The Wartime Memories Project - STALAG LUFT 1 POW Camp

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII


Stalag Luft 1 was situated at Barth, Germany, a small town on the Baltic Sea 23 kilometers northwest of Stralsund.

Stalag Luft One opened as a camp for British officers late in 1942, American Airmen began to arrive early in 1943. By January 1944, the camp had been split into two compounds each with seven barracks, the South (Officers) and the West (Enlisted men). As the numbers of American Airmen being sent to the camp increased a new North compound was added in February 1944 with the North 2 and North 3 compounds being added in September and December 1944.

In May of 1945 the camp was liberated by the advancing Russian Army. The German guards had abandoned the camp of nearly 9,000 prisoners a few days prior to the liberation.

After the war, the camp was fully dismantled. Today the only sign of the camp is a memorial plaque mounted on a large stone.

My husband's uncle Edward T. Jenkins from Summerville, South Carolina,USA was a 2nd Lt bombadier on a B-17 shot down over Germany and captured. He remained a POW in Stalag Luft I from March 1944 until the liberation in 1945. I am trying to gather info for him (87 yrs old!) about his 'roomates'. Thank you for the pictures and stories on this great website.

My father 2nd Lt Robert Dave Bangham was also a POW in Stalage Luft 1 #1964. I still have his personal info card. I am trying to find info as to his bomb group. He was a B-24 Pilot and spent about 12 months in camp till the gates opened up. I build R/C aircraft models and want to build his aircraft with proper markings.

My father was also a guest of the Third Reich at Stalag Luft 1. His name was William (Bill) Lee Ellis Jr., originally from Arkansas. The B-17 (“The Expectant Father”), of which he was the navigator, crashed in the spring of 1944, and he was at the camp until April of 1945. He and a couple of buddies decided to leave the party before the Russians crashed it.

Dad’s plane was a B-17G, “The Expectant Father”, so named because the pilot’s wife was due to have a baby when he shipped out to England. It was No. 42-97211, out of the 8th AF, 388th BG, 563rd BS.

The crew were:

  • Lt. Edmund J. Ely Pilot
  • Lt. Frederick H. Pratt Co-pilot
  • Lt. William L. Ellis Jr. Navigator
  • Lt. David Ririe Bombardier
  • S/Sgt. John M. Russell Radio Op.
  • S/Sgt. Leo K. Kornoely* Engineer
  • Sgt.Vincent J. Muffoletto Ball Turret Gunner
  • Sgt. Constantine G. Scourbys* Rt. Waist Gunner
  • Sgt. Harvey L. Ringer* Left Waist Gunner
  • Sgt. Thomas Neill* Tail Gunner
*Did not survive crash

It was April 1944 (I don’t have the exact date, but Dad does). Dad’s plane, the lone shiny unpainted one of this particular mission (all the others were olive drab), was on its first bombing run. Unfortunately, it was the only run it ever made. They made it to the general area of their target, dropped their load, and headed back. They had engine trouble, with one prop feathered, and that, combined with the mirror-like exterior of the plane, made them an easy target. The Jerrys shot them down. Dad and the Radio Op weren’t able to kick open their hatch to bail, and so they rode the plane down to the ground. All those who did bail are shown above, with asterisks by their names.

The nose cone popped off on impact, and the plane plowed into the ground, practically filling the interior with dirt. Dad’s head was cut open pretty badly, and Ririe’s feet were both broken, bent backwards, actually, but they managed to get clear of the aircraft. I’m not clear on the stories of the other survivors.

After receiving tender loving care from a German medical team (Anesthetic? Who needs anesthetic?), they eventually made it to the camp. Did I mention that they had made it to the general area of their target? Well, it turns out that they were off just a tad. Instead of the military site that they were supposed to hit, they accidentally took out the local brewery. As a result, the POWs no longer received their beer rations at the camp. I don’t think that this was information that Dad and his crew readily volunteered in conversation...

Two years before he died he wrote down this account of his leaving the camp.

Ken Ellis.


