airmen from Eindhoven: https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/dutch-helper-list/dutch-helpers-by-selected-cities-and-towns/dutch-cities-chaam-to-fijnaart/eindhoven/. For the complete list of Dutch helpers compiled by the British, see: https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/dutch-helper-list/index-to-dutch-helpers-of-allied-personnel/.
2. For a link to a list that I compiled of WWII escape and evasion websites, see: https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/links-to-other-escape-and-evasion-websites/escape-and-evasion/.
3. The Keith Janes’ Conscript Heroes website is particularly useful. See: http://www.conscript-heroes.com/. Go to http://www.conscript-heroes.com/Art38-MIS-X.html to see a list of airmen who evaded capture or escaped after capture with their escape and evasion report numbers (referred to by Mr. Janes as MIS-X reports). By scrolling down the list, you will find that Sheehan’s E&E number is 340. Back to that in a moment.
4. Another invaluable source is The Comet Network at https://www.evasioncomete.be/. It contains an alphabetical list of evaders and escapers helped by the Comet Line at https://www.evasioncomete.be/aFichesChoix.html. You can scroll down to an airman’s name and by clicking on it, go directly to an account of that person’s experiences compiled by the researchers who run that website. In Sheehan’s case it is at https://www.evasioncomete.be/fsheehare.html. Although it is in French, that shouldn’t present too much of a problem for you. It even has two photos of him and links to some of his fellow evaders. You are fortunate that Sheehan was helped by the Comet Line for which there is this website. And if any of Sheehan’s fellow evaders are Americans, you may find further information on their E&E reports (see item 5 below).
5. With Sheehan’s E&E number of 340, it is possible to view his report on the website of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at College Park, Maryland. Hard copies of E&E reports and helper files are available there for research. For a description of using their records, go to https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/. But to save you time, I have downloaded a pdf file of his report and attached it. E & E 340 (Robert Sheehan)
6. Be sure to check the E&E reports of airmen whose E&E number is close to the #340 of Sheehan. They probably would have been debriefed at the same time and may have traveled with him.
7. Several years ago AFEES compiled a database of members. It you go to https://airforceescape.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AFEES-Member-database-Rads-Z.pdf you will find Sheehan listed but from that I learned that he was killed in the Korean war. That would account for there not having been any mention of him to date in the index to the AFEES newsletters that we have been compiling (see https://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-airmen/).
8. A few of the helpers referred to in The Comet Network article on Sheehan also appear in my website (Stassart, Mendiara, Bajpai, and Elhorga) in connection with my research on Applewhite. Go to https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/ and use the search box to find references to them. Some appear in “People Who Helped Applewhite” (https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/evasion-of-tom-applewhite/fellow-evaders-helpers-norwegian-sailors/people-who-helped-tom-applewhite/) and “Illustrated Description of Tom’s Evasion of Capture” https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/evasion-of-tom-applewhite/tom-got-to-freedom-the-hard-way/ f(which has pictures of some of them).
9. You might also want to take a look my two lists of Frequently Asked Questions about doing such research that you will find at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/faqs/.
July 4, 2019
Request: My father and mother were divorced when I was a child, and so I never got to know him. He lived in Hawaii during WWII and I always wondered what he did during the war, Then a few months ago, I was surprised to find an old postcard that he had written to me in the middle 40’s. There was something unusual about the postcard, it had a rubber stamp message that said, “Censored.” Having served in the army myself, I am aware that a censored stamp usually indicated that a military person or someone working with the military has had their mail scrutinized before being posted. If this is the case, perhaps my father was indeed involved with in the war effort. He was a plastering contractor (one of the best — at one time he worked for Frank Loyd Wright) so I wonder if he had helped in the restoration of Pearl Harbor or something like that. Anyway, do you have any idea how and where I could research that kind of information? It would help me to find out who my father was and who I am. His name was Eldon James Thorpe. From Don Thorpe.
