Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0351
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3501 06-03-44 B-24 Liberator
MilRank First Name(s) Name
2/Lt. Alvis David Roberts
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-679226 American 28 Mar 1920
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 5 Sep 44 Charleville, France -
Evader Story
						2/Lt. Alvis David Roberts was the bombardier of B-24 42-100424 ‘Roll Call’ that was hit by flak near Vechta, Germany, and eventually crashed near Hoogeveen on March 6, 1944. The whole crew bailed out in time and Roberts landed near Nieuwlande. He severely sprained his right ankle when he hit the ground, but managed to walk away. Later in the afternoon he was accosted by a man on a bicycle who spoke reasonable English. He took Roberts on the carrier frame of his bicycle and cycled home with the American airman who then spent the night here. The following day he was taken to Hoogeveen where he joined his pilot, 1/Lt. Kenneth Charles Griesel (E0350). Here they were provided with false ID-papers that stated that they were deaf-mute.

Escorted by a certain ‘Helga’, the two airmen travelled from Hoogeveen to Meppel. From there they travelled onwards on their own with the instruction to get off the train at the eleventh stop, Breda. Paul Reybroek and Gerard Wassenberg picked them up there and escorted both Americans to Hanneke Verwegen in Boekel. On March 23, they were taken to the so called Pyama House of the Otten family at Kerkstraat 6 in Erp where they joined F/O. Joe De Luca (E0313) and T/Sgt. Bob Hannan (E0314). On March 25, they were joined at this hiding address by another American, Sgt. Vance R. Travelstead (E0407). On April 8, Hannan, De Luca and Travelstead left Erp by bicycle for Bakel and the next day (9 April), Roberts and Griesel followed them. Escorted by Harrie and Gerard Otten, they were taken to the house of Jan Nelemans, the local G.P. From here, they moved through some back gardens to the house of the Manders family where they were re-joined with Hannan, De Luca and Travelstead.

In Bakel, Griesel’s health took a turn for the worse when his belly wound from a piece of flak shrapnel inflamed. Doctor Nelemans took care of him, together with Mien Manders. When Griesel had sufficiently recovered, the five airmen left Bakel on April 22. Butcher Martin van de Eijnden brought them by car to Helmond where Mien Manders had bought them tickets for Roermond. Escorted by Jef Ronden, the airmen travelled by train to Eindhoven and then further to Roermond. In Limburg the five men split up in two groups and went their separate ways. Roberts, Griesel and Travelstead probably ended up in Heerlen where they stayed, among others, with the Smit family. On May 2, they took the train to Maastricht and on May 6, they passed the Dutch-Belgian border. Thereafter they stayed at two hiding address in Liege for in all six weeks and then travelled southwards to France. Roberts, Griesel and Travelstead were liberated by Allied troops in the French town of Charleville on September 5, 1944.						
* Frans Govers, Pyama-House. Ontdekkingsreis door het uitgebreide netwerk van de pilotenhulp tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog: 1943-1944 (Uden 1992), page 72-75
* National Archives, Washington, EE-1687
* NIMH, The Hague, List 'Ondergedoken piloten te Erp (Fam. Otten)'