Home run by F/Lt. John Talbot Lovell Shore No 9 Squadron. Details of his escape from Stalag Luft I - Barth in 1941 via Stockholm
39177 F/Lt. John Talbot Lovell SHORE, RAF 9 Squadron. RAF Honington. (1)
Captured: 27 March 1941. Escaped: 19 October 1941.(see footnote)
Left: Stockholm 28.10.41. Arrived: U.K. 29.10.41.
I was returning from (2) bombing COLOGNE on the night of the 27th March 1941, when at I2,000 ft. my starboard engine packed up. It started up again and then, five seconds later, both engines stopped. It was impossible to start them again, and at 8,000 ft. I began to get rid of my crew, leaving the a/c myself at 1500 ft. I found that we had come down 6 miles (3) from HEUSDEN EN MAAS in HOLLAND. I landed in a football field and damaged my ankle. My crew consisted of:
F/O. Long (4) Second Pilot
Sgt. Tomkins Navigator
Sgt. Beeves (5) Wireless Operator
Sgt. Parkins (6) Front Gunner
Sgt. Griffiths Rear Gunner
I met them all at the police station at HEUSDEN, with the exception of Sgt. Tomkins. Tomkins had a 4.5 Smith & Wesson revolver on him and, as he was a navigator, he would know where he was. He could speak good French and always determined to get away in the event of capture. He also had the rations as they were laid out on the navigator’s table in front of him.
His parachute was found by the Germans, and, in this connection, I should like to draw attention to the fact that every parachute is stencilled with the owner’s name, number and rank, so that the Germans would have known that one of the crew was “missing”.
I tried to destroy my parachute and then hid it. As it is difficult to set parachutes on fire - they appear to be treated with some fire-resisting substance - it is best to try and cut them into shreds with a knife. I kept about 12 yards of my parachute cord, which I managed to conceal at the back of my tunic, and succeeded in bringing home with me.
I started walking along a road heading West, keeping to the bank of the MAAS. It was then about 23.30 English time.
By about 0300 hrs, I arrived at a small village (7) near HEUSDEN. I went to the church but found that it was locked, so tried unsuccessfully to discover the vicarage. I then went back to a farm and tried to rouse the inmates by throwing gravel at the window. I did not succeed in doing this, so I went to sleep in the barn. At 0630 hrs, the owner of the farm came out and I told him that I was a British aviator. He called his wife down and she gave me something to eat; meanwhile he went off. He returned half-an-hour later with the local padre (Protestant) who could speak a little English. The padre advised me to allow myself to be handed over to the Dutch police. I went to his house and he got me a lift on a vegetable cart into HEUSDEN. I was taken to another house (8) near HEUSDEN. The occupant gave me something to eat and called in a Dutch doctor to look at my ankle. The doctor said that it was too late to do anything about getting me away, as I had been seen, and this had been reported in HEUSDEN. I then went up to the bathroom to have a wash and found that civilian clothes, money and papers had been put out for me, and the window of the bathroom left open, but in view of the state of my ankle, I could not take advantage of these obvious preparations. I went downstairs again, leaving the clothes, papers and money in the bathroom.
My hosts explained that they could not get me away, but that they would not ring up the police without my permission, which I gave them. A Dutch policeman arrived and took up guard over me and, about half an hour later, a Major of the G. A. F. came and collected me with a car. I was asked if I had any firearms, and I replied that I had thrown them away. I was not searched. The G. A. F. Major tried to question me on my aircraft, but I did not answer. He was extremely kind and did not press for an answer. I was taken to the Police station and a Dutch doctor came and looked at my foot. I found the rest of my crew, with the exception of Sgt. Tomkins, already there. Although we were not supposed to talk to each other I managed to warn them against answering any questions. We were then put in a car and driven to the G. A. F. barracks at Amsterdam. In the ‘bus with us were four Sgts. from a Whitley bomber. We arrived there about 1600 hrs. on 28 Mar. On the journey guards sat between us but we managed to speak to each other. On arrival at .Amsterdam barracks we were put in separate cells. I was told by one of the guards that one particular officer in G.A. F. uniform was a Gestapo agent.