Reply: The best I can suggest is to contact the National Personnel Records Center and the National Archives. See the page on this website at https://airforceescape.org/escape-and-evasion-research/requesting-official-military-personnel-files/ for links that might be useful, including the NPRC and the enlistment records at the National Archives. See also the article about the loss of many military records due to fire at https://airforceescape.org/escape-and-evasion-research/national-personnel-records-center-fire/.
June 14, 2019
Request: Do you know if Charles E. Davis former member of AFEES has passed away and if so when? Thanks. From Joe Motheral.
Response: Unfortunately, I have no information on Charles E. Davis. There are a few references in AFEES’ indexes to either Charles L. Davis and Charles M. Davis but no Charles E. Davis. There was a reference to a Charles Davis, no middle initial, in Yugoslavia (AFEES newsletter of Sept. 1998, pg. 9O). There was no Charles E. Davis in the Member Database, only Charles L. and Charles M. And there was no Charles E. Davis in the main index to escape and evasion reports at the National Archives.
May 31, 2019
Request: 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.
Response: 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.
April 9, 2019
Request: Regarding WW2 “Helpers” a name missing from the list is a Dutch Helper; CORNELIS BRASZ the Dutch city of Enschede in the east of the country close to Germany. He is confirmed as aiding downed pilots and received certificates from U.K., USA and French authorities. Signed Phil Froom
Response: The index to Helpers on this website is still under construction and, in any event, only lists the names of Helpers that have appeared in AFEES newsletters. There may not have been any reference to Mr. Brasz in any of the newsletters. Nevertheless, he was in important figure in the Smit-Van der Heijden Line. One of the line’s key contacts was Mr. Cornelis Brasz, then residing at Haaksbergerstraat 37, Enschede, next to the main police station. After the liberation he was residing at Emmastraat 111, Enschede. He was born in Enschede on 25.4.1899, married, and had two children, ages 7 and 19 in 1945. He was married to G.W. Brasz-Brasz. According to his file compiled by Headquarters, European Theatre of Operations, Military Intelligence Service, he gave food and shelter to about 15 Allied airmen. He transferred some of the airmen to his brother-in-law, Bertram Brasz, of Tilburg, a close friend of Karst Smit. In addition, it appears that he put Karst Smit in touch with Hendrik Jannink and his wife Joanna Jannink Bruyns, who also assisted Karst with the transport of airmen. Mr. Jannink was shot at Vught on 5 September 1944 but Mrs. Jannink survived the war. Cornelis Brasz is listed on the British index of Helpers at https://wwiinetherlandsescapelines.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/b24.jpg. He also appears in the list of members of the Smit-Van der Heijden Line at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/airmen-helped/members-of-the-smit-van-der-heijden-line/civilians-in-the-line/.
March 27, 2019
Request: Jeanne Cresson (you write her name Jean, in an English way), who is in your list of HELPERS for France with her husband (died in 2009) Paul , is died on March 24. She will be inhumated friday the 29 of March. It means in two days.
You can see her notice of dead in the newspaper La Voix du Nord of today.
She will be celebrate friday at 9.30 (morning) in Villeneuve d’Ascq (North of France) at St Sébastien christian church (place de la République, 59650 Villeneuve d’Ascq). After this, the family will receipt her friends at Ferme Petitprez, near of Cocteau road in Villeneuve d’Ascq (from 11.00 to 13.00). Then, at 14.30 she will be put in her family’s grabe in (62760) Pas-en-Artois, the village where the Cresson family hide Pat Brody and others soldiers of the Allied Air Forces. Written in a difficult English by her son Dominique Cresson the 27 of March 2019.
