The Arrowhead Club

When in Magdeburg, Look Up

On 28 September 1944 on a B-17 bombing mission to Magdeburg, Germany during World War II, just after Bombs Away, the Brodie crew’s B-17 collided with the Buslee crew’s B-17 over Magdebug, Germany. My father, George Edwin Farrar, was the waist gunner on the Buslee crew’s B-17 and was the only survivor of the nine men on that ship. Both crews were part of the 384th Bombardment Group of the 8th Army Air Forces.

From the excellent collection of wartime records of the 384th Bomb Group, I know the exact date and time of the collision, the exact location of the collision, and the altitude at which the two planes collided.

  • The date, 28 September 1944, and time, 12:11 P.M., British time (1:11 P.M. German time)
  • The mid-air collision location, 52°06’00.0″N 11°39’00.0″E, (52.100000, 11.650000), Germany
  • The altitude, 27,700 feet, (and noting the elevation of Magdeburg is 141 feet above sea level, about 27,559 feet above the ground)

Date, Time, and Location, as reported on the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR9753)

MACR9753 (Missing Air Crew Report 9753) noting location of mid-air collision

Time and Altitude, as reported on the Navigator’s Narrative

28 September 1944 Mission to Magdeburg, Navigator’s Narrative, High Group, Page 1

28 September 1944 Mission to Magdeburg, Navigator’s Narrative, High Group, Page 2

It occurred to me that if I were able to plot the coordinates on a map, that someday I might be able to stand in the exact location below the spot that the two B-17’s collided so many years ago, look up, and imagine seeing and hearing the impact.

Of course, the collision happened more than five miles above the earth, so I doubt the horrific incident was visible from the ground. A Google search resulted in an answer from Quora that “depending on the size of the aircraft, without … contrails to reveal its presence, you can probably see an airliner up to 7,500 to 10,000 feet,” less than half as far as the bombers’ formation was traveling above the earth on 28 September 1944.

Both aircraft continued to fly several miles before they crashed to the ground west of Magdeburg. But do you suppose at least some small parts fell directly to earth in the location of the collision itself? I can believe that they would and perhaps something is still buried in the ground in the area today.

So, of course, my next thought was to wonder what exists in the location today? Google Maps makes it pretty easy to find out, so I plugged in the coordinates to find the location not too far from the Elbe River in southeast Magdeburg (marked by the red pin).

Site of 28 September 1944 mid-air collision between the Buslee and Brodie crews over Magdeburg, Germany, 52°06’00.0″N 11°39’00.0″E, (52.100000, 11.650000)
Map data ©2022 Google

If you view the Google Maps Satellite view or plug the coordinates into Google Earth, you can see the area in much more detail, but just simply zooming in reveals what exists today.

Site of 28 September 1944 mid-air collision between the Buslee and Brodie crews over Magdeburg, Germany, 52°06’00.0″N 11°39’00.0″E, (52.100000, 11.650000)
Map data ©2022 Google

I see that the location (again, marked by the red pin) is just northeast of a Lidl discount grocery store, and,

Distance from Lidl grocery store to coordinates of mid-air collision, 
Map data ©2022 Google

from the northern-most corner of the Lidl grocery store to the collision coordinates measures a total distance of 68.43 feet or 20.86 meters according to Google Map’s distance calculation feature. 

One day, I hope to travel to Magdeburg, Germany, find this exact location, and do exactly what I imagine doing now, look up.

I don’t expect to see the aluminum overcast of a B-17 formation, or hear the grinding and tearing of metal as B-17 meets B-17 far above the earth, probably about the same moment as the bombs dropped from the bellies of the same aircraft and others in the formation strike the ground, exploding, destroying, engulfing the area in flames and dense black smoke, wiping out both good and bad creations of man, erasing life, changing families’ futures forever, changing the path of history as it happens.

It all happened in this space in another life, another time. Is it best remembered or imagined or forgotten?

Notes/Credits

Except for Map data ©2022 Google, © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

WWII Combat Chronology – 19 September 1944

I am continuing my series of articles based on the entries from Kit C. Carter and Robert Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces. Both combat chronologies are excellent sources of information regarding combat missions in World War II and I thank the authors for sharing them online.

These articles are concentrated on the operations of the 8th Army Air Forces on the missions on which the John Oliver Buslee crew and James Joseph Brodie crew of the 384th Bomb Group participated. The statistics of other dates and missions and of other branches of the American Air Forces and theaters of operation of World War II are available through the links provided in this article to these two sources for those interested.

Today’s installment is the 19 September 1944 mission in which George Farrar and Eugene Lucynski of the Buslee crew and the Brodie crew participated.


WWII Combat Chronology – Tuesday, 19 September 1944

384th BG Mission 196/8th AF Mission 642 to Hamm, Germany.

Target: Transportation, the Railroad Marshalling Yards.

George Farrar and Eugene Lucynski of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron and the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron participated in this mission.

Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 entry:

Nearly 800 B-17’s are dispatched against tgts in NW Germany. Weather prevents about half from bombing primary tgts but most manage to bomb secondaries or T/Os. Over 650 B-17’s bomb 10 M/Ys and several bridges, railroads, factories, barges, storage areas, city areas and numerous scattered T/Os in NW Germany. 6 ftr gps furnish spt. 4 P-51 gps supporting First Allied Airborne Army in the Netherlands engage well over 100 ftrs, downing 23. 9 P-51’s are lost. As UK-USSR-Italy-UK shuttle mission continues, over 90 B-17’s and their ftr gp take off from USSR, bomb M/Y at Szolnok, and fly to Fifteenth AF bases in Italy.

Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces entry:

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO)

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): Mission 642: 796 B-17s are dispatched against marshalling yards in W Germany; weather prevents about half from bombing primary targets but most manage to bomb targets of opportunity; 7 bombers and 1 fighter are lost. The Buslee and Brodie crews participated in this mission.

  1. Of 380 B-17s dispatched, all hit targets of opportunity, i.e., marshalling yards at Koblenz (87), Dillenburg (39), Limburg (37) and Darmstadt (24); bridges at Limburg (35), Koblenz (25) and a bridge over the Rhine River at Koblenz (13); and Wiesbaden (38), Wetzlar (14), the railroad line at Koblenz (13) and Wiesbaden Airfield (12); 4 B-17s are lost and 159 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA and 37 WIA. Escort is provided by 131 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 3-0-1 aircraft in the air; 1 P-47 is lost (pilot MIA).

  2. 416 B-17s are dispatched to hit marshalling yards at Hamm (186) and Soest (32) and depot at Dortmund/Unna (64); other targets hit are marshalling yards at Raesfeld (11), Wesel (9), Rheine (6) and Munster (3); Dillenburg (11), Emmerich (7), Hamm (5), Osnaburck (2) and others (6); 3 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 120 damaged; 3 airmen are WIA and 18 MIA. Escort is provided by 109 P-47s and P-51s without loss.

Also, B-17s and P-51s takeoff from bases in the USSR and bomb the marshalling yard at Szolnok, Hungary and continue to bases in Italy.

And P-51s supporting the First Allied Airborne Army in the Netherlands engage fighters.

Links/Sources

Except for entries from Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and McKillop’s Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

The 222nd Combat Crew Crew Training School in Ardmore, Oklahoma

Last week I wrote about 384th Bomb Group tail gunner John James Bregant of the Frigham Young crew and my new acquaintance with his granddaughter, Kathryn Bregant Smith. Kathryn has her grandfather’s collection of photos and other memorabilia from World War II and shared photos and images of items from his collection.

I learned through Kathryn that John Bregant had attended the 222nd Combat Crew Training School in Ardmore, Oklahoma before starting his combat duty. My dad taught at the same school and joined a combat crew there in June 1944.

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, was a gunnery instructor in the Army Air Forces in WWII for thirteen months before entering combat. His first station as an instructor was for seven months as a flexible gunnery instructor at Kingman, Arizona.

Following his service at Kingman, he was an instructor for six months at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School at the Army Airfield at Ardmore, Oklahoma. His duties were detailed as “administered phase checks, organized students and instructors for training in aerial gunnery.” This duty started sometime in December 1943 and continued to early June 1944.


On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.

[https://www.army.mil/d-day/]


June 6, 1944 was D-Day. Two days later, on June 8, 1944, Dad received his written orders “as a combat crew member requiring regular and frequent participation in aerial flights.”

I suppose since he had been an aerial gunnery instructor, he didn’t require much more training himself and he was quickly assigned to combat duty in the European theater with the B-17 crew of John Oliver Buslee.

Dad wrote a letter to his mother on June 22 and found himself on his way out of Ardmore somewhere between June 23 and 25, beginning his journey to an 8th Army Air Forces air base of the 384th Bomb Group at Grafton Underwood, England.

Dad’s combat orders included the names of three other men. I was familiar with the name Eugene D. Lucynski. He was the tail gunner on the Buslee crew. But the other two, Harold E. Beam and Arthur Pearlstein, did not find their way into the 384th Bomb Group and I have wondered who these men were that served in WWII with my dad at Ardmore.

Kathryn has her grandfather’s yearbook from the 222nd Combat Crew Training School.

222nd Combat Training School, Army Air Field, Ardmore, Oklahoma
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Smith, John Bregant’s granddaughter

John Bregant’s photo along with the other men of his B-17 crew, the Paul E. Norton crew, are identified as Crew No. 2728 in Combat Crews Section B in the yearbook. The other two crews included on the same page, the Quentin Wilson crew (Crew No. 2729) and the Robert B. Koch crew (Crew No. 2730), also served in the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

Combat Crews of the 384th Bomb Group at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School, Ardmore, Oklahoma
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Smith, John Bregant’s granddaughter

While Kathryn hasn’t located photos of my dad or Eugene Lucynski within the pages of the yearbook, she did find others of interest to me. On a page of Flying Instructors,

Page from the 222nd Combat Crew Training School book
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Smith, John Bregant’s granddaughter

Kathryn found photos of the other two men listed on my dad’s combat orders, Harold Beam in Flying Training Section B and Arthur Pearlstein in Flying Training Section C.

S/Sgt Harold E. Beam

and

Sgt. Arthur Pearlstein

Now that I had photos of these men, I decided to dig a little deeper into how they served in combat. While I couldn’t find any more definitive information about Arthur Pearlstein’s (SN 12075325) WWII combat service, I did find out more about Harold Beam (SN 36377873).

Harold E. Beam was a resident of Vermilion County, Illinois when he enlisted on 29 September 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He was born in Illinois in 1921.

