|T3500||06-03-44||B-17 Flying Fortress|
|Returned Y/N||Evader Fate||Date Captured/Liberated||Place Captured/Liberated||Escape Line|
|Yes||EVD||5 Sep 44||Belgium (near border with France)|
2/Lt. Clyde J. Martin was the navigator of Flying Fortress B-17 42-31373 ‘Flakstop’. Returning from a bombing mission to Klein Machnow near Berlin on March 6, 1944, this Fortress was attacked by German fighters near the Dutch-German border. The engines on the left, 3 & 4, were knocked out and a fire started in the left wing as well. The bomber had to leave the formation, making it even more vulnerable to attacking fighters. Eventually the order to bail out was given and Martin was the first to leave and descended near Staphorst, the bomber crashing at De Leijen, an area to the east of Staphorst. What happened next is unclear because both the crewmembers Escape&Evasion reports and the Dutch helper files are inconsistent. Obviously, there was quite a crowd watching the descent of the airmen and after they had landed, Martin, 2/Lt. Alan Willis (E0349), the co-pilot, 2/Lt. Henry Gladys (E0346), the bombardier, and T/Sgt. Donald Arthur Porter (E0348), the engineer, were accosted by members of the Dutch resistance. Next, bicycles were borrowed from some of the spectators and the airmen were escorted to a farm or farms in the vicinity where they spend their first night in hiding. The next day, March 7, the four airmen were brought to Meppel where the resistance group of Peter van den Hurk took care of them. They were taken to the De Vries sisters at the Prins Hendrikstraat 3 in Meppel where they stayed in hiding for one or two days. Joke Folmer then brought the Americans by train from Meppel to the address off her parents in Zeist where they stayed for six days. She then took all four airmen to Roermond where they were handed over to the resistance group of Frans Verbruggen and Remko Roosjen. This group ran several escape lines to Belgium and looked after the wellbeing of the evaders and provided hiding addresses. The four Americans were split up with Willis and Gladys being brought to Chaplain Pijpers in Maasniel, a small village just to the east of Roermond, while Martin and Porter were taken to Joseph Herregodt at the Looierstraat 1 in Roermond. Both airmen stayed at this address until the end of April and then separated but remained in Roermond. Porter was brought to Anna Janssens-v.d. Suisse at the Minderbroedersingel 72 while Martin moved to the Varkensmarkt 15. He stayed here for nearly three weeks and was then brought to Frans Lenders at the Geleenstraat 11 in Heerlen on May 12, 1944. Here he joined F/O. John Arscott (E0456), the bombardier of Halifax LL243, who had arrived there a few days earlier. The airmen were supposed to cross the Dutch-Belgian border with the help of the resistance group of Jacques Vrij from Maastricht. Unfortunately, Vrij was arrested by the German Sicherheitsdienst by the end of May, temporarily halting the activities of this group. Instead, Martin and Arscott were brought to Simpelveld where they, probably, were joined by T/Sgt. Bob Hannan (E0314), the radio operator of B-17 42-31399. The three airmen stayed at several hiding addresses in this village and then moved on to Noorbeek, a small village near the Dutch-Belgian border. Apparently, it was not possible to cross the border here either. The three airmen split up with Martin and Hannan being taken north to Stein via Elsloo at the beginning of June. The Americans then went in hiding at the ships supply store of the Martens brothers at the Haven 4 in this village. Both airmen stayed here for quite some time and not being able to get to the advancing Allied lines, must have been frustrating. Early August, they were taken even further north, back to Roermond. Here they were handed over to Hendrik Evers, one of the assistants of Leon Janssens-van der Sande, aka Captain Buck, the leader of the Oranje Brigade resistance group. Evers brought the airmen to the ‘De Bedelaar’ estate of Mrs. M.E. Hooyer-Dubois near Haelen. This estate had become a staging area for the escape line and besides airmen, also housed escaped prisoners of war of several nationalities, the majority being French. Martin and Hannan stayed at ‘De Bedelaar’ for some weeks and then, guided by Henk Geerdink, left in a group with ten other evaders. Some other names in this group were F/Sgt. Bill McGee (E0614), F/Sgt. 'Pop' Punter (E0507), 2/Lt. Harry Cooper (E0368), F/Sgt Bernard James Sutton (E1039), F/Sgt. Stanley Sparkes (E045), Sgt. William C. Kinney (E0370) and F/Sgt. Eric Grisdale (E0506). Via Kelpen, Ell and Hunsel, the group moved to the Dutch-Belgian border that was crossed at night. From there, they travelled via Molenbeersel and Kinrooi to Maaseijk. Here the group split up and the airmen were taken to different hiding addresses to eventually travel on. Martin, McGee, Punter and an unknown airman stayed in Maaseik for a week in the house of Kesler. Most probably the airmen split up again and Martin went in hiding in Neeroeteren that was liberated by an armoured brigade of the British 2nd Army on September 22, 1944. Martin returned to London where he was interrogated by IS9 on September 24 and then returned to his unit.
|* G. Sonnemans jr. (ed.), Vluchtverhalen. Jubileumboek van de Nederlandse Vereniging van Allied Aircrew Helpers (Boxmeer 1995), page 34-40
* National Archives, Washington, MACR2916, NAID 90931927
* National Archives, Washington, E&E Report 2276, NAID 5556906
* National Archives, Washington, Dutch Helper files, NAID: 286686920, 286675935, 286691455, 286659568, 286711458, 286699149, 286676966, 286673453, 286701131, 286650111, 286654304, 286713540, 286660138, 286643185, 286692841, 286671586, 286662203, 286667645, 286690537, 286673623, 286652471, 286664494, 286653523, 286661987, 286655070