The historian of the 44th Bomb Group, Roger Fenton, contacted me about my Dad, Louis Trouve. He was shot out of a plane while flying a bombing mission near Emden, Germany, on Dec. 11, 1943. His story appears in the current issue of their newsletter. He later told my mother that he never wore his parachute while flying, except for that day! It saved his life. He was the navigator on the plane. Here is part of what my Dad wrote 10 years later, reflecting on being taken a prisoner of war:
"The watchdogs at their sides [The German guards] were German Shepherds of
frightening mien, but fine specimens
nevertheless, who obeyed with amazing
alacrity the slightest whim of their
masters. We were soon to learn that a
guard and his dog were inseparable.
The guards addressed the dogs by
name, and in the inflection in their
voices betrayed the closeness of relationship.
One guard might lend another
his gun, but never his dog.
“We fell silent and struck a slow
cadence, each man engrossed in his
own thoughts as he marched toward
captivity. Presently there appeared in
the flat distance, an enclosure ringed
by two concentric barbed wire fences,
with rolls of barbed war in between.
Even a sure-footed squirrel would have
his work cut out for him to get across
that barrier. Every few hundred feet, a
watchtower of ‘posten’ box rose to
dominate the wire, with searchlights
and machine guns clearly in evidence
as grim warnings that escape was
something more than a matter of mere
“Some things are common to all
prisoners. You live constantly with the
yearning for freedom. Somewhere in
your subconscious there is always the
awareness of the deep concern you
know your kin must feel for you. Your
future is uncertain at best, and you are
solicitous for you own safety. You may
from time to time have to cope with
dark thoughts that challenge your faith
– your faith in your own military, your
faith that someday you will return to
your homeland, your faith in mankind."
The full account is here. His story starts on page 17.