CLARENCE W. STRANDBERG|
World War II Diary
Shot down; POW; evaded; MIA; escaped; parachuted; hospitalized.
I was shot down over Foggio, Italy on August 16, 1943 on my 21st and last mission. My plane was on fire so I parachuted out at about 18,000 feet. I was captured by Italian soldiers and turned over to the Germans for interrogation. I was put in an Italian POW camp. I escaped September 12, 1943 and lived in the Italian mountains for seven weeks. To survive, I begged food from the Italian farmers. I kept walking south, mostly at night and staying off the roads to evade being captured by the German soldiers.
Seven weeks after escaping from POW camp, I met a U.S. Army Unit that was fighting its way up north from southern Italy. The Army doctor that examined me said I had contracted Hepatitis (Yellow Jaundice), so I was flown to Catania, Sicily and hospitalized there.
On August 29, 1943, my parents received a telegram from the government informing them that I was missing in action.
My duties were radio and maintaining my radio equipment and sending and receiving messages by voice and Morse code.
Aircraft You Crewed:
Margaret Ann B-24-15-CO 41-24009 "W"
Aircraft Lost or Damaged:
Natchez Belle. B-24D-53-CO 42-40373 Z "13"
On August 16, 1943, my aircraft "Natchez Belle" was shot down over Foggia, Italy.
Pilot Eunice Shannon, Navigator George Temple, Bombardier Elwood Collins, Engineer Dennis Slattery, Radio Operator Clarence Strandberg, Waist Gunner Clarence Rothrock and Tail Gunner Robert Vogel became Prisoners of War. Copilot George Hersh, Waist Gunner Clayton Heller and Well Gunner Nick Smith were killed in action.
Memories: I have many good memories of living and visiting with my buddies in the barracks and mess halls. Memories of going to London on pass with John Cole and Adolph Brzozowy and many other good friends.
Seeing Madam Tussard's Museum in London. Flying over the English countryside and practicing low-level bombing runs for the upcoming Ploesti Mission. Parachuting out of a burning plane and being captured. Escaping from POW camp and living, eating, and sleeping in he Italian Mountains with Phillip Teraberry and Mike Seigel for seven weeks. Coming home to the states and kissing the ground. Going home on furlough and seeing my parents, brothers, and friends after being away for three years. And the best memory of all: Missing a train connection in Chicago and meeting my future wife, Dorothy, when I went over to North Park College to visit old time friends.
Base Operations: Security, mess hall.
Security. Standing at the High Wycomb Camp gate doing guard duty both day and night. Mess Hall: Washing dishes and pots and pans in various mess halls in both the USA and England.
CLARENCE W. STRANDBERG
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
29 December 1984
Thanks for your letter. It was good to hear from you. Also enjoyed reading your book.
George Temple was up to Vermont this year and visited Dennis Slattery so he has his address. [Miller Falls].
Enclosed you will find an account of the Foggia Mission as I remember it. I hope it will be of some use. I am also photocopying some material that I received from George Temple that he received from David Klaus. You probably already have some or all of it but I'm sending it anyway in case you don't.
George Temple is planning on being in Rapid City in May but as for me, I'll make that decision later.
May you and yours have a happy and prosperous New Year.
All the best,