WILBERT C. SCHATTE|
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
Excerpts are being taken from this letter. It was written by Wilbert's wife, Flora.
915 Washington Apt. 3
Highland, IL 62249
6 April 1982
Last year Jim Norton died with a heart attack. To me it was a little hard to take as Jim and Wilbert were very close. Seems like they were always together. During the war, I visited Jim's family and got to know them very well.
Charles (Chink) Rouser lives in PA. R#3 Slippery Rock, PA 16057, (412)530-7347. I sure wish Charles would tell his story to the 2nd ADA or to the Ex-POW as he really had an experience. I think he would like to hear from you and the addresses of the men that were with him.
We went to the Netherlands and Wilbert wanted to go to Leewaurden to find information about their crashed landing. We went into the newspaper office and met the editor. He quickly called Jan van der Veer. The next morning we went to Jan's home. Jan had written a book, "De Luchtoorlog Boven Zuidwest Friesland," 1940-45. This book tells about all the crashes in the Friesland. In this book, he has that Wilbert's plane came down November 13, 1943 and the time of day. That was all the information he had.
Mr. Mulder and Jan took us to different spots thinking it was the place that the plane went down. Of course, Mr. Mulder took pictures and then wrote it up in the paper. "DeLuchtoorlog was a big success for Jan and he made a second printing of it and made changes and included the happenings of the crew. In the meantime, he began the writing of the "Liberator." It was a lot of work. We would send information back and forth. We got Spearman Norton, L. M. Hanson, Suzdak Pecka all involved in it. J. D. Hansen couldn't get involved as he felt he didn't do anything to get any honor.
At the time of Wilbert's death, Jan had it as far as the raid and coming in for the landing. Jan wanted to stop, but I urged him to continue and the book was finished. The dedication of the book took place on the site of the crash. The ceremony was really something that I'll never forget. They spoke in Dutch Friesland and English. I was presented the first copy, also a 20x25 picture o the crew and also an enlarged copy of the cover of the book. It is a drawing of the plane coming in for the crash landing. We also received pieces of the plane that John van der Veer took from the plane. This all took place in his cow pasture. He was a young boy and he would sneak onto the plane and take whatever he could. That evening they had a dinner party for us. I think I could just keep going on and on about that occasion.
Jan van der Veer is a person that can write. I think I have all his letters, as they are books in themselves. His tapes with his music (he is a very good organist). I sure wish that he and Rink, his wife, could come to the states for everyone to meet them.
I will be watching for your stories in the Journal. If anyone remembers Wilbert, I would like to hear from them.
1 October 1982
I received the book from you. Thanks and I sure appreciate having it. I've been paging all through it and finding all kinds of information. I don't remember if I wrote to you about Charles Rouser. He was with Wilbert's crew as bombardier, but was put with Griffin's crew 17 July 1943. Charles' wife, Dolly, and I traveled together here in the states with the crew and we are still corresponding.
Chink (as we know him by) has a lot to tell of his capture, escape, hiding out with the Italian family and then giving himself up to the Germans again because of lack of food.