Military history of Arthur E Linrud

Here you can read the personal military history of Arthur E. Linrud from October 8, 1942 to November 6, 1945 as he wrote it himself.

Training of serial Number 37314603

I was inducted into the U. S. Army Air Force October 8, 1942 at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, serial number 37314603. I took some basic training at St. Petersburg, Florida while taking aptitude tests for placement in type of service. While there, I lived in a hotel in midtown St. Petersburg.

I was sent to Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi in November of 1942, and assigned to technical school for training in airplane mechanics and maintenance. I spent five months there, until March of 1943, when I was sent to Lockheed-Vega Service School (U.S.A.A.F.T.T.C.) at Burbank, California, for advanced training on the B-17 Bomber as a flight engineer. I spent six months there.

Following that, I was sent to aerial gunnery school at Las Vegas Army Air Force Base at Las Vegas, Nevada on May of 1943. There, I spent six weeks training with 50-caliber machine guns in air-to-air gunnery and enemy aircraft and U.S. aircraft identifications. I did quite a bit of flying. By now, I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and sent to Seymour Johnson Airfield at Goldsboro, North Carolina for overseas equipment issue and training in survival in sea transportation. We were now destined for overseas; I had hoped for a furlough home before going. It was not to be. Instead, I was sent to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey for inoculation and preparation for overseas shipment in July, 1943. En route, we got into New York City to see some sights before leaving.

Boat to England

We left New York Harbor August 3, 1943 on a transport ship, sailing alone, without Navy escort. The ship was of English or Australian ownership and manned by a crew of that country. Our main diet aboard ship was lamb stew or mutton meat. Most of the soldiers aboard ship were U.S. Airmen for combat replacements as well as ground crews and maintenance personnel for aircraft bases in England, and also weather observers. Our route took us far north out of the normal sea traffic lanes, where we were subjected to very cold temperatures. Being we were alone and traveling at good speed, we were able to get across the North Atlantic with only one U-boat alert. We landed in a port on the west coast of Scotland on August 11, 1943, and went by train to the Air Force Distribution Center at Stone, England. We spent a few days there, awaiting assignment to a bomber group.


We arrived in England to see the country blacked out at night. Anti-aircraft guns manned and ready for action was the awakening that I had arrived in the War Zone. Our group of flight engineers of about 50 were the remaining number of several hundred who started Airplane Mechanics and Maintenance School at Keesler Field in November of 1942. Three schools to go through and a very rigid physical exam to pass for high altitude flying had weeded out the majority.

About ten months of togetherness among our group had resulted in close friendships in smaller groups to each other and this came to an abrupt end here at the distribution center, as we were sent off to different bomb groups from our roster in alphabetical order, in groups of about six per group. Under sealed orders and not knowing the bomb group number or location, we lost track of each other.
Our six arrived at Chelveston, England, 60 miles northwest of London, late in August of 1943 – Home of the 305th Bomb Group – as replacements to air crews that had lost personnel during combat.

The 305th Bomb Group consisted of three squadrons of B-17s – 364, 365, 366 – arriving in England in March of 1942 under the command of Colonel Curtis LeMay, who was later to become General Lemay, Commander of U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff E.T.O.

More B-17 training

I was assigned to the 364th Squadron as a replacement and for further training. The next couple of weeks were spent in flying out over the wash (training area in the North Sea), where a trailing tow target was pulled behind a plane, a huge fabric sleeve about the size of a fighter plane. B-17s with crews would take turns attacking the target as simulated combat conditions. Also, we engaged in several hours of skeet shooting with shotgun clay targets, as all aerial targets were moving as well as the plane, itself, from which the gunman was shooting.

Night flights, also, were practiced to acquaint crews with darkness aboard the plane, for oxygen hook-ups to face masks and for loading guns with new rounds of ammunition, for getting the parachute attached to the harness, as turrets were too small to enter with a parachute and attached to the harness, and for dinghy drill, a life raft for when a plane was forced down at sea.

Normal living conditions at the base weren’t bad, nissen huts which weren’t as good as wooden barracks but the food for combat airmen was good. We had separate mess, far better than for ground personnel. We had some entertainment – movies and traveling shows that came from the U.S. to the base.


