|T5173||28-01-45||B-17 Flying Fortress|
|34674419||American||26 Mar 1924|
|Returned Y/N||Evader Fate||Date Captured/Liberated||Place Captured/Liberated||Escape Line|
|Yes||EVD||18 Apr 45||Appel||-|
Sgt. James Norman Phelps was the tail 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. Five others, co-pilot Calkins, 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 the right waist gunner, Sgt. Vincent J.L. Kelly (E0938), eventually came together and went on together. The eventually managed to stay out of the hands of the Germans. So did Phelps and T/Sgt. P.S. Senchuk, the radio operator. They first made their way to together Blankenham, southwest of Ossenzijl, where they hid for a few days on the farm of Family Meinen. From there the two were escorted by T. Lubberts (living in Oldemarkt I-90) to the 'large stone farmhouse' of Thijs 'Ties' de Haan at Wijk VI-6, about two kilometers west of Oldemarkt. They would remain here from 2 until 8 February. Lubberts picked them up on this date and escorted Senchuk and Phelps to probably somewhere halfway to Steenwijk, where he handed the two over to G. Assies from Appelscha. Assies delivered the two Americans to Hendrik (Henk) or J. (Joop) Verhagen at Oosterstraat 17 in Steenwijk. Here the ran a drug store. On 15 February they left here. The next day they arrived in the apartment of an unknown person ('40 years, black hair, narrow face') which was located in the former soap factory of De Haas & Van Brero in Apeldoorn. Senchuk and Phelps stayed here until 27 February. From here they moved to the house of Aart Kleist at Valkenberglaan 25. Aart lived here with his parents, while the two brothers of Aart were hiding in this house as well. Senchuk and Phelps would stay with the Kleist's from 28 until 18 March 1945. From here the two were transferred to the farm of Family Marten van Meerveld at Leemweg 15 in Terschuur. Here they were liberated on 18 April 1945 by Canadian troops.
|* * National Archives, Washington, EE-2979
* * http://www.teunispats.nl/jack-edward-gibbs.htm