March 20, 2019
Request: My grandfather was a member of a resistance goup in France (Normandy) and my mother said to me that he helped some Royal Air Force members to escape from german soldiers. If I give you the name and some other information, is it possible to know who was save by him and if there is still familly in UK of these airmen ? He has , on his tomb, at cemetery an official plate of Royal Air Force Escape Society. The Name is : Marcel OLBE. Thank you for your help. Regards, Alain Baboin,
Response: Two members of the group to which I belong replied and gave me some suggestions for your research. Attached is a copy of the page from the list of French helpers of Allied airmen. (You can also click on https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/french-helper-list/o-names/french-helpers-obert-to-ozon/ , which is on my personal website, and see the list.) As you will see, your grandfather is listed as living at Breteuil sur Iton, (Eure). His Award Grade is 5, the award grade that is most commonly given (an Award Grade of 1, for example, would be awarded to someone who ran a large escape line). The Certificate Number and Claim Number were for record-keeping purposes of the Allies and are not of any particular use to you. You should be able to get a copy of the file compiled by the Allies on your grandfather . There is probably a copy of the file at the U.S. National Archives II (NAII) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NAII is located in College Park, Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. and is where all the WWII records are kept. You should be able to order a copy of his file from NAII. If you go to this link: https://www.archives.gov/contact?utm_source=Catalog%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=two_steps&utm_content=two_steps, you should find a form to use to contact NAII. My understanding is that there is no charge for the first time someone requests a copy of a helper file.
There is a good chance that there will be some information on the airmen he helped, possibly including their names and maybe even dates he helped them and some personal details. If any of them are Americans, it should be possible for you to obtain their escape and evasion reports. See https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/escape-evasion-reports-available-on-line/ for details on how to look up any such reports.
You mentioned that there was an official plate on his tomb from the Royal Air Forces Escaping Society. When RAFES was shut down because its members were dying off its records were turned over to the Imperial War Museum in London. (RAFES still has a website. See http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/rafescape/.) There is a good chance that there will be a RAFES files on the members of the RAF your grandfather helped. I have heard that the IWM may not be willing to look for a file on a member of RAFES because it does not have enough people to do searches. Maybe they would be willing to let you search the RAFES files. But you would have to have the names of the RAF men to be able to find the files.
Here is a link to a French website that connects airmen to geographical locations (https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/french-helper-list/french-helpers-by-geographical-location/) where they were helped. I think it would be worth your searching it for the place listed as where your grandfather lived and other towns in the area. You might find the names of Allied airmen helped in those towns and discover connections to your grandfather.
If you find the names of British airmen helped by your grandfather, I know someone in England who specializes in searching for people who are to inherit something who might be able to help you locate their families.
March 5, 2019
Request: I am chairman of an ‘aviation enthusiasts Society’ – Air ACES – in Chichester, W.Sx.. My wife Alison has, this am., seen a book entitled – The Caterpillar, Goldfish & Guinea Pig Clubs. (I had not heard of the first two, before). I am also ‘talk coordinator’ for Air ACES, and my philosophy is to get many different aviation subjects as possible, for the interest of the Air ACES members. In 2020, I have Alex Sewell, giving a presentation talk about the Guinea Pig Club. My thoughts now are to try a ‘make a trilogy of talks, about these three subjects. Can you please inform me, as to whom I can ask, to undertake a full presentation about the Caterpillar Club & its members. In anticipation of a hopefully positive reply, I thank you very much.
Kind regards, David Batcock.
Response: I do not know if there is anyone who can speak specifically about the Caterpillar Club. Nor do I know if any Caterpillar Clubs still exist. Since you are located in England, the one person I know of who might know and might come closest to what you are seeking would be Roger Stanton, executive director of the WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society. See their website at http://www.ww2escapelines.co.uk/. He probably can come up with someone who can speak about escape and evasion in WWII if not specifically about the Caterpiller Club. In addition, perhaps one of the links on this page about the Caterpillar Clubs will help you.
March 3, 2019
Request: 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 still living and if necessary would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Kees Oversier jr 1410-592-3347 Glen Arm, MD.
Requesting permission to use some of your information on the memorial for Grover Paul Parker 1924 – 1884 or at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/148298633/grover-paul-parker
I have posted already and will remove if not wanted, or you may want to add to or change. Sincerely, Alton Wise
Response: 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.
