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CAPT  Harold B. HELSTROM

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

Harold "Pinky" Helstrom.         (USAAF Official Photo)

SERIAL #: O-729854 STATUS: POW
MACR: 00843 CR: 00843

Comments1: 4 OCT 43 HANAU (Original 100th, Crew # 18)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
       Original 100th BG CREW #18      M.A.C.R.#843, Micro-fiche #279

1st Lt Harold B. "Pinky" Helstrom        P    POW  4 OCT 43 HANAU
F/0 Hubert E. Trent                       CP    EVA    4 OCT 43 HANAU
2nd Lt Harold H. Curtice                 NAV   POW  4 OCT 43 HANAU
2nd Lt Hilbert W. Phillippe              BOM   POW  4 OCT 43 HANAU
T/Sgt Robert C. Giles                     TTE   EVA   4 OCT 43 HANAU
T/Sgt Carrol F. Haarup                    ROG  EVA   4 OCT 43 HANAU
S/Sgt Charles C. Sprague                BTG  CPT
Pvt Joseph "Whitey" Shandor          WG  EVA   4 OCT 43 HANAU
S/Sgt Thomas Mezynaski                 WG  EVA   4 OCT 43 HANAU 
S/Sgt Charles E. Crippen                  TG  POW  4 OCT 43 HANAU  
   

Mission: Hanau,Germany   
Aircraft #42-30604 "BADGER BEAUTY V"
Date: 4 Oct. 1943
Time: 1520
A/C last seen: Off English coast SW of London

Crew Aboard:
Capt Harold B."Pinky" Helstrom                       P POW
F/O Hubert E.Trent                                    CP EVA
1st Lt Harold H.Curtice                              NAV POW
1st Lt Hilbert W.Phillippe                           BOM POW
T/Sgt Robert C.Giles                                 TTE EVADEE
T/Sgt Carroll F.Haarup                              ROG EVADEE
S/Sgt Thomas F.Mezynski                          BTG EVADEE
S/Sgt Joseph "Whitey" Shandor                  WG EVADEE Taps May 1995
S/Sgt William D.Edwards*                          WG POW  (from Lt Vetter's Crew)  SEE BELOW
S/Sgt Charles E.Crippen                              TG POW


ON THIS MISSION SGT SPRAGUE'S POSITION WAS TAKEN BY S/SGT MEZYNSKI  AND HIS PLACE AT WG WAS FILLED BY S/SGT WILLIAM D. EDWARDS (FROM LT VETTER'S CREW) WHO BECAME A POW ALONG WITH HELSTROM, CURTICE, PHILLIPPE AND CRIPPEN.   JOSEPH SHANDOR RELATES THAT ENEMY ACTION KNOCKED OUT ONE ENGINE AND DAMAGED ANOTHER RESULTING IN A CRASH LANDING NEAR CAEN, FRANCE.  ALL TEN OF THE CREW GOT OUT SAFELY AND THEY BURNED THE AIRCRAFT. SHANDOR WAS HIDDEN BT THE FRENCH UNDERGROUND UNTIL JAN 1944, WHEN HE WALKED OVER THE PYRENEES INTO SPAIN AND EVENTUALLY TO ENGLAND. TRENT, GILES, HAARUP AND MEZYNSKI WERE ALSO SUCCESSFUL EVADESS.  PHILLIPPE WAS LOOSE IN FRANCE FOR SOME TIME BEFORE BEING CAPTURED. 

The Missing Air Crew Report does not disclose the reason that this ship left formation. 2nd Lt W.G.Lakin states in the M.A.C.R. as follows:
"Capt. Helstrom's ship was last seen as the Group formation dispersed to go down through the undercast just off the coast of England SW of London on the route back. The ship peeled off in a normal manner and seemed under perfect control."

On 16 February 1944, Joseph Shandor,evidently an evadee who had made it back to England, stated that "All members of crew landed on ground safe and uninjured. Aircraft crash-landed."He also stated that the French said that Lts Helstrom,Curtice and Phillippe and Sgts Edwards and Crippen were taken prisoners.

On 7 Feb.1944, Thomas F.Mezynski stated that the ship "Crash-landed - All left plane safely."