After a few missions, we had R & R – usually a three-day pass and most everyone went to London, about 60 miles away by train. There was a lot to see there, many historic sites, and London in the pre-invasion days was the crossroads of military personnel of the E.T.O. A lot to see there, and a lot of entertainment.

The air war had become fierce during the fall of 1943 and losses were very high. On missions October 8, 9, and 10 to Bremen, Germany, Gdynea, Poland, and Munster, Germany, the 8th Air Force lost 88 heavy bombers in three days. I flew on all three of those missions. Also lost were 60 bombers on Schweinfurt, a total of 148 bombers in one week. Many got back to England but battle damage was too severe for over 200 that would not fly combat again. At war’s end in May 1945, the 364th Squadron had been on 300 combat missions.

My combat time was from mission number 66 (September 15, 1943) through mission number 75 (October 14, 1943). As a group, the 305th lost 787 airmen killed on combat missions. At the time I flew, about 300 planes would be on a raid from two air divisions. In 1943 at this time, the range our fighter planes could escort us was a little way beyond the coast of Europe and hence on a long raid, our bombers were on our own and subjected to enemy fighter attacks, which, without any opposition from our fighters, could concentrate on attacking our bombers.

Also, on longer missions, the enemy put up older planes armed with rockets and cannons and would fly alongside of our formation out of reach of our 50-caliber machine guns, and then turn and fire their rockets and cannons at our bomber formation. This accounted for many of our losses. Besides, near target areas, there was an extremely heavy barrage of anti-aircraft guns (flak) which also took its toll by damage to planes that couldn’t keep up with the formation and were easy prey for enemy fighters.

By now, I had been assigned permanently to the crew of Lt. Dennis McDarby as Engineer and Top Turret Gunner. We flew in the number three spot of the 364th’s six-plane formation on my final raid, being shot down on that raid.


On the Second Schweinfurt Raid on October 14, 1943, 288 B-17s were sent on a mission to bomb the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany, a distance of about 500 miles. With no friendly fighter protection, our bombing groups encountered huge numbers of enemy fighters, ME-110s and FW-190s, recently moved into the European coastal area from the Russian front to try to protect German industries. This raid has been referred to as the biggest air battle of WWII.

Several books have been written about this raid alone, namely, “Black Thursday,” by Martin Caidin; “Wrong Place, Wrong Time,” by George Kuhl, a Lieutenant-Colonel who later flew with the 305th; and, an account by Colonel Peaslee, who led the raid and wrote of battle conditions as they occurred.

Of the 288 attacking bombers, 60 were lost. The 305th Bomb Group dispatched 16 planes; 13 were shot down, one aborted, and two got to target, dropped bombs and returned to base in England. The 364th Squadron lost all of the six planes dispatched. One B-17 from the 364th piloted by Lt. Ed Dienhart crash-landed in Switzerland after being badly damaged in battle and managed to hedgehop to a crash landing. The story of this plane landing in Switzerland appeared in the October 1993 “Readers’ Digest,” written by a young Swiss man who witnessed the crash landing. The story, entitled, “Legacy of Lazy Baby,” had feeling for me as I had flown top turret and engineer with Lt. Dienhart and crew on a mission to bomb the airfield at Romily, France. Lt. Dienhart and crew of the “Lazy Baby” flew in the number four spot of our formation on the raid to Schweinfurt on October 14, 1943.

An overall review of the Second Schweinfurt Mission by personnel who were on the mission would almost all agree that this mission should have been aborted, since too many obstacles had to be overcome to present a strong attacking force deep into enemy territory, as it later showed only two of the three air divisions were able to get airborne. Of the 2nd Division, many of these were late in forming and many were out of position, due to a very thick (8,000 to 10,000 foot) cloud cover over England. Our fighter planes had used up a lot of their fuel circling and waiting for the bombers to come to the rendezvous point. Our leading formation of bombers had barely crossed the English Channel and entered Holland when the fighters turned back to England, and within a few minutes, the sky in front of us was filled with an enormous amount of enemy aircraft. They immediately attacked us from all directions, some diving through our formations from above, some of our bombers were already falling from formation on fire or unable to keep up. This was how the battle raged on, as our bomber’s 50-caliber machine guns poured out a tremendous amount of firepower at the incoming fighters and many of them were hit and shot down.

