Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945

Evaders


Evader chart: E0630
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3929 15-08-44 B-24 Liberator
MilRank First Name(s) Name
S/Sgt. Harry Arthur Clark
Milregnr. Nationality Born
19000426 American Kalamazoo, USA, 12 March 191
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 14 Apr 45 Dokkum -
Evader Story
						S/Sgt. Harry Arthur Clark was the ball turret gunner of B-24 41-29449 ‘True Love’ which was shot down on August 15, 1944, by a German Messerschmitt Bf-109. The Liberator crashed in the Verlaatpolder naar Steenwijk and Clark saved himself with his parachute. He landed in a tree near the airfield of Havelte. After the landing he let his emotions go, cried for a few moments, happy to have survived. After a prayer he started walking in the wooded area where he had landed. Soon after he was found by two Dutchmen. They got him in touch with the Dutch resistance, who took him via Steenwijk to Meppel. Here he received a forged identity card from Peter (‘Piet’) van den Hurk who first hid him in the house of his fiancée, Mimi de Jong. On 31 August, Van den Hurk was informed about German plans for a razzia. Meppel was now too dangerous for Clark. He was now taken to the ‘Wigwam’ hide-out in the woods near Diever, where already some Dutchmen where hiding. On 17 September he was joined there by S/Sgt. James T. Moulton (E1072), the waist gunner on B-17 42-31864 that crashed northwest of Meppen in Germany, also on August 15th. Moulton himself had landed at his parachute near Oosterhesselen.

After about six weeks in the underground hide out the two airmen transferred in October to the province of Friesland. Tsjitse Wallinga (‘Nico’) and Piet Hanzes Blom (‘Sjors’) escorted respectively Clark and Moulton by bicycle to Holwerd where they found a new hiding place in the church of reverend Willem R. de Boer. Meanwhile Nico and Sjors looked for a way to return to England by boat. A few days later both resistance workers returned and guided them to the little village of Paesens. Here they were supposed to wait until the BBC would broadcast a message. Then the two airmen would be taken to the Engelsmanplaat, a sandbank in the Waddenzee between the islands Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, where a boat or submarine would pick them up. The plan failed. On 15 November Sjors, Nico and two local guides walked at low tide with the two airmen to the Engelmansplaat where they found shelter in a hut on poles. The next night the two local guides returned to the mainland. The four remaining men waited but nothing happened. After five days they were running out of food and tensions grew, especially between Nico and Sjors. Several times it came to a scuffle between the two. Eventually Nico and Sjors, very weakened, made peace again and it was decided that Sjors - who was physically the fittest - would get help in Paesens. He wouldn’t succeed. Shortly after leaving the hut on 28 November, he lost his life under unclear circumstances. According to some sources he drowned in a rift. According to other sources he was found with a shot in the head. Sjors (Piet Hanzes Blom) was later found dead on Rottumeroog.  

The other three men waited in vain and then decided to leave the Engelsmanplaat on 1 December 1944. They managed to reach the mainland where they came in the hands of one of the local guides, C.J.C. Koope from Nes, again. He handed Clark over to B. Nauta in Ternaard. From around 7 December until Christmas Clark sheltered in the house of Boukje Wouda in Ternaard 84. After two days in the house of  family Jacob van Dijk at Brantgum 13, Clark hid from 17 January until 27 March at the house of Klaas Sijtsma at Brantgum 68. Clark then found a hiding place in the house of Lippe van der Laan at Aan de Streek 36 in Wanswerd. The nights Clark spent next door, in the house of widow Westra in Wanswerd. One of the sons of Van der Laan guided Clark to Dokkum one day before the liberation of this town. Moulton remained in Ternaard until 22 December. On this day he was fetched by bicycle by Teuntje Liezenberg who took Moulton to her house at Aalsumerpoort 199 at Dokkum where she lived with her sister Annie. Moulton remained here until 29 January and then moved on to their neighbor, H. Visser at Aalsumerpoort 201. The Canadian (Royal Canadian Dragoons) reached Dokkum on the 14th of April 1945 and both Americans joined these troops and eventually helped clear the last pockets of German resistance in the area. 

After the war Clark changed his name in Harry Arthur Dolph and under this name wrote an autobiography about his wartime experiences. He visited the Engelsmanplaat again in July 1984 with his wife and passed away on 12 June 1994 in Marietta, USA.						
Source(s)
* Harry A. Dolph, The Evader: An American Airman's Eight Months with the Dutch Underground
* G. Sonnemans jr. (ed.), Vluchtverhalen. Jubileumboek van de Nederlandse Vereniging van Allied Aircrew Helpers (Boxmeer 1995, page 58-60
* Gerard Groeneveld, Neergestort. Vijftien vliegtuigverliezen in Nederland 1940-1945 (Zwolle 2021)
* Marcel Zantingh, Wel gebogen maar niet gebroken. Zweeloo, een Drentse gemeente in Oorlogstijd (Assen 2020)
* https://www.spanvis.com/historie-friesland/friese-verzetsstrijders-wo2/blom-pieter
* http://www.dieversarchief.nl/oorlogsvijanden-sluiten-nu-vrede/
* National Archives, Washington, Helper Files, NAID: 286652688 - NAID: 286698341 - NAID: 286720584 - NAID: 286645352 - NAID: 286692910 - NAID: 286705117 - NAID: 286676508 - NAID: 286671984 - NAID: 286715664