This crew with #3 engine feathered and low on fuel made a crash landing (wheels up) newar Caen France on the return from bombing their target at Hanau, Germany.  According to a 1981 letter from Joseph Shandor, the crew burned the A/C then split into 3 groups and left the scene.  Same were able to evade capture and with the help of the French underground make it back to Thorpe Abbotts. Others were loose in France for varying periods of time bet eventually captured by the Germans.  


MISSIONS OF CAPTAIN HAROLD "PINKY" HELSTROM (mpf 2001 from records supplied by Paul Andrews)

      DATE MISSION AC#/NAME

1.   26/06/43 LE MANS 220738 
2.   04/07/43 LA PALLICE 23279 BADGER BEAUTY
3.   10/07/43 LE BOURGET 23279 BADGER BEAUTY
4.   14/07/43 LE BOURGET 25867 ALICE FROM DALLAS
5.   17/07/43 HAMBURG 230335 SANS FINIS
6.   25/07/43 KIEL/WARNEMUNDE 230335 SANS FINIS
7.   26/07/43 HANOVER 230335 SANS FINIS
8.   28/07/43 OSCHERSLEBEN 230335 SANS FINIS
9.   29/07/43 WARNEMUNDE 25867 ALICE FROM DALLAS
10.  30/07/43 KASSEL 25867 ALICE FROM DALLAS
11.  12/08/43 BONN 230335 SANS FINIS
12.  15/08/43 MERVILLE-LILLE 230335 SANS FINIS
13.  19/08/43 WOENSDRECHT 230335 SANS FINIS
14.  03/09/43 PARIS 230335 SANS FINIS
15.  26/09/43 PARIS 230604 BADGER BEAUTY V
16.  27/09/43 EMDEN 230604 BADGER BEAUTY V
17.  02/10/43 EMDEN 230604 BADGER BEAUTY V
18.  04/10/43 HANAU 230604 BADGER BEAUTY V

Sgt Shandor received the Air Medal w/3 OLC  one cluster was for destruction of an enemy fighter


NOTE:
CREW

2ND LT ARTHUR M. VETTER              P EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS
2ND LT DONALD G. SMITH               CP EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS
2ND LT WENDELL K. McCONNAHA    NAV KILLED IN EVADING JAN 1944
2ND LT JAMES G. BORMUTH          BOM EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS
T/SGT JOHN M. WAGNER               ROG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS
S/SGT EDWARD W. FONTAINE          BTG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS
S/SGT HOBART C. TRIGG               RWG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS
S/SGT WILLIAM D. EDWARD           LWG POW   4 OCT 43   HANAU (with Capt. Harold "Pinky" Helstrom Crew) 
S/SGT EDWARD M. DALY                  TG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS

350TH SQDN..CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 25 AUG 1943.


  -------------------------------
  REPLY TO: bmbarney@gmail.com
  SUBMITTER: Blaine M. Barney
  EMAIL: bmbarney@gmail.com
  PURPOSE: Report a death (TAPS)
  INTEREST: I am the veteran's relative
  ------------------------------- 
  VETERAN: Charles Elmer Crippen
  DATE OF DEATH: 11/29/2006
  FAMILY CONTACT: Mrs. Shirley Crippen
P.O. Box 1005
Mammoth, AZ 85618
520-487-2408
  -------------------------------
  OLD ADDRESS: 
  NEW ADDRESS: 
  TELEPHONE NUMBER: 801-969-6566
  ------------------------------- 
  MESSAGE: Charles Elmer Crippen is my uncle passed away in Arizona on 11/29/06


Service Record or S/Sgt Charles Crippen, 
Tail Gunner on Capt. Capt Harold B."Pinky" Helstrom Crew
Original Crew, 350th Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group

I am submitting a history about the experiences of my Uncle S/Sgt
Charles E. Crippen during World War II.  He was a part of the 8th Air
Force, 100th Bomb Group, 350th Bomber Squadron that flew bombing
mission from Thorpe Abbotts, England to Germany during World War II.
He was a Tail Gunner on Badger's Beauty, a B-17 Bomber.  On his 21st
mission they were forced to make a wheel up landing near Caen, France
in Normandy on October 4, 1943.  He was later caught and was a POW in
Austria for about a year until the War ended in 1945.  During the
early 1990s when my Uncle Charles came to visit our family I ask him
to tell about his experiences during World War II.  The following
documentation resulted.  Charles Elmer Crippen died about a year ago
on November 29, 2006 at the age 83 at Oro Valley, Pima County,
Arizona.

