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NEW Book!

The search to find the German pilot who shot down the Cradle Crew!

 
There were 18,000 Canadian airmen killed in World War ll, and 4,272 killed while with Six Group. Documented heroes were few in number, but, in actuality, all who participated were heroes in their own way. They were ready to lay down their lives for their country.

The Cradle Crew, one of the youngest bombing crews in the Royal Canadian Air Force's Six Group flew Handley Page Halifax bombers during WW ll. Author Ken Blyth recalls their training, raids over enemy targets, being shot down over Germany, prison camp, and, at war's end, release by the Russians.

The majority of the prisoners in Stalag Luft l were Americans. Colonel Hubert Zemke, the senior-ranking American officer, had been captured during November 1944. Group Captain Cecil Weir was the senior-ranking British officer. He and Zemke worked well together.

At 1:00 a.m. on 30 April 1945, the Germans abandoned Stalag Luft l, just ahead of the advancing Russian tanks, cavalry, and guerrilla troops, who were "hell bent for the Baltic."

Ken Blyth and his fellow prisoners awoke that morning to find themselves no longer under armed guard and comparatively free. It was later that the world would learn that Adolph Hitler had committed suicide on 30 April 1945 in his bunker at the Reichschancellery in Berlin.

To maintain protection and order for the prisoners until they could be rescued by the Allies, Colonel Zemke became the camp's commanding officer, assisted by Group Captain Weir. In essence, Stalag Luft 1, without the German troops, was an "Allied Island" surrounded by their enemy, the German countrymen.

"Frankly," states Blyth, "the Cradle Crew members....consider themselves very fortunate to be alive today."

 
 
Copyright © 1999 Kenneth K. Blyth