STAUGHTON - No 109 Squadron -
Ray Hutchings Logan and C.K. "Fritz" Chrysler
World War 2 - Roll of
Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © CRASH
Foundation (Crash Research in Aviation Society Holland)
Gelderblom, Richard Kist and Lydia Lucke.
section details of the mission, and what happened to, Ray Hutchings Logan
and C.K. "Fritz" Chrysler.
story was told by Mr. Chrysler himself in May 2005 to the people of the
CRASH Foundation (Crash Research in Aviation Society Holland). They also
have an Air War and Resistance Museum in Lisserbroek, The Netherlands
Mr. Chrysler was in Holland because the propeller of his Mosquito had
been found. It was his first time back in Holland since 1943. His story
was recorded and a transcription appeared in their magazine "Contrails".
Sadly Mr. Chrysler passed away on 10th September 2006, but he did check
by “Fritz” Chrysler to CRASH museum
The most beautiful aspect of historic research of airplane crashes, like
the Crash Research in Aviation Society Holland '40-'45 (CRASH '40-'45)
does, will for some people be the excavation itself, but more often this
work has an extra dimension because of the story of eye witnesses, the
story behind the crash.
Very seldom one gets in touch with the ones most directly involved: the
pilots themselves. It is very emotional and an honour to connect these
pilots after decades with eye witnesses, parts of his own plane or the
grave of one of his brothers in arms.
honour was granted to CRASH during the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation
of Holland in the beginning of May 2005. A Canadian veteran returned to
Holland after 62 years to make an emotional trip by locations he had been
so many years ago and people who played an important role after he crashed
in Holland. It became a week that neither the veteran an his family or
the employees of CRASH will ever forget.
more than a year and a half intensive research for a Mosquito B.Mk.IV
that had crashed on the 28th of May 1943 above Bleskensgraaf a propellor
was found and excavated. From research it turned out that the plane, that
was equipped with the Oboe navigation system, was on its way back to England
from a so-called Pathfinder Mission to Essen in Germany. The Mosquito,
with a Canadian crew, was shot down by a German Nightfigther in the early
morning around 2.00 am. In this crash the navigator, Pilot Officer Ray
Hutchings Logan, got killed. The pilot, Flight Sergeant C.K. "Fritz"
Chrysler, got wounded and was taken prisoner of war. The complete story
of these two men will be published in two parts in our next two Contrails
showed that C.K. Chrysler has survived the war and returned to Canada.
To track him down several organisations were contacted, without result.
Finally the Canadian Veterans Legion advised us to place an advertisement
in the Legion Magazine of july/august 2004. Via Henk Welting, honorary
member of the Royal Canadian Legion, contact was made with Fritz Chrysler,
through another contact in Canada, Alan Soderstrom.
that the first contact was with his daughter, who had send a first e-mail
to Corin Gelderblom on the 23rd of August 2004. After a lot of contact
Fritz agreed to come to Holland. It would be the first time in 62 years
that he was coming back.
He stated he had never had the need to come back here, unless it would
be for a special occasion. The fact that parts of his airplane were excavated,
was a good enough reason for him. On April 30, 2005 he landed at Schiphol
week Fritz and his daughters Karen en Judy visited, with employees of
CRASH, several locations in Holland that were important to Fritz. On Monday
May 2 they visited the crash-location in Bleskensgraaf.
First there was a meeting with Arjan Wemmers, who instigated the search
for (parts of) the airplane. His neighbour, Mrs. Bakker was there too.
She had seen the plane crash and later saw Fritz Chrysler being taken
prisoner by the Germans.
was a special reunion for her. She had written down the story in her diary.
The people present translated that part of this diary. Then the highlight
of the day, a visit to the propeller of Chrysler's plane that is temporarily
placed in the barn of the farmer in whose land the propeller was found.