Record of My War Years, Charles Elmer Crippen

I, Charles Elmer Crippen, am of sound mind, I think, and a good heart.
To whom it may concern, the following is a little of what I
experienced while in the Service of my country during World War II.  I
went in at the age of 18 years old, in the Army Air Corps, which was a
part of the Army at that time.  I enlisted June 16 of 1941, just about
6 months before Pearl Harbor.  Separation date was September 27 of
1945.  This is some of the places (where I served) and what I did.  I
went from Medford, Oregon to Vancouver Barracks, Washington.  Just
across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon was my first stay.  As
soon as we got there, we were booed!  "You'll be sorry!"  That did not
help much.  Near as I remember we stayed overnight there and then most
of the day, and then we were put on a train to Jefferson Barracks,
Missouri that was at Saint Louis, Missouri.  This was the place of the
Old Calvary base or jumping off place in the 1800's for the Army to
fight the Indians, before that there was nothing but Indian Territory.
It was a very hot six weeks while there for my basic training.  I got
a lot of drilling and guard duty there.  I remember I sure was
homesick for a while, that is the farthest I had been away from home
yet.

I remember from there we went to Sheppard Field, Texas.  It turned out
to be an Airplane Mechanical School; I did not care for that kind of
school.  I was a clerk for a while, but soon I was transferred to
another Squadron or unit.  I got a lot of K.P. duty and warehouse
duty.  By the way, we were the first 500 men that were sent there when
it was built.  While there, if you know how young kids are at that age
of just 18, my buddies and I got talking together and made up our
minds to go over the "hill."  That is what it was called then – or
being A.W.O.L.   We headed for Old Mexico, but as we got down to
Southern Texas, my buddy's home was in Lake Charles, Louisiana so we
decided to go to his place.  In those days, hitchhiking was a
pleasure.  I do not think we ever walked over ten miles at one time.

I remember we stayed at his mother's place, but she persuaded us to go
back to our base.  As we headed back, we tried to dodge the military
police, as we did not want to be picked up.  Totally, we were gone
about nine days, lost time.  The Corporal took us over to the company
Commander to report to him.  I remember as we went into his office, he
had his legs laid up on his desk as we came to attention and saluted,
he let us stay there for a while.  He finally told us at ease.  The
first thing he said was, "You boys have a good time?"  "Yes Sir," we
said and talked a little more.  At the end, he said or asked us, "Do
you want corporal punishment or company punishment?"  He explained if
you took corporal punishment, we would have to spend our time in the
guardhouse.  If company punishment we would take what ever he would
dish out to us.  Naturally, we said company punishment.  "Okay," he
says, "go and you'll hear from me soon."  We had to make six by six
holes in the hard, tramped-on ground.  One a day for seven days, they
had to be up and down square, and dug and covered up each day until
the seven days were up.  Our Corporal would check up on how we were
doing, he came by every hour, and by the time it was five o'clock, boy
were we glad when that was over.

One time in December close to the Seventh of the month of that year; I
got a furlough for a couple of weeks, and went looking around for a
pair of oxfords in Wichita Falls, Texas to wear home.  My home was in
Grants Pass, Oregon at the time.  As I was looking around the stores,
I heard a radio really talking away, but did not stop to listen to
newscast.  I saw one woman crying on the street and I asked her what
the matter was, and she asked me, "Haven't you heard Pearl Harbor was
attacked by the Japs?"  I was a little surprised, but kept looking and
the military police stopped me and said, "Soldier, get back to the
base."  I showed him my furlough papers and he said, "all furloughs
were cancelled," and he told me again, to get on the bus and head for
home to the base.  Naturally, I did; what else could I do?  I did not
get to go home until another year.  I got tired of this monkeying
around.  I wondered what I was doing.  So one day one of my buddies
came to me and said, "Look what's on the bulletin board."  Three
things were open for our inspection: Flying Cadets, Aerial Gunners,
and Glider Pilots.  I did not have enough education for Flying Cadets,
and I did not like being a Glider Pilot with no engine in them, so I
joined up for the Aerial Gunner training.

