P.O.W. Reports

Three of the crew of ND424 were captured and became prisoners of war (POW).

While hiding with French patriots Doug met a man called ‘Jack’ or ‘Jacques’ and soon after he was arrested by the Gestapo. Mike Guilfoyle was probably betrayed in the same way but his account does not include names or details of his arrest. They were both taken to the Gestapo Headquarters in Paris, then to the Fresnes prison to the south west of Paris for interrogation.

They were betrayed by an agent called ‘Captain Jack/Jacques’ and it was thought that his real name was Jacques Desoubrie but it is more likely that he was Guy de Marcheret (or Guy Marcheret d’Eu). Hopefully this issue will be resolved in future but until then both men are included here.

The three were amongst 168 allied aircrew who were then transported in railway cattle trucks from Fresnes prison to the Buchenwald Concentration camp. After a journey in appalling conditions they arrived in Buchenwald on 28 August 1944 and were each allocated a camp registration number.

The following reports for the POW’s are from various sources and were compiled following their release from captivity. The dates of their interviews are in brackets (if known).

  • Joe Sonshine (Not found).
  • Doug Jordin (26 September 1945).
  • Mike Guilfoyle (3 May 1945).

They were transferred to various POW camps and were eventually liberated in late April and early May 1945, ten months after they were shot down.

Below are references to the book ‘168 Jump Into Hell’ by Arthur G Kinnis and Stanley Booker. This book details the experiences of the 168 allied airmen who were captured and interred in Buchenwald. It includes details of the KLB (Koncentration Lager Buchenwald) Club that was created for former inmates. “The purpose of the Club is to perpetuate the comradeship already shown by the flying personnel of Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada, by interchanging of pamphlets, ideas and visits”.

Joe Sonshine – Navigator (POW)

The following extract is from the book ‘168 Jump Into Hell’ (pages 111 and 112). Joe’s Buchenwald Camp Registration Number was 78343. No ‘official’ documents have been found for Joe so far.

Navigator Joe Sonshine.

I landed near a forest approximately 7 or 8 miles south-west of Palaiseau. Due to the sprain in my back, I buried my parachute and harness and then moved into a forest nearby. I stayed there for two nights and a day as I was not in a condition to travel. The third night I used my compass and map and started to walk towards Versailles. I walked approximately seven miles and hid in the forest at daybreak and then spent the day there.

At nightfall I saw a Frenchman picking cherries. I contacted him and explained to him that I was a Canadian and needed help to escape being captured. He arranged to come back the following noon with food and help. The next day he came as he had promised with food and also another chap whose name was Andrew Lamour. He supplied me with civilian clothes and took me, by bicycle, to his bombed out home in Palasieu.

I stayed there for a few days while he was trying to contact the French Underground. After a few days he took me to either his mother’s or mother-in-law’s home where his wife and two children were. I spent several days there during which time I met several of the local residents and help them plan some sabotage through railways and bridges. It was not advisable that I go along with them as I could not speak their language very well and would only be in their way.

I was later taken to Paris be a chap using the name of Charles Emery. I do not know his real name, but I understand he was a Stock Broker of the Paris Exchange and his wife was being held by the Gestapo. He also used a bicycle. The name plate on it was of some town already captured by the Allies. He took me to an apartment house on a street called Rue de Lenoir.

We went to Paris by subway and we came out at a station which I think was Republica Station. This apartment was a four or five storey building. We were in an apartment on the second floor with about six rooms. There was a blond woman there who was married and I was told that her husband was prisoner in Germany. She worked for a man living above us in a stationery store. I stayed there for a few weeks while I contacted several people and tried to get help. I gave them any information I knew, that I thought advisable. I was taken from there by Charles Emery and handed over several times on street corners and sidewalks until I was taken to a Doctor’s apartment where I met two American Airforce chaps whom I did not see again after that.

I stayed there approximately three or four days during which time the Doctor was very rarely there. The only other person there was the maid. I was then taken to another apartment house which was in the suburbs of Paris. I cannot remember the name but the street address was 4 Rue de Mendelssohn. We were in the first floor. There was a married couple there: the woman was tall and blond, the man was short and dark. Their name was De Costa. I stayed there for approximately a week.

I was then taken to a meeting place across from the Bastille Prison. It was on the fourth floor from which I was transferred with two Americans to the Boulevard of Sebastopole. The Americans were Bruce Little 78301 and Park Chapman 78284. There were also two stout people called George and Genevieve.

