Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0194
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3090 13-11-43 P-47 Thunderbolt
MilRank First Name(s) Name
Lt.Col. Thomas Harvey Hubbard
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-380248 American Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA, 4 Dec 1911
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 28 Jun 44 Bristol, England Comet Line
Evader Story
						Lt.Col. Thomas H. ('Speed') Hubbard was the pilot of P-47D 42-7944 ‘Speed’ on a bomber escort mission to Bremen on November 13, 1943. His Thunderbolt had an engine malfunction and Hubbard bailed out at an altitude of 25.000 ft. (7600 meters) while over the Netherlands. He landed some 20 meters from a farmhouse at the Kloosterdijk on the road from Sibculo to Beerzerveld. Almost immediately three young Dutchmen ran up to him and soon after that a crowd of people had gathered around him. A policeman in civil clothes told him to hide in the woods until darkness. Hubbard ran away and hid in the high grass of a drainage ditch at about one kilometer from the farmhouse. Not long thereafter the Germans arrived on the scene and picked up his parachute, but they didn’t find Hubbard because the youngsters who had arrived first on the scene, pointed the Germans in the opposite direction. Early in the evening, Jelle and Johanna Smeenk from the ‘De Zonnehoeve’ farm collected Hubbard from his hiding place and took him to their farm. The farm had a hiding place behind it where Hubbard stayed for the next three days while the Germans searched the area. On November 16, he was taken by bicycle to the farm of Geert Salomons where he hid in the barn until November 29. Salomons then brought Hubbard to the reverend C. Dijkhuis in Bergentheim. On 2 December, Piet Marang picked Hubbard up there and took him to Hengelo. In the area of the train station, Hubbard was taken over by Alphons Gerard who escorted him to an address at the Dennenbosweg where he would stay for two nights.

On December 4 Gerard returned there and took Hubbard by train to Venlo. Another guide took Hubbard over there and cycled with him to a monastery near Roermond. From here he was taken to Echt where he stayed for a few days in the house of Tilke Ruikes-Tummers. He was then taken to Horn where he stayed with chaplain Janssen until December 11. The next night was spent in Weert and then he arrived at the house of the Bardoel family in Sterksel where he joined F/Sgt. Harold Shepherd (E0198) and Sgt. Thomas Michie (E0196). On the December 17th, Hubbard, Shepherd and Michie cycled to Maarheeze escorted by 5 policemen from Weert. In Maarheeze, the airmen hid in the cellar of a place called 'De Rode Kar' (the Red Wagon), a railway wagon converted into a two-room dwelling. Here they join S/Sgt. Francis McDermott (E0220) and an unnamed Russian escapee. Before these men crossed the border into Belgium, they had to give their name, rank and service number and fill in a short questionnaire. This information was transmitted to London via Belgium for verification. In return the resistance group was informed that Hubbard must be sent on alone, due to his rank and the military information he knew.

On December 26, Hubbard left his hiding address and was taken across the Dutch/Belgian border to stay with the Wijnen family in Hamont. Here he hid for two nights and was then brought to Marcel Royers in Neerpelt. On January 4, 1944, Hubbard is escorted to Brussels by Royers and handed over to a ‘Pierre’ who took him to Henri Paulus at the Rue Vanderkindere in Uccle. ‘Pierre’ told Hubbard that he will stay there for 2 or 3 nights but after three weeks he was informed that there were complications resulting in further delay. Meanwhile Hubbard was taken to the address of the Goovaerts sisters. By the end of February Hubbard was brought to the address of the widow Ballieu where he stayed for a few nights. He then moved to the address of Alphonse ROSIERS and his family at 20 Rue des Coquelicots in Etterbeek. While staying there he was informed that the escape line was cut by German infiltration and that another formula must be found.  Hubbard then asked if he could try his luck alone and was told that it would be too dangerous. On May 4, Hubbard was taken over by the Eva resistance group and Gaston Matthys of the Comet escape line. He returned to the sisters Irma and Joséphine Goovaerts where he is identified by Paul Hellemans. Next his photo is taken by André Duchesne. At this address Hubbard is joined by American Maj. Donald Willis (E0436) who had made an emergency landing with his P-38 near Oud-Gastel on April 10, 1944.

Hubbard and Willis were to leave Brussels on May 7 but more delays occured. Escorted by Jacques Bolle, Hubbard travelled by train to Paris on May 28. Due to Allied air raids, they finally arrived in Paris on May 31. His stay here was short and on June 2, he left Paris in the company of Willis, Lt. Jack Cornett and the British airmen Leonard Barnes and Sgt. Ronald Emery. Their escorts Marcel Roger and Robert Camus took them by train to Bayonne where they arrived on June 3. From the station there they walked to the Larre hostel of Jeanne Mendiara at 25 Avenue de Cambo in Sutar. At this café a woman asked for their identity papers and wrote down the details in a letter. She told Hubbard to deliver this letter to a ‘José’ at whose house they will arrive after two nights on foot. The letter will be passed on and a car from the American will then come to collect them from the house of ‘José’.

The same day the airmen left the inn with their guide Juanito Bidegain and walked for six hours. Then they stayed for the rest of the night and the day at the Mendigaraya des Echeveste farm at Souraïde. They left the farm in the evening and walk towards Spain with another guide, Michel Echeveste.  After 3 hours they are handed over Michel’s brother, Joseph-Marie Echeveste who took the airmen across the French/Spanish border. At some point the group was desperately in need of rest and decided to stay put while their guide urged them to move further into Spain. Then they saw two men appear out of nowhere who told the guide to disappear and then beckoned the airmen to follow them to an isolated farm some minutes away. They slept at the barn there and were awakened the next morning by the farmer’s daughter. Willis, who spoke some Spanish, was told by here that one of the men who had brought them there, had reported them to the police. Within minutes the men left the farm without a guide or map. Luckily, Willis still had his escape compass and herewith they walked southwards. After two days they arrived at an isolated farm and the farmer told them to follow the road to Pamplona. Having arrived there on June 8, Willis telephoned the Spanish police. Instead of being detained they were heartily welcomed and taken to a hotel where they had a bath, enjoyed some good meals and rest. The next day they travelled by bus to San Sebastian and then by train to Irun. From there, Hubbard and fellow countrymen Willis and Cornett were driven to Madrid by a representative of the American consulate. Hubbard was debriefed in Madrid on June 24 and then travelled by train to Gibraltar. Here he was debriefed again on June 26-27, and he left there, together with Willis, on the last plane to Bristol, England, where he arrived on June 28.

Hubbard remained in the USAF until 1951 when he retired as a Colonel. Afterwards he became an air traffic specialist until his retirement in 1973. Thomas Harvey Hubbard passed away on 19 November 1983 at the age of 71 at Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. He is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas, USA.
* H. Onderwater, Reis naar de Horizon (Baarn 1985)
* H.B. van Helden, De lijst van Haeck. Een overzicht van de hulpverlening aan geallieerde bemanningsleden en ontsnapte krijgsgevangenen tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Hardenberg 2017), page 91-93
* J. Bussels, De doodstraf als risico. Pilotenhulp in Belgisch Limburg 1941-1944 (without place 1981), pages 301-303