I passed the test they had for me.  We went the next week to Las Vegas
Gunner School at an Air Base Training Center there near as I can
remember.  I was there in training for about three months; you had to
learn all about machine guns and other things; you had to know your
Jap and German planes by looking at the silhouettes.  The last test
was to go with a pilot in a training plane and shoot air to air at a
tow target; each person had a different color bullet.  It would leave
a color in the wax tow target.  The color would show up in the target,
and we would know the score we made.  You had to make a certain score.
After the shooting was done, the pilot would dog fight with one of
his buddies.  After the flip-over dives, and different stunts we would
go back to the field.  The pilot asked me if that was my first plane
ride.  I said, "Yes, my legs just wouldn't cooperate with the rest of
me."  He said It would be better next time.  We finally went to
McGovian Field at Boise, Idaho.  Oh!  I graduated as a Buck Sergeant.
At Boise, Idaho, this is where we would know who our crew of nine men
was to be: tail gunner, which I was, two waist gunners, ball bottom
turret gunner, and radioman gunner, engineer, or top turret gunner,
bombardier and a gunner, navigator and a gunner, pilot and co-pilot.
This was the typical crew for the B-17 Bomber.  From there we went to
Ainsworth, Nebraska, Sioux City, Iowa, Salt Lake Air Base, and to
Wendover, Utah practicing bombing there; a place that is not very
good; also Kearney, Nebraska and several other places.  I got to one
place in Kansas.  One time we went over to San Francisco and out into
the Pacific, and came back about eleven o'clock p.m. for a landing and
missed the runway; the tail assembly of the airplane broke-off from
the rest of the airplane with me inside.  I just skinned my knee when
we landed the plane - it slowed down to a speed of 80 miles per hour,
and I was tumbling all over the place.  We were just given another
plane after that incident.

In the spring of 1943, we left the U.S.A., landed in Gander Lake,
Newfoundland, stayed overnight, and took turns guarding the plane,
because there was suppose to be some Nazi spies out there somewhere.
Being as I was in the 100 Bomb Group and 350 Squadron, “Lord Haw Haw, 
We heard on the radio being told the 100 Bomb Group not to come over,
because they would destroy us, but we didn't listen.  We landed in
Prestwick, Scotland and the next day went on down to Thorpe Abbotts,
England, which would be our new base of operation.  I was in the 8th
Air Force.  Scotland and England is a very pretty place.

One day we were scheduled to fly, we got up about four o'clock a.m.
and this was to be our first flying mission.  We did not see any enemy
aircraft or much flak.  About the third mission, we did see a lot of
action.  I had twin 50 caliber machine guns back there, and that was
the best place to be on the plane.  Lots of people said that was not
the safest place to be, but that is not what I think.  I had a lot of
gunfire power there.  I was credited with shooting down at least one
enemy aircraft.  I have seen lots of air battles in the skies, lots of
bombers going down and enemy fighters, lots of "ack-ack" or flack; our
boys did a good job, but lost a lot of planes and good men.

We had to bomb Germany and enemy territory to defeat Hitler and his
henchmen.  Hitler was no good; he was killing Jews, and other people.
In battle we, or I, did have some close calls.  One mission we had a
full bomb bay of bombs and were over Kiel, Germany.  We had a runaway
prop, and it pulled us out of formation and we dropped about 8,000
feet in about seven seconds.  We finally pulled up okay and then
dropped our bombs in the English Channel; we then returned to our base
in England.  I had a lot of close calls, lots of flak and fighters to
contend with.

On my 21st, mission the head navigator that lead us over Frankfurt,
Germany got lost, and messed up a little [could not find the target].
And then our gas tank got hit (which we did not realize at the time),
and was losing gas so we dropped our bombs in the Channel.  But we hit
the widest part of the English Channel and had a 10-minute supply of
gas left which would not get us back to England, so we had to decide
weather to ditch in the Channel or crash land it with the wheels up.
Anyway, we decided to crash-land it back over the coast of France
about 20 miles inland.  We made a beautiful crash landing.  We
separated into twos and threes, and took off in different directions.
The bombardier destroyed the bombsite, which was a secret thing at
that time.  The fellows that were with me watched the plane burn about
a mile from where we were, and the Germans tried to put it out.  We
had a few things to eat from the items we salvaged from the plane.  We
stuffed items down in our pockets like an escape package you carry in
your front pocket, which would sustain you for a couple of days.  We
went down on October 4, 1943 and we lived off the orchards of Normandy
France, also we asked for food a couple of times at a French farm.
The German dogs got after us one morning, but we lost them by going up
a small stream of water.

