Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0384
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3519 08-03-44 B-24 Liberator
MilRank First Name(s) Name
T/Sgt. Bon Elam Boswell Jr.
Milregnr. Nationality Born
35166020 American Cape Girardeaue, Missouri, USA, 20 Jan 1920
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
No EVD-POW June 1944 Northern Belgium Comet Line
Evader Story
						T/Sgt. Bon Elam Boswell Jr. was the left waist gunner of B-24 Liberator 42-52175 'Portland Anne'. During a bombing mission to Berlin, the bomber returned homeward over Northern Germany with an engine feathered and another smoking. Eventually the B-24 didn’t make it home. The crew bailed out while the empty Liberator came down relatively undamaged near Den Oosterhuis. It's unclear where he landed after he bailed out. Eventually he ended up in the house of Gelius and Christina Ottens at Randenbroekerweg 7 in Amersfoort. It was probably here that he joined three American airmen of B-24 Liberator 42-7598 'The Flak Ducker': Sgt. F.O. Twitchell (E0354) S/Sgt. G.E. Finley (E0352) and S/Sgt. D.G. Troup (E0353). From the house of the Ottens family Boswell and Finley moved for ten days to family Willem Goorhuis at Hoogeweg 101 at Amersfoort. If Troup and Twitchell stayed in this period at another address or remained with the Ottens family is not known. The next hiding address of the now four airman was possibly the house of Berend Jan van den Dool, head of the 'Congsigroep', who lived in the D.G. van der Keesselstraat 89 in Deventer (Van den Dool died in concentration camp Neuengamme on 11 December 1944). From this hiding address the four moved via the home of J.G. Cordes (D.G. van Keesselstraat 81 at Deventer) to Eindhoven where they came in the hands of Marinus G. (Rien) van Bruggen (Nicolaas Beetsstraat 41 at Eindhoven) and Hendricus M.J. (Harry) Aarts. They handed the four  possibly over the family Poels at De Zwarte Plak in America. The four were part of a big group of seventeen airmen who walked - escorted by Cor van Staveren and Wim Ahuit - in the night of 22 April 1944 to the farm of Martinus van Staveren at Eikenhof at Veulen I 24. They remained here until 29 April 1944, when the whole group moved on to family Martinus Joosten at Derp A 47 at Deurne. It is possible that Finley, Troup, Twitchell and Boswell next went to family Johannes van der Putten at Vloereind at Deurne. 

The four airmen also stayed one night at the house of Leo van Laarhoven at Leende. The next day Van Laarhoven and another man, a certain Martinus Boerenkamp of Maarheeze, escorted them to St. Hubrechts-Lille in Belgium where they were apparently handed over to Chef Eerekens and H. v/d Linde. According to the Helper File of the local resistance leader Marcel Joseph Edouard Royers (Clercxhoevestraat 18 at Neerpelt) his group arranged 21 days housing for the four. Another source, the book 'De doodstraf als risico. Pilotenhukp in Belgisch Limburg 1941-1944', states that Finley, Troup, Twitchell and Boswell were housed 'in the woods' with Mathias Helena Anthonius (Mathieu) Vanderfeesten. In the Helper File of Belgian resistance worker Joseph Geelen it's stated that the four hid in the house of Alfons van Vlierden at St. Hubrechts-Lille for about a week and a night a the house of Henri Bergs at Dorp 45 at Overpelt before being escorted by Mathieu Vanderfeesten and Thedor Ieven to the home of Jack or Jaak Deckers, Lindel 101 at Overpelt. After three weeks in the Neerpelt area, the four were escorted on 3 June by Charel Willekens (Eerbeekse Dijk at Achel) to Antwerp. He handed the four, possibly together with RAF airman Sgt. W.S. Rowan (E0528), at the station of Antwerp-Berchem over to Damien Gustave Busschots. He escorted the airmen to Café 'Petit Paon'. Soon after they were taken prisoner in either Antwerp or Brussels. As Rowan was taken prisoner in Antwerp on 6 June, it's very well possible that also the four American airmen were arrested here. It's known that Boswell arrived at Dulag Luft on 22 June 1944, so the four were probably (also) arrested early June.

Bon Elam Boswell jr. passed away on 8 November 1966 at the age of 46. He is buried at Estates of Serenity, Marion, Grant County, Indiana, USA. 						
* Evert van de Weerd, Luchtoorlog boven Ede. Vliegtuigcrashes en bombardementen in de Gelderse Vallei, page 65-67
* National Archives, Washington, KU-1093 (NAID: 139535702) and KU-1175 (NAID: 139536577)
* J. Bussels, De doodstraf als risico. Pilotenhukp in Belgisch Limburg 1941-1944 (without place 1981), page 309-311
* Bert Poels, Mémoires. Vriend en vijand. Het aangrijpend feitenverhaal over het verzetswerk op de Zwarte Plak verteld aan Jan Derix (Venlo 1977), page 257-261
* National Archives, Washington, Helper Files, NAID: 286686692 - NAID: 286690945 - NAID: 286687650 - NAID: 286678879 - NAID: 286700751 - NAID: 286665163 - NAID: 286707906 - NAID: 286703356 - NAID: 286644238 - NAID: 286697461 - NAID: 286656308 - NAID: 286710849 - NAID: 262455000 - NAID: 262463249 - NAID: 262453788