Bail out

Soon our plane received a sledge hammer blow as a direct hit from a rocket or cannon shell, hitting the number two engine and destroying it. We were unable to maintain air speed and fell out of formation.

As a lone, crippled plane, several of the enemy fighters concentrated on destroying us and poured a deadly stream of bullets into our bomber, which had now caught fire from the ruptured fuel line at the number two engine and a huge ball of fire trailed from the bomber. The “Bail Out” alarm had been given as there was no chance of the fire being put out. The wing was soon to break off from the intense heat, sending the plane into a spinning spiral.

The time had come to snap on the parachute and crawl to the nearest escape hatch and fall into space.

A firm pull on the “D” ring and the chute came out of the pack, filling with air with a terrific jolt to my body. The chest pack came up to bang me in the face.

All in a few seconds, the scene had changed and I was suspended in a harness floating to earth under the canopy of a huge silk parachute.

Several hundred people and German soldiers had gathered at the edge of a town in southern Holland on the German border and were watching our crew come down. We were surrounded as we landed and captured on landing. The five of us were taken to the city hall, where airmen from other crews were also being held. A civilian doctor came and treated some of the airmen for injuries, among them our pilot, Dennis McDarby, who had a fractured ankle, and tail gunner Dominic Lepore, who had received head and back wounds from a 20mm shell from an enemy fighter that exploded in the rear of the plane. As of now, five of our crew of ten were here as prisoners of war and it wasn’t until after the war we learned that five bodies had been found in the crashed plane.

McDarby and Lepore were left off at a local hospital and the rest of us were transported in the back of a truck to Amsterdam, Holland, and then by train to Dulag Luft, an interrogation center near Frankfurt, Germany.


Dulag Luft was a place of solitary confinement, where each of us airmen were placed in a small room about eight by ten feet. It had no windows, one door to the hallway, with a peep hole from the hallway to inside and a light bulb in the ceiling that was never turned off. A small filthy dirty mattress was on the floor, with one blanket. Each of us had been thoroughly searched many times by now, so no material other than the clothing we wore came into the room. There was no water in the room; the toilet was a pail in the corner. A tin plate of food was passed in through a slot in the door. No spoon or fork. You ate with your fingers, bread was the main course – and not much of that.

Several groups of small X’s had been scratched into the plastered walls about the room, most likely with finger nails by former prisoners, assumed to indicate the number of days of stay. Nothing to read to occupy the mind for a diversion. In briefings at home base we were told in the event of becoming a P.O.W. to reveal name, rank, and serial number only.

On the second day, I was ushered by a guard to the office of the interrogating officer who introduced himself in good English, and promptly began a barrage of questions – seeking information to which he received the standard reply. Different tactics – always with the same intent to gather information. After some time of this, he boldly stated, “You were captured after coming down in a parachute. We think you are a spy. We shoot spies!” Back to the cell.

This type of interrogation went on for about a week. Then, on this day, he stated, “Since you don’t seem to know anything, I’ll tell you something,” whereupon he pulled out a folder stamped “305th” on the front cover and promptly showed me a list of the 305th combat crews. My name was listed as flight engineer, top turret gunner on the McDarby crew. I had been assigned to this crew less than two weeks before. During WWII, spying had become a specialized way of life, unknown to the average soldier.

Running the gauntlet in Frankfurt

The next day, I was released to a compound, wire enclosed, and a barracks of about 100 American P.O.W.s. Here our pictures were taken for their prison files. Individual photos of each person with Army Serial Number on a board hung by string from my neck or shoulder strap. This identification sheet with my picture, name, barracks number, etc., was brought to me at war’s end at Camp Lucky Strike, Le Harve, France by Dominic Lepore, tail gunner, who stayed behind at Stalag XVII due to wounds, during our evacuation of camp. I still have it.