About the fourth or fifth day out, we were walking through brush land
and came to a road, and we saw a Frenchman riding his bicycle and we
hailed him.  It surprised him and he stopped.

While we were hidden in the brush beside the road, he acted like he
might be fixing his bicycle, and asked if we were Americans and of
course, we told him we were, then he told us to stay there until that
night and he would return.  We were hiding and talking among ourselves
and all a sudden about twenty men with Tommy guns had surrounded us
before we could say cat.  They belonged to the French underground
fighting against the Germans.  They put us in two different families
with the French people.  They put Joe and me with a schoolteacher,
which taught grade school children in another part of the house.  We
were hidden in the attic of the house.  While I was there, a little
six-year-old girl taught us how to count to 10 in French.  While I was
there, I had a bad case of sinus and almost died with it.  They
finally moved us to another family and we stayed there about a month.
The French people are nice people.  They hated the Germans.

Finally, a fellow came one morning and said he would come to get us to
take to a meeting they had prepared for us; of course, we were dressed
like French people.  And at this meeting, they said their duty was to
put us in their Guerilla Camps in the mountains, so they took us in
pairs and finally put us onto a passenger train, and gave us French
papers for us to show with our description and picture.  We of course
had to show our papers at a certain place.  I was supposed to be a
bricklayer going to work in Southern France.  I passed that inspection
place ok, and went on down to Lyons, France and a man met us and took
us on a long hike up into the French Alps.  He took us to their camp.
We stayed there for a while.  I witnessed or saw it after it happened;
they shot a man because they said he was a German spy among them.

They took us on up higher in the French Alps to another camp with a
bunch of teenagers, but they were a real rough bunch, they would go
out destroying German installations, railroads and bridges of all
sorts and anything they could hurt the Germans with.  I celebrated New
Years' Day of 1944.  They really celebrated for about a week.  The
Germans were scared of them, the French, because they just could not
get them out of the place, they were well entrenched at this place.
This camp was nothing but a French Guerilla Camp for the support of
the French Underground.  There were I would say about twenty men armed
with sub-machine guns and hand grenades.  They held up a German
warehouse and brought back kegs of wine, cheese, bread, and other
kinds of food.  They would drive by trucks and meet up with mules and
horses, and pack them in to us.  They were well armed, but on their
raids, they would loose about three or four men.  They would strike
them with a quick hit and be gone, and kill about 60 Germans.  I guess
we had sixty men there, you could see them talking back, and forth
with mirrors on each mountain peak, you could see flashes in the
sunlight.

Two of us Americans stayed there in January, February, and March of
1944.  We were up around 10,000 feet in the French Alps.  I was very
cold.  We lived in a makeshift barn.  There would be German Mountain
Police to venture up that way, but they would never be heard of again.
The French would bring back parts of their uniform and weapons.  They
did that while I was there.  They also helped an Englishman get by air
to us while I was there.  He had something to do with the underground.
We were about to go to Switzerland.  We could see the mountains in
there where we were.  They decided to take us through Spain which was
a neutral country; then on from there to England by submarine.  At the
end of three months, they took us to Lyons, France and connected us
with a guide to get out of there.  So finally, they put us on a train
to Toulouse, France, which was not too far from the border of Spain.
We got off there and the guide took us into a place to eat and then
after that he took us up an alley way and a carload of German Gestapo
came rushing down on us with Tommy-guns and hollered at us, "Hands
Up!," and we put them up real fast.  It was as if someone paid off the
Germans so that some of us could go free.  We were the fall guys and
got caught by the Germans.  I was shaking like a leaf in the wind.
They took us to Gestapo headquarters and interrogated us.  We were in
French clothing.  They took us then to the Toulouse Jail, or better
yet a dungeon, a medieval one at that, which went underground a ways.
It was not a very good place.  When we got there, first we went into a
largest place like an office.  This is the first time I saw them
through the door, and German soldiers said "Heil Hitler," to his
picture.

