collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I
If you are a former Prisoner of War or a next of
kin of a POW, we invite you to sign and leave your email address so others that
come may find you. Please mention camp, compound, barracks and room numbers if
Standing are (L to R) ball turret gunner Larry Hull,
tail gunner Donald Frans, pilot Stuart Mendelsohn, co-pilot Verne Woods,
waist gunner Stanley Sadlo and radio operator James Quinn.
Front row - waist gunner Roke Lieberman, bombardier Harold Fox, navigator
William Borellis, and engineer/top turret gunner Richard Hensley.
Borellis is holding their mascot Eager Beaver that they took to England
with them and who accompanied them on one mission.
Death of the Black Swan
- This is what we in Stalag Luft
I called a "horror story". Each of the 9000 prisoners there
had a horror story to tell. Experiencing the "horror"
of being shot from the sky was the universal prelude, the rite of
passage if you will, to our incarceration. In addition to the episode
that brought us to the German stalag, we prisoners usually had a
collection of additional horror stories from earlier missions that
we'd survived. So in Stalag Luft I we were satiated with horror
stories -- sick and tired of hearing any more of them. As a
result, we became sensitized against subjecting anyone to our horror
stories and this inhibition lasted well into the post-war years.
But in recent years, I find myself to be a garrulous old veteran,
telling my December 31, 1943, horror story to anyone who might pause
Stuart Mendelsohn - Most young American
males in 1941 saw the attack on Pearl Harbor not as a National
calamity but as an appreciated transition. Adventure was promised.
That promise could best be realized, so I reasoned, as a pilot in the
US Army Air Corps. Soon after Pearl Harbor, I took a battery of tests,
passed, and on April 1, 1942, was sworn into Army Air Corps as an
Aviation Cadet. But before I reported to Santa Ana, California, I, at
age 21, and Onie Belle Patrick, eight days past her 18th birthday,
were married. Our first months of marriage must not have been
especially happy ones for Onie, a little teen-age waif living alone in
unfamiliar western towns far from Memphis while I, on near-by military
bases, completed the various stages of pilot training. In April, 1943,
a graduate of the class of 43-D, I received my pilot's wings and the
brass bars of a second lieutenant. At an airbase near Blythe,
California, I was introduced to the Boeing B-17 and to my combat crew.
The Last German Soldier at Stalag Luft I
- I've often wondered if others in North
Compound I who witnessed the scene that I describe here remember it as I
still do, a sadly dissonant note to the joy of liberation.
On the Internet newsgroup,
soc.history.war.world-war-ii, World War II battles are refought, the
FW-190 and the Zero face off in imaginary dogfights and the Sherman,
Tiger and T-34 tanks compete again for engineering supremacy.
Recently, when the forum took up the subject of the best WWII TV
documentaries, I joined the discussion with this:
The Greatest Generation Reunites -
Verne walked away away from Stalag Luft I before the B-17s arrived to
evacuate everyone. Just one of his 15 roommates joined him on the trip
to the British Lines. Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation
Speaks" book recently led to him finding that roommate after 50 years.