Reminiscences at the Reunion from Ex-POWs

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William Caruso “We were unfit to live with human beings after being in POW camps, we were half animal. A Gestapo guy was angry because he believed Italy and Germany were allies. He says ‘you’re an Italian,’ I said, ‘I’m an American,’ he put a gun to my head, I didn’t say anything.”

Frank Bartlett “I got shot down on my 26th mission and we were only supposed to fly 25. I had flown over St Naziar, France, seven times, but I was shot down.”

Allen Magee is listed in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” for having fallen the greatest distance and surviving. Sergeant Magee was flying over St. Naziar, France, when the plane was hit by enemy fire and rolled over. The corridors in the B-17 weren’t big enough to fit parachutes through. He bailed without wearing a chute and landed on the glass domes of a railroad station. He suffered 27 fractures on his left arm alone, was wearing only one boot and his other clothing had been torn off. “When I went through the roof, all the struts holding the glass in place ripped off, and that’s the way the Germans found me. I don’t know what happened. I was unconscious.”

Jack E. Jones and Ray Ellias were young NCO’s who survived on “food” most people wouldn’t touch. The bread was about 75 percent sawdust and the remainder potatoes. “We survived mainly by eating worms. The Germans occasionally gave us blood sausage, mostly pig teeth and hair. Most guys wouldn’t eat it, but when the lights went out at night I did,” Jones said. “They marched us some 290 miles east so they could be liberated by Americans because the Russians didn’t take prisoners. We marched 19 or 20 days and were liberated in the town of Braunau, Austria, on the River Lech (Hitler’s birthplace).”

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