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MACR: 07501 CR: 07501





2ND LT ROBERT B. CROW                          BOM INTERNEE 13 JUL 44 MUNICH, JET ENGINES "TAPS: 6 MAY 1976
SGT BERT D. POLLOCK                              ROG INTERNEE 13 JUL 44 MUNICH, JET ENGINES
SGT PAUL ANNIN                                       RWG INTERNEE 13 JUL 44 MUNICH, JET ENGINES
SGT HARRY P. BELLEMARE                             TG INTERNEE 13 JUL 44 MUNICH, JET ENGINES "TAPS: 7 AUG  1987




 EYEWITNESS: "At 1025 hours, A/C #42-31074 peeled out of formation and went to left. Last seen going toward theAlps, loosing gasoline. #1 engine feathered just after bombs aways."……Witness is not identified

Donald A. Waters is the author of Hitler's Secret Ally, Switzerland
copywrite 1992. Library of Congress Card Number 93-092842  
             also -- See c:\100thbg\airmen\waters.sam 


Date Crew Nbr Mission Nbr Last Name Initial Rank Position Aircraft Nbr Target
7/4/1944 42 152 WATERS D.A. LT P 31074 GIEN (RECALLED)
7/6/1944 42 154 WATERS D.A. LT P 31074 FLEURY/CREPEUIL
7/7/1944 42 155 WATERS D.A. LT P 102958 BOHLEN/MERSEBURG
7/8/1944 42 156 WATERS D.A. LT P 102958 CLAMECY-JOLGYN
7/12/1944 42 158 WATERS D.A. LT P 31074 MUNICH (IND. AREA)


I was drafted out of high school into the infantry and sent to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, where I was away from home for the first time.  I was transferred to the Army Air Corps after three months because of the heavy losses being suffered by the Air Corps.

We were rushed through gunnery school at Kingman, Arizona, and then sent to Alexandria, Louisiana to get our B-17 and crew together.  After completion of training it was off to England.  
During the trip over, we stopped at Labrador and Greenland.  During take off from Greenland, one of our landing struts collapsed, but we were able to get airborne just in time. 

When we arrived at Thorpe Abbotts, they took our brand new B-17 away and gave us the oldest one on the field.  Our ground crew chief was from Georgia, and named the plane CAHEPIT.  After a few weeks and test, I was given the top turret position.  

On 13 July 44, our mission was Munich, a city well fortified and with very heavy flak, but we dropped our bombs and turned to do home.  FLAK caught our number four engine and we had to feather it.  The number three engine was also hit and on fire.  We threw out everything that was loose, including clothes and guns.  

Because we were over the Alps and could not bail out and survive, we headed for Switzerland.  When we reached the borders and were falling fast, a couple of Swiss ME109s escorted us through the mountains to a valley.  Coming down, we hit some high tension wires and CAHEPIT broke in half at the radio room.  We landed badly and skidded for along way.  It was amazing, we all got out with only three wounded and with only three injured.

Through the years, I have looked back so many times and still believe that God was our pilot that day.

After being picked up, we were taken to a big room and checked for weapons.  Then we were given some tea and cheese.  Later we were all taken to separate rooms and interrogated. Of course, all we gave them was name, rank and serial number.  After about 20 minutes of questions, I was told I lived in California and the names of my brother and two sisters, our Bomb Group and  Squadron.  The intelligence they had was hard to believe.  

Later we were transferred to a camp in Adelboden, where we stayed until the Americans got through France.  We were all happy to get back to England and home.  We had a 6t0 day convalescent period back in the states, and after that I had enough points for a discharge, thank God. 

A/N: Pilot Donald A. Waters managed to escape by rowing across Lake Geneva with the help of Swiss smugglers.  With the assistance of the French underground and the OSS eh returned to England.

Don Waters is the author of “Hitler’s Secret Ally, Switzerland.”

by Donald Waters

December 9, 1944 in Davos Switzerland began with the snowbound dreariness that I had  recently become accustomed to, however before dark it would prove to be one of the most  supercharged days of my life.