It was a very special experience for Fritz Chrysler to be able to touch
this part of his airplane after 62 years. He couldn't keep his eyes off
of it. The crash-location and the site of the propeller and the spot where
he landed with his parachuted were visited also. In 1943 the first contact
he had was with Mr. Tukker, who had taken him to his farm. There his wounds
were taken care of by a doctor. Chrysler immediately recognized the dark
wooden shed that is still standing opposite the farm. A bit further in
the street is the house of the local policeman, where he had spend the
night in the kitchen awaiting transportation by the Germans.
next stop was the cemetery in Rotterdam-Crooswijk, where Ray Logan, his
navigator, was buried. This visit was very emotional. His daughters placed
a Canadian flag on the grave. Ray Logan was commemorated in silence.
had also been in detention in the police headquarters at the Haagseveer
in Rotterdam. This would be the next place to go. The surroundings have
changed a lot, but Fritz did recognize the building.
May 5 Fritz and his daughters were picked up at their guest family in
Nijverdal again. This time to go to the CRASH Air War and Resistance Museum
'40-'45 for a visit and to witness the War Bird Memorial Flight above
opened the new exposition of a show case with parts of the Wellington
that crashed in the night of 3 to 4 May at Wilnis, Holland. This plane
too had a Canadian crew. For the Chryslers it was a memorable day. Fritz
enjoyed everything that happened and the attention he got. He told a lot
of what he experienced during the war and after.
a rainy Saturday May 7 the employees of CRASH that had accompanied them
this week, took off to Nijverdal once again to attend the Parade of Keep
Them Rolling. For Fritz they had organised a nice dry spot at the Town
Hall. The soldiers present loved him and gave him a military raincoat.
During the parade he was sitting in front where a reporter of the local
radio station frequently interviewed him.
the last day in Holland a visit to the excavation of a Short Stirling
bomber at Bentelo by the Salvage Department of the Dutch Royal Air Force
was on the program. Captain Spierings has told and showed us a lot about
this excavation on the crash site. Chrysler was very impressed by the
work of the Air Force.
found it very special that so much is still done to find crew members
who are still mentioned as 'Missing in Action' and give them a proper
burial after all these years. On this day we said goodbye to Fritz and
his daughters Karen and Judy. It was an honour to meet them and to experience
this emotional trip together with them. We promised to visit them in Canada.
story of Mosquito pilot Chrysler – part 1
January 11, 2004 the Historical Research Team of the CRASH Foundation
'40-'45 (CRASH) started the research of the crash of the Mosquito B.IV
in the surroundings of Bleskensgraaf in May 1943.
This research was started because of a request from a contributor of CRASH,
mr. Arjan Wemmers from Bleskensgraaf. It concerned a registered crash
of a Mosquito B.IV of which, according to eye-witnesses, there must be
engines in the ground.
After Arjan Wemmers indicated where the crash site was, member of the
Historical Research Team of CRASH started measuring, but with no result.
Later that year Arjan Wemmers reported that he had located the propeller.
It turned out this propeller was found only a few inches under surface
level, even after 62 years!
the landowner we learned that the propeller had been sticking out for
years. Because the local youth couldn't keep their hands of it, the previous
landowner sawed of a piece of the propeller that was sticking out, after
which the ground was evened.
crashed plane was a Mosquito B.IV with code DZ432/HS-N of the 109th Squadron
van de 8the Group (Pathfinder Force, in short PFF) of Bomber Command.
crew was from the Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F) and consisted of
pilot Flight Sergeant Cameron Kent “Tubby” Chrysler and navigator
Pilot Officer Ray Hutchings Logan.
May 27, 1943 between 22.30 and 0.00 hour the crew of the DZ432 took off
from air base Wyton in England for a so called Pathfinder mission to bomb
Essen. The plane was taking the lead in front of a main force of a huge
attack on Essen with a total number of 518 different planes. The task
of the Mosquito was to mark the target. The mission was executed by 274
Lancasters, 151 Halifaxes, 81 Wellingtons and 12 Mosquito's. 23 planes
were lost, of which the Mosquito was one.
