|32741374||American||Cohoes, NY, USA, 17 Nov 1923|
|Returned Y/N||Evader Fate||Date Captured/Liberated||Place Captured/Liberated||Escape Line|
|No||EVD-POW||3 Aug 44||Antwerp, Belgium||Groep André|
S/Sgt. Michael Kopcza was the tail 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. Kopcza landed near Dalfsen. Together with other crewmembers: 2/Lt. Willam H. Hammond (E0386), the co-pilot, 2/Lt. Marlowe B. Olson (E0391), the navigator, S/Sgt. Paul H. Moseley (E0390), the right waist gunner, 'Cleo Clinton White' and 'Max Palenica' he was picked up by Harm Houwing and taken to his cottage 'de Wildzang', south of Dalfsen. They stayed here for about seven days before they were handed over to 'an underground organisation'. From here Kopcza and Hammond possibly went to family Rimmert Kuiken at Noordkade 52 in Drachten. Hammond stayed here from 15 March until 20 March and Kopcza from 16 March until 20 March. Kopcza and Hammond hid then for about six weeks in the house of family Mark Postma in Oostermeer, before they moved on 26 April to the house of Family Willem Spaander at Oostermeer 177a in Oostermeer. Two British airmen, Sgt. P. Coyne (E0279) and Sgt. W.W. Cottam (E0278) from Lancaster JA702 ( 30 Jan 1944) were hiding next door in the house of Family Van Leeuwen at Torenlaan 17. From here they went on 1 August to the south of the Netherlands. They first took a local train to Leeuwarden and from there, escorted by a female courier, possibly Tiny Mulder, via Zwolle an Eindhoven to Den Bosch where they canged to a local train. In the evening hours they arrived in Kaatsheuvel. It's not clear where Kopcza hid after arriving in this area. Hammond was hiding in the house of P. de Groot at Sprang-Capelle for about four days (in the same period also Olson was here probably). From here it went to Antwerp, probably escorted by Piet Felix of Groep André, where Hammond, Olson and Kopcza were arrested on 3 August 1944. Michael Kopcza passed away on 6 July 2011 in St. Peter's Hospital, Albany, NY, at the age of 87.
|* Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, Boekje Piet Felix, Groep André
* National Archives, Washington, Helper Files, NAID: 286662333 - NAID: 286681366 - NAID: 286669678 - NAID: 286690470
* NIOD, 896, Willemsen, W.J.M, inv.nr. 2, 'M. Kopcza'