We stayed there for a few days, and then they put us on a train for
Paris, France.  We were there in prison for about a month – infested
with lice and very poor food, they gave us hardly anything to eat.
More interrogations followed, and threats that they could and would
kill us soon.  They were saying we were spies.  Finally, they took me,
put me on a train, and said we were going to Frankfurt, Germany.
While on the train, I was sitting by an open window and this German
next to me took his gun out and laid it between us, and something said
to me "NO!  NO!  Don't do it!"  He acted like he went to sleep, so I
played it smart.  When we got to the Wiesbaden, Germany, we got off
and they took us again to another jail; on the way, the people would
spit at us and the German guards would holler at them and shove them
back.  They kept on asking questions.  I would only tell them my Rank,
Name, and Serial Number.  They did a lot of threatening wanting to get
rid of me.  I told them to check with Geneva, Switzerland and they
would find us as soldiers.  They must have, because after being there
in prison about a month they said we were going to a prison camp, then
we would be treated good and given good food, and what a laugh that
was.  At a Luftwaffe or German Air Force place, they asked us more
questions to no avail.  They read to us what they wanted us to say,
but I do not know how they found out, unless somebody informed or
talked to them.

We were led finally to a camp and stayed there for a week and then
they took us by box car down in Austria, Germany close to Kraus,
Austria which, was situated about twenty miles west of Vienna,
Austria.  As soon as we got there, they deloused us, shaved our hair
off, and then assigned us to a building, like a barracks.  This P.O.W.
camp had guard-towers every so often and barbed wire around us.  It
was March or April of 1944 and we were there for the duration of the
war; that is where I stayed.  I met friends and men I knew; they had
gone down before me.  Some of them I saw when they went down. 
 The planes had been hit and very shot up, and I thought they could not
survive, but here they were again; some died of course.  There must
have been about 2,000 Air Force prisoners there.

Some times, we would get Red Cross packages, but most of the time we
would not get any.  The Germans would give us for breakfast a dirty
looking drink like coffee and a piece of prison bread with sawdust and
bits of wood in it.  For dinner was soup, like cabbage soup, and on
the bulletin board it would say, "Boys, we got soup today with meat in
it."  Oh!  What a treat, at first I would give mine away, but the rest
of the boys would say, "You'll get use to it."  But the Red Cross
packages did help out when we would get them.  We were all non-coms,
non-commissioned officers, so they could not really make us work, so
here they did not.  Some prison camps forced them to work more than we
did.  The prisoners had made tunnels to escape from, but most of the
time they would find them.  They had a dog that was pretty well
trained for that.  I think a couple did escape from there, though.

With Red Cross parcels, we could save up cigarette to be used like a
barter thing with the guards.  We would get them to bring things to
us, they would not know why.  We wanted all kinds of parts.  We made
crystal radios where we would have the news every day.  There would be
a newsman gather the news and write it down, and come read it to us,
of course we would have a guard at each door.  All we had to do was
have three roll calls a day.  We would line up outside to be counted.
They had a makeshift library there, where you could read.  The Germans
liked that.  I learned the French language and German.  We would have
classes on that, it could have been worse.  We had American bombers
come over the prison camp while I was there, and bombed the oil
storage place there, and also had about four P-38s come over and
strafed the town.  They would come over us and wiggle their wings at
us; they knew we were there.  We had cold water to wash in and outside
toilets, and they had us dig trenches in case they accidentally bombed
our camp.  We did have playing cards and different things to do.  We
would kill time and talk about the life we were going to have when the
war was over.  The dreams kept us alive while I was there.  We had one
fellow about five o'clock in the morning that hollered at the top of
his lungs, and went through the window and tried to go over the fence;
they shot him.

We had a Russian P.O.W. camp connected to our camp, one day they threw
a couple of dead horses or carcass inside their compound, and they
actually fought over those horses' bodies.  It did get bad on some
P.O.W.'s.  It could have been worse.  I weighed 160 pounds before and
when I was released from prison, I weighed around 120 pounds.
Afterwards, I could not keep anything in my bowels, because I was not
use to the rich food.  After the war was over, I ate raisins, which
help get my digestive system back in order.  I had one Indian friend
in there, he got TB while in there; he died when the war was over in a
Denver, Colorado hospital.  He was a good friend.  His name was Eagle;
his dad was Chief of the Sioux in around Rapid City, South Dakota.  I
did have a hatred of the Germans for a while, but I got over it as
there are good people, there was just a wicked man that was the head
of the German dictator government.