There were a bed, table and chair in my cell. We communicated with each other by hammering on the walls. After about an hour some food was brought to me (ersatz coffee, bread and sausage) but I was not searched. I pretended I wanted to go to the lavatory every half hour in the hope of seeing one of my men. The guards got very slack about this and, if I had not been lame, I could have got away. Cigarettes were provided, but I do not smoke. I was also given a novel to read “The City of Beautiful Nonsense”. Later may (9) personal effects were collected, but I was still not searched. I had given my watch and a ring to the Dutch family near HEUSDEN, and I had also left my home address with them. All my loose gear was taken (such as diaries) but not my kit, I was told that I should be leaving at a quarter to seven the next morning, and at about a quarter to eight my crew and the crew of the Whitley were taken in a ‘bus to the Railway Station. On our journey to the station the Dutch waved and cheered. We went by train to FRANKFURT-AM-MAIN, arriving there at about 2000 hrs, travelling in second-class carriages. There were four of us in each compartment and two guards, with no attempt to separate us. We were issued with the following rations: —
One loaf of bread between three, one piece of sausage, piece of margarine
We waited for three-quarters of an hour on the platform before boarding the train, and I noticed many opportunities for escaping then. There was an officer in charge of the German guards, who were very lax on the journey, and put their rifles on the rack. The train stopped at the frontier and an official just put his head in. The officer came along with him and produced a pass. There were a lot of people travelling and the majority seemed to be quite well-to-do people. I think they were Dutch as the Germans, both men and women were very drably dressed. We did not see any bomb damage at Cologne from the train.
At Frankfurt station I noticed that one of the Germans was carrying the navigation bag of my aircraft. I cannot think how they could have got this, but they said that it had been found 20 yards from the aircraft. The German officer had charge of this bag.
At Frankfurt station we went into the Red Cross buffet, where we were given some water and had to wait for a ‘bus to come out from Dulag Luft. Some 20 soldiers came in and out, while we were there, and were given soup, but though we asked for some of this we were refused. I went to the lavatory in order to have a look round, and, on the way back, came up some very dark steep stairs where the German guard handed me about six cigarettes. All the guard were of the Luftwaffe and were comparatively young.
1941: 29 Oct. (10) DULAG LUFT (a transit Prisoner of War Camp)
Although we were not supposed to do so we could talk to each other in the restaurant. The ‘bus arrived eventually and we were driven off to I could not follow the route as we zigzagged a good deal. On arrival at DULAG LUFT we were taken into the Reception Block.
While driving through Frankfurt I noticed that the black-out was fairly good, but not so good as ours. The ‘bus had two quite strong headlights. We were put in separate rooms at the Reception Block and after ten minutes were stripped down to our under-garments, the clothes being taken away. We were issued with bed-clothes at the Reception Block. My clothes were returned the next day. I was given some bread and cheese and coffee for my evening meal. I stayed in my room the next morning as my clothes had not been returned. During the afternoon the Camp Commandant came in and had a chat with me. I heard him talking for two hours to one of my Sergeants next-door, and it seemed to me that the Sergeant gave away, quite unconsciously, a certain amount of information. Major Rumpel them (11) came into my room. I told him that I could not stand up but had no intention of doing so. He offered me a cigarette but I said I did not smoke. I did not answer any of his questions and he said it did not matter what Squadron I came from, 9, 10, or 11. He tried to put me at my ease and asked me about the bombing of our towns, the number of my squadron, my mission, place from where I started, etc. His attitude throughout this interview was deliberately friendly and casual. He only stayed about ten minutes with me and when he left, I thought he was a little annoyed that he could not get anything out of me.
At Dulag Luft we all had the same exercise ground but Sergeants did not live in officers’ rooms. We messed in our rooms. Hauptmann von Aetzen, the Security Officer, soon after my arrival, came in with a long sheet of paper with a red cross printed on top. He said this form was for purely Red Cross purposes and would not be used for anything else but would be sent to the Red Cross at Geneva. Amongst the questions were the following:-
NAME, NUMBER, RANK, STATION NUMBER, SQUADRON, SQUADRON NUMBER, SQUADRON COMMANDER, HOME ADDRESS etc.
I filled in my name, number and rank, my home address and my wife’s address. He tried to persuade me to fill in the service matter, i.e. names of my crew - incidentally, he knew that one was missing. He tried to work on my feelings and reiterated that it was only for the Red Cross. Later on I was able to ask my crew if they had given away any information, but they said that they had not. There was no subsequent interrogation.
