Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0475
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3645 29-04-44 B-24 Liberator
MilRank First Name(s) Name
1/Lt. Franklin Dent Coslett
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-801361 American Edwardsville, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA, 9 May 1915
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
No EVD-POW 24 Dec 44 De Harskamp -
Evader Story
						1/Lt. Franklin Dent (Frank) Coslett was the navigator of B-24 Liberator 42-52506. This Liberator was hit by flak on leaving the target area and eventually crashed at the Elspeterweg near Uddel on April 29, 1944. The crew including Coslett bailed out in time and he landed in the Soerelse Bossen just east of Vierhouten. Soon after his landing, he was accosted by supervisor (‘opzichter’) Mazier at the Vierhouter Zandverstuivingen who then brought him to where fellow crewmembers S/Sgt. Walter Thomas Kilgore (E0476) and S/Sgt. Werner Braun (E0474) were hidden. In the evening, Coslett, Kilgore and Braun were collected by Andries Lenstra who escorted them to their first real hiding place: the so-called BIM-hut. They stayed here for two or three days and Coslett then stayed for a short while in the house of P. IJzerman, director of the Veluvine paint factory in Nunspeet. On May 5, he was picked up there and together with Kilgore and Braun taken to the house of Doctor Wolffensperger in Doornspijk.

On May 29, the three airmen travelled by car to Zwolle where they hid for one or two nights. From there they went to the house of Jan Seigers at the Wolfskuil 10 in Ommen where they joined Polish fighter pilot F/O. Cheslaw Oberdak (E0535) and three Dutch men in hiding. On the night of 29 June, a message arrived that Jan Seigers was arrested and that a German search party was on the way to their hiding address. The four airmen, a Dutchman named ‘Kees’, Jacoba 'Koosje' Seigers and another woman fled into the nearby woods. Jan Seigers was transported to Germany and ended up in concentration camp Sachsenhausen. He just survived the war.

The next day, June 30, Jacoba Seigers returned home and 'Kees' guided the aviators to the farm 'De Schaapskooi' of Cornelis Timmerman at the Schaapskooiweg in Rechteren where they spent the night. From here they were brought to a houseboat that was moored in the Almelose Kanaal near Laag-Zuthem. This houseboat belonged to the ‘Groene’  resistance group from Zwolle that was lead by Henk Beernink. The four airmen stayed here for about two weeks and then went to Zwolle. Here they were joined by 1/Lt. 'Dick' Cook (E1004) and 2/Lt. J.R. Whittaker (E1100) and together they travelled by train to Harderwijk. On arrival, the group was split up and separately taken to several addresses in Harderwijk. Early in the evening of July 21, they were taken in pairs to the duck decoys of Hendrik de Kok at the Parallelweg 11 in Hierden where they were re-united. While the men stayed in hiding at the duck decoys, they were looked after by the van Poelgeest family. After a while the airmen moved to Harderwijk where they found a hiding place in the bakery of van Poelgeest at the Hondegatstraat 9.

On August 30, Coslett left Kilgore and Braun and travelled together with Oberdak, who by then had become a real friend, to Amsterdam. From this date until November 15, they stayed in the house of Hendrik Jan Schrijver in Willem Rooyaardstraat 18 in the Dutch capital. They then went to the house of Harrie Scheepstra at Stadionkade 131 where they stayed till November 22. On this day, they moved to the house of Mrs. Viruly-Van Hattem, the widow of the famous Dutch airline pilot, at the Michelangelostraat 36. On December 6, both airmen left the Dutch capital and cycled together with Dutch special agent alias wireless operator, Adam van Rijsewijk in the direction of the Veluwe. They were probably escorted by Toussy Salomonson and via Groenekan near Utrecht, they rode in three days to Beekbergen.

The local resistance brought the three men to Anton Schol and his family who lived at the Dabbelosepad in Hoenderloo. The family had an underground hiding place (named ‘Beatrix’) in the forest behind their house. Here the airmen joined lieutenant Brian Carr, a hiding British paratrooper, and a Russian PoW. In the morning of December 24, the Germans incidentally found the hole and arrested the five men. While they were taken to a truck, Carr and Van Rijsewijk managed to escape. Coslett and Oberdak also ran away, but Coslett was injured by a gunshot in the leg and both airmen were arrested (again). Eventually Coslett, Oberdak and the Russian were brought to the SD prison in Velp. All three were sentenced to death and Oberdak and Coslett were then transported to prison 'De Kruisberg' in Doetinchem. Early in March 1945, Coslett noted that Oberdak was no longer present at morning roll call in the prison what gave him an uneasy feeling. Rightfully, because on March 8, 1945, Cheslaw Oberdak and 116 Dutch civilians were executed by the Germans at the Woeste Hoeve. This was a reprisal for the attack on SS General Hans Rauter in the night of March 6 on 7, 1945. Eventually, Coslett was transported to Westerbork where he was liberated by Canadian troops on April 13, 1945. 

Frank Coslett was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart. After the war he became a well known TV newsman (and pioneer) from 1952 until his retirement in May 1980. He also served as an operations manager and programm director at WBRE. Franklin Dent Coslett passed away on 13 February 1992 at the age of 76 at Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. He is buried at Fern Knoll Burial Park, Dallas, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA.
* National Archives, Washington, EE-2968
* Wolter Noordman, Ondergedoken op de Veluwe. Geallieerde militairen en hun deelname aan operatie 'Pegasus II' en ontsnapping via 'Biesbosch' (Kampen 2010), page 20-21, 32-33, 82-83, 91-92, 152-155, 458, 460, 463
* R. Schuurman, Spoor naar Woeste Hoeve. De zoektocht naar de geëxecuteerde piloot Czeslaw Oberdak (Hilversum 2012)
* G. Sonnemans jr. (ed.), Vluchtverhalen. Jubileumboek van de Nederlandse Vereniging van Allied Aircrew Helpers (Boxmeer 1995), page 30-31