May 6, 1945 to May 9,1945

Before dawn on May 6,1945, three roommates from Block 8, North II Compound, Stalag Luft 1, Barth, Germany, slipped out of the compound, heading west. Stalag Luft 1 was on a peninsula and the first objective was to get to the other side of the body of water. A small boat was located, which was boarded without question of seaworthiness. Before the opposite shore was reached, the boat sank and the three were able to wade ashore. Soon after, they were stopped by a Russian sentry. What was undoubtedly the most dangerous part of the journey was resolved by a conversation between the sentry and one of the three who could speak Russian. A few packs of cigarettes were given to the sentry and they were allowed to proceed without further delay.

Their feet wet from wading ashore, and without any dry socks or shoes, the three proceeded on toward Rostock. Along the way, the three were fed lunch at a small German farm house. Much later, after walking all day and into the night the three reached Rostock. Contact was made with some Russian soldiers, who took them to a victory celebration where many toasts were made, ending up with toasts to Stalin, Roosevelt and Studebaker. It appeared that the Russians thought very highly of the Studebaker trucks that had been sent to them by Uncle Sam. After the party, lodging was arranged with a German family who also served breakfast to them and pointed them in a westerly direction.

During the second day, the three had a number of rides with Russian soldiers in Studebaker trucks. There was some walking on blistered feet and the final ride was in a horse drawn milk cart, driven by what appeared to be a former German soldier in hobnailed boots. The ride in the milk cart took the three to the Canadian-Russian lines where they left the milk cart and were allowed to cross into Canadian territory. During the crossing the three were subjected to kisses on their cheeks by drunk Russian soldiers. All in all, it was a small price to pay. The fate of the driver of the milk cart was never learned.

Lodging for the second night was provided by the Canadian military and the next morning the three, along with some other exPOW”s, were put on a bus and taken to Luneberg, Germany, the site of Montgomery’s headquarters. Upon arrival at Luneberg, the three were billeted in a former German Barrack. That night, the three met up with some members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a VE day victory celebration was enjoyed by all. On the way back to the barracks, the Russian-speaking one of the three got separated from the other two and they didn’t get back together until some weeks later in London.

After breakfast on the morning of the fourth day, the remaining two walked out to the airfield, having just heard there were Spitfires out there with five bladed props. After inspecting the unique Spitfires the remaining two noticed a C-47 parked with an American pilot standing nearby. One of the remaining two thought that he recognized the American pilot and went over and talked to him. The end result was a ride in the C-47 assigned to Marshal Montgomery’s chief of staff, a Major General deGuingand {sic}. As the C-47 approached Venlo, Holland, the pilot of the C-47 learned that a B-24 was preparing to take off for England. Arrangements were made for the exPOW’s in the C-47 to be transferred to the B-24 for the flight to England; after about a 45 minute flight, the remaining two and the other exPOW’s were back on English soil, having landed. at Tibenham, the base of the 445th bomb group.

The exPOW’s that arrived on the B-24 were the first Air Corps exPOW’s to arrive at Tibenham and they were royally entertained that night (May 9, 1945) The next morning, May 10,1945, the exPOW’s were put on a train for London, the remaining two, still wearing the clothes they wore when they left Barth.

Upon leaving the train on arrival at London, the remaining two were arrested by overzealous MP’s for lack of proper uniform. When the remaining two were allowed to speak and explain their circumstances, the attitude of the MP’s changed for the better and the remaining two were taken to a reception center, arriving just after 1st Lt. John Winant, Jr., the son of the Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Following a stay in a military hospital near Cambridge, the remaining two were separated, one going home on an LST and the other one going home on the HMS Queen Mary.

© 1998 Wm. L. Ellis

I am searching for any information on my father, Lt. Col. Edward C. Heckman Jr. He was a fighter pilot with the 406th and based in Les Mans, France. He was flying a P-47 when he was shot down on September 19, 1944. I believe his rank was Captain then, and I also believe he was a POW in Stalag 1 - Barth, Germany until the end of the war. We have many of the records up to September 19, 1944, but we would like to find out more information about his time as a POW. If you remember my father, please contact me. Thank you!!

Debi Stolberg

My Grandfathers name is Lt.Col Ronald N.Dahly. He was a bomber pilot. I am hoping to find someone who knows him. He was shot down and kept in Luftstag 1. I know little about my Grandfather and he has since passed away. If anyone knows of him please contact me.

