Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0259
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3303 11-01-44 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
2/Lt. Valeau Wilkie Jr.
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-677379 American 3 Jun 1923
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
No EVD-POW 1 Jun 44 Antwerp, Belgium Groep André
Evader Story
						2/Lt. Valleau Wilkie jr. was the co-pilot of of B-17 Flying Fortress 42-39761 ‘Fireball II’ that crash landed near Zweeloo after sustaining flak damage over the target area on January 11, 1944. After bailing out he landed near the 'German border'. He disposed himself of his parachute and then hid in a small forest. Soon after entering he found the bombardier on his ship, 2/Lt. Fred Warren jr. (E0258) and they decided to stick together. They stayed in hiding in the small forest until the evening of the next day. Then the two left, walking in a westerly direction during the night and hiding during daytime. On the evening of 15 January, just before midnight, Warren and Wilkie were apprehended by police officer Roelof van Beek from Appelscha. Initially for being outside during the curfew, but Van Beek, who spoke a little English, soon found out that he had to do with two allied airmen who were still wearing their uniform. He took them both to doctor Gerlach, the general physician in Appelscha, who not only gave medical support for the resistance, but also spoke fluent English. First, he made clear to Warren and Wilkie that they were in good hands. Then he gave them a medical check. Van Beek and Gerlach each supplied a suit and shoes, which gave the airmen the opportunity to change into  civilian clothes. Next Gerlach and Van Beek brought the two Americans in Gerlach’s car to the Weerman family. Willem Weerman worked as forester in the local National Forest and the men were quite safe at his address.

While the Americans were staying with the Weerman family, Van Beek arranged their further transport. He called vicar Pieter Miedema from Drachtstercompagnie and told him he had two airmen to be collected. Miedema consulted at his turn Jilles Zijlstra and Binso Woudstra about the next hiding place for the two. Probably Zijlstra called his brother Pieter Sjoerd Zijlstra, who at his turn contacted the leader of the local Landelijke Organisatie voor hulp aan onderduikers (LO) in Garijp, Kornelis Oebeles Herder. The LO was the National Organisation for help to Persons in hiding. Herder had some hiding addresses available in Garijp, so the airmen could be collected. On January 18, Miedema was driven to Appelscha in a car by Rients Turkstra, who ran a garage in Drachten. Warren and Wilkie were collected from the Weerman family and then driven to Drachtstercompagnie. Here they spent the night in the house of Binso Woudstra. The next day Jilles Zijlstra, Warren and Wilkie cycled to the house of Jilles' brother in Garijp. Rienk van den Berg was waiting for them there and he told Jilles to take Wilkie to the farm of Jan Rienks Benedictus at Garijp. Warren went to stay with Herder for one night and was then brought to the farm of Jan Harms Kloosterman in Oudega. Butcher Rinze van der Wal from Garijp and also Herder provided the extra food needed for Warren and Wilkie. The tickets that were required for this were supplied by Tye van der Laan, also from Garijp. Because Warren and Wilkie were not staying far apart, they regularly visited each other. On March 8, 1944, B-24 Liberator 42-99975 made an emergency landing near Wartena in the Alde Feanen. Kloosterman, the host of Warren who still hiding there, was informed that two of the crewmembers of this bomber had found a hiding place at other farms and was asked if he could take care of them. His son went to collect these two airmen and brought them to his father’s farm. They were S/Sgt. Francis John Kettner (E0376), the tail gunner, and 2/Lt. Robert Honson Owen (E0378), the bombardier. Kettner and Owen remained in hiding with the Kloosterman family the following period, but on 9 March Warren was taken by Temme Solkema to Drachtstercompagnie, where Jilles Zijlstra had found a temporary hiding address for the American in the house of Mrs. Wybina Dwarshuis. Once the rumors round Wartena had died down, Warren was brought back to the Kloosterman farm by Jilles Zijlstra himself.

The journey southward was arranged by resistance worker Roelof Vermeulen. Through Hermance van der Wall Bake, he had found an escape line to Noord Brabant. After the arrest of the ‘De Galestin group’, Van der Wall Bake had, after quite a while, established contact with Willem Antoon Kraayenhoff van der Leur. He was in touch with the group ‘Andre’ from Sprang-Capelle, in the western part of the province of Noord Brabant. This group had already taken some Allied airmen across the Dutch/Belgian border. On May 26, 1944, Tiny Mulder, an important female assistant of Vermeulen, and Solkema collected Warren from the Kloosterman family and Wilkie from the address of Benedictus. The four of them cycled to the tram station at Bergum, where Jilles Zijlstra and vicar Buitenbos joined them. Tamme had not met the airmen before and to identify them he had to ask: “Hoe laat is het?' (What is the time?). The men gave the correct answer: ”Het is tijd om naar huis te gaan' (It’s time to go home). The group took the tram to the station in Leeuwarden and here Tiny Mulder, Warren and Wilkie got on the train to Nijmegen. At Nijmegen both airmen were handed over to their new guide. This was probably Piet Felix of the ‘group Andre’. He brought the men to Kaatsheuvel where they stayed with Johanna Roestenberg-de Mortel at ’t Hoekje 71. Warren and Wilkie stayed here for eight days and then they were collected by Piet Felix (again) to be transported across the Dutch/Belgian border. Having arrived in Antwerp on June 1, 1944, both Warren and Wilkie were arrested by the Germans.
* Marcel Zantingh, Wel gebogen maar niet gebroken. Zweeloo, een Drentse gemeente in oorlogstijd, page 204-223
* Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, Boekje Piet Felix, Groep André