Sanders' Crew

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
Patrick Smith   Bombardier     Unknown
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
William Kozulak SGT Top   05/28/44 POW
Autley B. Smith SGT Left Waist   05/28/44 POW
John B. LeDeau   Crew Chief     Completed tour.
003 05/09/44   TL 42-52740 B24H
004 05/11/44 Slammin' Spammy TF 42-52637 B24H
007 05/24/44   TL 42-52630 B24H
008 05/25/44 Virgo DK 42-52532 B24H
010 05/28/44   PO 42-52764 B24H

Created 09/10/99  Modified 06/20/00

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