COMMENTS & NOTES
2ND LT DALE O. CROFT P KIA 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
2ND LT DONALD CARR CP POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
2ND LT DESMOND E. LAIRD NAV POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
2ND LT FARMER E. RAINS BOM POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
S/SGT WINSTON ADKINS ROG POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
SGT MARION J.McMULLEN TTE POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
SGT JACK L. BAILEY BTG POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
SGT JOHN J. McKEEVER RWG POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
S/SGT JEROME A. HELLMANN LWG POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
SGT MARVIN P. RUSTEN TG POW 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK
349TH Sqdn. Crew, as above, joined the 100th on 1 Dec 43.
MACR #2382, Microfiche #792, A/C #42-31265
Crew was on 7th mission at Brunswick
I came across the 100th BG site today while researching my grandfather (Jerome A Hellmann). My family doesn't know many details about his service outside of his tenure as a POW. Through my researching, I found he was a S/Sgt with the 100 BG 349th squadron (surname is commonly misspelled as Hellman) on 2Lt Dale Croft's crew who were shot down on their 7th mission over Germany during a bombing run to Brunswick. He was captured and held at Stalag Luft IV from early 1944 until being liberated in the summer of 1945, surviving the death marches during the evacuation of Luft IV. I'm writing to inform you of his passing for the TAPS page as well as find any additional information, pictures, etc.
S/SGT Jerome A Hellmann
Home Tipton, IN
POW 2/1944 - 7/1945
JEROME A.HELLMANN, 84
BORN FRIDAY 20 FEBRUARY 1920
DIED SUNDAY 31 OCTOBER,2004
OF TIPTON,IND 46072
Thank you in advance for any information you may have. Also, thank you for managing this site. Having the story of our friends and families sacrifice so well documented and saved makes me glad that my children will be able to find what I have found about my ancestors.
MISSIONS: (based on Ellsworth Rains Jr recollections below, He remembers only flying 6 missions)
1. 20 DEC 43 BREMEN
2. 24 DEC 43 ST.JOSEPH au BOIS (NOBALL)
3. 30 DEC 43 LUDWIGSHAFEN
4. 31 DEC 43 PARIS (BALL BARINGS)
5. 24 JAN 44 FRANKFURT (RECALL)
6. ? ?
7. 10 FEB 44 BRUNSWICK (SHOT DOWN)
Notes of Farmer Ellsworth Rains, Jr. from Letter to Jim Browm 1990
Arrived in England early December 1943
When questioned on our assignment and relating the 100th. the usual response was. "My God, what did you do to deserve that!" First mission was Bremenhaven. Ground crew failed to put bombsight in the plane. Second mission, I believe was Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. Recall coming back through the Ruhr Valley. Believe the third mission was a "Buzz Bomb" sight on the French coast. The fourth mission was a ball bearing plant on the Seine in Paris. Do remember this. The weather was supposed to be ideal. Our IP was south of Paris as a diversion. When we made our turn to go back to the target, the tail wind was estimated at 100 miles per hour....Only it was just the opposite, it was head wind of nearly 100 MPH and it seemed like we were on the bomb run for hours....Our next mission was scrub over Belgium and we dropped our bombs in he channel....Last run, February 10, 1944, target Brunswick... Had trouble all the way in starting at the enemy coast. Quite an air battle and near Hannover we lost two engines and finally the third on caught fire. We left our mark, the crew shot down 6 for sure and possible 7 enemy fighters.
Had to bail out near Hannover at about 18,000 - 20,000 feet. Crew was widely scattered. the co-pilot and myself landed near the little town of Springe. We were immediately surrounded and taken to the town jail and soon after to Heldsheim for over night. Transferred the next day to the interrogation center at Frankfurt. Following the interrogation, we were moved to a transient camp in the same city. Next day were loaded on a train headed to the POW camp at Barth....spend night in the marshaling yards in Berlin on the way. Arrived at Stalag Luft I on the 20th February 1944...were the first prisoners to occupy the North Compound.