About ten or more airmen whom I knew were among the group in this compound; it was a real sense of relief to be among friends and talk of our recent experiences.

This same day we were ordered out of this compound and formed into a marching column of about 100 of us surrounded by many guards, to go to the railroad station in Frankfurt, Germany, to be sent to a P.O.W. camp. This march was not without tension and anxiety as this was about 6:00 PM and the day’s working people were on the street. Learning that we were American airmen, they became very hostile toward us. Rocks, bricks, and whatever else they could get ahold of was thrown at us. On October 4, the 8th Air Force from England, including our 305th Bomb Group, had bombed Frankfurt and had done a lot of damage. As the crowd numbers increased, it became very tense and, fortunately for us, the guards fixed bayonets to their rifles to keep the crowd back or many of us would have been killed. This kept up until we were into the railroad station.

Transport by rail
Here we marched out into the railroad yard and were herded into two rail cars, about 50 in each car. We were ordered to remove our shoes; they were put in a pile by the guards at the door, which was shut and locked. With no seats, we sat on the floor or stood, very crowded, with the usual pail in a corner for a toilet. For air, only a small hole near the roof, covered with iron bars.

Darkness came as we waited for our train to get under way, and now the air raid sirens shrieked a warning. Soon the search lights began to search the sky for enemy bombers. This could be seen from the small window. Then the anti-aircraft batteries in or near the yards began a steady barrage of flak. Now we were on the other end of the raid! This was an English R.A.F. mission, as most all U.S. raids were daylight. Now some of the ack-ack batteries on rail cars – real close to us – joined the barrage. Luck was on our side this time, as the rail yards were usually a prime target for bombing missions. However, a few bombs were dropped and none close enough to damage our cars. This was most likely a diversion raid as the main target was off somewhere else.

From the RAF Bomber Command Campaign Diary 22/23 October 1943 - Kassel - Frankfurt

Frankfurt: 28 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary raid to Frankfurt. Bombing was scattered. 1 Lancaster lost.

Kassel: 569 aircraft - 322 Lancasters, 247 Halifaxes - to Kassel. The German controller was again successful in assessing the target and 43 aircraft - 25 Halifaxes, 18 Lancasters - were lost, 7.6 per cent of the force.

Barrack 17A in P.O.W. Camp Stalag XVII-B - Krems (A)

Soon after the bombing stopped, the “all clear” sounded. Our train got under way and went at full speed all night and into the next afternoon, traveling in a south-easterly direction. The door opened, a guard ordered us to get our shoes and put them on, as “you are now at Krems, Austria, and will be marched to your P.O.W. Camp Stalag XVII-B, located about 4 kilometers away – out of the Danube Valley.”

Stalag XVII-B was a very old camp, built before WWI of low, long barracks up off the ground on stilts and built of wood boards, the outside covering of heavy tar paper. Inside wood walls had no insulation. Barracks were divided into A and B units with a washroom dividing them, used by both units. There were no toilet
facilities inside the barracks. The wash room was on a cement floor, with a tin trough for clothes washing and a spigot for drinking water. A huge iron pot sat in a brick fireplace to heat water for instant coffee, if there was any coal to heat with. Sometimes, once a day, each person got one tin cup full. Four such barracks were in each compound. This compound was enclosed in woven wire fence with barbed wire strung along from top to bottom. Americans were separated from other nationalities and kept in five of such compounds.

One outside latrine, used by four barracks, was about 100 feet to the rear, about 30 by 50 feet, set over a cement pit to collect all waste. It was hauled out with “honey wagons” every few weeks to fields as fertilizer. Barrack floors were rough boards. A broom to sweep the floor was made of the end of willow branches cut and tied together about two-to-three feet long. Bend over and sweep!