Since the heavy snows had impeded all outdoor movements, the normally slow pace of  life in Davos had regressed to slow motion, but all that would - in a matter of minutes -  change radically for me and a few other American internees. 

I stumbled sleepily into the U.S. Army Mess Hall expecting nothing out of the  ordinary, just a few internees who would settle in relative silence - for black coffee and  toast. I was several strides inside the room when I noted an unusual conversation  taking place. Puzzled I looked around for a familiar face to inquire about whatever had stirred up the troops. I sat down at a table with three acquaintances, Sobel, Epstein, and Carnahan. They greeted me with a chorus of, "What are you going to do?" Not yet fully awake I gave them an incredulous stare and mumbled something about going outside and building a snow-man. Ignoring my sarcasm, Sobel retorted excitedly.

"You obviously haven't gotten the word."

What word?"

"General Legge is coming to Davos on the 13th of this month to collect General Paroles from each and every one of us." He emphasized the words each and every one.

"General Paroles?"

I couldn't believe my ears. If we signed General Paroles it meant that we were permanently forbidden to attempt an escape from Switzerland, and every American airman had sworn to try to return to Allied Control if they were ever captured by a non-Allied authority. All U.S. flyers had been admonished throughout our careers never to sign a General Parole.

"I don't believe it."

"Go down and see for yourself! Legge's directive is in the middle of the bulletin board downstairs."

 With a disbelieving grunt I left the table and headed for the  bulletin board. Legge's edict was exactly as the troops upstairs had described and his signature beneath it was in real ink.

 Instead of returning to the mess hall I climbed the stairs to Bob Ballard's room. An acquaintance of mine, Bob was a member of the Escape Committee . Ballard confirmed the legitimacy of Legge's order and gave me a friendly warning, "Don, if you try to escape you'll be strictly on your own. Jaspers (Captain, the camp commandant) isn't about to sign off on any more escapes until the Legge thing disappears - if it ever does. I think he's under pressure from Legge."
" I can only hope you're wrong Bob, because if I can come up with an escape scheme within the next forty eight hours I'm going to give it a try - with or without Jaspers' permission."

I returned to the Mess Hall where Sobel, Epstein and Carnahan were fortifying themselves with more coffee.

"You were right, guys. Have you got any good ideas as to how we can leave this place before Legge arrives?"

All three shook theirs heads forlornly.

"How about you?"

"Frankly I haven't given the problem much thought. With the first in-first, first-out rule in effect I figured my July 13th arrival date wouldn't make me eligible until sometime after the first of February. However, last week my friend Chuck Harding of my old Bomb Group, the 100th, told me about a situation, that if implemented correctly, might be the basis of a fool-proof escape plan. One hang-up might be the cost. How are you guys fixed for ready cash?"

"How much are you talking about?"

"I don't really know. Further I won't be able to find out until after noon. The answers are all in Dorf at the Blue Peacock where Harding's contact regularly eats lunch. Let's meet at Trauffer's Konditorei in Dorf for lunch at say, twelve o'clock. If we still want to investigate this idea then it's only a few minutes walk to Harding's man..

A few minutes after twelve o'clock I left my three friends at Trauffer's and hustled over to the Blue Peacock. As I walked along I reflected on Harding's scheme; it seemed perfect. We Americans would pose as Yugoslavs who spoke only Slavic. We would be escorted by one of King Peter's Yugoslavian expatriates, a number of whom were temporarily domiciled in Davos-Dorf. The real Yugo would be multilingual and the only one in our party who would have any verbal contact with the many Swiss police inspectors that we would be certain to come in contact with. This evasion of any verbal contact with the Swiss  was the key to the whole plan because almost every American who was caught escaping was tripped up by his inability to converse in the special Swiss dialect of the German language.

Inside the Blue Peacock I inquired for Harding's Yugoslav contact. One of the Slavs slowly walked over to where I was standing. He was a narrow faced man with a mane of unruly jet black hair that he had to keep brushing out of his eyes. He greeted me affably and quietly confided that the man I was seeking was "on a trip" (taking Harding out of Switzerland I later discovered). This was somewhat of a setback. I turned away from my informant with the intention of leaving, when he grabbed my shoulder. He obviously had an entrepreneurial bent and sensing my mission, inquired: "Are you seeking a guide to the border?" Although still dismayed I figured that there was nothing to lose by discussing the situation with this man.

