Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0340
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3496 06-03-44 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
T/Sgt. Marion Gillmor
Milregnr. Nationality Born
12198200 American 9 Sep 1922
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
No EVD-POW 2 Jan 1945 Linne -
Evader Story
						T/Sgt. Marion Gillmor was the engineer and top turret gunner of B-17 Flying Fortress 42-31299 'Junior' that crashed along the Oranjekanaal, about 1,5 kilometres to the northeast of Hoogersmilde on March 6, 1944. The whole crew bailed out in time and Gillmor descended near the farm of Tjeerd van der Kooy at the Vorrelveenscheweg at Beilervaart. The spouse of Tjeerd, Jantje van der Kooy-Pekel, was home alone when the airmen descended by their parachutes. She went out and first found an injured airman. This was 2/Lt. R.P. Allman, the bombardier, who had been shot through his right hand shortly before the bomber arrived over the target Berlin.. He was entangled in the wires of his parachute and Mrs. Kooy cut the wires with a knife to free him. She then took the 'pilot' to the farm and went out again. She found Gillmor in the field behind the farm and took him to the farm as well. By that time, her husband arrived home and he had picked up an airman as well. This was 2/Lt. E.A. Skinner (E0343), the navigator.

While Gillmor and Skinner received a meal, Jantje van der Kooy-Pekel treated and washed the wound of Allman. The couple then made a temporary bed in the kitchen so he could rest a bit. Meanwhile, a local doctor had been sent for and after examining Allman’s hand, he decided to get the airman to a hospital. Van der Kooy-Pekel ripped a sheet into pieces to bandage the hand with it. Eventually Allman was handed over to the Germans and became a Pow and eventually his hand had to be amputated. Shortly after the war, van der Kooy wrote: “We regretted that the wounded man had to be handed over to the Germans, but there was simply no other way”.

Because the Germans would pick up Allman at the farm of Van der Kooy, it was likely that they would also search for other crewmembers in the immediate neighbourhood of the farm. Therefore, Gillmor and Skinner had to leave the farmhouse as soon as possible. Van der Kooy asked Lambertus Zwanenburg from the Prins Hendrikstraat 11 in Beilen and who had already helped allied pilots, to assist. (Zwanenburg would be executed by the Germans at the Westerbork concentration camp on October 19, 1944, for his help to Allied aircrew). He agreed and Skinner was hidden in some bushes in a field while Gillmor went in hiding at a nearby farm. The Germans searched this farm as well but Gillmor, who had been moved to the barn of the farmhouse, wasn't found. After nightfall, when the Germans had left the area, Gillmor and Skinner moved to the address of the Zwanenburg family and they would stay there for about fourteen days.

Zwanenburg was in contact with the resistance in Hoogeveen, that was led by the cousins Johannes and Albert van Aalderen and they were willing to take over the two Americans. On March 20, Nicolaus Vietor, a policeman from Beilen, brought Gillmor and Skinner to Hoogeveen and delivered them to the house of Gerard Hendriksen at the Blankenslaan 61 in this town. Here they received fake identity papers and after a five day stay, Hilda Dekker escorted the two airmen by train from Hoogeveen to Arnhem. At the train station there, the two airmen were handed over to Henri Burgers who lived at the Jansbinnensingel 23 in Arnhem. Burgers himself was arrested by the Germans in May 1944 and died in the Oranienburg concentration camp in February 1945.

From Arnhem. H. Martens from Huissen escorted the two airmen by train to Roermond. From the train station in Roermond, they went to the house of the Simmelink family at the Dorpstraat 19 in nearby Nunhem. After a one day stay with this large family (man, wife and ten children), two daughters of Simmelink brought Gillmor and Skinner on foot to Heythuizen. Via the Gubbels family who lived at the Dorpsstraat 124 in this village, they were taken to Ed van Wegberg in Heythuizen as well who in turn handed the Americans over to Gerard Roumen at the Dorpsstraat 65 in Haelen. According to the records, Skinner and Gillmor arrived on the ‘De Bedelaer’ estate near Haelen on March 27, 1944. This estate belonged to Mrs. M.E. Hooyer-Dubois and quite some Allied aircrew hid at this estate for some time. The Americans remained at the estate until April 4 and on this date, they returned to Heythuizen, together with another American, S/Sgt. Roy A. Cheek (E0311). For some reason, the men split up here with Skinner crossing the border into Belgium early in April while Gillmor returned to the estate on May 17.

Cheek, who had returned to the estate on May 15, left for Roermond on May 17. A week later, Gillmor left the estate again and with help of Ed van Wegberg travelled to Roermond. Here he was handed over to Mies Verbruggen, member of the resistance group of Remko Roosjen, who would see after his well-being during his (prolonged) stay in Roermond. She took Gillmore to the house of the Dormaar family at the Bisschop Boermanstraat 66 in Roermond where he was re-united with Roy Cheek. Early in August, both Americans moved to the  Reuten family at the Spoorstraat 15 in Roermond. Because the house was requisitioned by the Germans in September 1944, the Reuten family and both Americans moved to the house of the Baselmans family at the Petrus Polhuisstraat 25, also in Roermond.

On December 31, 1944, the underground moved Gillmor and Cheek to Linne where they were joined by T/Sgt. Peter Cvitkovich (E0316) and Sgt. Frederick Woods (E0453). The three Americans and a Dutchman, local resistance leader 'Hausinger', were supposed to join a larger group here and cross the Meuse River to the liberated western bank. A policeman guided them through some minefields to the village of Merum, near Herten, where they came upon a German patrol. The Germans started to shoot and the group scattered. Only Cvitkovich managed to cross the river later that same night. Gillmor, Cheek, and Woods hid themselves in an 'old, deserted building nearby for two days'. They suffered from the cold and were hungry. According to Cheek's Evasion Report, Gillmor, and Woods 'got sick of it' and went down towards Linne in search of food. Cheek decided to stay a bit longer and eventually managed to reach liberated territory. Gillmor and Woods ran into a German patrol and were captured near Linne on January 2, 1945, becoming Pow’s. Gillmor spend the remained of the war in a (yet) unknown German Stalag Luft.

Marion Gillmore passed away on October 18, 1989, at the age of 67. He is buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York.						
* National Archives, Washington, E&E-2796, NAID: 5557408
* National Archives, Washington. MACR 2999 NAID: 90934197
* National Archives, Washington, Dutch Helper Files, NAID: 286702288, 286721498, 286715265, 286659760, 286696240, 286696223, 286647516, 286643204, 286688682, 286712011, 286661987, 286682965, 286682972, 286636162