Mr. D.B. Wechter


My late uncle, Jack Emms, a mid-upper Lancaster gunner, parachuted from his downed Lanc.III (pilot, F/Lt. Hayes) on the return leg of a bombing raid on Hanover, January 5, 1945. He was subsequently captured and taken to Stalag Luft 1 where he spent the duration.

He was from Petersham, Surrey, near Richmond. Like many young men, he was quite unsettled by his war experiences and had some difficult times after the war. I recall visiting with him in the '60's Cologne, a city his squadron had bombed, and at the cathedral he stood for a very long time with his hand in a great shrapnel cavity. He saw it, I think, as an emblem of what he had done, or at least contributed to, and I know that in the post-war peace he and his comrades had won, he wanted to forgive his enemy and be forgiven.

I have his fight log, note book with camp map drawings, and some photos and artifacts. Cheers, Peter Muller

My dad, Lt. J.F.Carnes with the 384th BG was at stalag 1almost 18months and had a dairy of the events plus drawings and when the camp was liberated Dad went to the chapel and brought two Stations Of The Cross (Catholic) with him as a reminder of the place. He was a chaplins assistant at the camp.

Patrick Carnes

My cousin, 1Lt William R. Lavies, 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, was pilot of B-17 #42-31377. He was killed during a mission over Denmark 22Feb1944. His crew survived and were sent to Stalag Luft 1, according to the widow of 2Lt Robert S. Shuman, bombardier. Besides Shuman, the crew were 2Lt Elijah C. Vaughan, 2Lt Francis B. Peacock, S/Sgts Neil E. Byers and John J. Walcott, and Sgts Lester F. Schrenk, Wm. E. Harman, Peter Guastella and Vern C. Swindler.

My Father, Sgt Fred D. Lavies was with the 4th Transportation Corps in Barnstaple, England, and was to have met William (Bill) in London shortly after the mission. Because of wartime secrecy, it took Dad a long time to get the news of Bill's death.

David D. Lavies, Birmingham, Alabama

War Experience of F J Collings

Fred joined the RAF and was trained near Bridlington Yorkshire. He was trained as a Flight Engineer and flew in Halifax bombers.

After joining an aircrew, he went on three missions, the first two of which were aborted. On the third mission (to Frankfurt on a Saturday in March 1944) , whilst still on the runway and running up the engines, a warning light flickered for the fuel pressure to one engine, and when the engine was on full power the light stayed on. At lower engine power the light went out and checks with ground crew said that it was a faulty gauge. After take off and whilst cruising to join up with the rest of the formation, the light went out, and the pilot decided to carry on with the mission.

Later on Fred noticed that he could not see the glow from the cooling fins on one engine and also the revs were fluctuating, so he brought this to the attention of the pilot who confirmed that he was having trouble and suspected lack of power on one engine. At this, Fred feathered the propeller and stopped the engine. Because of the increased load on the remaining engines and because of the height, another engine started to fail due to icing. Because of restricted access between the two pilots, the second pilot attempted to feather the engine but did it incorrectly causing the engine to overspeed due to the windmill effect, and the propeller disintegrated. (At meeting after the war the pilot thought they had been hit). With only two engines the plane lost height and they decided to ditch the plane in the sea, although they were over land. They did manage to reach the sea and all the seven crew got out into the dinghy.

The dinghy started to tilt as the plane went down as the navigator had cut the rope attached to provisions instead of the one connecting it to the plane, and Fred went overboard with a knife and cut the rope. He obviously got very wet and cold in the North Sea in March. After three days and nights they were washed up on the Belgium coast (Wednesday morning) and taken prisoner by the Germans.

His address whilst a prisoner of war was:-

Prisoner of War Post


1874286 Sargent F J Collings

British Prisoner of War

Stalag Luft 1

Via Stalag Luft 3


The first his parents new of the incident was a telegram to 40 Foxholes Ave, Hertford, Herts, saying that he was missing.

In April , Alice who was living with the family, went to visit a 'Psychic' friend named Phyllis Costigan and asked if Fred's mother had anything belonging to Fred, with a view to find out if he was still alive. He mother had an RAF brooch and after holding this Phyllis said that she felt that Fred and the crew were OK and that they had come down on a small lake or the sea. She also said that they could see lights on both sides. All were well except one had something wrong with the top of his right arm. (It turned out he had a boil on his arm).