"There are four of us and we have to be out of Switzerland by the 13th. That's the problem. Can you handle it?"

He hesitated before replying. This bothered me, but while I was considering terminating the conversation the Slav hesitantly declared "Yes, I think so." He quickly followed that up with a much more confident speech. "Yes I know I can do it."

We sought a corner table away from the other customers and quietly became engrossed in the details of the plan, the main ones being the acquisition of passes and civilian clothes. We would also require railroad tickets but they posed no problem other than money.

The Yugo's program included our safe passage to France on the south shore of Lake Geneva where we would be on our own. He would provide the railroad tickets, civilian clothes, all meals enroute (for he would have to do all the ordering), and special passes. His plan also required the services of another multi-lingual Yugo because, as he pointed out there had to be some conversation in our group and we Americans had to keep our mouths shut. Therefore he needed at least one other Yugoslav in our assembly to maintain some conversation which would defer suspicion of the Swiss. He went on to explain that the normal escape "packages" included a crash course in Slavic for three Americans, but in this case there was no time.

The passes, which would enable the specified bearer to travel anywhere in Switzerland, were expensive. They had to be signed by Captain Kramer or one of his representatives and cost 50 dollars each. The entire program would cost us 1200 dollars The Yugo wanted half this amount  before  he would begin implementing the plan - as soon as possible, in fact no later than six o'clock that evening and the other half by 6 P.M. the next day. As soon as we gave him the down payment he would take our measurements for civilian clothes. When we paid him the remainder he would hand us tailored clothes, tickets and passes. We were scheduled to depart on the first train out of Davos on the 11th.

We shook hands on the deal and I made an appointment with him for three that afternoon at an apartment in Dorf.

The four of us delivered our first payment on schedule that afternoon. Two Slavs quickly took our measurements after which I returned to the Palace to take care of a piece of unfinished business. In the privacy of my room I jotted down the essential details of our escape plan and placed it in an envelope and sealed it. As a formality I went to Captain Jaspers office and requested his approval. Jaspers turned a cold shoulder to any type of escape . Rather than argue with him I left his office and looked up Bob Pallard. Jaspers turn-down did not bother me but I was very anxious for the escape committee to know about our operation so that if the Swiss caught us we wouldn't have to rot in the infamous Wauwilermoos prison for weeks until the Attache's office bailed us out. Ballard gave me some reassuring words. We'll put a five  day cap on your potential stay in Wauwilermoos. You're leaving on the 11th. If we get no radio confirmation of your arrival on the other side by the 14th we'll get someone from Sam Woods' (the very competent American Consul in Zurich) office to "inspect" Wauwilermoos the next day. If you're there they should have you out of there within 24 hours.

The next afternoon the four of us plodded down to Dorf and tried on our new clothes. The outfits were somewhat threadbare but most appropriate for the occasion. We were given our railroad tickets but then ran into the first hitch - no passes.

"We won't get ten kilometers without passes!" I protested

"Don't worry," the Yugo replied, "we'll get them tonight and hand them to you in the morning "

We couldn't back out now but we did hold out three hundred dollars from our payment and hoped for the best.

We met the two Yugos at the train station. The second Slav was, fortunately, closer to our ages, well shaven, average size and build, with a round face adorned by a generous stretch of upper lip. In a surreptitious transaction we received our passes and paid them the final three hundred dollars.

On the train the six of us sat together. The two "real" Yugos chattered away at each other like two magpies. We four Americans pretended to be sleepy. The train hadn't traveled ten kilometers when we were accosted by two beaming Swiss Army Privates. They told our leader that we were American internees who were trying to escape and that they were placing us under arrest. Our passes, it turned out were worthless because they were not signed. This turn of events made me furious because we had paid good money to obtain bonafide passes and now the whole scheme was down the drain and we were staring at at least five days of bread and water at Wauwilermoos. I was furious at the Yugos who had obviously cheated us, and I was at least as furious at myself for not checking the passes.

