The Arrowhead Club

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

WWII Combat Chronology – 10 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 10 September 1944 mission in which the Buslee crew and Brodie crew participated.


WWII Combat Chronology – Sunday, 10 September 1944

384th BG Mission 191/8th AF Mission 619 to Sindelfingen, Germany.

Target: Industry, the BMW Motor Component Parts Plant.

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:

Over 1,000 HBs attack aircraft, tank, motor transport and engine plants, A/Fs, and jet-propulsion units plant in SC Germany, along with Ulm and Heilbronn M/Ys and several other secondary and T/Os. 12 gps of escorting ftrs claim 6 aircraft destroyed in air and 73 on ground. 12 HBs and 12 ftrs are lost. 3 P-47 gps strafe A/Fs and ground and rail traffic in sweep over Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, and Kassel areas, claiming destruction of 40 parked planes. 8 P-47’s are lost, mostly to flak.

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

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO)

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): 4 missions are flown.

  1. Mission 619 to targets in the Stuttgart, Germany area. The Buslee and Brodie crews participated in this mission.
  2. Mission 620 to trial the GB-4 radio/visual control bomb against Duren, Germany.
  3. Mission 621, a radar and photo reconnaissance mission over Germany, and a leaflet drop on France, the Netherlands, and Germany during the night.
  4. B-24 and C-47 CARPETBAGGER mission during the night.

Also, P-47s strafe airfields and ground and rail traffic in a sweep over the Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, and Kassel areas.

Mission 619: 1,144 bombers and 570 fighters are dispatched to targets in the Stuttgart, Germany area; 7 bombers are lost mostly to flak and 5 fighters are lost:

  1. 388 B-24s are dispatched and hit secondary targets, the marshalling yards at Ulm (247) and Heilbronn (100); 2 others bomb targets of opportunity; 1 B-24 is lost, 1 damaged beyond repair and 65 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 2 WIA and 10 MIA. Escort is provided by 153 P-38s and P-51s; 2 P-51s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 1 P-38 and 3 P-51s damaged; 1 pilot is KIA and 2 MIA.
  2. 385 B-17s are dispatched to hit a tank factory at Nurnberg (173), Giebelstadt Airfield (112) and an aircraft components plant at Furth (60); 8 others hit targets of opportunity; 3 B-17s are lost and 147 damaged; 7 airmen are WIA and 28 MIA. Escort is provided by 221 P-47s and P-51s; they claim 1-0-0 aircraft in the air and 38-0-44 on the ground; 3 P-51s are lost and 2 damaged; 3 pilots are MIA.
  3. 372 B-17s are dispatched to attack a motor vehicle factory at Gaggenau (140), a jet-propulsion units plant at Zuffenhausen (116) and an engine factory at Sindelfingen (73); 19 others hit targets of opportunity; 3 B-17s are lost, 5 damaged beyond repair and 169 damaged; 9 airmen are WIA and 27 MIA. Escort is provided by 135 of 153 P-51s; they claim 1-1-0 aircraft in the air and 29-0-1 on the ground without loss.

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

ICRC POW Records Request

The next window to place a request for Prisoner of War (POW) records from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) opens up on 24 January 2022 at 8:00 (GMT +1).

My father, George Edwin Farrar, was an American Prisoner of War (POW) of Germany during World War II and because of that, my research into his WWII history includes an extra aspect of his military service. On top of learning about his stateside training and combat history, I want to know about his time of imprisonment by the enemy.

The information to be learned, once I’m past the initial information of dates and places, will not be very pleasant, but it’s important for me to know. And the best place to start is to find out how long he was a POW and where he was held prisoner.

There are a couple of places to find information, but today I want to write about the request for information from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) because a short window opens up to request this information only a few times a year and the next window is opening very soon.

This website of the International Committee of the Red Cross is the place to request information about someone held as a prisoner of war or civilian internee during the Spanish Civil War or the Second World War.