The percentage of losses was 4,4 %. Weather conditions, heavy clouds,
made marking the target necessary.
bomb pattern was scattered due to "undershooting" of the target
by many of the planes.
of this Essen was only slightly damaged in the centre and in the north
of the city.
It would be the 13th and last flight of Chrysler and Logan. When all 4
target indicators were dropped, Chrysler set course to their home base
in Wyton. They would not reach it. Through the air above the Waddenzee
they flew into Germany on 30.000 feet on a North-South course. After dropping
their four flares, target indicators for the bombers behind them, they
were hit by FLAK above the target area, that caused a defect in one of
the engines. Pilot C.K. Chrysler tried to put the propeller in feather
position while he was descending to a height of 18.000 feet to fly back
to England on one engine. While descending the plane was unexpectedly
shot from the below by a nightfighter, a Me 110 Zerstörer that intercepted
the plane. The Mosquito crashed on May 28, 1943 at 01.54 o'clock at about
10 kilometers north east of the town of Dordrecht near Bleskensgraaf and
Hofwegen (Southern Holland). This nightfighter was coming from the air
base Deelen and was fllown by Hauptmann Heinz Strüning (2de Gruppe
consequence of this attack the fuel tank caught fire, causing the larger
part of the plane to burn in a short while. The plane spinned down. C.K.
Chrysler ordered R.H. Logan to leave the plane.
Then Chrysler saw that Logan bent forward to buckle up his parachute.
At that moment the plane exploded. Chrysler was blown out of the plane
with his seat. He got hurt in the face, because of the fact that his oxygen
mask was torn from his face. He also got hit by pieces of the wreckage
of his plane. He also lost one of his flying boots that was later found
and was kept for years after the war. It is a shame the boot was untraceable
when Chrysler visited Holland in May 2005. After Chrysler released himself
from his seat and was coming down on his parachute in the pitch dark night,
he felt his eyes were filled with blood. After he wiped the blood from
his face with one hand, he tested his eye sight by covering one eye at
a time with his hand. His reference point was the difference in light
between the ground and the horizon. It turned out both his eyes were fine.
Then he tried to find out the distance to the ground so he could break
his fall when landing. Because of the darkness he wasn't able to do so,
as a result of which the landing came as a surprise. He sprained his ankle.
he crawled through the meadows, over fences and through ditches until
he arrived at a barn where a girl of about 12 years old was milking a
cow. When the girl saw the pilot she ran away, but she came back with
an unknown man. Later on it turned out to be the son of the farmer, mr.
Tukker. However, he didn't speak English. Chrysler showed him the European
money that he had received in his survival kit. The man pointed at the
Dutch bill. Then Chrysler knew for sure he was in Holland.
Mr. Tukker motioned Chrysler to come with him to his brother who did speak
English. He was brought to the kitchen of the farmhouse. This farmer spoke
some English, so a conversation was possible. He explained Chrysler the
crash of his plane did not go unnoticed in the village and that because
of it the chance of betrayal was present.
doctor was called to treat his head injury. When the Tukker family offered
him a bicycle to get away, Chrysler answered that he was not in a position
to escape, because of the injuries to his legs. Above all he did not want
these people to get into trouble by concealing an allied pilot.
They all decided to send for the local village policeman, A. de Groot.
He came and took Chrysler to his house. There he had a cup of coffee in
the kitchen. The policeman notified the German occupying force of the
presence of an allied pilot.
next morning the body of navigator Logan was found close to the plane.
Considering the nature of his injuries it was assumed that Logan was thrown
from the plane without his parachute, due to the explosion. His body was
placed in a coffin and put on a carriage drawn by horses. Chrysler was
to take place on this coffin. One of the German soldiers had consideration
with Chrysler's feelings and offered to sit on the coffin. Logan was buried
on the cemetry 'Algemene Begraafplaats' at Rotterdam-Crooswijk (Ref. Plot
LL. Rij 1, graf 40).
pilot of the Messerschmitt, Heinz Strüning, passed away on december
24, 1944. At that time he has shot down 58 enemy planes and received the
Ritterkreuz and the Oak Leaf – Kreis Soest. Years later it was revealed
that his plane was shot down above Werl in Westfalen, Germany. When he
bailed out, he was hit by parts of his aircraft and got mortally wounded.