In a few minutes the Swiss soldiers took us off the train at the first stop at Klosters where we waited for the next train to Davos. While waiting, the Privates spent the entire time chortling at their good fortune in capturing four "escapees". They taunted us constantly, all the while trying to get us to admit that we were Americans. Failing this they finally informed us that it didn't matter, that they would soon have us in Davos where they would then be given appropriate recognition.

On the ride back to Davos my thoughts focused on how I could insure that the two cheating Yugos would accompany us to Wauwilermoos.

No sooner had we stepped on the Davos loading platform when our belligerent Swiss Privates were met by a Swiss Sergeant. When the Sergeant looked in my direction I recognized him as one of the guards who was frequently in the vicinity of the Palace Hotel. I had spoken with him on several occasions and he was very friendly with the internees. He promptly signed the four passes and amid some loud caterwauling by the frustrated Privates, told us that we were free to go. We boarded the same train that had returned us to Davos.

We changed trains at Chur and Zurich. The entire ride was uneventful, we stopped about a half hour north of our destination, Laussane, a large city on the north shore of Lake Geneva. There the Yugos led us through a driving rain to a car parked near the station. They had  words with the lone driver whereupon they instructed us to get into the car, shook hands, and disappeared.

The Swiss driver spoke English but gave us no enlightenment except that he was driving us to a "safe house" in Laussane. This was safe transportation in high style. The car puzzled me for I had been told on several occasions that due to the acute oil shortage in Switzerland autos were banned for all except official persons and doctors. By the time we reached the "safe house" the cold, driving rain had not slackened a bit and it was getting dark. Our driver saw us to the door and then he, too, disappeared.

We were greeted at the door by a rotund lady of middle age. The entry foyer was cold and uninviting but I could see a warm fire in the next room - a welcome sight. She was cordial but her eyes kept us on guard. She was obviously vary aware of the chances she was taking. Her actions conveyed the impression that she was respected as an important link in the underground system of transporting illegals. She explained the mystery of the car and assured us regarding the safety of the "Safe House" In one statement. Both were owned by the Chief of Police of Laussane! She told us that we would soon eat dinner in a couple of hours soon afterwards we would be given a motorboat ride to the south shore of Lake Geneva. There, she said, we would be in France where we would have to fend for ourselves.

After dinner we spent the next two hours staring at the rain which descended at an increasing rate. Although we were relieved to be out of Davos the rain had a stultifying effect on our spirits. At about nine o'clock the motorboat ride on the stormy lake was postponed until the next night when, hopefully, the weather would clear. The delay precipitated the need for four lodgings and twelve additional meals - none of which had been included in the original package. We pooled  every bit of money we had but it wasn't near enough to cover the lady's price. After some discussion she agreed to accept all of our money plus a Swiss watch that Louie Sobel thoughtfully contributed. The rain continued throughout the next day slackening somewhat in the late afternoon. This diminishing rainfall must have been interpreted as an omen for we were advised that rain - or no rain - we were definitely going to make the crossing that night. I was puzzled as to why whoever was running this show had such a mind set on using the lake as a means of crossing the border. I had heard of two other methods of getting into France: one by wading across a small river near Annemasse, and the other by train south out of Geneva, both of which seemed much safer and less difficult than crossing stormy Lake Geneva at its widest - eight miles. Better still was the option of waiting until the weather cleared. I quickly rejected these thoughts Of course our guides would only convey us by the safest possible means. Safety would be uppermost in their minds. Or so I thought. As it turned out there were several important pieces of information concerning the boat ride that neither the Yugos or the Swiss wanted to tell us. There was another. far more  important, mission to the boat ride than merely transporting four fleeing Americans across the lake- the Swiss group that the Yugos  had tied us in with were running a high priority smuggling operation to the French Partisans on the other side of the Lake. The Swiss boat operators were smugglers by night and members of the Swiss Navy by day. The Swiss Navy had been directed to discourage smuggling operations on Lake Geneva and to this end conducted sweeps around the lake at four hour intervals with a policy of shooting first and asking questions later, and the Swiss police were cracking down on anybody who was harboring fugitives from justice - such as us. We would rather have stayed in port but the choice wasn't ours. At about eight o'clock that night the six of us climbed into a very small boat - the four of us, a man who would be our skipper, and his wife. The man was a six-footer in his late thirties but his face looked older with the cold deep lines of a sailor. His trim physique was enclosed in heavy clothing over which he wore a leather windbreaker and a dark rain hat. His wife, a younger lady, was also dressed for a cold rainy trip. She was almost entirely cocooned in  heavy clothing from her galoshes to her parka out of which her small white face appeared as if out of a periscope. She resembled a deep sea diver. The rain had subsided only slightly. Once in the motorboat there would not be a single iota of conversation between us four Americans who spoke no French and the two Swiss who spoke nothing else. In order to avoid alarming the natives we Americans were directed - by sign language - to man the oars and row quietly away from the Lausanne shore. My original estimate of one hour for the crossing was now doubled. At what seemed to be a mile or so from shore the rowing stopped and the skipper started the outboard motor and pointed us away from Lausanne into the inky blackness to the south. 