If you open the website at any time other than when the short window is open, you will see the page heading, “Requests for information about people held during Spanish Civil War or Second World War: Quarterly limit reached.”

If you open the website during the window of opportunity to request information, you will be able to access an online form which you can fill out for your request.

The website did not supply me in advance with a list of the information the form would require me to fill in, so I had to scramble at the time I was completing the form to make sure I had the correct information and to enter it before the quarterly limit was reached. For that reason, I’m going to list the items I had to provide so you can prepare in advance and be able to fill out the online form quickly and as accurately as possible.

The fields I had to complete were:

Person about whom the information is sought: 

  • Surname
  • First name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Date of death
  • Nationality
  • Place of residence at the time of the conflict
  • Father’s surname and first name
  • Mother’s maiden name and first name
  • Wife/husband’s name
  • Conflict (2nd World War)
  • Status (Military)
  • Rank
  • Unit
  • Army
  • Service number
  • Date of capture
  • Place of capture
  • Prisoner of war number
  • Place(s) of detention
  • Date of release (and repatriation)
  • Additional information (large text box)

Person requiring the research:

  • Title
  • Surname
  • First name
  • Institution
  • Street
  • Street No.
  • Postal code
  • City
  • Country
  • Email
  • Family tie (the person about whom I am seeking information is my…)
  • Reason for enquiry
  • Reason for enquiry (additional information) – large text box

It’s possible you may not have some of the requested information, but the more you can provide, the better the chance the Red Cross can find the records of your POW.

The next window to place a request opens up on 24 January 2022 at 8:00 (GMT +1) (note this is the time zone of Geneva, Switzerland). It only opens four times a year and they only take a limited number of applications, so determine what time it correlates to in your own time zone (use Google or a world clock app) and then get online immediately at the time the window opens to request the info.

I also want to point out that each applicant is allowed to request information for only one POW. If you are considering requesting information for more than one POW, it’s best to realize in advance you only get one request, so make it the one for which you most want to seek information.

I requested information about my father last year. In my case, I determined that Geneva is six hours ahead of my time zone, so I got online at 2 a.m. on 20 September 2021 to submit my application. By 2:10 a.m. my form was complete and submitted.

I did wait several weeks and was rewarded with an e-mail from the ICRC on 5 November 2021 with a digital document of results attached. The information arrived exactly thirty-nine years to the day of my father’s death.

Unfortunately, I learned nothing new from the report I received. But information I already knew was confirmed. My father was held in Stalag Luft IV and the date of his liberation by Allied forces was confirmed as 2 May 1945.

The report did not indicate the date of his capture, but I already knew that date, too, and there are other resources to find that information, like a NARA search of records of WWII POW’s, which I’ll address in a couple of weeks.

I still think it was worth the time and effort to get up in the middle of the night to submit the request. There was no charge or fee to request the information or to receive the results, and you just never know what you might find out unless you ask. If you miss the window coming up on 24 January, you should have three more chances in 2022 and the dates will be announced on the ICRC website.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll remind you about this opportunity again and write more in detail about searching the NARA records and a place on Facebook to connect with other relatives of POW’s, Kriegie Kids.

Links

I’ve only covered the ICRC requests today, but am including a couple more links to information I’ll be covering in a future post in case you want to do a little exploring on your own…

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

NARA search of Records of World War II Prisoner of War

Kriegie Kids Facebook group

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022

The B-17 Ball Turret Gunner

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, was a waist/flexible gunner with the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in World War II. On 28 September 1944, the Buslee crew and the James Joseph Brodie crew of the same group became forever connected when the B-17’s they were aboard on a combat mission over Germany suffered a mid-air collision.

I am currently updating the biographical information of the men of these two crews, and I thought it would be a good time to explain the duties involved in each position of the airmen aboard the aircraft, the B-17. I have recently updated the information of the three 384th Bomb Group Ball Turret Gunners who flew with the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron and the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron.

