Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0476
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3645 29-04-44 B-24 Liberator
MilRank First Name(s) Name
S/Sgt. Walter Thomas Kilgore
Milregnr. Nationality Born
13014321 American 17 Nov 18
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 8 May 45 Meerkerk
Evader Story
						S/Sgt. Walter Thomas Kilgore was the right waist gunner of B-24 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 whole crew, including Kilgore, bailed out in time and he landed in the Soerelse Bossen just east of Vierhouten. Soon after his landing he met fellow crewmember, S/Sgt. Werner G. Braun (E0474). They hid themselves under some pine trees but were found by Piet Vedder and Wim and Joop Mazier. The boys took them to a better hiding place in a thick forest. Soon thereafter, supervisor (‘opzichter’) Mazier, the father of Wim and Joop, brought navigator 1/Lt. Frank Coslett (E0475) to their temporary hide-out. In the evening Braun, Kilgore and Coslett were collected by Andries Lenstra who escorted them to their first real hiding place: the so-called BIM-hut. Coslett left them after two or three days to stay at another address. On May 5, Braun and Kilgore left the BIM-hut, collected Coslett and were then 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 June 29, 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.

Coslett and Oberdak travelled to Amsterdam on August 30 while Kilgore, Braun, Whittaker and Cook stayed in Harderwijk. The four airmen left for Kootwijkerbroek on November 6, 1944, in order to participate in Operation Pegasus II. While hiding with Gerrit van Omme at the Donkervoortweg 13 in Kootwijkerbroek, they were joined by an American paratrooper, Albert J. Banford. On November 16, the men moved to the launching point of the escape operation where they joined a group allied military personnel under the command of major Hughes Maguire. In the early morning of 18 November, the whole group went on their way. During the day they halted at the Wekeromse Zand and started to move again at dusk. When trying to cross a busy road, the first party of the group was challenged by a German sentry. A firefight started further alerting the Germans. More German patrols arrived and the group of about 120 men dispersed in several smaller groups. Quite some of the men were taken prisoner including Braun, Whittaker and Cook but Kilgore and Banford managed to stay out of the hands of the Germans.

Kilgore and Banford returned to the van Omme family and stayed there for the rest of the winter. On March 17, both men left the family and cycled together with Wilson in the direction of the Biesbosch. After a few stages they arrived at the farm of Henk Rijneveld in Willige Langerak, close to the Lek river. In the evening they were taken across the river and found a hiding place in the house of the local resistance leader. The next day, Kilgore went in hiding in Bleskensgraaf and on March 28 moved to the rectory of the reverend Klaas Dekker in Molenaarsgraaf. At this address he was joined by S/Ldr. Ignacy (Igor) Olszewski (E0971), W/Cdr. Jan Pawel Falkowski (E0969) and glider pilots John Haller and Geoffrey Mallison. On May 5, the men rode with a car converted into an ambulance to Gorinchem to try to reach the Allied lines but to no avail. They returned to Molenaarsgraaf and tried again on May 8. With the same ambulance, they now drove towards Asperen and somewhere near Meerkerk met the first Canadian troops: they were free again.						
* National Archives, Washington, EE-3053
* Wolter Noordman, Ondergedoken op de Veluwe. Geallieerde militairen en hun deelname aan operatie 'Pegasus II' en ontsnapping via 'Biesbosch' (Kampen 2010), page 20-21, 31, 82, 92, 141, 170, 208, 442-447, 458, 479