Except for the cold wet rain and the turbulent roll at the surface of the storm ridden lake, the trip progressed about as well as could be expected. We were soon enveloped by the low-hanging rain clouds and completely dependent on the skipper's compass for orientation. At a point that I estimated to be the exact center of the lake disaster struck, the outboard motor quit! The previously nonchalant skipper suddenly came to life and worked feverishly at getting it going again. After about ten minutes of back-breaking effort he finally succeeded in getting it started. It ran for another ten minutes when it gave up the ghost for good. Our nervous and agitated skipper grabbed one of the sets of oars and began rowing like a man possessed. All the while he was loudly exhorting the rest of us to emulate him in words we couldn't understand. I sensed that the circumstances had changed but he never did convey the criticality of our position which only he knew existed.

The rowing continued at its accelerated pace for another hour or so when the skipper's wife drew our attention to a light winking at us from the south. The skipper's reaction to the light was only a
grunt. His efforts at the oars were no less frantic than before and what I took for French curses continued to spew from his lips. Finally, three hours out of Luasanne, two hours overdue, and perhaps only minutes ahead of the Swiss Navy patrol boats, the skipper beached our craft near the winking light. We were warmly greeted by three men who turned out to be members of the Maquis, a large group of French partisans who were very active in that region. They were all dressed somewhat alike in dark rain jackets and rubber grommets over baseball-type caps that they wore backwards. The Maquis were beetle browsed men with grease streaks across their faces and down the sides of their trousers. They had a mischievous look in their eyes that portrayed their amusement in foiling the Nazis. From under a tarp in the boat the Maquis removed three medium sized boxes obviously the smugglers loot - and loaded them into a large truck of ancient vintage. The two Swiss without even a wave or nod in our of direction, walked swiftly and silently into the rainy night. The escape plan we had purchased back in Davos had just expired; we were now on our own.

At this point all we had going for us was some information that was passed on to me by Morris Weinberg, another 100th B.G. internee. Morris had been a three time loser while trying to escape but in the process had acquired some intelligence data that might prove helpful. At any rate I had to give it a try for it was all we had. Approaching one of the Maquis I inquired, "Where is the nearest 0SS unit?" 

"At lake Annecy, about 30 kilometers south of here.

"Can you take us there?"

"We can do that, but we'll need money for gasoline which is illegal and very expensive.  We had left the last of our money with the Swiss lady in Laussane so it came down to barter. Again the Swiss watches did the trick and the four of us, dead tired, rain soaked, and with teeth chattering from the cold climbed into the back of the truck. Fortunately the truck was equipped with a canopy that protected us from the rain and the wind. We huddled together to conserve body heat ..  and were soon on our way to Annecy. The 30 kilometers turned into 60 or 70 because of the need to take alternate roads to avoid bridges that had been blown up.. The elderly truck had no springs which made for an extremely rough ride. The sleep that we all urgently required never happened.