- March 2006
The story of Mosquito pilot Chrysler – part 2
In the edition of our “Contrails”, December 2005, you could
read part 1 about Fritz Chrysler, pilot of the Mosquito B.Mk.IV, serial
code DZ432/HS-N, belonging to the 109th Squadron of the 8th Group, Pathfinder
Force (PFF) of Bomber Command.
Chrysler told that he was brought to an airfield of which he did not know
the name. However this must have been the airfield Waalhaven near Rotterdam.
There he was brought to a canteen where German soldiers sat and eat. A
German woman who spoke English - probably a secretary - asked him about
the United Kingdom. He got something to eat and sat near a kind of card
table, on which at one side stood a bust of Hitler and on the other side
a bust of Göring. Then Chrysler was placed in a truck and was transported
to the police headquarters at the Haagseveer in Rotterdam. There he was
put into the brick where other Allied airmen were detained. Because there
were no toilets in that part of the police headquarters he had to walk
to the other side of the building. In the toilet room he saw at the upper
part a small window trough which he could see the surroundings. He saw
that the building stood near a small canal. Despite the awareness of a
guard in front of the door of the toilets, C.K. Chrysler tried to escape
through the window. Apparently the guard in front of the door heard something
and entered the toilet room and caught C.K. Chrysler before he escaped
through the window. Subsequently C.K. Chrysler was brought back to the
brick where he stayed for a few days during which time his the wound to
his leg healed.
Then he was transported in a heavily guarded train, together with another
21 persons, to Dulag Luft in Oberursel, Northwest of Frankfurt am Main.
The abbreviation Dulag Luft stands for “Durchgangslager of the Luftwaffe”.
C.K. Chrysler doesn't recall the length of time he spent there. The Germans
thought he was on an so called Night-Intruder mission when he was shot
down. Such a mission implies that a lonely fighter-bomber attacks targets
For that reason he - as Prisoner Of War number 28 - was transported to
recently built roundup-point for captured Allied airmen, Stalag Luft VI
(Stammlager of the Luftwaffe) in Heydekrug, near the old Prussian- Lithuanian
border. Before he was led into the camp, he was brought back to Dulag
Luft for further interrogation. The reason for this was that in the plane
no arms had been found, but remains of the Oboe guiding system (1). The
Germans wondered what his intentions were. They were anxious to know more
about this guiding system and C.K. Chrysler thinks that the special attention
they had for him was based on the fact that they kept him for the navigator
instead of the pilot. His Mosquito happened to be the first aircraft to
crash with the Oboe system on enemy-held territory. There was a button
on the device for self-destruction by explosives to prevent the enemy
finding out how the system functioned.
In the beginning of his captivity as a Prisoner Of War, he was repeatedly
transported to Dulag Luft for further questioning. Chrysler tells that
the transport from the prison camp to Dulag Luft was very pleasant. When
they left the prison camp, they went straight to Køningsberg, where
they had to spend the night for catching the train back to Stalag Luft
Køningsberg was a town situated on the coast between Germany en
Lithuania, presently Russia and now known as Kaliningrad.
The four guards by whom he was accompanied searched for a place to spend
the night. The first opportunity was a Prisoner of War camp in which only
French were held. He was there for only 20 minutes, because the guards
of that camp discovered who he was and didn't want him in their camp.
The guards were afraid that he might escape and they didn't want any trouble.
(Note authors: French POW’s were in generally not thrilled to escape
in contrast to Allied airmen). Next he was imprisoned in a German military
prison in Køningsberg.