I was issued with a Polish greatcoat and a Polish tunic and trousers, but had my own underwear. Food and accommodation at Dulag Luft were much better than at Stalag. At Dulag I gave my parole to go out on walks.
I found that P/W were building two tunnels at Dulag. Later at STALAG LUFT we heard of an escape attempt from Dulag Luft on I0 JULY 41, by: -
W/Cdr. DAY, W/Cdr. HYDE, Major DODGE, S/Ldr. BUSHELL, S/dr. TINDALL, P/O VIVIAN, P/O BORN, P/O CASSEY THURSTON
I do not know the names of the rest but there were 18 in the party.
Discipline was lax at Dulag and there was no searching of rooms. All parcels were issued communally and there were no individual parcels. You were allowed 3 letters and 4 postcards per month.
We were warned about microphones by the S.B.O. P/W morale was high. There were 105 P/W in the camp when I left.
The guard at Dulag consisted of middle-aged Austrian Luftwaffe men. At Dulag our Sergeants did not work but received pay in Lager Geld. I was paid 32 marks in Lager Geld three times a month, on the 1st, 11th, and 21st. All Luftwaffe personnel is paid on these dates.
There was an Englishman living quite near to Dulag and Hardy wanted an interview arranged and tried to do it through the interpreter with whom he was friendly. I left before this interview could be arranged. My room-mates at Dulag were Mc Hardy and Long. We had a communal lunch and supper and chat about tea-time. Baier, our interpreter, said that he did not like the Nazi regime. He would talk to us about our letters from home, and try and find out about bomb-damage etc. All these conversations were conducted in a very friendly manner. There was supposed to be an I. F. F. set at Dulag with which R. A. F. P/W were confronted, but this did not happen to me. The interpreter would stimulate a discussion and then leave the room suddenly. There were 4 or 5 interpreters at Dulag. They would also try and discuss new aircraft types with us. There was no ante-room there but a wireless or propaganda room. We never sat and talked there, but always went back to our own room. If we wished to discuss such matters as escaping we went out into the compound.
The following drink was issued Dulag: Rhine wine, Dunkirk whisky. We also had beer at the little inns on our walks.
Everybody seemed very happy at Dulag Luft. We were given 48 hours notice before leaving. I took all my kit except my Polish tunic and trousers and Polish boots. My flying boots were given back to me.
At 0800 hrs. on 15 Apr. the bus drove up and we were marched out, being checked as we went through the gate. We were not searched. We drove into the goods yard at Frankfurt station where our coach was standing. The camp guards accompanied us during the whole trip. I got a seat on the right hand side of the carriage. The train started and I went in to the lavatory. There was a small window there with two hinges and I loosened the screws, leaving the window like this until I needed it. I then went back into the carriage. There were ordinary railway maps in the carriage. We were allowed to look at them for a while. As I wanted to go to the Swiss frontier I had to get out of the train fairly soon, during the day-time. Our train was a goods train with a Luftpost wagon behind us. (Escape Attempt). The windows were open. I managed to jump out of the window, but unfortunately they heard me and pulled the alarm cord. I picked myself up and made for a wooded bank on one side of the railway, crossing the line to get there. The guards got out of the train and started firing their revolvers. I was caught up by a Feldwebel who was very annoyed when he got hold of me and pushed me down a bank on the way back to train. One of the guards took my coat with all my food and provisions and handed it back without having removed anything. It took half an hour for the train to start up again. We arrived late at Cassel and missed the connection. My escape attempt was made about 30 miles south of Cassel. When our next train came in at about 6 o’clock , we were put in one carriage and locked in. This new carriage was a corridor one.
We spent some time south of Berlin while our coach was shunted. Early on the morning of the 16 Apr we went through Berlin and were allowed out to have a wash. We saw one lot of bomb damage. We went on from Berlin through Greiswald and then on to Barth. There were 32 of us altogether. All the officers were in one carriage, but we could go and speak to the sergeants if we wanted to do so. We arrived at Barth on the morning of the 17 Apr.
Procedure at Barth
(17 Apr STALAG LUFT, BARTH) On arrival we were marched from the station to Stalag Luft, put in the sergeants’ dining hall and kept there until 0900 hrs. We were then searched and such things as diaries were taken away. We were kept there for about half an hour and then taken, five at a time, to the officers’ compound. Our pockets had been searched, but not very thoroughly. We were then given rooms. I was given a number at Stalag but not at Dulag. We were issued with bedding, a bowl, knife, fork and spoon. The rations were very poor. When I arrived Red Cross parcels were coming in at the rate of one per man per month, but this improved later.