Events Worth Remembering as POW
by Ellsworth Rains
April 11, 1944 8th AAF again hit Rostock area. Felt and heard bombs hit...Both B-17s and B-24s plainly seen.
May 2, 1944 R.A.F. Mosquitoes strafe Barth Airfield. Heavy black smoke seen after attack.
May 13, 1944 8th AAF over in great strength. Fighters herald their coming. Estimated 800 to 1000 bombers through out northeast Germany. P-51s strafe Barth Airfield on return trip. Our neighboring flak battery tossed in a few bursts after they had left.
May 16, 1944 R.A.F. Mosquitoes east of camp. Surprise a FW and shoot it down. Strafe town..leave two columns of smoke.
May 19, 1944 8th AAF over in unknown strength
May 21, 1944 8th AAF over - overcast limited view..P-51s strafe Rail Junction south of camp
June 5, 1944 US 5th Army captures Rome. About time.
June 6, 1944 Allied Invasion of Continent. .Began this morning near Cherbourg Peninsula.. COME ON IKE....
June 20, 1944 8th AAF bomb oil target in Barth area.. Five P-51s strafe target southwest of camp. Large fires. Two B-24s crippled and heading toward Sweden. Fires to the east and northeast of camp
June 22, 1944 Russians open great offensive on North Central Front...Fourth anniversary of German invasion of Russia. Drive aimed at Poland and East Prussia
June 24,1944 8th AAF heavy bombers shuttle from England to Russia for tactical support of Soviets.. Hit Berlin on way over
July 18, 1944 8th AAF over Barth area coming in easterly direction. Overcast limits view. good show on return - B-17s and B-24s in moderate strength escorted by P-38s and P-51s. Targets were east to southeast of camp. Fourteen separate bomb salvoes heard. Target believed to have been Settlin. P-38s mix it up in a Luftberry directly overhead. One ME-109 crashed southwest of camp
July 20, 1944 German Radio announces attempt on Hitler's life
July 21, 1944 Hitler spoke to the German people at 1300 hours to indicate he was OK..
July 23, 1944 German Radio announces general uprising in the Government.. Many Army Officers are shot
August 2, 1944 Field Marshall Irwin Rommel injured in strafing attack by Allied fighters.
August 4, 1944 8th AAF over today in great strength - Excellent fighter cover.. Hit areas south southeast of camp..P-51s give good show on return trip by strafing Barth Airfield.. One B-17 hit by flak and seen to crash on fire...Six chutes seen to open.
August 15, 1944 1st birthday in Kregieland
August 16, 1944 R.A.F. over in force to-night. Hit Rostock and Stettin. Bomb flashes seen and heard. looked like the Fourth of July.
August 24, 1944 Paris and Marseilles fall into the hands of French Patriots. Coup De Etat' gives Romanian Government over to King
Michael's Loyalists. New Allied landings at Biarrito.
August 25, 1944 8th AAF over in great force. We watched the show from the mess hall while our barracks were being fumigated AGAIN. Seemed to be Division going south and another to targets over Stettin area. One B-17 seen to explode and burn with four chutes seen to open.
August 26, 1944 Our first night raid since we've had our shutters open at night. RAF evidently striking Southwest of here...Flashes seen --Jerry night fighters heard.
August 27, 1944 8th AAF out today, but not in our area. alerted but saw only fighter contrails.
September 13, 1944 Alerted for Air Raid -- Saw Group of fighters south of camp, visible by their contrails.
September 18, 1944 8th AAF over to our North, headed toward the Eastern Front.
September 25, 1944 Two of the Jerry "Buzz Boys" cracked up west of camp
October 6, 1944 8th AAF over in moderate strength. Reported to have bombed Stralsund, 30 miles from here.
October 7, 1944 8th AAF over again to same target. Ground rockets used, one plane hit by flak but OK. Very good escort and hardly any opposition.
October 17, 1944 A lone RAF Mosquito strafed Barth Airport and was plainly seen from the camp.
