Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945

Evaders


Evader chart: E0348
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3500 06-03-44 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
T/Sgt. Donald Arthur Porter
Milregnr. Nationality Born
16154449 American Marinette, Winsconsin, USA, 18 Oct 23
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 6 Sep 44 Sint-Niklaas-Liege, Belgium -
Evader Story
						T/Sgt. Donald Arthur Porter was the engineer 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 Porter descended near Staphorst, the bomber crashing at De Leijen, an area to the east of Staphorst. After he had landed, Porter hid his harness and parachute in a ditch.

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, Porter, 2/Lt. Alan Willis (E0349), the co-pilot, 2/Lt. Henry Gladys (E0346), the bombardier, and 2/Lt. Clyde Martin (E0347), the navigator, 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 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 Porter and Martin 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. Martin moved to the Varkensmarkt 15 in Roermond while Porter was brought to Anna Janssens-v.d. Suisse at the Minderbroedersingel 72 in Roermond. Her alias was Mama van Bergen and she already had more American airmen in hiding at her address. On May 15, Porter went to Maastricht where he went in hiding with Pierre Jungschleger at the Burg. Culenstraat 45 in this town. He stayed here for a few days and was then brought to Klein Ternaye in Belgium by August König, a.k.a. Jules, and member of the ‘Belastinggroep’, the resistance group of Jacques Vrij. The Belgian resistance then took Porter to the house of Mme Labaye at the 15 Rue Mathieu Vankeer in Montegnée, a suburb of Liege. He stayed here until his liberation in the second week of September. He returned to London where he was interviewed by IS9 on September 11, 1944.

Donald Arthur Porter passed away on 25 December 2012 in Milwaukee, Winsconsin at the age of 89.						
Source(s)
* National Archives, Washington, MACR2916, NAID 90931927
* National Archives, Washington, E&E Report 2047, NAID 5556677
* National Archives, Washington, Dutch Helper files, NAID: 286686920, 286675935, 286691455, 286659568, 286711458, 286699149, 286676966, 286673453, 286701131, 286650111, 286654304, 286713540, 286708949, 286660138, 286664487, 286665345, 286668278, 286690689
* https://www.drentheindeoorlog.nl/?aid=921
* https://www.evasioncomete.be/fgladyshh.html