Suggestions for Red Cross parcels
No carrots or Maconochie Stew should be sent. Too much tea was sent. Too much Bramble Jelly, which is insipid, is packed in the parcels. Provisions which would be appreciated by P/W:
Self-raising flour, Dried eggs, Custard powder, Coffee, Cocoa, Raisins and currants, Salt and pepper mixed (in waterproof packets), Thin transparent lavatory paper, Curry powder
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross had informed all American citizens that private parcels would not get through to Germany and that everything must be done through the American Red Cross. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I received parcels from HOLLAND and also from some Danes. We were not allowed to keep tins; the contents were removed and handed to us, but the actual food was not inspected.
Routine search of rooms
The permanent Gestapo man attached to the camp was Hauptmann IPPICH, who tried to make everything as difficult as possible. He had found a dirty poem, which somebody had written about Hitler, and when Day apologised to him for this, he said that unless the author of the poem was apprehended he would punish us all. Day said this was against the Convention but IPPICH said that he did not care about that. The lights went out at 5 o’clock that night. At 6 o’clock we were told that the lighting system had failed. The next night the lights were still out of order. Day went to see the Camp Commandant who said that Hauptmann IPPICH had decided that we were not to have lights for 2 nights running as a punishment. To this Day replied that in a civilised country light and heat were necessities and not privileges. IPPICH then started a system of searching at roll-call, but we were warned when this was going to occur by a pro-British Nazi officer. Previously routine searches were carried out once every ten or fourteen days, of which this officer gave us notice.
Search Drill (instituted by IPPICH)
We would hear that there was going to be a search. We would take a book and something to eat with us. When they had called the roll they would tell us that there was going to be a search and we would be marched out into the sergeants’ dining hall. The search would last for about three or four hours. They used to leave the rooms in a mess, but, after the Americans had seen a room after it had been searched, they tidied up.
One day we got the warning and went over to the block, at 12 we were allowed to go back, then we were told we must wait until five o’clock. After that we had this for ten days in successions with only Sunday as a break. We were kept out of our quarters in the sergeants’ dining room from 8.30 to 6 o’clock at night (170 at us got no exercise). A Feldwebel Pepper would not let us out to the lavatory except at stated times. Then we had a break of four days, then on for another ten days.
WE HAD A COPY OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION.
While these searches were on the guards had 14 hours on duty which made them very angry.
Just before I left two boys hid under the floor at the hut; this annoyed the Germans so much that they officially gave up the searches. Just about this time IPPICH left. Roll call was held at 8.30 and again at 6.30. The camp was flood-lit. Lager Geld was interchangeable between Camps.
I noticed there was a tunnel started from the rubbish bin so I approached the man who had started it.
Method of digging Tunnel
At 10.30 every day there was a football match and the boys watching used to stand up on the sloping top of the incinerator. Under their cover I could kick open the trap-door and drop in. We left the trap door open a little for air and James and I worked from 10.30 until 17.00 hrs. At the end of the day’s work Panton arranged to get another 12 people to stand there while we got out. We had two days digging, then the searches began; on Sunday of course we could not dig as there were no football matches. The incinerator was divided into two parts, and we dug our tunnel in one half, throwing the earth into the other. When the Germans came to clear out the incinerator they paid no attention to the fact that one half was full of earth. They had been told to look out for people hiding in the refuse cart, so they did not bother themselves about anything else. The tunnel was 25 feet long, and there was just enough room to crawl along. We were not able to shore it up. It came out in the football field. We used a table knife and took the earth out on a board. About 12 feet along we made a cavern up and towards one side so that the board with the earth could be passed more easily and there was no need to wriggle back the entire way. It took us four days to get through 25 feet. The incinerator was usually cleared out once a month. I had to wash my clothes after each day’s digging as they got very dirty. Luckily I had two pairs of trousers.
