Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0148
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T2934 08-10-43 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
1/Lt. William Honsey McDonald
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-672372 American
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
No EVD-POW 6 Febr 44 Col du Portet d'Aspet, France Dutch-Paris Line
Evader Story
						1/Lt. William H. McDonald was the pilot of B-17 42-30818 ‘Salvo Sal’ that due to severe battle damage crash landed just north of Lippenhuizen on 8 October 1943. McDonald was the last one to bail out and he landed on the northern side of the Opsterlandse Compagnonvaart and just west of the Pluzerswijk between Gorredijk and Lippenhuizen. Gerben Bosgraaf from Lippenhuizen found McDonald here, lying in a beet field. He had injured his back on landing, but Bosgraaf managed to take him home to hide McDonald from a nearby German search party. McDonald was given something to eat and drink but couldn’t stay at the Bosgraaf family. They already had two ‘onderduikers’ (persons in hiding) and Bosgraaf’s wife was pregnant. But Bosgraaf promised to McDonald that if his wife gave birth to a son, he would be called William. And so, William Bosgraaf was born on October 27th, 1943.

In the evening of 8 October Hendrik Klazema ( leader of the regional resistance and living in the post office of Lippenhuizen) and Klaas Kerkstra (resistance member and local insurance agent) visited the Bosgraaf family to collect McDonald. They took him to Kerkstra’s house where he was provided with civilian clothes, provided by Albert Faber from Lippenhuizen. Klazema had contacted Foppe Bethlehem, sexton of the local reformed Church, and asked if McDonald could stay in the church overnight. This was no problem so Kerkstra and Klazema brought him to the church. The next day McDonald moved to the house of Kerkstra where a Reina Speelman, a Jewish girl from Amsterdam, was already in hiding. She spoke fluent English what came in handy, but she also learned McDonald how to ride a bicycle. Meanwhile Kerkstra had contacted Henk Metzlar, who worked for the LO (LO: Landelijke Organisatie voor hulp aan onderduikers = National Organisation for help to Persons in hiding) in Drachten, to arrange further transport. Metzlar contacted Tiny Mulder who went to Kerkstra to interrogate McDonald to see if he was a genuine American pilot. He checked out all right and on 15 October he cycled to Drachten with Mulder and Metzlar in front of him and Klazema behind him a rear-guard. In Drachten he stayed with Johannes Peper who lived at the Torenstraat 10.

While the Americans stayed in and near Drachten, their onward journey was prepared by Klaas Maring (alias: ’Klazinga’). Maring ran his own resistance group around Drachten and was also contact person in the north for doctor Joop Kruimel from Utrecht. Kruimel (alias: Ome Joop) was active in the Landelijke Organisatie voor hulp aan onderduikers. (LO), the National Organisation for help to Persons in hiding, around Garderen, a peaceful village on the Veluwe. He ran an escape line for pilots from Friesland to the Veluwe and from there to Brabant and then across the border into Belgium. On 15 November, Tiny Mulder collected McDonald from his hiding address and took him to her father’s house at the Moleneind NZ 182, also in Drachten. Here he was re-united with his Bombardier 2/Lt. Frank McGlinchey (E0149). The two airmen left the Mulder family on 16 November when Tiny Mulder took them by tram from Drachten to Heerenveen and from there by train to Ermelo. At the station there, they were met by Kruimel and Dirk Eskes (alias ‘Alex’). The wife of Dirk Eskes took care of Miss Mulder while Kruimel and Eskes brought the two airmen to 'Villa Roodkapje', a safe house at the Arnhemse Karweg in Putten. From this address they went to Elbert Bos and then to Thijs Foppen, both in Staverden. On 19 November, Dirk Eskes collected McDonald and McGlinchey from Foppen and took them to his house in Nieuw-Milligen. Here they stayed until December 9 when they were collected by Kruimel who took the airmen to his house in Staverden. 

Early in January 1944, Kruimel brought both airmen to the address of Klaas van Oord in Hollandse-Rading. Here they stayed for three days and were then collected by Machiel Rombout (alias; ‘Rob Kooymans’) who took them by train to Breda. There they went to the pension of the widow Neeltje Ueberfeldt-van Vliet (“Ma”) in the Spoorstraat 48a. This address was also Rombouts' headquarters when he became leader of the LO district West Brabant in September 1943. From here McDonald and McGlinchey went to stay at the address of Cor van der Hooft in the Nachtegaalstraat 12 in Breda. On 8 January, Paul Reybroek and Gerardus Wassenberg came to Breda, collected the two Americans at the Nachtegaalstraat and took them by train to Best. From Best they cycled to Paul van den Broek in Nijnsel where the airmen stayed here for four days. Next, they stayed for two days at Willem Habraken,  also in Nijnsel. On 14 January, Reybroek brought McDonald and McGlinchey to the Otten Family at Kerkstraat 6 in Erp. They stayed for five days in the ‘Pyama-House’ and then moved on 19 January to the Vermeeren family in Sevenum.