January 17, 1945 Warsaw finally falls, whole Eastern Front on the move. Russians are really moving, COME ON JOE!
February 8, 1945 RAF over tonight for about three hours. Bomb flashes observed over Stettin area.
February 10, 1945 First year completed. No longer Freshmen !!
February 15, 1945 News received that Budapest had officially fallen.
February 17, 1945 News received of U.S.Navy shelling Jap mainland.
February 24, 1945 No lights for past two weeks. Water turned on about two hours in last four days.
March 4, 1945 Saw first examples of Volksturm units today. Average ages 60 to 70, a pitiful sight but also had it's humorous aspect.
March 6, 1945 Food conditions becoming critical. One bowl of watered stew a day, everyone losing weight. Activity at Barth Airfield;
Mosquito clobbered a Jerry night fighter attempting to land.
March 7, 1945 Bradley's American 1st Army crosses the Rhine at Remagen, 20 miles south of Cologne.
March 12, 1945 8th AAF over in greatest strength to date. Two thousand heavies hit Schweinmunde seventy miles east northeast.
March 24, 1945 Two American prisoners shot during an air raid on the pretext of disobeying orders.
March 27, 1945 American Parcels arrived today after two month of near starvation rations.
April 1, 1945 Whole Western Front in rout, won't be long now! More food in camp than ever before.
April 2, 1945 RAF Mosquito attacked Barth Airfield at 0300 hours this morning. He really gave it the works.
April 3, 1945 Max Schmeling, ex-heavyweight champ visited camp today on a good will tour for the German Government. Heard artillery
today for the second time, this was no mistake.
April 4, 1945 Our mess hall burned to the ground this morning at 0540 hours. Quite a blaze while it lasted.
April 12, 1945 RAF Mosquito attacked Barth Airfield last night. Seems to be a lot of activity there now.
April 13, 1945 Received news of our President's death on April 12, 1945. Sad news indeed.
April 14, 1945 RAF Heavies hit Stralsund for about an hour and a half. Huge blaze lit entire eastern sky, Rostock area also seen on fire.
April 18, 1945 Spring boxing started today with four preliminary bouts and one main with Col Zemke and Major Mannierre. Col Zemke won. Also of great importance was the arrival of 3000 personnel parcels.
April 20, 1945 Was awakened this morning by the sound of long range guns. Our lights have been off for the last several nights and water is off more than it is on. LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE HAD IT AGAIN.
April 27, 1945 Numerous air raids last night, bomb flashes observed with explosions heard. Four air raids this morning before noon.
April 28, 1945 Heard artillery this evening for a short time.
April 30, 1945 It won't be long now!! WE dug our fox holes today. German Soldiers, Civilians, both Russian and French have been moving out all day. Demolition work has been going on all day in camp, at the near by flak school, Airfield and in Barth. Allied air activity has been especially heavy all day. The latest rumor is that the Russians are fifteen miles away. All personnel parcels that were left have been passed out uncensored. We believe that this afternoon we had our last roll call by the Germans. We went on detail to the flak school to carry back Red Cross Parcels we had stored there. Soldiers and civilians began looting the place last night. About two thirds of the parcels were missing. The crowd around the place was a sight to see. It consisted of Poles, French, larger number of German women and children. I do not care to see this again. The entire camp is in a fever of excitement and nervous tension. The demolition work is continuing and getting heavier by the hour. The last blast took out a few more of our windows.
May 1, 1945 The time we have waited for has finally arrived. the camp was turned over to the Senior Allied Officer. All Germans have left, our MPs have taken over the guard and the white flag now flies over camp, also Col Spicer was released from the cooler. Everything is running smoothly according to previous plans. Demolition work continued all last night, many flashes were seen with constant firing all night. (name censored and five German interrupters have remained in camp. Things are moving thick and fast.