We were also questioned by a man named Jack who said he would get us to Spain. He asked us several military questions and also other types of questions. He took away our valuables and any other money we had. We stayed there approximately a week. From there we walked to the Museum were we were picked up by car. I was separated from the rest and taken to an old hotel and put there for several days. I joined up later with the two Americans and we were taken to an apartment house. Next to it seemed to be a German headquarters as they were heavily armed with hand grenades and machine guns. Here I met a short dark man and his wife whom said they were Spanish. There we were picked up be a small black car and we were told that we were going to Chartres. As we were driving through the city of Paris they put a gun in our sides then drove us to the Gestapo headquarters. In Gestapo headquarters we were questioned and beaten. They handcuffed us and put us in a cell. We were then taken to Fresnes Prison, a few miles south of Paris. I was held there in a cell with four Frenchmen. We slept on the floor. They told me I was going to have a trial in the German fashion. I was accused of being a Saboteur and a Terrifluger. Later I was told that I was sentenced to be shot.

When the Americans started to advance on Paris, three days before Paris was liberated, we were move to the railway yards and put into cattle trucks, 90 men to a cattle truck and given a little food. The night we left the railway yard it was raining. There was a car of German guards between each prisoner car. That night several Frenchmen from another car escaped through the barbed windows and there was shooting. The German claimed they shot two men, but I doubt it. It seemed as though ten or fifteen escaped. They then mounted searchlights on every car.

During the night they had several list watching for escapes. During the next day and night we planned an escape by prying some floorboards loose in our car. As the train started an gained a little speed ten or twelve fellows got out that way. Finally one chap was caught going through the floor.

During that time there was a young Frenchman who had his hand on the barbed wire. One of the guards saw it and shot at it. It hit his hand and he was taken out of the car and shot to death. We were stripped of all clothing and put back in the car. We continued on out journey until we reached the Concentration camp “Buchenwald”. There we were questioned and treated as civilians.

I became very sick in Buchenwald and developed an abscess on my left elbow due to a bang I sustained while bailing out. I was placed in a so called hospital and stayed there for several weeks. I was helped by a Dutchman who gave me some food.

A German Air Force Doctor was visiting the Hospital. He spoke to me and asked why I was in a concentration camp instead of a Prisoner of War Camp. Approximately one month later I was moved to Luft 111 where I was placed in the hospital due to a serious case of Diphtheria, malnutrition and back injury.

I stayed there until the middle of January when we were force marched to Stalag 13D near Nuremburg. We stayed there until the middle of March when we were again force marched to Stalag 7A at Mooseburg. We were liberated by the American 3rd Army on April 29th. During the forced marches several of the chaps escaped, but were picked up again by the Gestapo, as they were combing the places we had passed.

Doug Jordin – Tail Gunner (POW)

Doug was betrayed and captured in Paris on 15 July 1944 and was incarcerated in Buchenwald on 20 August 1944 before internment in Camp Stalag Luft III, POW number 8099. His Buchenwald Camp Registration Number was 78341. Doug was just 19 years old when he was shot down (the same age as Leslie and David).

An account of Doug’s story is in the book ‘Flying Into Hell’ (pages 64 to 72) but Doug said the author Mel Rolfe had applied a degree of poetic licence to the story. The following detail is from document (POW archive) WO 344/168/1 (JONKER – JOUGHIN) compiled by M.I.9 following an interview with Doug on 26 September 1945, some five months after his return to the UK.

Tail gunner Doug Jordin.

I was flying on a bombing raid on the night of 27/28 June 1944 and had to bale out owing to faulty engines. I came down about 30 Km. West of PARIS. I disposed of my flying equipment and started to walk until daylight. I went to a French cottage and was taken in and there I found my pilot. We stayed here for three days and nights. On the fourth day they bought us tickets and took us into PARIS. We were supplied with civilian clothes by these people.

In PARIS we were met by a Frenchman who said he was a British agent. He told us if we should get back to ENGLAND to say ‘Col BLIMP’ had helped us. We were taken to a French barracks where we were kept for a day. He fixed us up with identity cards and clothes. We were taken to a flat with an Australian and American flyers, Thomas MALCOLM, R.A.A.F. and A.J. PELLETIER, 8th Army Air Corps. I stayed here for about two days and the American and myself were moved to a café. We stayed here till 14 July till we were taken to another part of PARIS.

Here we met the head of the local organisation called Jacques. We remained at this place for one night and the next day we were taken to the suburbs of PARIS. Here there were about eight of us, we were told to wait for transport that would take us to the South of France under the guise of forced labour. The transport arrived and there were already some aircrew in it. We were driven around the town and arrived eventually at the Gestapo H.Q. We remembered that all of our guides from the time we met Jacques were armed. We were later sent to FRESNES Prison PARIS for a month and treated as civilian prisoners. There were about 160 British and U.S. flyers and were all sent to BUCHENWALD where we remained for two months.