Bunking with Ben Roberts

Bunk beds were double-deck and long enough for four men on each deck, eight total. Mattresses were individual fiber filled with wood chips, called “pailliasse.” Each end of the barrack had about 150 men, for a total of 300-plus per barrack. Our group arrived about the first week of November 1943 into Barrack 17A; it was almost empty except for the barrack chief and interpreter. Our camp was primarily all Air Force Combat Crewmen who had rank of Sergeant and were not required to work for the enemy, except for our own camp duty. Two men usually paired up to share blankets – issued two each – as two men were on each end of the bunk. My ball turret gunner, Ben Roberts, and myself shared our top bunk. Our barrack had a huge brick tile-covered stove in the center of the building. As we received about one small pail of coal each day, it was a total waste to try to heat the barrack this way. Therefore, we joined with the other half of the barrack and used coal to heat water in the pot in the washroom for one tin can of hot water per day. The first winter, 1943-44, we had no heat from the stove in the barrack and suffered a lot from the cold. We had gotten G.I. overcoats at Dulag Luft and we wore them a lot in day time, and at night used them to cover up with. We also slept with all our clothes on many nights in winter. Washing ourselves and cleaning our clothes was a total disaster. Water was often on for one hour in the morning, one hour over noon, and one hour during evening.

In 2018 while JoAnn Linrud was in Eygelshoven for the unveiling of the memorial she gave me the account from Ben Roberts of how her father Arthur Linrud became a member of the crew of A/C 42-3436. For Arthur Linrud did not belong to the original together trained crew.

Connections to the crash of the Cole crew (42-29971 of the 306th BG)

From the Cole crew (42-29971 of the 306th BG) whose B-17 crashed on the 14 same day in Beek (NL) I saw the diary of Mr Folk in which Mr Roberts, Mr Linrud and Mr Lepore are mentioned.
Mr Folk (TTG/FE) lived ‘next door’ in 17 B.

Three of the four KIA cases of this crash were laid to rest in Maastricht in October 1943 next to Mr Wells and Mr Henlin.

On 14 October 2018 a memorial was dedicated to the Cole crew in Beek.

Daily life

Roll call was held two or three times daily out in the compound, winter and summer; only the wounded or totally sick could stay inside with permission of the commandant. This got to be an ordeal during winter as sometimes there was a lot of snow and we had no overshoes or rubbers, and to get our shoes wet was not good, as there was no place to dry them out. If at roll call the count didn’t come out right, a dog tag check was ordered, requiring us to pass a table with guards checking each person’s metal tag and picture. This sometimes took several hours in rain and cold or any kind of weather.

When we first came to P.O.W. camp, time passed slowly as about the only pass-time was talking and visiting. Later some books arrived from Geneva (Int. Red Cross); this helped a lot to have story books to read. Also, a few decks of cards came, mostly in a parcel from home. This became the most favorite pass-time, as a lot of bridge and pinochle was played. We were given a one-page form letter to write home, about every six weeks, and could receive a small parcel from home about every two months, after we had written home with instructions about what we could receive and our address. Some parcels began to arrive and were a hit and miss – a lot of them had been broken open and contents stolen or not any received at all, either lost or stolen.

Food was a real concern because the amount we got from the Germans was not enough. Many would not have made it without the Red Cross parcels shipped in from Geneva, Switzerland. We were supposed to each receive a parcel per week. Most parcels consisted of a can of powdered milk, a can of instant coffee, a small box of cheese, one candy bar, a can of oleo, C-Rations (crackers), raisins or prunes, a small box of sugar, a can of Spam, salmon, or liver paste, and about four packages of cigarettes. German food was a bread ration of about two inches of a loaf of hard, dark, sour bread per person per day and two meals, almost always soup, “thin,” and brought to each barrack in a wooden tub by our chow detail and ladled out to us in our tin cans. Carrot, cabbage, rutabaga (dehydrated vegetables, with worms) were the main soups; never any meat.

First Christmas

Christmas dinner 1943 was one boiled potato and one boiled beet (unpeeled) per person. As the war dragged on, our parcels were rationed out and cut to about one parcel for four persons per week. Some trading was going on. Mainly, cigarettes were the medium of exchange. A lot of us quit smoking, to get a bit more food in exchange for cigarettes.
There was a certain amount of trading by some G.I.s who had made contacts with guards, as American cigarettes were a premium among the civilian people.
Unknown to us until war’s end, a G.I. (Ben Phelper) had been able to trade cigarettes with a guard for a camera and film, and had taken about 250 pictures of camp life, barracks, guard towers, forced march, people, etc. When he returned to the U.S., he had enough photos to put out a book about camp life, called “Kriegie Memories.” I was fortunate enough to be contacted and bought this book, which has now become a prized possession, as the author had a fire in his office and lost all the P.O.W. material he had brought home.