February 20, 2019
Request: I wish to get a digital copy of a file from AFEES own archives. Its reference :
MS 54 # 3 (page 13) puis Serie 3 – Correspondence – Box 28 – Folder 4 (Lorinquer et Le Goff) (pages 27 et 28)]. File connected to Hugonnet, Southers, etc … (B 17 fallen down on 5 January 1944 in Brittany, France). Best regards, Jean Yves Thoraval.
Response: AFEES does not have an archive other than what has appeared in its newsletters or on this website. And I do not recognize the file reference that you give. Both Hugonnet and Southers, however, do appear on the index to evaders elsewhere on this website (see http://airforceescape.org/newsletters/index-to-newsletters/index-to-airmen/) and you can use it to find your way to whatever stories in the AFEES newsletters mention them. In addition, in this website at http://airforceescape.org/afees-member-stories/ you will find some information on both men. Perhaps what you have in mind are the escape and evasion reports on American airmen available at the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland in the U.S. which are available on-line. Hugonnet’s report, for example, is available at https://research.archives.gov/search?q=Ernest%20Hugonnet. For advice on how to search the on-line database, see https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/escape-evasion-reports-available-on-line/. Southers report may also be there but I did not immediately find it.
February 15, 2019
Request: I have a “Winged Boot” that I found in my father’s effects. Unfortunately there is no certificate with it. He was a flight electrician on Bristol Bombays and Vickers Valentias of 216 Squadron Heliopolis (Cairo). He never talked about his wartime experiences, but I know that he used to travel on planes at least from Cairo to Khartoum and possibly the South Sahara Route as I have two photos of Takoradi. He also has a photograph of the “Rescue Party” which looks like a small group of Dinka tribesmen in Darfur. He was with 216 Squadron from 1940 to 1942 when he was hospitalised in Cairo and evacuated via Durban. He was virtually deaf and blind in his left ear and eye after the war. His name was Sam Sidebotham. I live in Australia. Is there any way I can find out if the boot is genuine, and belonging to my father? He never flew again in unpressurised aircraft. Did the Late Arrivals keep records? One late arrival at Khartoum resulted in being accommodated in the Officers Mess. That must have been special as he kept his “admission ticket” I’d love to hear from anyone who may be able to confirm or suggest how I can find whether he was a “Late Arrival”. Signed, John Sidebotham.
January 21, 2019
Request: On behalf of the Mayor of Villebout ( France) who is organising a remembrance ceremony in the Freteval Forest in France next June, we are trying to join any of those people : Edouard Renière and Philippe Save, from Belgium or President Katsaros who used to work with Michel Herbuel, secretary of the memorial commitee of allied Airmen in villebout. Could you please send me any information that I would then transfer?
I am a member of the Afees thanks to my mother who was a helper during the war. In 1987 we visited the States and were welcome by Heyward C. Spinks in Beaufort (SC) and other members in those days. Unfortunately I no longer get your ” magazine” since I moved so I decided to join you by mail. Thank you for your help.Sincerely, AM Soudet, 79 rue St Fuscien Apt B12, 80090 Amiens France. Signed Satiris “Sonny” Fassoulis.
Response: You will find the contact information, including AFEES President Katsaros on the AFEES website page listing its officers at http://airforceescape.org/officers/. The email address that I have for Ed Renière is email@example.com. I am not familiar with the name of Philippe Save. AFEES will be having its annual meeting in May in Buffalo, New York and Niagara Falls. That would be an opportunity for you to meet additional members. See http://airforceescape.org/2015-afees-reunion/. However, if you were to attend, you would need to act immediately to sign up.
