Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0246
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3296 11-01-44 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
1/Lt. William Burdette Lock
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-666761 American
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 24 Mar 44 Plymouth, England Dutch-Paris Line - Shelburn Escape Line
Evader Story
						1/Lt. William Burdette Lock was the pilot of B-17 42-31175. After bailing out he landed in a small orchard near Wesepe. He wasn't able to hide his parachute as it was tangled in a fence. He started crawling through brush to some woods. Halfway between the brush and the woods he saw a Dutch boy on a bicycle who stopped and later joined Lock when he had reached the wood. He didn't say a word and left. As Lock didn't know if he would return with help, he decided to leave the wood. He started walking south all afternoon. At around 5 PM he approached a farmer who was plowing, but the man refused to help him. Lock then went to a patch of wood and spent the night there. 

Before dawn the next morning he walked another four miles and then hid himself in a haystack. According to Lock it was at about 1300 hours when an old woman came out to work on the land. He approached her and after an old man 'drove in' the two Dutchmen decided to take Lock with them to their home (according to other sources Lock approached Gerritjen Mensink-van den Noord (31) and her son Hans (3) who were pulling sugar bêtes in an adjacent field). These two helpers were already of pretty high age. The lived there with their son and his wife. Lock received civilian clothes and a meal. Then he was taken to a hiding place in the farm to come to himself. Meanwhile Gerritjen Mensink had notified her brother Antonij van den Noord. As they both didn’t speak English, they decided to take Lock after darkness to ‘wijkzuster’ Smolders who lived with girlfriend Johanna Bake a few kilometers away in an isolated house in a forest in the buurtschap Middel (east of Olst). After they arrived here, Lock told his story to the two women, and he stressed that he wanted to try to get back to England. 

According to Lock himself he left at the night of 14 January by bike to a farmhouse 'about 5 miles away'. Still on the same evening a woman in sister clothes drove him in a car to her house in Deventer. He was picked up here by a police inspector (in civilian clothes) who took him to his home. He stayed here until 16 January and then joined his left waist gunner, S/Sgt. Charlie Mullins (E0247) who was hiding in the house of a local resistance leader: Berend Jan van den Dool head of the 'Congsigroep' who lived in the D.G. van der Keesselstraat 89 in Deventer (Van den Dool died in concentration camp Neuengamme on 11 December 1944). After four days, on 20 January 1944 they left. They were escorted by a police inspector via Apeldoorn and Utrecht to Eindhoven. Here they hid for two days with 'a catholic family': a woman of about 75 years old, her six daughters and two sons. On 22 January Mullins and Lock were escorted by two police inspectors by train to Roermond. The hid here with a family for five days, from 22 until 27 January. Members of the Groep Vrij of resistance leader Jacques Vrij took both Americans then by car to Maastricht. Lock: 'We drove through town and got out, walked two blocks, went in house. The house was close to a canal'. They remained here for six days, until 2 February. They crossed the Dutch-Belgian border near Caberg or Smeermaes. On Belgian soil they were handed over to their Belgian escort Souren or Beckers. They ended up in - according to Lock - the village of 'Wytingen', south-west of Maastricht. This was probably Bitsingen. They stayed here from the night of 2 February until the morning of 3 February. Later that day they moved by train to Brussels. They spent the night in the 'Old Antwerp Hotel'. The next morning, they to a large house. Two days later, on 6 February six other airmen arrived: 2/Lt. Donald G. Schumann (E0263), F/O. Sydney Smith (E0229), 2/Lt. Clayton David (E1074), S/Sgt. Kenneth D. Shaver (E0185); 2/Lt. William J. Koenig (E0183) and Sgt. John R. Buckner (E0182). Mullins stayed here until 9 February. On this date Mullings, Smith and Shumann travelled, guided by a Dutch escort to Brussels. Five days later, Lock, David, Shaver, Koenig and Bruckner, followed in the same direction arriving at the Gare du Nord. 

From there both groups took the metro to the Ecole Normale Supérieure of a Christian Congregation in the Rue Lhomond 24 and hid in the souterrain. After the police had nearly found them here, they hid in the unused rooms of a nearby church which was part of a monastery. As the escape line to the Pyrenees was cut off shortly before, they had to hide here longer than expected. And it got even worse. On 26 February 1944 the priest, Father Bobo, came to warn them that the church wasn't safe anymore and that they had to move out as soon as possible. They decided to break up in pairs. Lock and Mullins would travel together; Smith and Schumann; Shaver and David and Koenig and Buckner. Each pair of men would be responsible for themselves, where they went and how. Mullins and Lock walked for a day and a night (about 25-35 km) and slept in a haystack. They entered Longjumeau where they unsuccessful tried to find help. Then they walked on to Champlain and then on to an unidentified village ('Cassaux les Charreux'). The first person they approached was scared, but at the other side of the village a farmer was approached who put the two in a hut in the field. A person from Paris arrived who could speak French, and after the had been questioned, they were taken to a house for a day. The next day - 28 February - Lock and Mullins went to another farmhouse where they remained for four days. On 3 March they returned to the capital and hid until 22 March in an apartment. Then Lock and Mullins joined the Shelburn Escape Line. They took a train to Guingamp, a town near the coast in Normandy. From here they were taken by truck to a new hiding place, house Alphonse, in Plouha at only three kilometers from the coast. In the night of 22 March, they walked to a cliff at the so-called Bonaparte Beach (Plage Bonaparte). In the early morning hours, a British motor gunboat anchored off the coast and a rubber boat came ashore to pick up the group of in total eighteen persons. After two times rowing back and forth all the people were on board and the motor gunboat left for England. On 24 March Lock and Mullins set foot ashore in Plymouth.


* Anton Heijmerikx, ‘Een crash en een evader’ in: Bulletin, No. 421, page 5-8
* National Archives, Washington, EE-531 and EE-532
* Clayton C. David, They Helped Me Escape, From Amsterdam to Gibraltar in 1944 (2010)
* W. Noordman, H. Tabak and W. van Velzen, Heerde 1940-1945 (place year), page 71-73