Erwin Vernon Foster, assigned Buslee crew ball turret gunner

George Francis McMann, Jr., Gilbert crew ball turret gunner, but ball turret gunner of the Buslee crew on 28 September 1944

Gordon Eugene Hetu, assigned Brodie crew ball turret gunner

For a list of all of the airmen of the Buslee and Brodie crews, see permanent page The Buslee and Brodie Crews, which is maintained with new information/posts.

Duties and Responsibilities of the B-17 Ball Turret Gunner

According to the 303rd Bomb Group’s website,

Training in the various phases of the heavy bomber program is designed to fit each member of the crew for the handling of his jobs. The ball turret gunner:

  • Requires many mental and physical qualities similar to what we know as inherent flying ability, since the operation of the power turret and gunsight are much like that of airplane flight operation.
  • Should be familiar with the coverage area of all gun positions, and be prepared to bring the proper gun to bear as the conditions may warrant.
  • Should be experts in aircraft identification. Where the Sperry turret is used, failure to set the target dimension dial properly on the K-type sight will result in miscalculation of range.
  • Must be thoroughly familiar with the Browning aircraft machine gun. They should know how to maintain the guns, how to clear jams and stoppages, and how to harmonize the sights with the guns.
  • Should fire the guns at each station to familiarize himself with the other man’s position and to insure knowledge of operation in the event of an emergency.

Location of the Ball Turret in a B-17

The ball turret of a B-17 is suspended below the fuselage of the aircraft, between the radio room and the waist. Should the ball turret gunner have to bail out of the aircraft, he would likely bail out through the waist door. The ball turret gunner first had to exit the ball turret and hook up his chute as he did not have room in the ball turret to wear it (although there are stories of ball turret gunners who saved their lives by wearing their chutes in the ball and exiting the aircraft by rotating the ball and bailing out directly from it).

In the following diagram, George McMann is noted in the ball turret of the aircraft along with the other Buslee crew members in their positions on September 28, 1944.

Buslee Crew in Position on September 28, 1944
Diagram courtesy of 91st Bomb Group and modified by Cindy Farrar Bryan in 2014

B-17 Ball Turret Photos

I took the following photos of the Collings Foundation’s B-17 Nine-O-Nine a few years before its tragic crash.

The exterior of the B-17 ball turret.

Ball turret of the Collings Foundation’s B-17G Nine-o-Nine In Leesburg, Florida, November 4, 2017

For a little perspective of the size of the B-17’s ball turret, 384th Bomb Group pilot John DeFrancesco stands beside the Collings Foundation’s aircraft.

John DeFrancesco, WWII B-17 pilot in front of the Collings Foundation’s B-17G Nine-o-Nine In Leesburg, Florida, November 4, 2017

A view of the ball turret from inside the aircraft, the top hatch of the ball can be seen in the foreground of this photo near the bottom of the image, with a view to the rear of the aircraft and the waist area.

Ball turret and waist area of the Collings Foundation’s B-17G Nine-o-Nine In Leesburg, Florida, November 4, 2017

Stories of 384th Bomb Group Ball Turret Gunners

I thought it might also be interesting to read stories, diaries, and journals written by or view video interviews of some of the 384th’s own ball turret gunners. You’ll find a chart of several ball turret gunners of the 384th Bomb Group below with links to their personnel records and their written and oral histories as are provided on the Stories page of 384thBombGroup.com.

Airman Personnel Record Stories, Diaries, Journals, and Interviews
Burns, Robert (NMI)⇗ My Bit For Victory⇓ (2.721 MB)
Estrin, Leonard (NMI), “Len”⇗ Len Estrin’s Combat Diary⇓ (6.029 MB)
Lavoie, Ralph Edmund⇗ Near-Escape From Infamous Stalag 17⇓ (0.971 MB)
Werbanec, George Frank⇗ Our Fatal Day, June 22,1943⇓ (8.075 MB)
Jaworski, Frank (NMI)⇗ Oral History Interview⇗
Jones, Lynn Tilton⇗ Oral History Interview⇗
Smith, Luther Earl, “Smitty”⇗ 2011 Veteran’s History Project Oral History Interview⇗