Once the tunnel was completed, the next thing was to wait for an air-raid between 20.00 hrs. and 0200 hrs. Muir, Newman, Wilson and Parker wanted to use the tunnel after James and me, but I insisted on their allowing us 4 hours start after the air-raid had begun. The guard was trebled when an air-raid warning occurred and this took them half an hour. The normal arrangement was one sentry inside the perimeter. It took haIf an hour inside the compound to put on two extra guards. I allowed five minutes for getting out of our huts and through the tunnel into the football field. We also had to make trap doors to get out of our respective huts. I made a trap door from the dining room and James made one from his own room. , On the 15 October everything was ready, and we started nightly watches, I took from 2200 - 2400 hrs. while Newman’ s watch was from 21.00-0200 hrs. I had my great coat and a haversack made out of the bottom of a suitcase. I was able to stand on some chairs and look out of the ventilator, as there was a large hole in the ceiling. This hole was made by one of the Ferrets (Germans who went round the camp searching). He had been crawling about over the rooms and the ceiling gave way. As this had not been mended, I was able to get at the ventilator and open it. At 22.30 on 19 Oct. 1 heard aircraft and the lights went out. I went and warned Newman. I then started crawling through my trap door in the hut. Unfortunately I had put on my great coat, and when I was half-way through a German guard came along and nearly stepped on me. (I could not get back into the hut as my great coat had caught). Luckily, the man did not notice me. He walked on for about 20 feet and then stood still watching something in one of the rooms. Then the guard at the gates started flourishing his torch to attract the attention of my guard, who walked over to the gate. I got up and walked after him, making my footsteps coincide with his. I went along to James’s hut and called him, and he came out just behind me. I then went across to the incinerator. I thought James would follow me, but as I walked across he may have mistaken me for the guard. I got into the incinerator and banged the door at regular intervals to attract his attention, but he did not come. I then went through the tunnel and found 6 inches of water in it. (12) I had to remove my great coat and push it ahead of me, but couldn’t keep either myself or it dry. I pushed up the trap door and put my head out. I could see the German guard talking to someone through the window of my hut. I got out of the tunnel and went across the football field to the ditch which had been dug by the Germans, when it was decided to put another line of barbed wire in. (This had been done at the request of the Americans on the ground that if the football field was enclosed with a double line of wire it would be possible for the inmates of the camp to go there whenever they wanted, instead of having to go with a guard at certain specified times.
I managed to crawl under the bottom wire, which was just below the ground surface and to push my haversack underneath as well. I made my way across the field. I then remembered that I had told James that I would wait for half an hour for him in the wood to the West of the FIak School. While I was waiting and watching the camp I saw two lights, got “wind-up” went on. I set off down the main BARTH_PLANITZ road, after squeezing lemon over my boots and clothing to destroy the scent (the Germans employed dogs). I started walking towards BARTH, passing one or two members of the Flak School on the way. I was getting near BARTH when I heard a car coming up behind and I rushed about 30 yards off the road and. lay down. At the entrance to BARTH there is an archway through which my road went. I saw what I took to be a lighted cigarette in the archway, so I turned off the right about twenty yards before I reached the archway. Luckily for me, this small road rejoined the main road in the middle of BARTH, which went on to Martensdorf and there you get on to the main VELGAST-STRALSUND railway line. The road goes due EAST. I marched on down this road. It was then about 0300 hrs. I arrived just outside STRALSUND at about 06.30 and decided that it would be best to lie up for the day, so I retraced my steps to a wood I had noticed about a quarter of a mile back. About 1000 hrs. I was awakened by the songs of a Flak contingent marching into the wood for battery practice. There was irregular heavy fire about every three or four minutes. I heard them march off for lunch and then again at about 1700 hrs. I had unfortunately worn my own boots which had been sent from home with some socks. A pair had been issued to me but they were a bit small but I had broken them in and worn them without socks. Now I wished I still had them for my feet were awful. I took off my boots and discarded them and put on gym shoes which I had happily brought with me.
I started off again at about 1800 hrs. and walked straight through STRALSUND looking out for a bicycle all the time, but I could not manage to get hold of one. (All bicycles in Germany creaked for lack of any kind of lubricating oil). I got down to the bridge at STRALSUND and found it was 35 miles to SASSNITZ instead at 6 as I thought. I walked across the bridge. Both the road and the railway line goes across this bridge.