November 10, 2018
Request: I am a member of the society having been a prisoner and escapee in Europe and likewise in China during WWII. We need a speaker for a Florida Pilots group meeting there this coming February. Their tradition is to have a Pilot speaker of WWII. All expenses will be advanced. The group is extremely patriotic, of top significant credentials and most entertaining. I was their speaker last year. Can you help? Sincerely, Satiris “Sonny” Fassoulis
Response: The webmaster will provide Mr. Fassoulis some recommended speakers directly.
October 10, 2018
Request: Speaking of memorials to the Comète Line, I was amazed when I realised last year that there isn’t a single memorial in the Pays Basque to those brave souls who stepped forward to help Comète. I’m pleased to tell you that the Mayor of Anglet announced during our 3 day commemorative weekend (organised by “The Friends of the Comet Line”) that he had approved this long-overdue project.
Andrée De Jongh used to emphasise to all prospective helpers that they could expect to operate for no more than 6 months before being arrested. As they were non-combatants, the Geneva Convention did not apply to them and so they were exposed to all the grisly provisions of the German security services. At this point, I always ask myself the unanswerable question: what would I have done?
This memorial will serve to remind local people of a glorious chapter of their history that few seem to be aware of. Signed Geoff Cooper cometepaysbasque.blogs
Response: I am very pleased to hear of it. Thank you for letting us know.
September 23, 2018
Request: Hi,would it be possible to purchase one copy of your book what is in this story.Hope you can help. David Leedham.
Response: If you are referring to the booklet, “Henriette Hanotte, nom de guerre “Monique”, A guide to the “COMÈTE escape line 1942-1944”, you may be able to get a copy from one of the tourism offices listed toward the end. If not, I suggest you just print out a copy from the website. [Six weeks later I found a copy of the booklet and mailed it to Mr. Leedham.]
July 22, 2018
Request: Is there a confirmed number of evaders who escaped via All the Escape Lines (so a total figure)? Signed Phil Froom.
Response: I know of no confirmed number for all evaders who escaped via all the escape lines. This is not surprising considering the difficult conditions under which the lines had to operate and the repeated penetrations of the lines by double agents, requiring surviving members of the lines to regroup and start up new lines. Even if someone were to add up the best estimates for the better known lines, there are lesser known lines for which there is only skimpy information.
July 9, 2018
Request: In the mid-1950s my father, Air Force Lt. Colonel Louis Albert Tester, ejected from his F100 jet off of the coast of Morocco, Africa when the jet’s engine failed. He was in the ocean for a period of time before being rescued by Moroccan fishermen. He passed away in 1998 after a 28 year career in the Air Force with service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and rests at Florida National Cemetery. Yesterday I found a certificate that he was a member of the Caterpillar Club as a result of the Morocco incident. I cannot find his name in a search of the site. How do I make sure that his name is listed? Thank you for your assistance. Regards, Lana Tester.
Response: If the site you are referring to is that of AFEES, it may be that he never joined the organization. Or, if he did, because the indexing of the AFEES newsletters is not complete, we may simply have not yet indexed the newsletter in which he was mentioned. If you are referring to his membership in the Caterpillar Club, you would need to contact that organization at one of the websites listed above since it is a separate organization from AFEES.
July 6, 2018
Request: I have a copy of a handwritten report EE430 for Robert Southers, which unfortunately is hard to read. Do you have a typed transcription of it please? If not, can you recommend someone to transcribe it for me please? Signed Sim Smiley.
