Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0477
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3645 29-04-44 B-24 Liberator
MilRank First Name(s) Name
1/Lt. John L. Low
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-2043763 American
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 17 Feb 45 Lage Zwaluwe Pegasus II / Biesbosch Crossing
Evader Story
						1/Lt. John L. Low was the bombardier 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 crew including Low bailed out in time and landed in the Soerelse Bossen, a forest near Vierhouten. After getting out of his gear, Low walked for a while and then hid himself in a hole in the ground. Around dawn he decided to find a better place to spend the night and started walking again. After some time, he came upon the Le Chevalier School in Tongeren but decided to walk on and finally crawled into a haystack to get some rest. After a while, a farm boy came to collect some hay and found Low. The boy supplied Low with bread and milk and after spending the night in the haystack, Low continued his flight early in the morning. Around midday he passed the hamlet of Niersen and later on met, probably, forester F.A. Huyskamp and his family. Huyskamp escorted Low to a hiding place in the forest and returned the same evening with a person who spoke good English. However, Low didn't trust the man and left his hiding place before dusk the next morning.

It was now the first of May and forest gave way to more open areas. Low decided to walk on the dirt roads. In the afternoon, near the ‘Aardhuis’ estate, forester Jan Hendrik ter Mors from Apeldoorn cycled past Low, stopped and asked if he was English. Low responded being American and ter Mors ordered Low to follow him. Ter Mors took Low into a nearby forest and told him to wait till he returned. Shortly thereafter Ter Mors returned with a boy who spoke English. Low was given an overall and after a short conversation was told that his captain, Lieutenant Bill F. Moore (E0478) was nearby in the woods. Soon after this the two airmen were reunited, and the forester and the boy left the two airmen for a while. In the evening the boy returned with civilian clothes for Low and Moore. After they had changed in civvies, the airmen were led out of the forest to where their guides Aart Kliest and Ms Narda Terwisga were waiting for them. Terwisga was the leader of the local ‘Narda’ resistance group. When Low and Moore had mounted their bikes, the group cycled to the house of the parents of Kliest at the Valkenburglaan 25 in Apeldoorn.

On May 14, Moore and Low were joined by Staf Sergeant David L. Smith (E0470). When Smith caught a cold, he was transferred to the house of the De Bree sisters at the Badhuisweg 121 where he could sleep in a normal bed. After about a week he returned to the Kliest family. In August two more airmen arrived at Valkenburglaan 25: Staff Sergeant George P. Paulk (E0464) and Sergeant Floyd Ragsdale (E0465). On October 1 all five airmen were transferred to the house of Ms Jacob at the Mr. van Hasseltlaan 22 in Apeldoorn. On October 2, 1944, the Gestapo raided the house of Ms Jacob, who was absent at that moment, and arrested Bill Moore. The four others managed to stay out of the hands of the Germans in spite of a thorough search and fled the house in the early hours of the morning. They walked in the direction of Wenum where they found a hiding place in the haystack of the Buitenhuis family at De Wildkampen 14. Buitenhuis found them the next day, October 3rd, and after had something to eat they left in the evening. They walked in a northerly direction and at the end of the night they found a hiding place in a haystack. This was part of the farm of Berend, Johan, Willem and Rika Pannekoek (three brothers and a sister) at the Bottertweg in Vaassen. The four airmen stayed there for several weeks.

At the beginning of November they left, probably via Apeldoorn, for Barneveld where they hid in the house of miller van de Heg in the Wilhelminastraat. They stayed there until November 8 and on this date Smith and Low moved to the farm 't Koeland' of the van de Top family at the Dijkerweg in Kootwijkerbroek. On November 16, Smith and Low were transferred to the launching point for Operation Pegasus II: the chicken coops of the Wolfswinkel family in Meu-Lunteren. 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 them were taken prisoner by the Germans but Low managed to stay out of the hands of the Germans.

Together with British medical officer, colonel Graeme Warrack and a Dutch officer named Ronald, they went back to Greame Warrack’s old hiding address, the Cuandair mansion of the Kröner family near Otterlo. Shortly after they had returned there, the Kröner family was informed that German soldiers were to be quartered at their mansion. So, in the evening of 16 December, Tineke Kröner and a farm boy took Low and Warrack to the farm of the van der Top family at the Dijkerweg in Kootwijkerbroek. For the next two months Low stayed at several hiding addresses like the farm of Jacob Bol, a few kilometres east of Barneveld. Here he met Flying Officer Jack ‘Jock’ Goggin (E0838) by the end of December 1944.

Finally on the 12th of February he started on his journey to freedom. Escorted by an unknown police officer he cycled from the Barneveld area to an underground hide-out near Maarsbergen, picking up two Airborne officers on the way. Having spend the night and the greater part of the day there, they cycled to Schalkwijk in the evening. From here the men cycled to Groot-Ammers, crossing the river Lek there. From Groot-Ammers their journey continued to the van Woerkom family in Sliedrecht. Their first attempt to reach the allied lines in the liberated southern part of the Netherlands from the backyard of this family failed. Their next attempt through the Biesbosch area succeeded and they reached the Allied lines near Lage Zwaluwe on the 17th of February 1945.						
* Wolter Noordman, Ondergedoken op de Veluwe. Geallieerde militairen en hun deelname aan operatie 'Pegasus II' en ontsnapping via 'Biesbosch' (Kampen 2010), page 11-178.