At this point I made an attempt to steal a bicycle, but a man came out of a hut, opposite to where the bicycle was standing, and called out to me; I ran away and hid behind a tree, the man went back into the hut and came out with a companion who had a lantern, but luckily they did not see me. I continued walking along the road, and, at about 0630 found a small wood where I hid up for the day and went to sleep. I managed to find some water in the wood when I left that night. I knew I was about five miles from BERGEN. I decided to turn right through BERGEN, instead of following the railway line through the centre of the town. After I had got through the town I decided that I was on the wrong road so I came back into BERGEN. I realised that best course would have been to have followed the railway line and walked through the station at night, when presumably it would have been empty. I found that I was going East. I continued on this line as I thought I would hit the coast and could then follow it round. I did this and arrived at BINZ which seemed to be a summer resort, then deserted. I heard the breakers and realised that I had arrived at the coast.
I walked on through BINZ, took a right turn, and then saw a signpost marked SASSNITZ. After a time this road developed into an Autobahn. By this time my feet were getting very painful, I suddenly noticed a green and red light (railway lights). The main Autobahn stopped and I continued on a grass track past some fishermen’s houses. I noticed some fishing boats which I thought I might be able to use if I could not get the ferry. It was beginning to get light, and I felt I ought to find somewhere to lie up for the day. First of all I dug myself into a haystack, but realized that this was not safe, so I went out on to the main road again. It was now about 0730. A German sailor passed me and stared hard at me. Eventually I got to a plantation of firs and hid there, until about 1900 hrs. and then continued on down the road into SASSNITZ. The railway came into the main station and then down out of the station into the goods ferry yard. I turned off to the right on to a path which led down to the ferry, and walked along to the south end of the pier where I saw two big gantries. The ferry entrance was marked by two big arches. I got into a tarpaulin covered waggon marked with a Dutch name. I slept there for the night. The next day I wandered around in the truck. At about 1330 hrs., they started shunting the wagon, and I looked out to see that I was being taken back towards SASSNITZ station. I jumped out hurriedly and had to leave all my food behind, with the exception of:
¼ lb of chocolate, 2 tins of Horlicks tablets, 2 tins of Ovaltine tablets, 2 tins of Vitamin C.,6 packets of chewing gum.
I went back to the harbour again, it was then about 1530 hrs. By this time I looked just like a German workman, very dirty and wearing a cap which I had made myself in the camp. I waited for a little time just above the harbour trying to pick out the right wagon. The boat came in and a line of passenger coaches came off. There was a line of coaches waiting on the siding. It was quite possible to walk around the harbour. There were one or two G.A.F. guards, the remaining men on duty were soldiers. I managed to get up underneath a Pullman train hoping to be able to hang on there until the train was shunted on to the ferry. Unfortunately the train started to move off towards the station, as had happened at my first attempt, and I had to jump off. Incidentally, it is not advisable to try this as the Pullman coaches swing round the corners and one is likely to be crushed. I ran up on to the bank just behind the track. This bank was covered with blackberry bushes, and I was able to hide there. I watched the ferry boat leave at 1630.
I saw a Swedish three-master standing at the main quay and I decided to try and get on her, but did not think that it would be safe to do so until about 1900 hrs. Meanwhile I had found some elderberries to quench my thirst. I found that I suffered quite a lot from lack of water, but I discovered later that there was a water hydrant in SASSNITZ station. I noticed that there were some houses at the top of the bank, and I clambered up hoping to find some water. I could not find any, and started walking down a narrow track, which led to a rubbish heap. I had passed a woman on the way down and she looked at me very suspiciously as the track led to a cul-de-sac. When I arrived at the rubbish heap I shrugged my shoulders, turned round and retraced my steps. When I passed the woman again she said something to me about the way to the station. I did not reply. I went back to my hiding place on the bank and was very sick. At about 1900 hrs. I walked on to the Swedish boat. I saw a German S.S. man looking at me and I asked a deck hand where the “captain” was. As the deck hand said the captain was not there I walked off the boat. There was another Swedish boat further on and some Danish fishing boats. I was walking along when another S.S. man came up and asked me what I wanted. I said “Hans Kultur’ and “Ich bin Schweder” hoping that he would think that “Hans Kultur” was the name of my ship. I walked off towards the other Swedish boat followed by the S.S. man. Naturally it was not the “ Hans Kultur”, so I said “Nicht hier”, shrugged my shoulders and slouched off again, still followed by the S.S. man. When we got opposite the Danish boats he asked me for my papers and I said “Nicht verstehen”. The S.S. man then went and brought two Danes from the ship so that they could show me what he meant by papers. Luckily a drunken Dane appeared and put his arms round me and the S.S. man. Then the S.S. man turned to the other two Danes and asked them to produce their papers for me to see what he wanted; as he turned to speak to them I walked off. I then decided to wait for the Danish skippers to come back. As they passed me I said “Danish” to them, but they replied “Nein, gute Deutsche”. I then went back past the railway line, and found the water hydrant, to which I have referred, just outside the station and had a drink. As I walked down towards the harbour I saw two Pullman coaches and got into one of them and had another drink and a wash in the lavatory. I was feeling rather despondent by then and got into a second class carriage and went to sleep, not caring much if I was discovered. I woke up at midnight and then again at about 03.00 hrs. and got out of the carriage, as I suddenly realised that there might be a ferry at about 04.30 hrs as well as at 16.30 hrs.