I also found by searching POW records in the National Archives that Harold Beam served his combat duty in the Infantry rather than the Army Air Forces and became a prisoner of war of Germany on 10 March 1945.

Beam’s POW record shows that he was returned to military control, liberated or repatriated, but his Latest Report Date was 24 January 1946. No POW camp is listed in his record. I can’t explain why his Latest Report Date was not until 1946, as the war with Germany ended the previous May. I also can’t explain why a serviceman in WWII with so much experience in aerial gunnery was sent into combat with the Infantry instead of the Army Air Forces.

Regardless of whether my father’s photo can be found or not in the 222nd Combat Crew Training School yearbook, I do have several photos, including these, from his time there as an instructor.

George Edwin “Ed” Farrar, in Ardmore, Oklahoma

and pointing out Ardmore on the map,

George Edwin “Ed” Farrar, in Ardmore, Oklahoma

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

John Bregant, Tail Gunner of the “Frigham Young” Crew

Almost four years ago I wrote about a crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group whose enlisted men appeared in photos in my father’s, George Edwin Farrar’s, collection from World War II.

The crew called themselves the Frigham Young crew. The name was not taken from one of the B-17’s they used in combat, but was rather their own personal crew name which was a play on words on the name of Mormon leader Brigham Young. The crew’s commander, pilot Paul Norton, was reportedly a Mormon.

The men of the crew painted the name on the backs of their flight jackets, like this,

Standing, L to R: John Bregant, Carl Guinn, and Lester Noble
Kneeling with jacket: Clarence Bigley
Courtesy of George Edwin Farrar’s WWII photo collection

I recently became acquainted with the granddaughter of the crew’s tail gunner, John James Bregant. He’s the one with the pipe in the photo above.

John’s granddaughter, Kathryn Bregant Smith, aptly described her grandfather as having “movie star hair and crystal blue sparkling eyes to go along with it,” a man who “usually was playfully smiling.” Kathryn shared this photo of John Bregant earlier in his military career,

Corporal John Bregant
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Smith, John Bregant’s granddaughter

The enlisted men of the Frigham Young crew appeared in many of my dad’s photos, especially John Bregant and Carl Guinn. I think it’s possible their enlisted crew and my dad’s enlisted crew shared living quarters during their time at Grafton Underwood. At least I think that could be the reason my dad had so many photos of their crew. Like this one of Carl and John,

L to R: Carl Guinn and John Bregant
Courtesy of George Edwin Farrar’s WWII photo collection

Kathryn shared this photo of the back of John Bregant’s flight jacket. It looks to me like the crew name was painted onto both Bigley’s and Bregant’s jackets by the same person. But instead of painting a bomb for each completed mission on the back of his like Clarence Bigley had done, John Bregant chose to paint a set of wings and a scroll with the year of his missions (1944) and a list of mission locations.

John Bregant’s “Frigham Young flight jacket
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Smith, John Bregant’s granddaughter

John Bregant served in WWII as an airman of the 384th Bomb Group from 13 June 1944 to 5 October 1944. He completed his tour with a total of thirty-four missions shortly after my dad’s crew, the John Oliver Buslee crew, went missing on the mission to Magdeburg, Germany on 28 September 1944.

Kathryn has several items her grandfather John Bregant saved from the war. He completed his crew training and aerial gunnery training at Ardmore, Oklahoma where my father was an instructor.

Next week, I’ll share some things I learned from the 222nd Combat Crew Training School yearbook John Bregant saved from his training in Ardmore.

Notes

John James Bregant 384th Bomb Group Personnel Record

Previous post, Frigham Young

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

WWII Combat Chronology – 13 September 1944

I am continuing my series of articles based on the entries from Kit C. Carter and Robert Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces. Both combat chronologies are excellent sources of information regarding combat missions in World War II and I thank the authors for sharing them online.

These articles are concentrated on the operations of the 8th Army Air Forces on the missions on which the John Oliver Buslee crew and James Joseph Brodie crew of the 384th Bomb Group participated. The statistics of other dates and missions and of other branches of the American Air Forces and theaters of operation of World War II are available through the links provided in this article to these two sources for those interested.

Today’s installment is the 13 September 1944 mission in which the Buslee crew and Brodie crew participated.


WWII Combat Chronology – Wednesday, 13 September 1944

384th BG Mission 194/8th AF Mission 628 to Merseburg, Germany.

Target: Oil Industry, the Leuna Synthetic Oil Refinery.

The John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron and the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron participated in this mission.

Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 entry:

70-plus B-17’s, escorted by a P-51 gp, continuing UK-USSR-Italy-UK shuttle-bombing mission, take off from USSR bases, bomb steel and armament works at Diosgyor and proceed to Fifteenth AF bases in Italy. 750-plus HBs from UK bomb 3 synthetic oil plants, 2 aero engine factories, 3 M/Ys, n A/F, motor works, ordnance depot, fuel depot, and several cities and isolated T/Os in C and SW Germany. 11 ftr gps escorting later strafe A/Fs and miscellaneous ground tgts. 28 Hbs and 9 P-51’s are lost. P-51’s claim 33 aircraft destroyed in the air and 2n on the ground. A P-51 gp sweeping S of Munich strafes aircraft dispersal area, A/F and a M/Y.

Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces entry:

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO)

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): 3 missions are flown.