1140 hours May 1st, Russian tanks a kilometer from Barth. Russian liaison officer in conference with Col. Zemke. Word received that Berlin has fallen. Russian forces have penetrated westward to a point south of Rostock, and fifty miles east of Lubeck. BBC has furnished our morning music. So far
today we have had two BBC news casts. The Bugermeister of Barth surrendered the city to the Senior Allied Officer at 1200 hours today. Water has been off all day, repairs are being made so we should have water at anytime. Had a big supper tonight, the first time I have really felt full since captured. It was disheartening this afternoon to learn this morning news concerning the Russians was not true. But
tonight news (BBC) has made us feel anew by the announcement that they have reached Stransund which is 18 miles from here. Light and water are working for the first time today.
1031 : THE BIG MOMENT - THE RUSSIANS REACHED BARTH - GREAT REJOICING THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CAMP.
1051 : THE GERMAN RADIO ANNOUNCES THE DEATH OF HITLER!!!
May 2, 1945 A big day indeed. Russians occupied all of Barth and vicinity with many more of them moving west. Russian Colonel quite mad because we are still in camp. He had Col. Zemke let us out of camp to go to town and roam the country side. There is much rejoicing and hand shaking. The German people are much afraid of the Russians and from their looks with good reason. None of the wild stories we have heard about Russian occupation have been seen here. It was much more orderly than was expected. One of the men was killed yesterday evening by a German land mine. Much care is being taken; all in all a quite a wild day. Don and I spent most of the afternoon in town. The Russians were going to move us by foot to the Allied lines but were talked out of it by our officers and we await Allied orders.
May 3, 1945 Russians have declared a state of Martial Law. I have spent all morning making passes for those going into town. Word has been definitely received that we are to be moved from here by air. CAN HARDLY WAIT!!
May 4, 1945 General Eisenhower's message to all POWS released in Northern Germany, quote," Standby," unquote. Our doctors and Polish nurses have taken charge at the Concentration camp near the Airfield. Conditions there are very bad, indescribable. The Airfield is being cleared of mines and will be ready for operations at noon tomorrow. Allied headquarters have now been contacted and plans are now in preparation for our moving. (2015 hours) Just received word that the airport is now open and operations may start at anytime. A Russian DC-3 is expected at any time now with officials. Moscow announced last night that Barth, Germany had fallen. In a BBC news flash last night we learned that the German Army in North West Germany had surrendered effective at 0800 hours,
May 5, 1945. Allied Camp Officers have been in conference with Russian Generals all day. This afternoon a Major, Captain and two G.I.s arrived by jeep. Their news was that preparations are being completed for out evacuations, which is to be soon. Field Marshall Montgomery is expected anytime. Had first piece of steak today and it certainly tasted delicious. Getting more anxious to move everyday.
Many men have already started walking for the Allied lines, officers of all ranks included.
May 6, 1945 No news of any importance today. We do have lights and water, thanks to the Russians. They are also bring in meat and fresh bread. Many of our personnel are still leaving on foot.
May 7, 1945 British Colonel and American Sgts arrived this afternoon. Plans are definitely in action for our evacuation. The Russians put on a stage show for us, very good, sorry I could not understand the language.
May 8, 1945 (German Surrender at Rheims, France) The cease firing order became effective at 0900 hours this morning. Scattered fighting in some parts of Germany. Two Majors from the Medical Corps arrived yesterday to inspect conditions in the camp. Still no word on when we start leaving, more than a little impatient. Visited the airport yesterday.
May 9, 1945 THE WAR WAS OFFICIALLY OVER AT 0001 HOURS THIS MORNING. EVERYONE IN CAMP CELEBRATED LAST NIGHT. FENCES AND BLACKOUT SHUTTERS WERE BURNED IN A HUGE FIRE. THERE WAS ALSO A BATTLE WITH FLARE GUNS UNTIL THE RUSSIANS PUT A END TO IT.
May 11, 1945 News this evening that ships will start coming in tomorrow or Sunday. It is the best possible news.
May 12, 1945 Evacuations start this afternoon. B-17s supposed to be the first to arrive, we will probably load tomorrow morning.
Crews 7th Mission