Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0631
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3930 15-08-44 B-24 Liberator
MilRank First Name(s) Name
T/Sgt. Stephen Nicholas Reiter
Milregnr. Nationality Born
13170854 American Sharpsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA, 15 Apr 1924
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 13 Apr 45 Oldeholtpade -
Evader Story
						T/Sgt. Stephen Nicholas Reiter was the radio operator of B-24 Liberator 42-95157. On the return flight from a bombing mission to Vechta airfield the aircraft was shot down by German fighters. It crashed near Nyetrijne. Reiter bailed out trough the waist gun position. He landed in the close to the little farm of J. de Haan. He took of his parachute and moved in the direction of one of his crewmembers who came down close by. Unfortunately this parachutist, the co-pilot, 2/Lt. H.E. Haseman, wasn't alive anymore. While Reiter found this out, there had gathered already about 25 bystanders around the dead Haseman. Among them was also a local resistance worker, Jan Visser from Munnekeburen. A friend of Visser urged the bystanders to leave. Visser himself ordered Reiter to follow him to the Scheene River. Here Reiter was told to hide himself under a blackberry bush and explained him that he would be back in a half of hour. At the same time a rowing boat came across with a friend of Visser. The friend took him to the farm of Kornelis van Stralen. Here Visser asked for a boat, civil clothing and a milk can. When he had thought it over for a moment, Van Stralen decided to help him. Visser then returned to the spot where he had hidden Reiter. At first he could not find him, but after some handclapping Reiter came out of his hiding place. Reiter got in the boat and changed into civilian clothes. Visser brought Reiter to to a new hiding place, a piece of land with water all around it, behind the farm of the leader of the local resistance, Sjoerd Veenbaas. Here he hid Reiter for the second time in some reed. 

In the evening Veenbaas picked up Reiter and took him to his farm and hid the American in a hide out that he had already prepared for his sons. Reiter stayed here only a few days. After word got around that an airman was hiding in his farm, Veenhuis contacted the resistance in Wolvega. With the help of Jacob Kuipers he found a new hiding place for Reiter. On 19 August a son of Veenbaas cycled together with Reiter via Munnekeburen to Wolvega. Here he handed him over to Miss Corrie Koster. By bike she took Reiter to the farm of Haye Bethlehem at the Binnenweg in Nijeholtpade. Haye Bethlehem's son Jan was a member of the local resistance known under the pseudonym 'Piebe'. Reiter hid at the farm of Bethlehem with a certain Otto. After the arrest of some local resistance leaders during a German razzia in Wolvega- who knew Reiter was hiding at the farm of Bethlehem - it was thought to be too risky for the American to stay here. Policeman Sijmon Koopman from Oldeholtpade picked up Reiter on 27 October 1944 and took him to his home. He stayed here for one night. On 28 October 1944 Koopman escorted Reiter to the house of Albert and Geertruide Stuiver which was situated near the water pump station at Oldeholtpade. Reiter remained here until Canadian troops liberated Oldeholtpade on 13 April 1945. 

Stephen Nicholas Reiter passed away on 25 Jul 2005 at the age of 81 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He is buried at Saint Mary's Cemetery, Sharpsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA.
* Ab A. Jansen, Sporen aan de hemel. Kroniek van een luchtoorlog (Baarn 1980), page 307-311
* National Archives, Washington, EE-2963