On the same day, 19 January, Wiel Houwen and W. Crijns from Helden came by car to Sevenum and took the airmen to Bernard Martens in Helden. A few days later, Houwen returned and drove the Americans by car to Roermond. Houwen handed them over to Remko Roosjen who brought McDonald and McGlinchey by train to Jacques Vrij (alias: 'van den Brink') at Maastricht. Vrij in turn took the men to Harry Hoenen at the Sint Lambertuslaan 48 in Maastricht where they stayed for some days. Here they were joined by P/O. John McLaughlin (E0264) who made an emergency landing with his Hawker Typhoon near Helenaveen on 14 January 1944. On 22 January, they were joined at this address by four American crewmembers, Norman Elkin (E0254), Harry Kratz (E0255), Clyde Mellen (E0256) and Walter Snyder (E0257). The seven airmen stayed here for some days and were then collected by Tony Gielens who took them across the Dutch/Belgian border near Caberg.

Once in Belgium, they were taken over by the Dutch-Paris escape line who brought them to Brussels. They stayed for one day at the Rue Franklin while J.P. Bol prepared their forged documents. At the end of the same day, the group left Brussels to arrive in Paris on 29 January. They were brought to the basement of a laboratory in the Rue Lhomond. Later that day a second group arrived that had arrived earlier in Paris and had stayed for a few days at the Huitema farm outside Paris. This group consisted of George Watts (E0145), Philip Brown (E0179), a Sgt. Harris and crewmembers Victor Ferrari (E0191), Nicholas Mandell (E0192) and Omar Roberts (E0193). On 30 January, Campbell Brigman and Harold Boyce, crewmembers of B-17 42-39759 that belly landed near Hirson in northern France, joined the group and brought the number of evaders to fifteen. McLaughlin was the first of the group to leave Paris for Toulouse on 3 February, travelling together with eight ‘Engelandvaarders’, Dutch men trying to get to England. Late in the afternoon on 4 February, the remaining airmen were taken in small groups with the Metro to Gare d’Austerlitz with the exception of Victor Ferrari. He stayed in Paris for medical treatment and would join another group some weeks later. From the Gare d’Austerlitz, the thirteen airmen and their guides took the night train to Toulouse. Having arrived there the men had breakfast at Chez Emile and next took the afternoon train to Saint-Girons. From this little town some went by taxi and others by bus to Mane where the group assembled in a shepherd's hut outside of Arbas. 

Their number had risen to 26 and consisted of airmen, Engelandvaarders and some others. At 22:00 on 5 February, they left for the crossing to Spain, led by passeurs Treillet and Marot. During the night it started to snow, making the going even harder, and early in the morning the passeurs led the group to a shepherd's hut for a break. Later that morning the weather improved and under a clear blue sky, the passeurs decided to leave the Col de Portes d’ Aspet. Passeur Treillet was the first to leave the hut around 10 o’clock and went ahead to scout. When the group started to leave the hut to follow him, Treillet spotted a pair of dog ears belonging to a German mountain patrol lying in ambush. He shouted a warning and eleven men scrambled up the mountain to hide, being fired at by the Germans. The German patrol then descended to the hut on ski and arrested the remaining fifteen men, McDonald being one of them. A bus arrived on a nearby road and took the arrested men down to Foix where they were divided in civilians and airmen. After interrogation the airmen were sent to PoW camps. McDonald ended up in Stalag Luft I at Barth where he was liberated by the Russian Army on April 30, 1945.
* Ian Hawkins, Münster, the way it was (Anaheim 1984), page 37
* Wolter Noordman, Schuilplaats de Veluwe. De vluchtlijnen voor geallieerde piloten 1942-1945 (Utrecht 2019), page 120-130
* Frans Govers, Pyama-House. Ontdekkingsreis door het uitgebreide netwerk van de pilotenhulp tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog: 1943-1944 (Uden 1992), page 42-44
* Megan Koreman, The Escape Line. How the ordinary heroes of Dutch-Paris resisted the Nazi occupation of Western Europe (Oxford 2018), page 160-168
* National Archives, Washington, NAID: 286653396
* NIMH, The Hague, List 'Ondergedoken piloten te Erp (Fam. Otten)'