Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945

Evaders


Evader chart: E0904
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T4724 26-11-44 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
1/Lt. John Rodney Stevens
Milregnr. Nationality Born
O-757319 American
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 31 Mar 45 Winterswijk -
Evader Story
						1/Lt. John R. Stevens was the pilot of B-17 43-37913. He bailed out as one of the last of the crew. He landed behind the house of Frits Ludwig, immediately west of Haulerwijk, in Haulerwijk-midden. During the landing he hit the gutter of the house and smashed against the wall. The neighbors, Family Kampen, witnessed the landing and the father of the family, Uiltje Kampen, realized immediately that the airman had to be hid. He sent his son, Herre Kampen, to Stevens with the order to take him to Arien de Boer, who lived at an isolated farm in the Mandeveld. De Boer welcomed the two but also sent them on to the farm of Dries Dees, further down the road in the Mandeveld. Before they left he changed his flying suit for civilian clothes.

Herre Kampen now brought Stevens to the even more isolated farm of Andries (Dies) Dees and his sister Janna. Also at this address it was to risky to stay. After darkness, early in the evening, Hendrik Kuijper picked up Stevens and brought him to the farm of Jacob ten Hoor for a short stop and from there to the house of widow Hiltje Dijk-De Jongh and her son Tjietze at the Schansdijk near Haulerwijk. He stayed here until 1 December. 

That night Douwe Offringa and Luit Appelhof arrived at the house of the widow with another crewmember, second pilot, 2/Lt. Stanley Johnston (E0901) to pick up Stevens. After a short stop they went on to Donkerbroek. Here they hid for approximately fourteen days with Family Auke van der Meer. Mid December 1944 evangelist Johannis Fase arranged that the two moved to a new hiding address: the farm of Roelof Russchen at the Westeinde in Donkerbroek. They stayed here for six weeks.

On 3 February 1945 Johnston and Stevens were escorted by Jannes Russchen to a new hiding address in Steenwijk. Somewhere along the way the two airmen were handed over to Cornelis Stegink, member of the KP in Steenwijk. They spent the night in the house of dr. Bouwer in Tuk, west of Steenwijk. Next day Stanley Johnston found a hiding place in the house of Family Koenen in the Komingsstraat. The owned a book and printshop on this address. At a later moment he moved on te the house of Jan Schapelhouman in the Oosterstraat. John Stevens ended up in the house of Family Logtmeijer in the Gasthuisstraat. They owned a shop in electric articles. He would stay here until the end of March 1945. 

At the end of March 1945, Stevens and Johnston couldn’t hold it longer: they wanted to go south to make contact with the Allied armies. Although Logtmeijer was against the plan he arranged a guide. This man took Stevens and Johnston to Meppel and from there to a hiding place in the woods between Staphorst and Nieuwleusen, where they stayed a few days. With a new guide, Gerard Hueting, Stevens and Johnston were escorted to Zelhem, where they joined five other American airmen. After spending the night here they went the next day via Aalten to Kotten near Winterswijk, where they found a hiding place in an old barn. Hueting returned to Zelhem. After a few days hiding here and several adventures they entered Winterswijk and made contact with Allied troops on 31 March 1945.
						
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)
* John Meurs, Not Home for Christmas: A Day in the Life of the Mighty Eighth (2019)