I scrambled into a tarpaulin covered truck filled with piping and looked out and saw the funnels of the ferry. A line of trucks was being taken on to the ferry and I jumped out of my truck, ran across the intervening 50 yards and managed to scramble on to a low truck which was passing me at right angles. This truck contained a German lorry. The ferry then started off, it being then about 03.30 hrs. During the voyage the trucks were not searched. I spent the time sitting in the driving cab of the lorry. When we arrived at TRELLEBORG a man on a bicycle noticed me sitting in the cab of the lorry. I managed to slip out and tried to get out of the goods yard, but, unfortunately, walked off in the wrong direction. I went out through a gateway and was seen by a Swedish guard who came after me. I was taken into a small office. I said I was an escaped P/W and must speak to the British Consul. I was told this was impossible. I then said that I must see the police. Two policemen came for me in a car and took me to the police station. No particulars were taken. A little later on another man came in who spoke English. I was told that I had to give an account as to how I had got away and that this account would be forwarded to the Swedish Foreign Office. I wrote out an exceedingly brief account, but was told that this would not do. I said I could not say any more until I saw the British Consul. They replied that I must write a full report before they could send for the Consul. I then wrote out a short report. They brought me food, very small meals at frequent intervals. They then told me that I would be leaving for Stockholm at 21.00 hrs. They bought me a first class ticket and gave me 10 kr. They took me down to the train and I was afraid that they might send me back to SASSNITZ instead of putting me on the train for STOCKHOLM but luckily this did not happen.
I arrived in STOCKHOLM at 0800 hrs. the next morning (Sunday) and got a taxi to the British Legation. I paid for this taxi out of the 10 Kr. which had been given to me at TRELLEBORO. One of the Legation Staff rang up S/Ldr. FLEET, the Air Attache, at his flat. (I found out afterwards that the police at Trelleborg had got in touch with the Swedish Foreign Office). I left Stockholm on Tuesday night, the 28th October, and arrived in the U.K. on Wednesday, the 29th October.
During my last day at STOCKHOLM I was followed about everywhere by a German.
1. Transcription, made by Ian D L Shore, in Jul 2006 of document held by Mark L Shore, being an account of their father’s escape.
2. 9 Sqn Flight Log shows that aircraft (Wellington bomber) was A/C 1335, took off from RAF Honington at 1943 hrs.
3. Research indicates that he actually landed 1 mile West of Heusden, while the aircraft landed near Oudheusden, SSW of Heusden.
4. Later to be one of the Great Escapees who was shot by SS after recapture.
5. 9 Sqn Flight Log indicates Wireless Operator’s name was ‘Bews’.
6. 9 Sqn Flight Log indicates Front Gunner was Parkin.
7. Identified as Doeveren, by Kees Everdingen Mar 08.
8. Home of Van Everdingens in Heesbeen.
9. Original transcript has ‘may’ but sense of sentence requires ‘my’. IDLS Jul 2006
10. Original transcript has ‘Oct’ but rest of text indicates this was Mar. IDLS Jul 2006
11. Original transcript has ‘them’ but sense of sentence requires ‘then’. IDLS Jul 2006
12. Words in italics included in manuscript in side margin.
13. Original text has Martenshagen; however locally geography indicates that this should read Martensdorf.
14. Manuscript entry in side margin
Footnote:Further research by Ian D L Shore indicates that the actual date of escape was 21st October 1941, This date was also confirmed in F/Lt. Bertram Arthur "Jimmy" James debriefing report
Transcribed by Ian D. L. Shore
Credit: National Archives WO 208/3307
Page created by Aircrew Remembered on behalf of John Talbot Lovell Shores family and sons Rex, Mark and Ian Shore