  1. Mission 628 to oil and industrial targets in S Germany. The Buslee and Brodie crews participated in this mission.
  2. Mission 629, an Azon mission to the oil refinery at Hemminstedt.
  3. Mission 631 to drop leaflets on the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.

Also, B-17s, escorted by P-51s, continuing the UK-USSR-Italy-UK shuttle-bombing mission, take off from USSR bases, bomb steel and armament works at Diosgyor, Hungary and proceed to Fifteenth AF bases in Italy.

And P-51s fly a strafing mission S of Munich hitting an aircraft dispersal area, airfield and marshalling yard.

Mission 628: 1,015 bombers and 477 fighters attack oil and industrial targets in S Germany by visual means; 15 bombers and 8 fighters are lost:

  1. 376 B-17s are dispatched to oil refineries at Stuttgart/Sindelfingen (109) and Ludwigshafen (74); secondary targets hit are Darmstadt (95) and Wiesbaden (8); targets of opportunity hit are Mainz (22), a marshalling yard near Wiesbaden (12) and others (3); 4 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 134 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 2 WIA and 37 MIA. Escort is provided by 73 of 74 P-47s, they claim 6-0-2 aircraft on the ground.

  2. 342 B-24s are dispatched to hit Schwabish Hall Airfield (65), a munitions dump at Ulm (65) and Weissenhorn (45); a target of opportunity hit is Reichelsheim (1); 4 B-24s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 127 damaged; 3 airman are WIA and 39 MIA. Escort is provided by 99 P-38s and P-51s; they claim 14-0-5 aircraft on the ground; 2 P-51s are lost.

  3. 297 B-17s are dispatched to hit oil refineries at Merseburg (141) and Lutzkendorf (77); targets of opportunity hit are Giessen (17), Eisenach (12), Altenburg (7), Gera (7) and other (19); they claim 1-0-0 aircraft; 7 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 145 damaged; 4 airmen are KIA, 8 WIA and 67 MIA. Escort is provided by 233 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 33-0-4 aircraft in the air; 6 P-51s are lost.

Links/Sources

Except for entries from Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and McKillop’s Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Stalag Luft IV, Lager D, Barracks 4, Room 12

In the mid-air collision of 28 September 1944 over Magdeburg, Germany of the B-17’s of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron and the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group, four men survived to become prisoners of war.

One of the men of the Brodie crew, George Marshall Hawkins, Jr., was an officer. The other three, my father George Edwin Farrar, Harry Allen Liniger, and Wilfred Frank Miller, were enlisted men. Officers and enlisted men were housed in separate prison camps. Farrar, Liniger, and Miller were housed in Stalag Luft IV, although it seems as though none of them arrived at the same time.

Another airman of the Brodie crew, William Edson Taylor, who was not participating in the 28 September mission with his crew, became a prisoner of war on a later mission, about a week after his crewmates, and was also housed in Stalag Luft IV.

Until two weeks ago, I had never found any of their names on a roster of prisoners of the camp. But two weeks ago, when I was revisiting some POW websites that I had not visited for a long time, I found most of them.

Unfortunately, I did not find the name of Harry Liniger on any of the rosters I reviewed, but I am certain he was held in that camp.

I found three new rosters for prisoners held in D Lager – two rosters of American POW’s and one roster of British POW’s. It is possible that Liniger was held in D Lager, but also as likely that he was held in A, B, or C Lagers instead. I believe he would have arrived at Stalag Luft IV before Miller and Farrar, so my best guess is that he was a resident of C Lager.

George Farrar was a hospital patient until almost Thanksgiving 1944 and Wilfred Miller was originally held in Stalag Luft III until January 1945.

Gregory Hatton’s website, Kriegsgefangen Lagar Der Luft VI and VI, contains a list of Camp Rosters, and in particular, one named Lunsford D Lager Diary Evacuated to Stalag 11A.

In the pages of the Lunsford D Lager Diary, I found my father, George Edwin Farrar listed as G. E. Farrar, on page 21. His S/N was 14119873 and his POW number was 3885.

George Edwin Farrar on Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster

Wilfred Frank Miller, listed as W.F. Miller (the second W.F. Miller on the page), is on page 44. His S/N was 36834864 and his POW number was 3916.

Wilfred Frank Miller on Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster

William Edson Taylor, listed as W.E. Taylor, is on page 72. His S/N was 16115332 and his POW number was 4059.

William Edson Taylor on Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster

I also found airman Cecil Carlton McWhorter, listed as C.C. McWhorter, of the 351st Bomb Group, who was my one of my dad’s POW roommates and marching companions, on page 42. His S/N was 6285927 and his POW number was 3906.

Cecil Carlton McWhorter on Stalag Luft IV Lager D roster

But my finds didn’t end there. Another roster on the Stalag Luft IV website was a roster of British airmen, Flt. Sgt. David Joseph Luft 4 roster RAF POWs at Luft IV. There on page 5, I found the name of my father’s British POW roommate and marching companion, Lawrence Newbold. The British roster provided not only Lawrence Newbold’s RAF S/N of 1576728 and POW number of 3113, it also told his Barracks number (4) and Room number (12).

Lawrence Newbold on Stalag Luft IV Lager D RAF roster

I now had confirmation of exactly where in Stalag Luft IV my father was held – Lager D, Barracks 4, and Room 12. But to really be able to visualize his place in the POW camp, a map of the camp would really come in handy. I found such a map on the website of a former prisoner of the camp, Jack McCracken.