Spring cleaning

Spring came with great relief as we could get outside in the sunshine and air out our mattresses, attempting to rid our clothes of lice and fleas. We finally got a hot shower and delousing in the spring of 1944, up at the delousing station’s twice-a-year ordeal.

A shipment of sports equipment came in from IRCC Geneva: soft balls and bats, basketball and hoop, one per compound, footballs and volley balls. So we were able to have a program of exercise. Also, within the compound, we could make a circular lap about three blocks long – not close to the warning wire. Warning wire was a single
barbed wire strung about 20 feet from the main fence about two feet high. Under no condition was any P.O.W. to cross this wire. If a soccer ball or soft ball went beyond this wire, the game stopped until a guard could be summoned to retrieve it for us. End of game, most usually, as the guards in the towers shot immediately – as we witnessed this one afternoon. Some Russians in the compound next to us had come in from working on farms and had vegetables hidden in their pockets, which they wanted to trade for cigarettes. This was done by throwing across two sets of warning wire and the main fence, about fifty feet in distance. One pack of cigarettes landed about three feet inside the warning zone. When a Russian reached under to get it, he was shot dead without any warning, and laid there dead most of the day, as a reminder to everyone to stay clear of the warning zone.

Hope after D-Day

D-Day – June 6, 1944 was a day we had long been waiting for. We heard about it late in the day and were to learn the next day that the landings had been successful. Beach-heads had been established on the continent of Europe. Now we will be home for Christmas, was the hope of everyone.
Winter of 1944-45 came on. It was hard to face another winter under the same or worse conditions than last winter, as we had all lost weight and were suffering from lack of good healthy food. We are now told that five fruits or vegetables a day are necessary for good health. Not one of us in camp had an apple, banana, or orange during our stay of eighteen months or more. We Americans had all received many inoculations and shots before being sent overseas; this was to be a life-saving factor for us as other nationality P.O.W.s had no shots, and when a typhus epidemic hit camp due to lice and living conditions during the winter, they fell victims. Ben Phelper, the G.I. with the camera, took pictures of dead Russians being carried along the outside of the fence to the cemetery, a grove of trees in a field, away from our compound. This went on all winter; as many as thirty were carried out at a time.

March out - April 1945

In early April 1945 the Russian army advanced from the east and had entered Austria, nearing Stalag XVII-B. It was then that the camp commandant ordered our camp to be evacuated, and march west toward Germany. On Sunday morning of April 8, 1945 we had gathered up what few possessions we had and, under forced march, about 4,400 American P.O.W.s walked out the gate and headed west. About 100 or more American P.O.W.s who were crippled or too sick to walk stayed behind in camp and witnessed the coming of the Russian Army. Dominic, the tail gunner on my plane, stayed behind. I met up with him again at Camp Lucky Strike near Le Harve, France, in May 1945. This group was rescued by American forces later and witnessed many acts of atrocities by Russians; they were lucky to be rescued alive.

We were marched out in groups of about 500 under guard of mostly older men. It would have been possible to escape but we were warned by our camp leaders not to attempt it for our own safety, as all roads were patrolled by German SS men who would shoot on sight. The main roads were a mass of people all walking west to escape the coming of the Russian army. We walked about fifty minutes, rested for ten minutes, during the daylight hours, spending the nights in open fields or barns. Weather was mostly cold and damp. This was hard on us in our weak condition as we got very little to eat on the way.


All the brutalities of war became very real to us as we neared the German concentration camp called Malthausen, meeting up with a column of Jews, guarded by SS troops. In the distance of about a mile, over twenty bodies lay along the roadside, all dead – either shot or bayonetted because of being too weak to walk and were killed as they had fallen. We passed the main concentration camp and were glad to have it behind us. Later we heard that Hitler in his madness had ordered all P.O.W.s killed. This would have been our destiny but the military had refused to obey.