Response: I viewed the E&E 430 report for Robert Southers that National Archives II has posted online (see https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/escape-evasion-reports-available-on-line/). Except for the first three pages which are easy to read, the remainder is typical of E&E reports, consisting of hard-to-read notes taken by an aide present during the interview. I know of no one who could do a better job of transcribing it than yourself. As you learn more about Souther’s experiences, more of the notes will make sense. I have checked the following: (1) The 8th Air Force Museum website has posted websites for the different bomb groups. Some Bomb Groups still have active websites but 94th BG of Mr. Southers does not. There may be some websites related to the 94th that I am not aware of. (2) If you have not seen the E&E 430 posted on the Internet by National Archives II, go to https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/escape-evasion-reports-available-on-line/ for instructions on how to access it. (3) There may be an additional document, known as the Appendix C, that was part of Mr. Southers’ file, that is not shown with his E&E report. It would be worth asking National Archives II or a private researcher to search for it. See https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/appendix-c-part-of-escape-and-evasion-reports/ for more information on the Appendix C. See
https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/hiring-a-professional-researcher/ for information on hiring a professional researcher to search for it. (4) I checked the website of the Comet Line, the biggest escape line used by Allied aviators (see http://www.evasioncomete.org/aListe.html) but Southers is not listed, so his helpers were probably not part of the Comet Line. (5) The website of Franck Signorile at http://www.aide-aviateurs-allies-ww2.fr/ has a reference to Southers at http://www.aide-aviateurs-allies-ww2.fr/RechercheEvades. He is mentioned along with other evaders and the names of several helpers. You might want to contact Mr. Signorile for further information and advice. (6) I see that one of the evaders listed on Mr. Signorile’s website with Southers was Feingold. This is likely to be the father of Rick Feingold, who can be contacted at rickfeingold at att.net. Mr. Feinigold has been an active researcher of his father’s experiences and is a member of AFEES. Rick may be able to help fill you in on Mr. Souther’s experiences.
April 16, 2018
Request: 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 Webber. 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. Thanks, Thorsten Webber.
Response: 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.
March 28, 2018
Request: Dear Members of the Caterpillar Club, I would like to share with you the story of my father, Danilo Marques Moura, a World War II hero, who had his life saved by a parachute on Feb,4th 1945. Danilo Moura was a member of the 1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron (1ºGAVCA), which became part of the 350th Fighter Group USAAF. He had flew 10 missions before having his P-47 Thunderbolt shot down in Castlefranco – Italy, during his 11th mission. This event triggered one of the, still, most well know histories of the Brazilian Airforce (FAB) during World War II, Danilo´s escape to reach back the Allied Force Base at Pisa after walking more than 450 km during almost 30 days. Hopefully, after getting to know a little bit more about my father´s history you can include my his name in the Caterpillar Club, and grant us a pin in his memory. Please let me know how to apply, and I will be glad to share all proper evidence and documentation with you. Feel free to reach me at your convenience. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Regina Maria Moura.
March 12, 2018
Request: My father-in-law, Fred O’Laughlin, flew B-24s out of England and they were forced to land outside of Brussels on October 15, 1944. He was held by numerous Belgian underground personnel and finally returned to Allied lines and returned to England. He was with the 392nd Bomb Group/577 Bomb Squadron and flew on the Fairy Belle. He has since past away but I am trying to find all I can regarding his time with the underground and his return to his base. Do you have any information? Where do I begin to look? Anything you can provide would be helpful. Thank you in advance. Jim Steinfort
Response: I checked the index to on-line escape and evasion reports but did not find him listed. Ditto in the case of the Comet Line, the biggest escape line. I suggest that you try the website for the 392nd BG at http://www.b24.net/ and http://www.wingsofmemory.be/Engels/Lib.html. One or the other might be able to help you. Also take a look at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/escape-and-evasion-topics/crash-sites-in-belgium/. After you have exhausted those, write again.
March 10, 2018
Request: 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.
Response: I suggest you contact Franck Signorile who is deeply involved in researching the same subject. Go to http://www.aide-aviateurs-allies-ww2.fr/contact-en for information on him. I suggest you also look at the websites having to do with France on the following website: https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/links-to-other-escape-and-evasion-websites/escape-and-evasion/.
March 4, 2018
Request: Hello, Thank you so much for being part of keeping these stories and connections alive. I am researching my fraternal uncle Sebron Andrew McQueen. In the September 2005 edition of your newsletter you list him as an evader who escaped in November of 1943 to Lecumberri in Spain. Is there a reason he isn’t on your master list of evaders? Since I just found this site last night I am not quite certain what the criteria you use to determine who to list. Is there any other source for details on his escape? I know he was in the 92nd bombardment group and was shot down in March of 1943 after an attack on an airport at St. André de l’Eure but don’t know any other details. Any help would be appreciated. Linda Loose.