He stayed there only one night in the cellar where he was not allowed
to have direct contact with the guards, although they had an interpreter
who spoke both English and German. C.K.Chrysler understood rather much
of the German language which was noticed by his guards. C.K. Chrysler
heard from this interpreter that he was about to be brought back to Berlin.
On that journey he was accompanied by a corporal, a sergeant and two soldiers.
The corporal was armed with a “Schmeisser”-machine gun, the
soldiers with ordinary guns and the sergeant was armed with a pistol.
They didn't want to take the local train, because the ride would last
at least a complete day. So they decided to wait for a troop-train which
came from the Russian front and would go directly to Berlin. However this
train didn't stop in Køningsberg that's why - to get on - they
had to run along the train to jump on it. All the German soldiers in that
train were on leave and were excited to go home. They were told that Chrysler
was a Mosquito pilot. Every time the train stopped, german housewives
came to the train with food, biscuits etc. At such moments C.K. Chrysler
yelled also he would like to have some and reached as far as possible
out of the train to grab some cookies. They tasted deliciously. He had
to spent one night in the train. Once arrived in Berlin, they had to find
a train again which brought them ultimately to Frankfurt Am Main. They
visited a German military barrack to take a shower and refresh themselves.
And at last he could shave himself too. They took a seat in a corner of
the canteen where the Germans took a seat around him. The Geman ordered
beer and gave C.K. Chrysler one too. While drinking his beer, he saw outside
the canteen a bunch of women. (Note by the authors: while telling this
story C.K. Chrysler was laughing enthusiasticly) He then yelled to the
Germans around him, “Let’s go”. Apparently the Germans
understood what he said because immediately after the Germans started
to argue whom of the women was the most beautiful.
The Austrian guard, (the corporal with the Schmeisser machine gun and
with a small posture) thought only women from Vienna beautiful, mainly
because he himself was from Vienna. When the time was there to catch the
train to Frankfurt Am Main, they walked to the underground railway. While
descending the stairs, Military Policemen –by the Allied Prisoners
Of War called "chain dogs" because of the chain with a plate
around their neck - were checking persons for their identity papers (so
called Ausweisses). Of course Chrysler had none. However he just calmly
walked past the Military Policemen and tried to escape by walking through
The moment he looked around, he was tapped on his shoulder and he realized
his escape attempt had failed. Despite this he kept on walking straight
ahead. The Military Policeman did not believe what he saw. Without a passage-pass
and clothed in his "battle dress jacket" with his “wings”
on it, C.K. Chrysler kept on walking. Then all of a sudden the penny dropped!.
But Chrysler already took a lead. Everyone had to catch up with him and
during this pursuit a lot of people were pushed aside. A German policeman
caught him at last and before anyone could ask anything, Chrysler’
s guards told them that he belonged to them and that everything was allright.
After this they stepped into the underground railway and there he was
told by Military Policemen to do "the black coat up". (the authors
assume that this was told for his own security, because Allied aviators
were for obvious reasons not very popular among the German people. The
Allied bombing campaign against German cities was going on heavily. And
in the darkness and obscurity he could be everyone).
When he called one of the policemen "dumb cop" and "pigheaded"
the man became very angry. Chrysler was subsequently rattled off after
which the policeman grabbed his pistol. His German guards however thought
it extremely marvellous that Chrysler had the guts to say something like
that against a policeman. At one moment during the journey, his guard
with the Schmeisser machine gun handed over his weapon Chrysler to put
it in an empty luggage rack. After they arrived in Dulag Luft, he was
immediatly locked up. Almost immediately the heating was set higher. Chrysler
found out very rapidly how he was able to cool down. Shortly after the
door opened, the guard gave him a cigarette. When food was brought, Chrysler
thought it was intended for him , but it was not. Apparently, in this
manner, the Germans still tried to get information out of him. But Chrysler
did not break.