One early morning in March of 1945, we kept on hearing shells pretty
close.  The Russians had circled Vienna, Austria and the Germans got
us up and told us to take a pack of some kind to take food mostly.
They issued us Red Cross parcels and we were on our way toward the
American lines.  They, the Germans, did not want to give up to the
Russians.  This was around March of 1945.  Next April I turned 21
years old, on April 21.  They marched us day and night for two days to
get away from the Russians.  Their shells were exploding in the
mountains around us.  Austria is a beautiful country.  The Germans
were retreating right along with us for a while.  One day we met
German SS Troops marching the Jews towards the Russian line, some of
them were being shot right before our eyes.

"Thank you Father in Heaven for helping us to win the war," because if
we did not we would be in real trouble now.  Now all of this is
history; I am glad we did win.

As we got close to the American lines we could hear American guns,
they sounded like thunder off in the distance.  It would be a week or
two, and the war would be over.  They bedded us down in a farm place,
and I found out where the rabbit hutches were.  I got two rabbits and
fried them and it leaked out, and then there were no more rabbits and
the farmer called the Gestapo and they lined us up and we thought we
were going to be shot.  They said we could be shot for doing something
like that.

We moved on that night.  They bedded us down in some timber.  They had
us, which numbered about 2,000 P.O.W.'s, and then they had Russian
P.O.W.'s too.  One evening about five o'clock my buddies and I were
bedded down, and all of a sudden there was like hell broke loose; we
were bedded down between the Americans and a town.  Anyway, the
artillery shells were screaming overhead.  They were shelling the
town; in about half an hour it subsided down.  The next morning we
could hear tanks coming our way, the guards had left and we were left
alone.  They sent an emissary ahead with an American Flag.  We were
liberated this day, about the first week in April of 1945.  We went to
different farms to gather up food, but because we were on this diet,
as a P.O.W., we got the runs.  We had to be careful what we ate.  Oh!
Our troops looked good.

We were moved to France to a staging area for us to go back to good
old U.S.A.  Some of them went by airplane to England, and then home.
There were some miscommunications, and some of us did not get on an
airplane for the flight back to the U.S.A.  I was put on a liberty
ship and thus traveled back to America.  This ship was transporting
the remains of servicemen who had been killed in the war back to the
U.S.A.  We hit a bad storm going back home.  Lots of the guys got
sick.  It did not bother me any.  I started to get cysts like red
boils under the armpit.  They were so painful.  One morning about five
o'clock in the morning we saw the Statue of Liberty, so many of us
cried.  They had girls greeting us on a tugboat, then dancing and
going around.  I was put on a train at New York City and got off at
Fort Lewis, Washington and was there for a while trying to get rid of
the boils.

I was finally discharged there September 27, 1945.  As I got on the
bus to go home, someone sat down beside me.  It was a surprise; it was
one of my old school friends I use to know.  He lived pretty close to
me, so we got off at different places.  My father met me at the bus
depot.  Oh!  What a time that was.  I was home on leave about a month,
and then had to go to Santa Monica, California to get my records ready
for me to get discharged.  I reported back to Fort Lewis and then got
my discharge there.

Now this is my story of my war record as near as I could get it.  I am
writing this about 50 years later.  It is all history.  Now I hope I
did not leave out too much.  I came home maybe a better, more matured
man than when I left, a little less cocky, and ready to live a better
life than what I was doing.  This is my war record for anyone that
would like to read it.


Thanks,
Blaine M. Barney
3998 Stillwater Way
West Valley City, Utah 84120
801-969-6566
bmbarney@gmail.com

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Hanau DATE: 1943-10-04  
AIRCRAFT: "Badger's Beauty V" (42-30604) CAUSE: EAC-Crashed in France  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 BADGER BEAUTY V, A/C 230604 LN-T. Badgers Beauty, being flown by the Harold Helstrom crew was MIA on the 4 OCT 43 mission to Hanau-Saarlius. (Photo courtesy of Ernie Havecker and his family: Eileen Rosenthal and Jodi Womack.) Helstrom crew information 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2278