Stalag Luft IV map drawing courtesy of Jack McCracken

With Jack’s map drawing, I was able to see exactly where my father was held in the camp as a prisoner of war. To enlarge the map for a better look, click on the image. Each of the four Lagers – A, B, C, and D are noted with the letters circled. Looking in the “D” section, look just underneath the circled “D” to the circled “4.” That would be Barracks 4.

As for Room 12, I have read that each barracks contained only 10 bunk rooms and that the POW’s called common areas like hallways and kitchens by numbers, too. Room 12’s sleeping arrangements may have been tabletops and floors rather than bunks, but I don’t know for certain except to say “comfort” was probably not a word in the POW’s everyday vocabulary.

Another bit of information, which I’ll have to research in more depth, is that the men on the roster on which I found my dad’s name were supposedly evacuated to Stalag 11A from Stalag Luft IV. I hope to learn more information about this detail as I delve deeper into my POW research.

Notes of Thanks and Credits

SSgt John Huston (Jack) McCracken,
Engineer/Top Turret Gunner

Thank you to S/Sgt. John Huston (Jack) McCracken for sharing his map drawing of Stalag Luft IV on the internet. S/Sgt. McCracken was an Engineer/Top Turret Gunner on a B-17 in the 570th Bomb Squadron of the 390th Bomb Group. He was shot down 9 September 1944  on a mission to Düsseldorf, Germany and imprisoned at Stalag Luft IV and Stalag Luft I. He was housed in Barracks 3 of C Lager according to notes on his map.

I wish to give full credit to Jack McCracken for his map drawing of Stalag Luft IV and have attempted to ask permission through several e-mail addresses I found on his webpage, to use his map in this article but without success.

Unfortunately, I cannot make my request to Jack himself as we lost this hero in 2012. You can read more about Jack McCracken in his obituary on Find a Grave.

Thank you, Jack, for making this information available for generations to come.

Thank you, Gregory Hatton, for providing Stalag Luft IV rosters and other information.

With the exception of images in this post provided by John Huston (Jack) McCracken, Gregory Hatton, and others, © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Kriegie Kids and the Search for POW Records, Part 3

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) takes requests for information regarding Prisoners of War (POW’s) currently four times a year (subject to change in the future). Please check the website of the ICRC for the next submission date. See this previous article for more details.


George Edwin Farrar’s POW ID Tag, #3885 from Stalag Luft IV

A recap:

My father, George Edwin Farrar, was an American Prisoner of War (POW) of Germany during World War II. The Nazis called the prisoners “Kriegsgefangenen.” The POWs called themselves “Kriegies.” That makes me, the daughter of Stalag Luft IV POW #3885, a “Kriegie Kid.”

As a Kriegie Kid, I am naturally interested in discovering information about my father’s Prisoner of War experience and have found various ways to search for details.


I have covered several resources for POW information in previous articles,

ICRC POW Records Request

Kriegie Kids and the Search for POW Records, Part 1

Kriegie Kids and the Search for POW Records, Part 2

and to complete this series of articles, I have a few additional ideas for places you can search for POW information.

Websites

Keith Ellefson, 384th Bomb Group Combat Data Specialist and fellow volunteer researcher for the group, shared these resources – the “American Prisoners of War In Germany” document and the “Foreign Records Seized” search engine – he found in the National Archives Catalog. Thank you, Keith!

“American Prisoners of War in Germany” prepared by the Military Intelligence Service War Department options to view and save:

  • View one page at a time by clicking each page and zoom to read
  • Save/download or print (or just view) the entire document. At the lower right of the screen, which shows Image 1 of 112, click the double right arrow (>>) “Last Image” icon. On the redrawn screen, which shows “Automatic Zoom” at top middle, click the Download button on the right. You will be able to save the entire “731111-Box2197-Folder1.pdf” file to your computer. To print, click the Print button.

Foreign Records Seized, obtained from the National Archives Catalog search advice:

This record group is rather difficult to navigate and may not produce any results for you, but it does contain some German Downed Allied Aircraft Kampfflugzeug Unterlagen (KU) Reports. I was able to find a KU report by searching on my father’s name in this record group and will use my search as an example.

  • Open the National Archives Catalog, Foreign Records Seized.
  • Scroll down the page and click the “Search within this record group” button.
  • At this point, you could just scroll through the records in the group as it contains a lot of interesting items, but to search for information about a POW relative, enter their first and last name in the search box in the top left and click the magnifying glass.
  • I searched using my father’s name, George Farrar. I was presented with two pages of results.
  • After scrolling through both pages of results, I could see that my father’s full name appeared only in the second result in the list: KU-3028. I clicked on that link to open the report.
  • As with the “American Prisoners of War in Germany” report, I could scroll through each image or click the “Last Image” double arrow to download or print the entire document.
  • Reviewing the items in the file, I see that some of the information pertains to my dad and his crew and some does not.
  • I repeated the search using the name Harry Liniger, the waist gunner of the B-17 that collided with my dad’s on September 28, 1944. I found KU-3089 with that search.
  • The results were certainly not as complete a picture as I had hoped for, but I did discover some previously undiscovered German records during the process.