Response: The reason he is not on our master index to evaders is because we are still in the process of indexing the names of evaders and their helpers, working backwards from the most recent newsletters to the earliest. We have not yet reached the 2005 newsletters. But you are in luck. The National Archives II at College Park, MD has his 35-page escape and evasion (E&E) report. Go to https://catalog.archives.gov/searchand enter his name or his E&E number, which is E&E 249. Reports like this one relatively early in the US involvement in the war are much more detailed than the later ones. You will find a report by him in his handwriting. You can also click on https://catalog.archives.gov/search?q=Sebron%20Andrew%20McQueen which may take you directly to his report. If the link does not work, use the other link or go to https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/escape-evasion-reports-available-on-line/ for instructions on how to search for an E&E report. If the E&E report gives any names of his helpers, you may be able to find files on them, also at National Archives II. You can go there and search the files or order copies from NAII. See https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/research/national-archives-research/ for further information on research. Also see two FAQs on research, one on airmen at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/faqs/how-do-i-learn-about-an-allied-airman-who-was-shot-down/ and one on their helpers at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/faqs/faqs-resistance/. Even though he came down in France, many of the FAQ suggestions are equally applicable to his experience.
March 3, 2018
Request: I am researching Albert Debacker for a friend. I am hoping you could send me a photo copy or simple scan on page 88. This will clear up a big mystery for me. Thank you very much for your help. Donna Bonning.
Response: The item about Albert Debacker from the AFEES book has been sent to Ms. Bonning.
February 27, 2018
Request: 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.
Response: 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.
February 8, 2018
Request: My uncle was Alfred Amann, pilot of this plane. I appreciate your sharing the information on this mission. Any further details of Alfred? Richard Amann.
Response: The 8th AF Museum website lists, for the 386th Bomb Group, a website for which the contact address is http://www.b26.com/contact-us/. Maybe they can help you. The following comment was posted on March 22, 2020:
January 3, 2018
Request: I’m Yannick MARCHANDISE. I was in contact with Larry GRAUERHOLZ. My grandmother helped him to leave France in 1944. She “welcomed” him in Lacanau (France). Larry and I exchanged letters. He explained me what my grandmother did for him. My job (I’m in the french army) has made that Larry and I didn’t speak as we want together. He invited me in Wichita Falls but I wasn’t able to go to this city. I invited Larry and his family to go to Lacanau in order to watch them the house where my grandmother helped him. I would be very happy to keep a contact with Larry’s family. Can you give her my Email and ask her to contact me ? Larry was someone special for me. His family will always be welcome in my family. Thank you so much, Yannick MARCHANDISE.
Response: Mr. Marchandise has been put in touch with the Grauerholz family.
December 25, 2017
Request: I am looking for a story of Henry Hodulik. He was first cousin of my late grandma. Thanks for any help with his story. Martin Micek.
Response: Mr. Micek has been contacted for further information.
November 20, 2018
Request: 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 Bridle
November 16, 2017
Request: My name is Frederic HENOFF, I am a French researcher and I would like very pleased to receive a copy of the page of the book (page 85 ?) regarding James C. CATER (324 BS / 91 BG). His plane was shot-down over Avord airfield, France on April 28, 1944. I thank you beforehand for your sending. Warmest regards from France, Frederic Henoff.
Response: Copies of pages 85-86 containing the story of Mr. Cater have been sent to you as attachments to an email.