After one of the many interrogations, Chrysler saw a worldmap lying on
a table on which the positions of the Germans in North Africa were clearly
visible. His remark was: "You'd better can update this map, because
last week we kicked you out of there!” Eventually the Germans realized
that Chrysler was only the pilot of the aircraft. The reason why the Germans
wanted to interrogate the navigator was that they assumed that navigator
was the key-person who operated the secret Oboe device and the pilot was
just the bus-driver. That Chrysler knew very well how the Oboe system
worked, was something the Germans never knew.
Anyhow, they send Chrysler back to the prison camp to reunite with his
fellow Prisoners Of War. The first man he saw when he came back in the
camp, was the Feldwebel (sergeant-majoor), whom he recognized from the
interrogation centre in Frankfurt. The Feldwebel ran to Chrysler and called:
"Ah, Herr Chrysler!" and they shook hands. They had a pleasant
time together. The Feldwebel turned out to be the security master of the
camp. Because of the fact that all the Allied Prisoners of War saw his
friendly relationship with the German, he was soon interrogated by a Wing
Commander who was also a P.O.W. Chrysler had to explain to him the seemingly
friendly relation he underheld with this Feldwebel.
Not much later Chrysler was sent to Stalag Luft VI, the prison camp he
was initially sent to when he left Dulag Luft in Oberursel near Frankfurt
Am Main, and from which he had to return immediately after arrival in
this camp. This time he was imprisoned in the camp. However he did not
remain there very long. Subsequently Chrysler was transported to Stalag
357 Kopernikus in Poland.
As a result of the advance of the Russian Red Army, Chrysler was next
transported from Stalag 357 Kopernikus/Poland to Western Germany where
he was imprisoned in a camp in Oerbke near Fallingbostel close the Lunenburger
Heide, which was also called Stalag 357 (formerly Stalag XI B). Both these
camps were no Stalag Luft's, but ordinary military prison camps. (Mannschaftsstammlager).
In March 1945 the Prisoners of War were again forced by the Germans to
march, this time to the east because of the advancing western Allied armies.
During that march in eastern direction to the river Elba, Chrysler got
enough of what he thought was nonsense. Together with three others he
succeeded in escaping during the night when they were resting in a barn.
He escaped together with two South-Africans and an Englishman. They crawled
out of the barn, through a cordon of guards and disappeared in the dark.
They fled to the west where the Allied armies were advancing. During their
escape they kept alive with chickens which they robbed from farms. Fortunately
there were no dogs on the farms. Chrysler was used to the life at the
farm, so were the Sout-Africans. But Bill Johnson, an Englishman, had
never lived at a farm.
Once we made a mistake. We ordered this Englishman to go in in a henhouse
with the assignment to grab one of the chickens of the ground. When you
grab a chicken from its perch, all the sleeping chickens will awake. Bill
had to work silently. However Bill wanted to grab a fat chicken and those
were all on the perch. So you can imagine what a tumult those chickens
made during the night.
During the journey to the western front in Germany they always moved at
night. During the daytime they had to hide in the woodlands. One night
they walked along a road when Chrysler heard German troops marching through
the woods besides the road. So they left the road and went into the woods.
It appeared that the German troops had rested in that area and that they
were now walking through the German troops, but they were not recognized
as fleeing Prisoners of War because it was pitch-dark .
"Especially now I had to remain quiet". He looked around for
his comrades. Luckily they found each other rather soon. While they were
walking to the front, they arrived at a river. From a spit of land they
saw that the German troops were withdrawing. They headed straight at them.
There they stood, clearly visible. They expected to be taken prisoner
again. All of these German troops passed a footbridge near the fleeing
men. As soon the German troops passed the bridge, they spreaded out very
fast. This all happened behind Chrysler and his men. This was a happy
ending but the endeavours were not over yet. It got thrilling when shelling
started from the British frontlines. During the British advance the shelling
moved and eventually the shells started to fall around them. To protect
themselves they had to dig in. At that moment Chrysler was very happy
that he was only 5 feet tall. He had to dig less than the others. He digged
his man-hole with a field-kettle was already lying in safety long before
Phil Cohen with his 7 feet had dug in. After the shelling stopped they
went downstream to the bridge across the river.