We arrived at Annecy in the early hours of the morning. Within a few minutes we were billeted, furnished dry underwear, and speaking for myself - were fast asleep.

It was a short night. We were rousted out of bed at about 7 A.M. for a quick breakfast and an intensive but short lived interrogation. The reason for the expediency, the OSS agent explained, was that we would have to catch a Britain bound Special Operations C-47 aircraft that was scheduled to takeoff from Lyon airport at 2 P.M. - and it would take us over four hours to get there from here.

The OSS agent who interrogated me passed along several pieces of information: Except for Germany, Switzerland was the most difficult country in Europe for American flyers to escape from; the OSS had a number of complaints against General Legge and Captain Jaspers to the extent that they were not collecting any more. He detailed an Allied blockade of the western sector of the  Swiss frontier and the long line of trucks destined for Switzerland - most of them loaded with decaying produce - that were parked on the main highway just outside Geneva. He described, in general, the smuggling operation that we had been an unwitting part of.

 "The Yugos," he explained, " were primarily motivated by their dire need for hard currency. Their King Peter was run out of Yugoslavia by Hitler and he escaped to London - without a lot of funds. The King is only able to pay the Swiss bare subsistence for the couple of thousand Yugos that are in Switzerland. This means a low calorie, mundane diet, no clothes, just a bottom-grade existence. The Swiss won't let them work so whatever extra money they get is illegal. It gets worse. When this war is over the Swiss will surely kick them out and unless a monarchy is re-established in Yugoslavia - which is highly doubtful - the Yugo internees will become men without a country." I began to see the Yugoslavs in a different light. "Your Swiss skipper," he continued, "is one of four brothers that are part of an intensive smuggling campaign across Lake Geneva. In intelligence circles they are a rather famous family. As you can guess, any of the sophisticated Swiss products that the Allies get have to be smuggled out. There is no other way. 

"Is money the thing that drives them?" I inquired.

 "Not at all. They are simply Nazi-haters. Most Swiss are. They have to be highly motivated or crazy to cross the lake under these conditions - the weather and the Swiss gun boats - especially in a small boat powered with a single outboard motor. That is strictly Russian roulette!"

"What about the Maquis that brought us here.?"

"They're part of a large underground organization that have been fighting the Nazis in the French Alps and Rhone valley."

"Are they under your operational control?" 

"No, but we try to coordinate their activities. We also schedule numerous special airdrops from England to increase their effectiveness. Their main mission now is to keep tabs on and harass the Wehrmacht units in the area. They've done a great job for us. However he added, you needn't have worried about them taking you to us. We pay them a flat fee for every American they bring to us."

At nine that morning we were once again on the move. The four of us ran through a light rain and clambered into the back of yet another large truck, this one being a relatively new American "six by six". Again the trip required a couple of hours more time than would normally have been required. This extra time was caused by the need to detour southward through Grenoble in order to circumvent a fair sized encampment of Wehrmacht who blocked the main road.

By the time we reached Lyon the rain had subsided to a drizzle which facilitated our first up-close look at war 's total devastation. Once the largest city in the area, Lyon was now little more than a collection of rubble. Snaking through the outskirts of what once had been a beautiful city, the total destruction was patently evident. Nearby, the airport wasn't in much better shape but the few remaining buildings had been augmented with American Nissen huts. U.S. Engineers had patched up the runways and taxiways with pierced steel planking. Otherwise the shell craters and wrecked structures were in the same condition they were in immediately after the last artillery barrage.

After a meal of "C" rations we were herded into the cabin of a black Douglas. After a short takeoff run the "Gooney Bird" lifted off into the same storm system that we had just left. The flight turbulence didn't faze me a bit. I was ecstatic about being back in the good old Air Corps and making like a bird. The feeling was fantastic. No longer would I be forced to contend with General Legge and the Swiss government who were dedicated to keeping me a hostage. The storm got worse but I was serene. I would arrive in England exactly five months to the day after I was shot down.



TARGET: Munich DATE: 1944-07-13  


ID: 4714