We were later marched along back roads away from the masses of humanity and German military units traveling the main roads. We were on the march seventeen days and walked about 200 kilometers until April 25 when we neared the town of Braunau, Austria.
There we stopped at a forest and were told we would make camp. There were no facilities – open pit latrines and some buildings had been started but not finished. The only water was from the Inns River about one-fourth mile away, down a steep hill. With no shelter, we got under evergreen trees to find shelter. With hundreds of other European-nation P.O.W.s nearby, we had to guard our blankets and clothes or they would have been stolen. This went on until May 2, when a U.S. Army Captain and some soldiers came by and told us the U.S. Army was moving through the area. Germans guards were taken prisoner the next day when four jeep-loads of men and officers from General Patton’s Army arrived and took the guards away. We were now free, May 3, 1945!

Camp Lucky Strike

The next day we all walked to the edge of Braunau, Austria, where we were sheltered in some factory buildings for a few days until the U.S. Air Force sent in transport planes to fly us to Camp Lucky Strike at Le Havre, France.

Camp Lucky Strike was a huge camp of tents where most all P.O.W.s were gathered to wait for transportation to the U.S. Many thousands of Ex-P.O.W.s were gathered here. Now we slept in a cot on bed sheets and blankets – “bed sheets” – unknown for the last eighteen months. We got new G. I. clothes and warm showers. Chow lines were long but the food was terrific and there was plenty of it.

Transports home

Due to the number of P.O.W.s in camp, we were told it would be three weeks yet before our turn came for passage home, and permission would be given for a ten-day pass to Paris or England. When a B-17 bomber from the 305th Bomb Group landed at the air strip next to camp, Ben Roberts, my ball turret gunner, and I talked to the pilot about a ride to Chelveston, home of the 305th. He said, “Sure, if you can get a pass.” We got a pass and about $50 from our back pay, and by afternoon we were back in England at home base. We spent a few days there and went to London, where all the lights were back on. We stayed a few days at the Red Cross Club and saw some more sights. About 30 Ex-P.O.W.s had come to England and were at the Red Cross Club. So arrangements were made to go to the port of Southampton. Here we found passage on a small hospital ship, bringing home wounded servicemen. We were put down in the bottom of the ship, slept on cots, and landed five days later at Camp Shanks, New York, on June 14, 1945. I caught a train to Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, where I was given a sixty-day furlough.
From JoAnn Linrud I heard that Ben Roberts went to Wales(?) to see his grandfather, but got an appendicitis from eating too much and was hospitalized. So he missed the boat and went back home across the Ocean in an airplane.

Last months

I reported to Santa Monica, California, to Edgewater Beach Hotel for my physical exams; my service record was brought up to date. I had twenty-four months of back pay coming, as my last pay day was in September 1943 in England. I was finally sent to McChord Field, Tacoma, Washington for separation from the service on November 6, 1945.

The war in the Pacific ended in August 1945. At last the world was at peace. The armed aggression had stopped, but many families had paid a heavy price with lost sons and husbands who would never come back to their loved ones. For combat veterans and P.O.W.s, the fighting had stopped, but the events of the war are always there and will never be erased from the mind.


Below a picture of the frame with Mr Linrud’s memories to his WWII-participation.

6 Medals - from left: WWII Victory Medal - EAME Medal with bronze battle/service star - 2 Air Medals* - POW Medal - American Campaign Medal.

The Air Crew badge, a silver Service stripe for 3 years of service, his Staff Sergeant-badge - three golden overseas bars and his dog-tags.

Under the Black Thursday-pin the badge of the 8th Air Force and on the other side of his picture, the names of his crew members and a B17 his USAAF ‘mechanic trade patch’.
The Air Medal indicates that Mr Linrud flew more than 5 missions. The other crew members were on their 5th mission.


The inter titles in the text were added by the webmaster.

The photos were taken from the internet. Mostly from

The drawings are from the dairy of Mr Doubledee who was a POW in this camp.


Back to the biographies of all of the crew members of B-17 # 42-3436.
A story I started to find out why and how
Donald Paul Breeden could get missing.