World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
18 February 1993
Thank you very much for your letter and the page form your book. I can't add very much, but will relate what I remember.
I am sure that we were shot down by FW-190s not ME262s.
The fire in the bomb bay and flight deck was severe. I signaled to bail out and those on the flight deck went out the top hatch. I know that Lt. Neutze, Sgt. Radu, and Sgt. Winn got out of the plane. It seems I was told later that Radu's chute burned up and he fell to his death. When I couldn't control the plane any longer, I started for the hatch and that is the last I remember until I came to, falling through space!
I pulled my ripcord and in seconds was on the ground. I was either blown or thrown clear of the plane. I landed near a small village and near a woods. I hid my chute in the woods. Took off my flying boots and started to run and I ran right into a home guard detail that captured me. They were wearing the spiked World War I helmets and long coats.
After being captured, I was taken to Frankfurt and then to Barth and Stalag Luft I. I was injured and burned around the face and nose. At Stalag Luft I, I was put in the hospital staffed with English doctors captured at Dunkirk in 1939. I spent about six months in the hospital with an infested right leg, which I almost lost. I was released in mid-May, 1945, by the Russian Army and shortly after was air evacuated to a hospital in Paris. I eventually got back to the states in July 1945.
Thanks again for the info.