1/Lt. Robert Wescott Brown
1/Lt. Robert Wescott Brown
338th FS - March 1943 - 22 December 1943 (Prisoner of War)
Entered service from Erie, Pennsylvania.
ASN - O-730364
28 June 1943 - Suffered 1st degree burns after left engine failed and he crash landed
July 1943 - Granted 13 days Leave
01 December 1943 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
20 December 1943 - Awarded the Air Medal
22 December 1943 - Made Prisoner of War
MACR No. 01534
The mission was bomber escort to Osnabruck, Germany. It is believed that Lt. Brown was downed by enemy fighters near Lotte, Germany. He was imprisoned at Stalag Luft I.
1/Lt. Thomas A. White reported: "I was flying in the same flight as 1/Lt. Robert W. Brown, when the flight leader made a 360 degree turn to the left, and Lt. Brown was still in formation. A FW 190 attacked and I turned into him, reversed my turn, and observed that the flight leader was alone. I do not know what happened to Lt. Brown at this time as I didn't see him after that."
Reproduced with kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield from the author's book Double Nickel - Double Trouble
|Memories||"We had two engines to take care of and one
man. It was sort of a complicated ship, but a nice ship,'' . The mission
was to protect the American bombers. "We just kept flying over top of
them,'' Lt. Brown recalled.
"We were a long-range escort,'' he said. On Dec. 22, 1943, after he had completed about 15 missions, Lt. Brown was hit. "A German ship snuck right in and hit my engine,'' Lt. Brown said. "It started to smoke and I got myself out of formation and started down. I set it down in the Netherlands.'' The plane crash-landed at about 175 mph, and about the only thing left of it was the engines. But he came out unharmed. "There was not much left of it. I was hiding in the fields of Holland and a couple of fellows came up, they had their daggers out. They didn't know who I was. We talked in a kind of a sign language and they bummed cigarettes and I asked them which way was Belgium. "I went that way. It was hard to walk between the dikes.''
He walked for about four hours and then saw a light coming towards him. It was an eight-man German patrol. "The lead guy could speak English. He was an awful nice guy. He started telling me where he had lived in the United States,'' Brown said. They took Lt. Brown to Amsterdam where he spent Christmas and New Year's in jail with four other men from the same bombing mission. "A lot of bomber pilots got hit that day,'' he said.
After about five days, they were taken to Frankfurt for interrogation.
"They asked you almost anything, but you didn't give too much information. A German major told me he married a Boston girl.'' After a two weeks, the International Red Cross took the prisoners on their last train ride to the POW camp. There were 17,000 prisoners from different Allied nations, including many pilots from Lt. Brown's squadron.
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