The next notification was from the pilot's mother saying she had heard from her son John, and all were well. Further information came via 'Lord Haw-Haw' in one of his broadcasts, which the family used to listen to hoping to hear news. It just so happens that on one occasion the family had not listened that night and the next day a neighbour, Mrs Watts, came round saying she had heard Fred's name called out. They then all listened the next night and heard his name repeated as being taken prisoner. Official notification did not come until much later. Because they ditched in the sea they were made members of the Goldfish Club.

The camp was liberated by Russian soldiers, but they had to be careful outside the camp as the Russians did not readily recognise the blue RAF uniform as British.

Fred met up with the pilot at a re-union in August 1993, and it was there that he found out that the pilot had incorrectly thought they had been hit instead of the propeller breaking.

Fred had also said that he was trained on Halifax's with water cooled Merlin engines, but the plane he was assigned to had air cooled radial engines on which he had very little training. The planes layout did not make the job of the flight engineer very easy because the two pilots sat fairly high up with the throttle and other controls between them. The flight engineer had to stand behind and below them and reach forward to get at those controls, and it made it difficult to get at the propeller pitch controls in a hurry. His mother had a wish that he would not drop bombs on anyone, and she got her wish.

The above account is from items given to me by my sister L D White, and also from my own memory and conversations with my brother.

R J Collings (brother of Frederick John Collings (deceased))

My granddad was in Stalag Luft 1 POW camp. His name is Edward C. Heckman. He was a P-47 fighter pilot, rank of Captian at that time. He was from Georgia. If you get anymore information about him I would like to be contacted. Thank you

Kelli Hart


Stalag Luft 1

Group of Prisoners Stalag Luft 1

Stalag Luft 1 POW Camp

If you have any Photographs you would like to share please get in touch.

