Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0247
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3296 11-01-44 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
S/Sgt. Charlie Harrison Mullins
Milregnr. Nationality Born
38123609 American
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 24 Mar 44 Plymouth, England Dutch-Paris Line
Evader Story
						S/Sgt. Charlie Harrison Mullins was the left waist gunner of B-17 42-31175. After bailing out he landed between two roads near Terwolde. Soon after he hid behind a hedge. After about an hour he approached two boys of about 21 and 19 years old who offered help. That night they returned. The three walked for ' three miles' to a farm. Here they hid Mullins in a barn. Mullins spent the night and next day in the barn. The oldest boy told him that he didn't know what to do next but would try and find help. That night he took him to his parents' home, a farmhouse. Mullins met the parents and sister of the boy. He could also shave himself and he was given civilian clothes. The next morning the boy took Mullins by bike to Deventer. To enter the town, they had to cross a bride over the IJssel River, but the German guards didn't stop them. In Deventer the boy 'delivered' Mullins at the house of 'an artist', his wife and his father, where he stayed from 12 until 18 January. This artist was 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). While staying here he also heard that his pilot - 1/Lt. William Burdette Lock (E0246) - was hiding also in Deventer in the house of a policeman. The following days they visited each other in their hiding places. On 16 January Lock joined him permanently. 

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 fiive 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 captial 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.

* Clayton C. David, They Helped Me Escape, From Amsterdam to Gibraltar in 1944 (2010)
* National Archives, Washington, EE-532 and EE-531
* W. Noordman, H. Tabak and W. van Velzen, Heerde 1940-1945 (place year), page 71-73
* NIOD, 896, Willemsen, W.J.M, 2, 'C.H. Mullins'