At the other side of the river a British flame-throwing tank appeared.
This tank took out an 88mm anti-tank position which controlled the road
along the river. After that other British tanks approached over the riverbank
and despite the 88mm was taken out, the danger of German snipers was still
real. Therefore the shutters of the tanks remained closed.
Chrysler and his comrades behaved themselves as a bunch of idiots by dancing
and jumping alongside the road to draw attention of the tank crews. When
the danger of snipers was over one of the tank crewmembers openend his
shutter and asked who they were. They told him they were escaped prisoners
of war on which they received some gifts like cigarettes. Now they really
were out of hands of the Germans.
(1) 109th Squadron RAF was the first squadron that used the
new and very accurate blind-bombing target-marking technique which was
called Oboe. The plane flew along smallband radiobeam that was aimed
at the target which was directed by a ground station which also transmitted
an indicatorbeam. At the crossing of both beams the Mosquito dropped
its flares and markers above the target so that the bombers could see
– June 2006
The story of Mosquito pilot Chrysler – part 3
went back to the inactivated 88 mm gun to see if there was food to be
found. The ammunition was still burning, because the Germans didn't put
it in wooden boxes, but in straw. Then they walked back to the road. They
saw a motorcycle with a sidecar coming. On it was a tall man, who turned
out to be a Major of the Medical Service. This major was armed though.
It was the first time Chrysler saw someone of the Medical Service carrying
arms. The major stopped and Chrysler and his fellow Prisoners of War got
in. The first thing this major told them that he could only take them
to a hospital, but that is was a problem that they were not injured.
meeting with the British occured after being on the run for a long time.
Chrysler couldn't remember the time between their escape and this meeting,
but he thinks the meeting took place in march or april 1945. Later it
turned out they were on the Lunenburger Heath, near the village Celle
where the Luftwaffe air base used to be.
was possible to bring them to a so called Field Security Detachment. This
was a camp where German Prisoners of War were gathered for interrogation
and to group them for transport to POW-camps. So they were brought there.
The first soldiers they met there were the ones on a truck telling them
they were going to the frontline. They invited Chryslers and his fellow
POW's to come with them. (Note of the authors: Chrysler now tells laughing
that they said: "No thanks, we just got away from it!") They
didn't want to come.
the detachment they were given weapons to help guard the German prisoners.
One German prisoner spoke English well. He turned out to be an officer
and they decided to take him away from the group. This officer asked for
something to eat, but Chrysler explained him that he was nog officially
registered as Prisoner of War and therefore he didn't get anything to
eat. After this remark the discussion was closed right away and the German
kept his mouth shut after that.
they were brought from the detachment to Celle in a Jeep. They were stationed
temporarily in a Luftwaffe barrack. The first thing they noticed was the
smell of sweet condensed milk, butter – no margarine, but real butter
– and cookies. They had their first good meal since long. The three
of them stayed together. One of them got sick, however.
had het idee dat terugkeer naar Engeland in volgorde van aankomst in het
kamp zou gaan. Maar in het leger bleek dat niet zo te werken. Tijd van
terugkeer was afhankelijk van rang. Chrysler was Warrant
Philip was een sergeant en Chrysler dacht dat Brown – die uit Rhodesië
kwam – een korporaal was.
thought the homeward journey to England would be in order of arrival in
the camp. But in the army it turned out to be different. The time of return
was depending on rank. Chrysler was Warrant Officer First Class, just
like Bill Johnson. Philip was a sergeant and Chrysler thought that Brown
– the guy from Rhodesia – was a corporal.
Chrysler told he was a Warrant Officer First Class and had had enough
of this nonsense and the only they wanted was to go home. The army asked
him for proof of his rank. Luckily Chrysler could show the necessary papers,
because he still had them. He didn't expect to stay at Celle for longer
than two nights, but they were there for about a week. Then they were
put on a plane – a Dakota – that brought them to Bruxelles,
where he had to report again in a meeting point. Here he lost track of
his three buddies.
tells, now smiling, that wherever they came, they were deloused with DDT.
