Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0938
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T5173 28-01-45 B-17 Flying Fortress
MilRank First Name(s) Name
Sgt. Vincent Joseph Leo Kelly
Milregnr. Nationality Born
33809389 American 25 Nov 1925
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 15 Apr 45 Belterwijde -
Evader Story
						Sgt. Vincent Joseph Leo (Vince) Kelly was the right waist gunner of B-17 Flying Fortress 44-6105 'Sleepy Lagoon'. After bombing the target - railway yards near Cologne - the aircraft was hit by flak on the port side of the aircraft. Although the B-17 caught no fire, two engines stopped. On the way home the bomber gradually lost height. Eventually the 'Sleepy Lagoon' crash landed around 2 PM near Ossenzijl. First the crew tried to put the bomber on fire. Then they started to move southward in pairs on the indication of Dutch bystanders. One of crewmembers, S/Sgt. G.T. Cappiello had broken his arm and was taken by his friend, T/Sgt. A.E. Ziner taken to the village of Muggenbeet for medical help. Shortly after the two were taken prisoner. Two others, T/Sgt. P.S. Senchuk (E0941) en Sgt. J.N. Phelps (E0940), managed to stay out of the hands of the Germans by fleeing to Oldemarkt and from there to Steenwijk and Rijswijk. 

Five others, right waist gunner Kelly, the pilot 1/Lt. Oakley H. Jackson Jr. (E0937), the navigator 1/Lt. Leonard E. Lucas (E0939), the bombardier S/Sgt. Keith R. Haight (E0936) and co-pilot 2/Lt. John Bartlett (Bart) Calkins (E0935), eventually came together and went on as a group. After walking for twelve hours over a frozen lake (Giethoornse Meer), snowed fields and frozen waters - by which they were helped by Pieter van Dalen (23) and his younger brother Jan van Dalen (17) - they decided to stop for the night. They hid in the hay in a barn at the Beulakerpad at Sint Jansklooster, The next morning Calkins and Haight decided to approach the nearby house of J. Huisman alias Jan Otter. They were lucky: they had contacted 'good' Dutchmen. The family urged them to return to the barn, where they would stay the rest of the day. Meanwhile reverend Wolven of the resistance in Vollenhove was warned. In the evening of 16 April the five were picked up by resistance workers. The five were now split up. 

Haight and Kelly were taken to Kasteel Oldenhof, at A 212, Vollenhove of two unmarried sisters: Jeanette Juliana Sloet van Oldruitenborgh and Isabelle Geertruida Sloet van Oldruitenborgh. Calkins and Jackson ended up in the house of W. Weys (Lange Willem) in Vollenhove and Lucas was taken to another house in Vollenhove. The five would hide for about two weeks in Vollenhove. From there they would all be escorted to a 'covered wooden boat' surrounded by timber on the Belterwiede. Within a couple of days the five were together again. They would also be joined by two Russian soldiers, who had escaped from a German PoW camp. The seven would remain here for about eight weeks until the liberation by Canadian troops on 15 April 1945.

Vincent Joseph Leo Kelly passed away on 22 April 1999 at Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania at the age of 73.