I was liberated 3 May 1945 about 10 miles from LUBECK by the British Armoured Division. I was flown to U.K. 7 May 1945.

Further Information

In November 2011 I received an e-mail from Sophie-Caroline Pascal Lavoué to say that that her grandparents Mr & Mrs Jerome hid Mike Guilfoyle and Doug Jordin in their house in Gif-sur-Yvette. She had seen our website www.lesfaircloth.co.uk and wanted to know what had happened to Mike and Doug after they left her grandparents house. I told her the story of their capture, Fresnes prison, Buchenwald and their eventual release in May 1945.

The Jerome’s had two children, Jeanine (15) and Jacqueline (10). Jeanine is Sophie-Caroline’s mother and she now lives in Brittany and remembers this part of her life very well. I passed a copy of the e-mail to Doug’s son Howard who in turn passed his thanks to the Jerome family for the generous and courageous care they provided to Doug and Mike. Howard’s sister was named Jacqueline Susan after the ‘little girl’ who Doug met while staying in the house.

Doug was later imprisoned in the following camps:

  • Fresnes Prison (Paris) 15 July – 15 August 1944.
  • Concentration Camp (Weimar) 20 August? – 19 October 1944.
  • Stalag Luft III (Sagan) 21 October 1944 – 28 January 1945.
  • Stalag Luft III 5 February – 3 May 1945.

Mike Guilfoyle – Pilot (POW)

Pilot Mike Guilfoyle.

Mike initially evaded capture and received help from a French patriot Madame Jeanne Bousquet, of 125 Victor Hugo Street in western Paris, who hid and fed Mike until contact was made with the French Resistance. Mike was hiding in one house when Doug Jordin walked through the door. Mike was betrayed and captured on 19 July 1944, three weeks after the raid in the same manner as were Joe and Doug. He was imprisoned in Fresnes Prison in Paris until 15 August. He was then taken on the infamous journey to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in overcrowded railway cattle trucks and arrived there on 24 August. His Buchenwald Camp Registration number was 78393. He was later moved to Stalag Luft III then to Tarmstatdt and finally to Trenthorst.

Further details are in the National Archive (POW Archive) Piece Reference WO 344/127 (GROAT – GYTON) for Pilot Officer M.A. Guilfoyle RAF (Pilot). These are a set of forms called ‘General Questionnaire for British/American Ex-Prisoners of War’ that were completed by Mike on 3 May 1945, the same day he was released from the Trenthorst POW camp.

While searching the internet for M.A. Guilfoyle an item was found at http://www.londongazette.co.uk/issues/36941/supplements/924/page.pdf. This is a “Supplement to the London Gazette” (page 924) dated 16 February 1945 containing an entry to say that Mike was promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer on 1 September 1944 while he was in Buchenwald:

Confirmation and promotion. Plt. Offs. (prob.) confmd. in appts. and to be Flg. Offs. (war subs.): M. A. GUILFOYLE (172424). 1st Sept. 1944.

The POW’s Journeys Across Occupied Europe

Map showing the journeys made by our three POW’s across occupied Europe starting at Fresnes Prison in Paris. Google Maps.

Mike, Doug and Joe:

  • A – Fresnes Prison in Paris, France.
  • B – Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Weimar in Thuringen, Germany.
  • C – Stalag Luft 3 near Sagan, then Germany, but now Zagan in Poland.

Mike and Doug:

  • D – Marlag/Milag Nord near Tramstadt, Germany
  • E – Trenthorst near the Baltic port of Lubeck, Germany.

Joe:

  • F – Stalag XIII D near Nuremburg, Germany.
  • G – Stalag VII A in Moosburg near Landshutt, north west of Munich, Germany.

When Allied forces overran Germany many thousands of POW’s were liberated and required transporting back to the UK. At this time Lancasters were being transferred from Bomber Command to Transport Command so they were used to fly the POW’s back to the UK. The book ‘Lancaster’ by Nigel Cawthorne has a photograph of POW’s walking in front of a Lancaster at Lubeck aerodrome on 11 May 1945. Doug was released from Trenthorst on 3 May 1945 and he (and Mike?) flew back to the UK probably in a Lancaster from the nearby Lubeck aerodrome on 7 May. Lübeck had been occupied without resistance by the British Second Army on 2 May.