List of Prisoners

  • Anthony J. Abad
  • Donald R. Ackerson
  • John Adams
  • Douglas G. Adkins
  • John W. Allen
  • Spotswood Allen
  • Walter M. Armistead
  • Charles P. Andermann
  • Lester H. Aufmuth
  • 2nd Lt Robert Dave Bangham. pilot. USAAF. Read his Story
  • Daniel Barma
  • Robert W. Becker
  • Nathaniel Bliss
  • Bruce K. Bockstanz. Navigator. 96th Bomb Group. Read his story
  • N.G. Bodet Jr.
  • Roy Braly
  • Richard L. Brimage
  • S/Sgt Neil E. Byers. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • Fred Carter
  • Rodolph Case
  • Ralph M. Chadwick
  • Lt. J.F.Carnes. 384th BG
  • William R. Cole
  • H L Cooke
  • Kenneth M. Covey
  • Lt.Col Ronald N.Dahly Read his story
  • James Joseph Paul Daigle
  • Davis
  • Devine
  • Williard E. Dixon
  • Bernard O. Dossey
  • Dick Driscoll
  • 2nd Lt. Charles Law Early. Pilot B-17. 322nd Squadron. 91st Bomb Group. Read his story
  • Ralph R. Edel
  • Elderkin
  • Jim Ellis
  • Lt. William L. Ellis Jr. Navigator 388th BG, 563rd BS Read his story
  • Bob Elvin
  • Jack Emms. RAF Read his story
  • Miguel Encinias
  • Arvid W. Engel
  • Raymond F. Feilbach
  • David E. Ferris
  • Alex Fleming
  • Eugene T. Fleischauer
  • Samuel L. Fogel
  • 2nd Lt Roy J. Fulco. Read his story
  • Clyde C. Freeman
  • Robert W. Gatewood
  • F/O M. Geisler. nav. 630 Sqd Read his story
  • Charles F. Geyer Jr.
  • "Doc" Gillespie
  • George S. Goldstein
  • Luther M. Graff
  • Sgt M.E.Gregg. bomb aimer. 630 Sqd Read his story
  • 2nd Lt. Clint Gruber. Co-Pilot B-24. 329th Squadron. 93rd Bomb Group. Read his story
  • Sgt Peter Guastella. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • Dudley W. Haddock
  • Bill Hastie
  • Donald J Harris
  • Sgt Wm. E. Harman. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • Capt. Edward C. Heckman. P-47 fighter pilot. 406th Read his story
  • David Heibert
  • Robert W. Hesse
  • Robert E. Hock
  • Sgt. Maurice F Hurlston. W/Op
  • Charles D. Jemeth
  • 2nd Lt Edward T. Jenkins. bombadier USAAF Read his Story
  • Robert N. Jensen
  • Howard C Johnson
  • Willie E. Johnson
  • Ervin T. Kautt
  • Keck
  • Clinton K. Kemper
  • Kennedy
  • Dick Ketchum.
  • George Killduff
  • 2nd Lt. John A. Kirkham. Bombardier/Navigator. 525th Sqd. 379th Bomb Group. Read his story
  • James E. Klamnic
  • Marcus Kolb. Pilot B-17. 401st Bomb Group Read his story
  • Lawrence Kramer
  • Desmond E. Laird
  • John H. Lashly
  • Walter LeClerc
  • John A. Level
  • James R. Lincoln
  • John J McCann
  • Claude. W. McCrocklin. 744th Squadron, 456th Bomb Group. Read his story
  • Frank C. McGinley. B-17 Co-Pilot
  • Jim McIntosh
  • Verlyn E. McGraw. Read his story
  • Edward J. Meyer
  • 2nd Lt. William F. Miller. Pilot - B-17. 303rd Bomb Group. Read his story
  • 2nd Lt. Alvin G. Millspaugh Co-pilot B-24. 720th Sqd. 450th Bomb Group Read his story
  • Rev. H.A Mitchell (New Zealand)
  • George Molnar
  • Morris
  • Harold N. Mulford
  • Murgatroyd
  • L Michael O'Phia
  • Olivia
  • Roland Opsahl.
  • 2nd Lt. Edward M. Osucha. Bombardier. 325th Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group Read his story
  • Otto
  • 2Lt Francis B. Peacock. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • F/Sgt Robert E Pearce. rear gunner. 582 Squadron. Read his story
  • Lt. Ralph Pearson. pilot. 700 Squadron
  • Richard A. Perry
  • Warren B. Perry
  • 2Lt. Robert Dea Peterson Jr. 429th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force. Read his story
  • William T. Phillips
  • Bryant H. Poone Jr.
  • Ray Pounds
  • Kenneth R. Powell
  • 2nd Lt. Norman A. E. Quast. Read his story
  • Eula C. Rathke
  • Ernest L. Racener
  • Reed
  • Lt Caleb L. Reeder "Whitey" P-47 Flight Leader. Read his story
  • Lt. Col. Luther H. Richmond (leader of the 486th Fighter Squadron) Read his story
  • Joseph W. Riska
  • Lt Richard Milton Roper. 100th Bomb Group. Read his story
  • F/O G.M.Ruff. 428 Sqd. RCAF Read his Story
  • James S. Runte
  • Sgt. Rocco Russo
  • George W. Sadler
  • Benedict Joseph Sellers. 414th Bomb Squadron 97th Bomb Group. Read his story
  • Kenneth Simon
  • Frank J. Sims
  • Francis L. Shaw
  • H. Clifford Schmutz
  • Sgt Lester F. Schrenk. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • Robert B. Spencer
  • Arthur W. Starratt. B-17 bombardier. 511th Squadron. 351st Bomb Group Read his story
  • Clarence G. Steams
  • Jimmy Stein
  • Hermon E. Stephens
  • James H. Stephenson
  • Fleming W. Suiter
  • Sgt Vern C. Swindler. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • Morris S. Todd
  • George J. Thom
  • George T. Tulley
  • Dominic J. Tutino
  • 2Lt Elijah C. Vaughan. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • G.J.Verbruggen
  • Arthur F. Wagner
  • John J. Walcott. 92nd Bomb Group 327th Squadron, B-17 #42-31377.
  • Walden
  • Marion M. Walshe
  • Robert C. Ward
  • Daryle M. Watters. Glider Pilot. Read his story
  • John W. Webster
  • John Webster
  • Kenneth Webster
  • Bob Wilkins.
  • Sgt H Williams. Bomb Aimer. Lancaster ED820 PH-A. 12 sqd.
  • Edward Winslow
  • Wise
  • Verne Woods Read his story
  • Dale C. Yeoman

Prison Guards

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