Facebook Groups

  • Kriegie Kids Facebook group, a fairly new group with currently a small number of members. If you are a Kriegie Kid, I urge you to join to connect with other Kriegie Kids, learn more about the WWII POW experience, and ask questions.
  • Many of the WWII combat groups have Facebook group pages set up for NexGen members (and veterans) to connect, share information, and ask questions. Many of them include members who are researchers or historians of the group who will help you find information.

Books

Many books have been written by WWII veterans or their children about POW experiences. Try a general internet search or start with a few of these. Most of these are available on Amazon, but the Shoe Leather Express books are out of print, so besides looking on Amazon, check Abebooks and other used book sources like eBay.


I’m certain I haven’t covered every available resource for learning more about the WWII POW experience, especially that of the Pacific Theatre, but this post is the final post of this series.

However, you should expect a lot more coverage on the subject of WWII POW’s here in the future as I continue my research into my father’s POW camp experience and the path of his march to liberation and freedom.

Notes

The German word for prisoner of war (POW) was Kriegsgefangener (singular) and Kriegsgefangenen (plural). The POWs called themselves “Kriegies” for short.

Links from previous posts in this series

NARA search of Records of World War II Prisoner of War

ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) Requests for Information About People Held POW

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

WWII Combat Chronology – 11 September 1944

I am continuing my series of articles based on the entries from Kit C. Carter and Robert Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces. Both combat chronologies are excellent sources of information regarding combat missions in World War II and I thank the authors for sharing them online.

These articles are concentrated on the operations of the 8th Army Air Forces on the missions on which the John Oliver Buslee crew and James Joseph Brodie crew of the 384th Bomb Group participated. The statistics of other dates and missions and of other branches of the American Air Forces and theaters of operation of World War II are available through the links provided in this article to these two sources for those interested.

Today’s installment is the 11 September 1944 mission in which the Buslee crew and Brodie crew participated.


WWII Combat Chronology – Monday, 11 September 1944

384th BG Mission 192/8th AF Mission 623 to Lützkendorf & Merseburg, Germany.

Target: Oil Industry, an Oil Refinery.

The John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron and the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron participated in this mission.

Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 entry:

The Eighth begins another FRANTIC shuttle-bombing mission, as 75 B-17’s with 64 P-51’s attack armament plant at Chemnitz, and land at USSR bases. I P-51 is lost. FRANTIC mission lasts until 17 Sep and takes the planes from UK to USSR to Italy to UK. Over 850 other HBs, escorted by 14 ftr gps, bomb 6 synthetic oil plants, an ordnance depot, an engine works, a M/Y, a tire plant, and numerous other scattered T/Os, along with several German cities. An estimated 525 ftrs attack the formations or are engaged by Eighth AF planes. 52 HBs and 32 ftrs are lost. HBs claim destruction of 17 ftrs while the US ftrs claim 116 in the air and 42 on the ground.

Jack McKillop’s USAAF Chronology: Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces entry:

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO)

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): Two missions are flown.

  1. Mission 623 to synthetic oil plants and refineries in Germany. The Buslee and Brodie crews participated in this mission.
  2. Mission 625, a leaflet drop on France and Germany overnight.

Also, B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions during the night.

Mission 623: 1,131 bombers and 440 fighters are dispatched to hit synthetic oil plants and refineries in Germany; AAF encounters an estimated 525 Luftwaffe fighters; 40 bombers and 17 fighters are lost; AAF claim 115-7-23 aircraft in the air and 42-0-43 on the ground:

  1. 384 B-17s are dispatched to hit oil refineries at Bohlen (75), Chemnitz (75), Brux (39) and Ruhland (22); the Chemnitz force is an Operation FRANTIC force that along with 64 P-51s, continues on and lands in the USSR; targets of opportunity are a tire plant at Fulda (66), a marshalling yard at Fulda (40) and 16 others; they claim 12-16-1 aircraft; 16 B-17s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 94 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 4 WIA and 153 MIA. Escort is provided by 252 of 275 P-51s; they claim 57-2-12 aircraft in the air and 26-0-25 on the ground; 4 P-51s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 5 damaged; 4 pilots are MIA.

  2. 351 B-17s are dispatched to hit oil refineries at Merseburg (111) and Lutzkendorf (96); targets of opportunity hit are Eisennach (71), Labejum (12), Rossla (6) and 25 others; they claim 1-1-2 aircraft; 13 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 106 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 21 WIA and 120 MIA. Escort is provided by 247 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 13-0-1 aircraft in the air and 4-0-2 on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 2 P-47s and 4 P-51s damaged; 3 pilots are MIA.

  3. 396 B-24s are dispatched to hit an engine factory at Hannover (88), oil refineries at Misburg (87) and Magdeburg (33) and an ordinance depot at Magdeburg (27); targets of opportunity hit are Magdeburg (70), Stendal (45), Diepholz (9) and 3 others; they claim 4-8-1 aircraft; 10 B-24s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 179 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 13 WIA and 102 MIA. Escort is provided by 164 P-38s and P-51s; they claim 45-5-10 aircraft in the air and 12-0-16 on the ground; 10 P-51s are lost, 4 damaged beyond repair and 7 damaged; 14 pilots are MIA.

Links/Sources

Except for entries from Carter and Mueller’s U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II Combat Chronology 1941 – 1945 and McKillop’s Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces © Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Kriegie Kids and the Search for POW Records, Part 2

I hope those of you who wished to place a request for Prisoner of War (POW) records from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were successful in submitting your request on 24 January. Prepare to wait a while for the results, but when you do get them, please let me know what you learned either through a comment here on my blog or with an e-mail.

