Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0802
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T4288 23-09-44 Lancaster
MilRank First Name(s) Name
F/Lt. Oliver George Korpela
Milregnr. Nationality Born
J/24402 Canadian Nemegos, ON, Canada, 18 Jun 1920
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 1 Apr 45 Zelhem -
Evader Story
						F/Lt. Oliver George Korpela was the pilot of Lancaster ME700. The bomber was shot down in the night of 23/24 September 1944 during a raid to breach the Dortmund-Eems Canal at Ladbergen, north of Münster. Korpela’s Lancaster crashed near Welsum, close to the town of Dalfsen. Six crewmembers died in the the crash. Three others, among whom Korpela, survived and managed to evade capture. After bailing out Korpela was passed closely by a German fighter, but he landed unhurt near the wear in Oudleusden. He buried his parachute and other equipment near the landing spot. After walking for a while he approached a farm. A man came out of the barn and asked Korpela to come inside. He received a glass of warm milk and although the Canadian couldn't make anything of what the famer said, he did understand that he was in The Netherlands. Shortly after Korpela also met the farmer's wife and their children. A little later that Sunday morning 24 September five resistance workers arrived, who first interrogated Korpela. When they were convinced that he was not a German, they escorted the Canadian to the farm of Family W. Dijk at De Vossebeltsweg 1 in Lemelerveld. Here he received a false ID on the name of 'Jan Bos'. He remained here for several months. 

Early in December 1944 Korpela moved to another (unknown) hiding address. In January he transferred to a hide out in the woods between Heino and Raalte. In the underground shelter here he had to sleep on straw. According to some sources  Korpela met in this hide out the two other surviving crew members again: F/O. C.D. Lucas (E0803), the bomb aimer and Sgt. H.H. MacFarlane (E0804), the flight engineer. From this moment they would stay together. In February 1945 the three were transferred to Aalten. According another source Korpela joined Lucas and MacFarlane and two other airmen: F/Lt. Marie Joseph Anatole Côté (E0927) and 2/Lt. Richard P. Fuller (E0913) during an attempt to cross the Rhine try and reach the Allied lines. They were assisted by hree resistance workers: Teunis Werner Kiffers, Hans Krom and Eduard Martinot. They would escort them from somewhere halfway along the canal between Deventer and Raalte. Because the three Dutch helpers were late they rode immediately to the Snippelings-bridge. But the four airmen never arrived there. After the failed attempt to cross the Rhine the five ended up at Zelhem where they came in the hands of Ale Jorritsma at E 208 in Zelhem. in the following weeks the five moved - sometimes together, sometimes in two's or three's - to several addresses in the village. Joh. H. Reussink (NAID: 286682950) wrote after the war a detailed report about the whereabouts of the five in the ultimate weeks before the liberation. The five were joined in this period by two other airmen: 1/Lt. J.R. Stevens (E0904) and 2/Lt. S.E. Johnston (E0901). They hid in this period with family J.H. Reussink (Palmberg A 147 at Zelhem), family Ale Jorritsma (E 208 at Zelhem), E.J. Oosterink (A160 at Zelhem), family A. Rijnders (B-102 at Zelhem), family Berkelder (A228 in Zelhem), Joh Buunk (Zelhem), familyu Hemink (Meene at Zelhem) and family Brekveld (Ruurlooscheweg at Zelhem). Stevens and Johnston left in the last days before the libeartion for Winterswijk, but the other five - Côté, Lucas, McFarlane, Fuller and Korpela - were liberated in Zelhem on 1 April 1945. Via Eindhoven they returned by Dakota to England. 

 Soon after Korpela headed back for Canada. In his 'own' Chapleau region he ran a number of successful lumber mills. Oliver Korpela passed away on 19 February 2006 in Sudbury, ON, Canada at the age of 85.
* J.F. Sievers, ‘Ze kwamen tijdens de oorlog neer in Dalfsen’, in: Rondom Dalfsen, nr 31 (Historische Kring Dalfsen), page [numbers].
* Jaap Tempelman, 'Bomber Pilot Oliver Korpela' in: Rondom Dalfsen, nr. 43 (Historische Kring Dalfsen), page 897-902