That was just thrown over them. They didn't mind, but then at the time
they didn't know what hazardous matter DDT was. They tried to convince
Chrysler that he had lice, but he knew better.
the air base in Bruxelles they, two Canadian pilots - one French-Canadian
– and a lot of men who were forced to work for the Germans. Actually
they were POW's, but they were put to work in the coal mines. These men
didn't speak English at all, but were brought to England anyways. None
of them knew where they were going exactly.
Britse bemanning die het toestel vloog, vertelde hen waar ze naar toe
gingen, nl. naar Engeland. Chrysler vertaalde dit voor de dwangarbeiders.
Ze zijn geland op vliegbasis Ford. Chrysler weet niet meer naar welke
plaats ze toen zijn gebracht. Uiteindelijk zijn ze in Engeland aangekomen,
maar daar wist men nauwelijks wat ze met hen aan moesten. Voor de twee
Engels sprekende mannen hadden ze wel een tijdelijke oplossing. Ze kregen
reispapieren en werden naar Londen gestuurd.
British crew flying the plane, told them where there were headed, namely
arrived at Ford, then to London and finally to Bournemouth. The group
of men lost each other, because after they had a good meal, they were
free to go. That's why Chrysler has got no idea what happened to the other
guys. He was not anxious to go home to Canada, because he had a girlfriend,
Betty, in London. He met her before he left on his mission. He had a wonderful
time with his girlfriend.
didn't have any uniforms with him. Chrysler tells about the clothes he
was wearing at the time. Sneakers, his battle dress trousers, a jacket
and a woollen cap of the American army (so no air force jacket) and a
shirt of the British army.
that how he was dressed and he also had his identity tag of the period
that he was a POW. The first thing that happened when he arrived in downtown
Bournemouth, was that the American Military Police stopped him. Chrysler
now tells laughing at the thought of this occasion: "I showed him
my POW-tag and the officer said: "Well, you can keep that!"
asked if he wanted to stay in Bournemouth he answered that that was not
the case. He wanted to go on leave and he finally got that. He was given
a suitable uniform and he left.
He wanted to see Betty. In London he went to bars he had been visiting
frequently before he went on his mission. There they remembered him. He
stayed at the Bow Hotel. His favourite beer in England was Worthington
IPA, the abbreviation means India Pale Ale (Note of the authors: Worthington's
White Shield). While he was in the POW-camp he had written them to put
aside a crate of IPA for him. He wrote he would come around for it. During
this period in the war, there wasn't a bottle of beer to be found in England.
He told them he had send a telegram to say he was back in town and that
he needed a room. When he entered the bar in the Bow Hotel, the waitress
at the bar reached under the bar and put down a bottle of IPA in front
of him. The Englishman next to him looked at it and his eyes popped out.
He looked at us and said he would like to have one of those to. The waitress
said: "That's not going to happen, because this one is stored especially
for this guy, he just came back from a POW-camp". Things like this
could only happen in England.
tells he has a whole history in England. He thought it very special they
had kept the beer especially for him. They could have easily sold it.
Because Betty didn't want to come, Chrysler finally left on a boat to
Canada. This was a trip that took several weeks.
this his time and experiences in the Second World War really ended. After
the war Chrysler had a turbulent life in which he has flown almost every
type of airplane in the Canadian Air Force until the '70's. He also worked
for the secret service during the Cold War. He now lives in British Columbia,
where he enjoys his pension.
was and still is a remarkable man with a strong mind in a strong body,
as we experienced during his visit. It was an honour for us to listen
to his story and put it in our Contrails magazine. People like Chrysler
are in all their modesty impressive war heroes to us, who fought for our
freedom and put their lives on the line.
18 February, 2009