A continuation of last week’s post, George Hawkins’ Account of the Buslee-Brodie Mid-air Collision, as written in a letter to Frank Furiga, “an account of my 1944-45 visit to Germany,” some time after Christmas 1983.
George Hawkins continued his letter to Frank Furiga with information about his hospitalization and internment following his capture by the Germans after the mid-air collision.
I remained here in the city for the remainder of the year  … in the prison ward at the hospital while undergoing surgery and in the balcony of an old theatre where they housed several hundred injured from many nations. On October 6th they attempted to set my broken leg but an air raid interrupted their efforts and I came out of the anesthetic in the basement air raid shelter … the leg still not set. They finally got the job done on the 12th … and that deserves a little comment.
A Colonel, the chief of Surgery, at the hospital returned from leave the day before my second attempt at leg repair … he had just buried his wife and children who had been killed in an air raid. He needed to get back to work following his tragic experience and he found me. He decided he would perform the operation himself and did so … without anesthesia. I filed charges against him with the War Crimes Commission at a later date but nothing ever came of it. Magdeburg is still in the Russian zone. But, needless to say, POW time from that point on was a piece of cake.
In late November, I was returned to the hospital with a knee infection. The plaster cast was removed and they found a real mess. The leg would probably have to come off. But a young captain took charge and did a beautiful job. I’ve never been able to bend my knee since then but the leg is still there.
DULOG LUFT & HALL MARK
I departed from Magdeburg on January 12th and arrived in Frankfort two days later. I spent the night at the railroad station in a dungeon-like room about forty feet under ground and rode in a trolley car and a truck to Dulog Luft. A very short interrogation then up to Hall Mark the following day. I remember my interrogator who once worked for Western Electric and took bus 18 out of Newark each morning on his way to work. I had to admit that I didn’t know very much about Newark, New Jersey. I guess he just wanted to be friendly … right? One day later and we were on a hospital train to Obermassfeld.
Arrived here on the 18th of January. The British doctors took xrays and I finally got a full understanding of my physical condition … for the first time. Here I met a number of people who I’m sure you knew also … Irving Metzger (no fingers) and T.S. McGee from Mississippi … the chaplain. McGee, George Brandon and I came out together … we toured Paris together. One week later, on January 25th, I was moved over to Meiningen.
Here we joined forces, Frank … so there is little I can tell you that you don’t already know. I do have a few dates noted so I will jot them down and see if they ring any bells:
[Dates are in 1945]
- February 23, Bombing by USAF
- March 2, Bombing by RAF
- March 24, US fighter planes overhead
- March 26, Group of ambulatory POWs moved out of camp to the East, away from approaching allied troops. Group included Marty Horwitz and William Griffin.
- March 30, Shelling
- April 1, Guards gone. We have taken over the camp
- April 2, Obermassfeld liberated
- April 4, German guards returned by order of local commander
- April 5, LIBERATED by 11th Armored
- April 10, Departed camp
The ambulance convoy out of Meiningen took us to Hanau (94th Medical), then 58th Field hospital (?) and then it was a C47 to Paris (48th General) on April 12th … then back to the U.S. on April 23rd.
Thank you to Paul Furiga, son of Frank Furiga, for sharing George Hawkins’ letters with me. More information about George Hawkins courtesy of Frank Furiga to come soon…
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022