November 1, 2017
Request: I would like to know if some of those “wing boot” medals are still around. My uncle was an airmen in the WWII and received such an award, but he died in a fire destroying the medal he wore always on his neck. I would like to get 2 medals or the replicas to give to my two cousins in memory on that fine uncle !!! Richard Bouffard
October 28, 2017
Request: 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…Jan Nieuwenhuis
September 21, 2017
Request: Please provide me with the obituary for Hayward Claude Spinks. He did a forced landing near Paris during WWII. My elderly French friend, Prof. Roger Folliot, was a teenager in the French resistance and rescued Hayward Spinks. His account is on the Association des Sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Allies website. I am trying to locate any descendants of Hayward Spinks at the request of Prof. Folliot who would like to share memorabilia with them. Jonathan Knopp
Response: Do you know when and where he died? And was he a member of AFEES? The index to the AFEES newsletters has not been completed but if his date of death is available and if he was a member of AFEES, there might be an obituary about him that appeared in the AFEES newsletter not long after he died.
Reply from Mr. Knopp: No, I didn’t see your posted message on the AFEES website. So, I appreciate your email to me. Heyward Claude Spinks died on 26 Jan. 1990, at the Veterans Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. I don’t know if he was a member of the AFEES. I have also learned that he also had a sister who died on 18 Sept. 1990 but I’m not sure where. Maybe Atlanta, GA. Her name was Janet Spinks Martin. It seems Heyward was married but it didn’t last. I guess the question is whether or not his sister had children and, if so, who they are and where they live.
Thanks for you interest.
Response from Webmaster:
1. The AFEES membership list of 1991 at http://airforceescape.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/April-1991.pdf (pg. 8) still listed him at P.O. Box 844, Beaufort, So. Carolina 29901 as “Deceased AFEES”.
2. The Spring 1990 AFEES newsletter at http://airforceescape.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Spring-1990.pdf on pg. 2 contains an “In Memoriam” about him but with no information on his postwar life other than that at that time was survived by a sister and a mother and that he had served as Secretary Treasurer of AFEES for many years. It gave his date of death as Jan. 26, 1990. It also says he is buried at the National Cemetery in Beaufort, So. Carolina. I checked the rest of the Spring issue and the Summer issue of the AFEES newsletter but there was nothing further on Mr. Spinks.
3. I checked the WhitePages for the family name at http://www.whitepages.com/name/Spinks/Beaufort-SC and there are several people with that family name still living in Beaufort and even more who used to live there.
4. FindAGrave for the National Cemetery at Beaufort at https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Spinks&GSfn=Heyward&GSiman=1&GScid=69466&GRid=2955383& lists a Heyward O. Spinks with a photo of the headstone and a date of death of Jan. 27, 1990. Despite the differences in middle initial and day of death, it seems likely this is the same person.
5. You might try contacting the Visitor Center at Beaufort, Visitors Center Info 713 Craven ST
Beaufort, SC 29902
Phone: (843) 525-8500
6. The Beaufort public library (http://www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/) might have files of obituaries or at least back issues of the local newspaper which they would be willing to search for you for Mr. Spinks obituary since you have the date of death.
7. Or try an online newspaper archive at https://newspaperarchive.com/cgi/Beaufort-South-Carolina/?gclid=CjwKCAjwranNBRBhEiwASu908J6CYhE9oYJQqRNKo4CjPAz7KMWpaWg3M00c1LnXQtbSoLzMJm727xoCEq0QAvD_BwE that offers a free seven-day introductory offer.
August 29, 2017
Request: 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 began this research from à child schoolwork about resistance action during the war in charente maritime…written in 1968…the young boy wrote the name of Edward Knapp…helped by member of his family… Bernard Lafarge
Response: 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/.
August 29, 2017
Request: How do I obtain the full article ” Deliver us from evil” Thomas Fleming August 1991. Chris Maxwell
Response: I believe this was in the Canadian edition of Reader’s Digest. Writing them directly at http://www.readersdigest.ca/, might help. Or try writing Basic Books, the publisher of his book, “The Illusion of Victory, American in World War II,” at firstname.lastname@example.org. They might be able to put you in touch with Mr. Fleming.