Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945

Evaders


Evader chart: E0900
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T4724 26-11-44 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
T/Sgt. Mabry Donald Barker
Milregnr. Nationality Born
39705634 American
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 14 Apr 45 Lippenhuizen -
Evader Story
						T/Sgt. Mabry Donald Barker was the bombardier of B-17 43-37913. After bailing out he lost his left boot. He landed at the westside of Haulerwijk on an ice rink. He was soon surrounded by several curious Dutchmen. A man pointed him the direction where he had to flee. While he removed himself from the landing spot, a man walked with him and told Barker to follow him. This was Sietze Blaauw. He took Barker to his house at the Leeksterweg. He changed some of his flying clothes for civilian clothes. They then left again. They walked to the little farm of Doekele Fokkema at the Scheidingsweg in Een-West. Blaauw didn't dare to return, because he feared that he would be arrested then. Fokkema urged the two men to hide near his house, while he himself would contact the resitance. He rode on his bicycle to Peet de Boer, who lived at the Rendijk in Haulerwijk. Later that afternoon Barker and Blaauw walked via the Scheidingsweg and the Vennoot in the direction of the Es van Een. Here they approached Family Rense Scheeringa and asked for help. Blaauw told them'I don't understand this man, but he needs help', and then he left. Scheeringa then told his son to go and warn Jan Willem Sikkens. Sikkens on his turn, warned Peet de Boer (for a second time).

Early in the evening, it was already dark, De Boer and another resistance worker, Wilke Kronemeijer, arrived at the house of Scheeringa. They questioned Barker and when they were convinced that he was an American airmen they left. Later that evening Jan Britsma from Een picked up Barker and brought him to Veenhuizen. In the house of widow Assies at the Zesde Wijk he handed the airman over to Ab Assies from Veenhuizen. He, on his turn, brought Barker to Emo and Maaike Paapst, who ra a grocery shop at the entrance of the Tweede Gesticht (second asylum). Here he hid in a little room on the attic. He stayed here four days. On 30 November he was taken to the farm De Wijkmeesterhoef of Gesinus Meijering, a few hundred meters down the street at the Vijfde Wijk.    

He stayed here until 13 December. Early in the morning that day the farm was raided by the SD, the socalled Bloedploeg and several Landwachters. The three men that hid in the farm, Hendrik Woering, Gerrit van Kleef and Barker, could reach just in time reach their hiding place. They weren't found. When the raiders had left Woering, Van Kleef and Barker left the farm and hid themselves in the so called Domineebosje. After darkness  they moved to a hiding place on the attic of a little shed next to the house of padre Smits. Here they joined two other Americans of the crew: T/Sgt. Q.D. Reed (E0902) and S/Sgt. R.A. Trombley (E0905). Together they spent the night in a clothing room (kleedhokje korfbal) at the Hoofdweg. 

The next night they left their hiding place. Hendrik Woering took Trombley, (who had fever because of the shotwound in his leg), Reed, Barker and Van Kleef in the direction of Ter Haule. After several adventures they ended up in the farm of Mindert de Boer. After spending the night here, Peet de Boer brought Trombley the next day -15 December - to the house of Widow Dijk at the Schansdijk near Beneden-Haulerwijk. With thelp of probably Gerrit van Kleef he also brought Reed and Barker on the same day to this address. In contrary to Reed and Barker, Trombley left this address still on the same day. Because of the seriousness of his wound, he needed medical care. He was taken to Donkerbroek where dr Winkel took care of him. Also Reed and Barker didn’t stay here for long. After a few days Dirk Breitsma and Hendrik de Man escorted the two to Hendrikus Marcus de Jong in Bontebok. Reed stayed here, while Barker went the same day, escorted by baker Harm de Vos of Oudehorne, to the house of Haaye de Vries and his wife Maria between Oudehorne and the Schoterlandse Compagnonsvaart. Barker would stay here for three months.

In the first weeks of January 1945 Harm de Vos and Jan Harkema escorted also Reed to the house of Haaye and Maria de Vries. They stayed here until 21 March 1945. On this date Jan Harkema brought the two airmen to a new hiding address in Lippinghuizen. He took them to Hoornsterzwaag where they spent the night in the house of Pier Dijkstra. The next day they arrived in the house of policeman Johannes Krol. They hid here until the liberation on 13 April. They spent part of their time with weapon lessons for resistance members and assisted also during at least one weapon dropping. In the night of 13/14 April they were involved in a firefight at the crossing of the Zwaagster- and Buitenweg. Shortly after this incident, they ran into two other Americans, 1/Lt. Mark Wilson (E0966) and 1/Lt. Charles Oldfield (E0967). Next day the four contacted Canadian troops in Olderbekoop.

						
Source(s)
* Jan Slofstra and Jaap de Boer, Vliegers op de vlucht. De crash van de Seattle Sleeper bij Haulerwijk op 26 november 1944 (Gorredijk 2020)
* Don Barker, The last Mission
* John Meurs, Not Home for Christmas: A Day in the Life of the Mighty Eighth (2019)