For those who still wish to place a request for POW records, check the website of the ICRC for the next submission date. For now, the ICRC is accepting requests once a quarter, but that could change in the future, so please check the site for the next available date. See this previous article for more details.


George Edwin Farrar’s POW ID Tag, #3885 from Stalag Luft IV

A recap:

My father, George Edwin Farrar, was an American Prisoner of War (POW) of Germany during World War II. The Nazis called the prisoners “Kriegsgefangenen.” The POWs called themselves “Kriegies.” That makes me, the daughter of POW #3885, a “Kriegie Kid.”

As a Kriegie Kid, I am naturally interested in discovering information about my father’s Prisoner of War experience and have found various ways to search for details.


A note, to start. My father was an airman in a B-17 Heavy Bomber Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in World War II. Therefore, the focus of my research has always been on units of the air war based in England.

The information I share may not be as applicable to units based in other theaters of the war or to Army soldiers of the ground forces or seamen of the Navy.

If you are searching for POW information for a military member from one of these other groups, I hope this information gives you some ideas on how to start your search as I’m sure I am not covering all of the options pertaining to your POW family member.

In Part 1 of this article, I covered finding POW information in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Access to Archival Databases (AAD). In this part, Part 2, I’ll cover a few alternate resources.

Other POW information resources:

  • Wartime Missing Air Crew Reports
  • Post-wartime documents, including Honorable Discharge, Separation Qualification Record, and POW Medal Application

Wartime Missing Air Crew Reports

If you can locate the wartime Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) for an air crews’ loss and subsequent capture, you may learn many details depending on how complete the report is. Some of the WWII Army Air Force Groups have websites or Facebook pages and may have a historian or researcher that will help you find this information.

An alternate source is to perform a name search for the WWII time period on fold3, a separate Ancestry.com website of online military records. You may register for a free account to search, but may need to join or start a free trial to review any Missing Air Crew Reports the search reveals.

You may also find B-17 crew/aircraft losses and the MACR number in Dave Osborne’s Fortlog (B-17 Fortress Master Log) by searching on the name of your POW. For example, when I search on my dad’s last name, I find the B-17’s serial number and name, Bomb Group and Squadron numbers, MIA place and date, names of the members of the crew on board, where they were lost, and the MACR number:

43-37822 Del Cheyenne 25/5/44; Kearney 8/6/44; Grenier 28/6/44; Ass 544BS/384BG [SU-N] Grafton Underwood 29/6/44; MIA Magdeburg 28/9/44 w/John Buslee, Dave Albrecht, Bill Henson, Bob Stearns, Len Bryant, Seb Peluso, George McMann, Gerald Anderson (8KIA); George Farrar (POW); flak, cr Ingersleben, Ger; MACR 9753. LEAD BANANA.

Post-wartime Documents

I was able to find POW information on my father’s Honorable Discharge and Separation Qualification Record paperwork. After communicating with other children of former POW’s, though, I learned that the information was not always presented in the same area of those documents, so if you have these, carefully look over the entire documents, front and back.

For example, on my father’s Honorable Discharge, I find this information listed on the back page:

  • Box 34, Wounds Received in Action: Germany 28 Sept 44 (indicates the date of the mid-air collision in which he became a POW)
  • Box 36, Date of Departure (indicates the date he left the ETO – European Theater of Operations – two months after his liberation date and return to US military control)
  • Box 55, Remarks: POW Germany – 28 Sept 44 – 2 May 45 (Not all discharge papers list the POW’s exact dates of internment, but my father’s did)

On the back page of my father’s Separation Qualification Record, under Additional Information, Box 23, Remarks, is noted: POW in Germany 28 Sept 44 – 2 May 45.

On the front page of Wilfred Frank Miller’s Separation Qualification Record, under Summary of Military Occupations, Box 13, Title – Description – Related Civilian Occupation, this information is noted: Was shot down and Bailed out over Germany. Was taken prisoner of war and interned for 7 months. Was returned to U.S. control 13 May 1945.

Obviously, there was no standard way to report this information, so review these documents thoroughly for POW details.

Also, the dates noted are not completely clear as to what the end date signifies. Liberation date and date returned to military control are not necessarily the same date, as was the case for my father. However, my father was liberated by the British and it likely took time from his liberation date for him to be transferred from British forces to American forces and returned to U.S. control.

For Miller, perhaps his date signifies that he was liberated by the Americans and immediately returned to U.S. control. These clues can help pinpoint where the POW was when he was liberated if we can find the historical evidence of the dates of separate liberations of various groups of prisoners.

From the different end dates between Miller and my dad, I must assume they did not march in the same column of marchers from Stalag Luft IV and took different paths to freedom.

Prisoner of War (POW) Medal Application: If you still have your father’s post-wartime documents, you may find a copy of his POW medal application, if he applied for this post-war medal. Or you may find it in his file at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis.

In Section I – Prisoner of War Identification Data, Box 13, Additional Information, the former POW was asked to describe his Place of imprisonment, disposition after release, or escape, recapture and release. There are also other spaces for information such as Branch of Service, Date Confined as POW, Unit of Assignment/Attachment when Captured, and Date Released as POW.

