LT Sanders' crew
LT Sanders and crew were photographed in Tucson during Phase III Overseas Training, February, '44. Standing (L to R): Al Sanders (P), Danny O'Connell (B), Tom Zoebelein (N), Fred Morley (CP). Front (L to R): James Sizemore (Arm./BG), A. B. Smith (NG), William Kozulak (Top), Lou Lujan (FE/WG), John Lawrence (R/O/WG), Robert Swaffield (TG). (reprinted from the O&W N/L Summer '90)
LT Sander's and crew were hit by FLAK in the target area and was last seen between the IP and target area. Other crews reported 5 to 6 chutes, but it was later reported all of the crew successfully bailed. The aircraft reportedly hit near Henripont, Belgium. The Germans initially captured 5 of the crew, and believed the remainder perished in the crash. LT Sanders was picked up by the Belgian resistance, and sheltered along with 1st LT Henry Wolcott (USAAF Special Operations -- Carpetbagger) and seven Russian deserters from the German Army.
Sanders and Wolcott were betrayed by a member of the Resistance. Sanders and Wolcott were handed over to a Belgian couple who told Sanders and Wolcott that they would take them to a safehouse in Brussels, and from there taken out by train to Switzerland. The Abwehr chief in Brussels, posing as the Swiss Consul, took custody. The next day the two airmen were transferred to a prison. He managed to escape once, but was later recaptured. (updated information, courtesy of Marcel Dubois, Belgium).
LT Sanders and other allied POWs were loaded onto boxcars to be evacuated into Germany as allied ground forces advanced through Belgium. The train was the last to leave Brussels. The Belgians both negotiated for the release of all prisoners, and sabotaged all attempts to move the prisoners to Germany. Eventually, the Gestapo commander had ordered the release of the prisoners. By the time the decision was made, the train's location was unknown, and abandoned by its crew. The civilians were freed by locals, but the allied prisoners were left locked in their car. Later that evening they managed to free themselves and "escaped." LT Sanders eventually made his way back to England where he learned his entire crew was repatriated, and transferred to the ZOI. (MACR: 5390/KU 2814)
|Name||Rank||Position||First Mission||Last Mission||Status|
|Alfred M. L. Sanders||2nd LT||Pilot||05/09/44||05/28/44||POW|
|Fred A. Morley||2nd LT||Coilot||05/28/44||POW|
|Thomas J. Zoeblein||2nd LT||Navigator||05/28/44||RTD|
|Daniel M. O'Connell||F/O||Bombardier||05/28/44||RTD|
|Louis Lujan||S/SGT||Flight Engineer/Waist||05/28/44||POW|
|John R. Lawrence||SGT||Radio Operator||05/28/44||POW|
|James R. Sizemore||S/SGT||Armorer/Ball||05/28/44||RTD|
|Robert C. Swaffield||SGT||Tail||05/28/44||POW|
|Autley B. Smith||SGT||Left Waist||05/28/44||POW|
|John B. LeDeau||Crew Chief||Completed tour.|
|Created 09/10/99||Modified 06/20/00|
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