Bomber B17 ‘Hard to Get’ Delegation of Relatives coming to Camp King, Oberursel

A delegation of 11 relatives to the bomber crew B17, shot down near Rheinberg on 26 August 1944, is coming to Oberursel to learn more about this fateful day.

Manfred Kopp, the local historian, and I will welcome the group this coming Friday, 24 August 2018, at one of the Camp King facilities for the afternoon. After that, they will go to Aachen.

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26 August 1944

After being hit, three crew member die on board of the plane, while others try to get away by parachuting. Gunner Michael Vlahos is dead by the time he hits the ground,  gunner Richard Huebotter falls into the Rhine River, and is saved from drowning by a German, and then turned over to the German Forces.

While on the train to Oberursel Dulag (Transit Camp), two of the survivors are able to escape. Charles Evans and Harvey Purkey are caught and turned over, in the name of “self-justice”, to the population in the Hessian part of Groß-Gerau. A mob of 300 townspeople attack them with stones and iron bars. Severely injured, they try to get away, but then are beaten to death by two German soldiers (these two soldiers were hanged for their crime in 1946).

The other three – Huebotter, Dean Allen, and James Carey, are interrogated for a week at Camp King, before being sent off to a prison camp. At the end of the war, they are able to return home to their families in the U.S.A.

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The Institute for Stadtgeschichte is looking for contemporary witnesses at: 0209 169-8551 (isg@gelsenkirchen.de) or historian Ms. Susanne-Meinl@web.de

If you know a contemporary witness, please ask them to get in contact with one of us. Thanks.

The Candy Bomber Visits Camp King Oberursel

 Commemorative Site of Contemporary History

The Area of Camp King in Oberursel

Press Release

On 26 June 1948, the Berlin Airlift began.  For about one year, American and British aircraft provided the inhabitants of West Berlin with essential supplies.  The Soviet Army had blocked all connections by land.

The 65th anniversary was observed in a commemorative event at the Airlift Memorial in Frankfurt.

In this context, the executive board directors of the “Airlift Frankfurt-Berlin 1948-1949” Association visited Camp King in Oberursel to be informed about the work of U.S. intelligence services of that time.  The guest of honor at the tour and discussion was Col. Gail S. Halvorsen USAF (Ret.), one of the last surviving pilots of the Airlift.  It was on his initiative, and with the help of many of his comrades, that children awaiting the delivery of main mission supplies would also receive sweets as a sign of solidarity.  Small parachutes, onto which candies were attached, fell to the earth and into the hands of joyful children.  The name “Raisin Bomber” became a hallmark.

The meeting point was at the “Kinderhaus”, Jean-Sauer-Weg 2, at 11 o’clock.

Mr. Kopp, the Camp King historian, opened the event with a speech.

Mr Kopp at Airlift Frankfurt – Berlin

Col. Gail S. Halvorsen USAF (Ret.) in attendance.

The Candy Bomber

The Candy Bomber

Next was a short walk from the Kinderhaus to the Mountain Lodge, where attendees could walk around throughout the whole house with friendly permission by the new owner Mr Kuhn.

Open House at the Mountain Lodge

Open House at the Mountain Lodge

Col. Halvorsen  (Ret.) shared some stories with us.

Halvorsen 3

Mr. Kopp and Col. Halvorsen (Ret.) at closing the event.

Halvorsen 2

Lastly, he signed some documents and books. This was a real pleasure to meet him and listen to his stories from 1948/49.

Col Halvorsen (Ret.)

Col Halvorsen (Ret.)

For learning more about the airlift Berlin, you may want to visit and contribute to Berlin Airlift Association on Facebook.

Happy to report I was the very first one to like it. It first came onto Facebook on 11 June 2013.

In the next two posts, I will share several photos from the Mountain Lodge in its current state as well as the new plans for it.

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