World War II prisoner of war camp - Stalag Luft I


World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I 

A collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I


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Luther Richmond - Fighter Pilot - Commanding Officer of 486th Lt. Col. Luther H. Richmond
Commanding Officer of the 486th Fighter Squad  -  352nd Fighter Group

Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany -  April 15th, 1944, through May 1945. 

Downed by flak while attacking anti-aircraft position. 

As a relatively high ranking officer in the camp, Luther was afforded a view of the proceedings denied many of the other 9,000 inhabitants of the camp. Here he shares with us narratives of his final mission and his thirteen-month stay as a POW at Stalag Luft I.


The following articles were written by Marc L. Hamel in collaboration with Maj. Gen. Luther H. Richmond (USAF Ret.).  


"Jackpot" over Vechta - "His tracers looked like red golf balls coming up, and normally I would have zigged and zagged a bit so that he would miss. On that day however, the temptation was too great and I held my aim steady as I could see my tracers hitting the flak site. I felt the ship get hit, and almost immediately a tongue of flame licked back from around my feet and burned my hands quite badly. ‘You're on fire Colonel!’ my element leader radioed."    On April 15th, 1944, Lt. Colonel Luther H. Richmond made a jarring switch from Squadron Leader to Prisoner of War.  Commanding the 486th Fighter Squadron (FS) of the 352nd Fighter Group (FG), Luther led his men in a carefully orchestrated strafing attack of the German airfield at Vechta that day. Though the squadron destroyed 8 of the German planes caught in the air, it was at the cost of their respected leader who dueled with a flak position and had to bail out of his flaming Mustang “PZ-R”.

The Great Escape (Almost) - “The rest of us peered through cracks in the blackout shutters and saw the head digger begin to emerge. About that time, the guard in the tower 50 feet from the barracks began playing his searchlight up and down the fence line. As he reversed it, the beam swept across our man just as he stood up. The light wavered past him, then came back and fully caught him…”

 The Coming of the Russians  In April, 1945, we awakened every morning to a tremendous, though distant, artillery barrage to the East and Southeast of Barth. We knew that Marshall Rokassofsy’s First Ukrainian Army was attacking across Northern Germany and was getting closer by the day. Our spirits rose at the prospect of being liberated soon.  The German guards were increasingly nervous, and a bit more friendly than they had been.


Lt. Col. Richmond - Commanding Officer 486th Fighter Group

Richmond qualified in over 78 types of aircraft during his career, beginning with the P-12 fighter and continuing through contemporary jets.


Luther Richmond and William Chamberlain - World War II

Luther and William Chamberlain, a squadron CO in the 388th Bomb Group visiting at Bodney.  They were friends stateside, and Chamberlain flew in the visible B-17 for a visit in early April 1944. 



- Nov. 45-July 46, Director of Training, Selfridge Field, MI (P-47s and B-26s)

- July 1946-July 1947, Commander 8th FG, Ashiya, Japan (P-51s)

- July 1947-June 1949, Deputy A-3 of HQ 5th AF, Nagoya, Japan

- July 1949-May 1953, Action Officer in War Plans, HQ USAF then Exec Officer to the DCS Plans and Ops, HQ USAF, Gen Thomas D. White

- May 1953-March 1955, Base Commander and C.O. 564th Air Defense Group, Otis AFB, first Jet Checkout in T-33 and F-94C

- March 1955-June 1958, Chief of the Air Force Section, MAAG Germany in the American Embassy, Bonn, Germany, mission to rebuild the German Luftwaffe

- June 1958-June 1959, Attended National War College, Washington

- June 1959-June 1963, HQ USAF, Deputy Director of Plans for War Plans

- June 1963-Oct 1963, Plans Officer, HQ SHAPE in Paris

- Oct. 63-March 65, Inspector General, HQ USAFE, Wiesbaden

- March 65-March 66, Deputy Commander 17th AF, Ramstein, Germany

- March 1966-March 1967, Commander 19th AF, Seymour Johnson AFB, Goldsboro, NC

- March 67-May 1970, Director of Plans, J-5, US Strike Command, MacDill AFB

- Retired 1970 as Major General


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