More Options

In Part 3, I’ll cover a few more options and suggestions for finding POW information.

Notes

The German word for prisoner of war (POW) was Kriegsgefangener (singular) and Kriegsgefangenen (plural). The POWs called themselves “Kriegies” for short.

Links

Kriegie Kids and the Search for POW Records, Part 1

fold3 military records website

Dave Osborne’s Fortlog (B-17 Fortress Master Log)

National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)

NARA search of Records of World War II Prisoner of War

ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) Requests for Information About People Held POW

Kriegie Kids Facebook group

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

Kriegie Kids and the Search for POW Records, Part 1

Reminder! The next window to place a request for Prisoner of War (POW) records from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) opens on 24 January 2022 at 8:00 (GMT +1). Please see this previous article for details.


George Edwin Farrar’s POW ID Tag, #3885 from Stalag Luft IV

My father, George Edwin Farrar, was an American Prisoner of War (POW) of Germany during World War II. The Nazis called the prisoners “Kriegsgefangenen.” The POWs called themselves “Kriegies.” That makes me, the daughter of POW #3885, a “Kriegie Kid.”

As a Kriegie Kid, I am naturally interested in discovering information about my father’s Prisoner of War experience and have found various ways to search for details.

One option to find at least summary information with a few details is NARA’s (National Archives and Record Administration’s) Access to Archival Databases (AAD). Let’s start with a name search in the Archival Databases.

NARA – AAD

Open the NARA – AAD webpage.

Enter the POW’s name in the “Search AAD” text box and click the Search button.

Review the list of the results and find Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 – 1947, documenting the period 12/7/1941 – 11/19/1946 in the list.

Click on View Records.

When you find the correct record in the records list, click on the document icon in the View Record column.

As an example, I am including my father’s POW record from NARA – AAD. The information provided includes:

  • Date of capture, here listed as Report Date – September 28, 1944 for my dad.
  • Bomb Group, here listed as Parent Unit Number – 384th Bomb Group for my dad.
  • Place of capture, here listed as Area – European Theatre, Germany for my dad.
  • Last Report Date – July 13, 1945 for my dad. I am not certain of how this date was assigned. It was not the date of his liberation (May 2, 1945) or the date he was returned to US military control (May 8, 1945), and between July 2 and July 17, 1945, he was reportedly on a ship returning to the states.
  • Detaining Power – Germany for my dad.
  • POW Camp, here listed as Camp – Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16 for my dad.

File unit: World War II Prisoners of War Data File, 12/7/1941 – 11/19/1946

Field Title Value Meaning
SERIAL NUMBER 14119873 14119873
NAME FARRAR GEORGE E FARRAR GEORGE E
GRADE, ALPHA S SG Staff Sergeant
GRADE CODE 4 Major or Asst. superintendent of nurses or Director of nurses or Director of dietitians or Director of physical therapy aides or Staff Sergeant or Technician 3d Grade or Lt. Commander or Petty Officer, 2nd Class
SERVICE CODE 1 ARMY
ARM OR SERVICE AC Air Corps
ARM OR SERVICE CODE 20 AC: AIR CORPS
DATE REPORT: DAY (DD) 28 28
DATE REPORT: MONTH (MM) 09 09
DATE REPORT: YEAR (Y) 4 1944
RACIAL GROUP CODE 1 WHITE
STATE OF RESIDENCE 43 Georgia
TYPE OF ORGANIZATION S53 Heavy Bomber
PARENT UNIT NUMBER 0384 0384
PARENT UNIT TYPE 06 Group/Regiment/Commands/System
AREA 72 European Theatre: Germany
LATEST REPORT DATE: DAY (DD) 13 13
LATEST REPORT DATE: MONTH (MM) 07 07
LATEST REPORT DATE: YEAR (Y) 5 1945
SOURCE OF REPORT 1 Individual has been reported through sources considered official.
STATUS 8 Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated
DETAINING POWER 1 GERMANY
CAMP 091 Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16
REP
POW TRANSPORT SHIPS

Note that you may not immediately find the search name in the records. It is possible that the record is missing from the database, but it may just be that the name has not been recorded correctly or in the expected format.

I have had difficulties with some names, for instance one that begins with Mc, like McDougall. The database seems to record a name beginning with Mc with a space between the “Mc” and the rest of the last name. Try entering a last name beginning with Mc with the space, like “Mc Dougall” instead of “McDougall.”

In the case that your search does not return the correct record, if you do have the POW’s US military Serial Number, enter that number in the search box rather than the name and the search engine may find the correct record in the database.

Learning a few facts about your POW relative’s internment is a good place to start, but it’s just the beginning. And the information you find in a NARA – AAD search may help you fill in some of the information needed to request POW records from the ICRC, too.

Notes

  • The German word for prisoner of war (POW) was Kriegsgefangener (singular) and Kriegsgefangenen (plural). The POWs called themselves “Kriegies” for short.
  • On the NARA – AAD Search Results page, you may also find the POW’s enlistment record in the World War II Army Enlistment Records, created, 6/1/2002 – 9/30/2002, documenting the period ca. 1938 – 1946 results.

Links

Kriegie Kids Facebook group

NARA search (NARA – AAD webpage) of Records of World War II Prisoner of War

ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) Requests for Information About People Held POW

To be continued with more options for finding POW information for Kriegie Kids…

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

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