Sources and Further Reading

303rd Bomb Group:  Duties and Responsibilities of the Engineer and the Gunners

B-17 Flying Fortress Queen of the Skies, Crew Positions, Ball Turret Gunner

303rd Bomb Group:  Military Occupational Specialty

TM 12-427 Military Occupational Classification of Enlisted Personnel

The Military Yearbook Project – Army Air Force WWII Codes

The Army Air Forces in World War II: VI, Men and Planes, Edited by W.F. Craven and J.L. Cate, Chapter 19: Training of Ground Technicians and Service Personnel

Training to Fly:  Military Flight Training 1907 – 1945 by Rebecca Hancock Cameron

Thank you to the 91st Bomb Group for granting me permission in 2014 to use and modify their B-17 diagram for use on The Arrowhead Club.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2021

WWII Combat Chronology – 9 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 9 September 1944 mission in which the Buslee crew and Brodie crew participated.


WWII Combat Chronology – Saturday, 9 September 1944

384th BG Mission 190/8th AF Mission 614 to Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Target: Industry, the I. G. Farben Chemical Works.

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:

350-plus B-17’s bomb M/Ys at Mannheim and Mainz, armament plant at Dusseldorf and 10 T/Os. 8 B17’s are lost, mostly to AA fire. 8 P-51 gps and a sq give escort, 1 gp later strafing rail traffic S of Wurzburg. 1 P-47 gp sweeps Lingen-Munster-Haltern area to spot flak positions and troop concentrations, and strafe an A/F. 5 FB gps bomb and strafe shipping between German mainland and Schouwen, Overflakee, and Walcheren Is, installations on the islands, and rail and road trafflc NW and NE of Frankfurt/Main. 9 FBs are lost. Ftrs claim 13 aircraft destroyed. Training functions are removed from VIII AF Comp Cmd control and distributed within the combat gps in anticipation that combat gps will have to train their own replacements upon deployment from ETO to other theaters.

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 613, Operation GRASSY to drop supplies to French Resistance Fighters.
  2. Mission 614 to targets in West Germany. The Buslee and Brodie crews participated in this mission.
  3. Mission 618, a leaflet drop on Belgium, France, and Germany during the night.

VIII Fighter Command fighter-bomber missions:

  1. P-47’s sweep the Lingen-Munster-Haltern area to spot flak positions and troop concentrations and strafe an airfield.
  2. P-47’s and P-51’s bomb and strafe shipping between the German mainland and Schouwen, Overflakee and Walcheren Islands, the Netherlands, installations on the islands, and rail and road traffic NW and NE of Frankfurt/Main.

Also, B-24’s and C-47’s fly CARPETBAGGER mission during the night.

Mission 614: 1,140 bombers and 435 fighters are dispatched to hit targets in W Germany; the primaries are attacked by both visual and PFF means; 14 bombers and 1 fighter are lost:

  1. 419 B-17s are dispatched to hit the marshalling yard at Mannheim (387); 2 others hit targets of opportunity; 5 B-17s are lost and 197 damaged; 10 airmen are WIA and 54 MIA. Escort is provided by 140 of 152 P-51s without loss.

  2. 337 B-24s are dispatched to hit the marshalling yard at Mainz (265); targets of opportunity are the marshalling yard at Worms (24) and Koblenz (6); 3 B-24s are lost, 3 damaged beyond repair and 104 damaged; 5 airmen are KIA and 33 MIA. Escort is provided by 125 of 128 P-51s without loss.

  3. 384 B-17s are dispatched to an armaments plant at Dusseldorf (251); targets of opportunity are Bonn (12), Leverkusen (11) and others (16); 6 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 148 damaged; 2 airmen are KIA, 3 WIA and 63 MIA.  Escort is provided by 142 of 155 P-51s; 1 P-51 is 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, 2021

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