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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Humanity in the midst of war - more common than you think


TAP - what a shame earlier generations had no idea who was manipulating the wars, and bringing them to pass. The bankers worked in the shadows, arming thugs, smashing democracies, destroyed countries and millions of people, all for gain and to accelerate the drip drip drip of their increasing power.  Often in the midst of the mayhem, soldiers and airmen still knew how to act as human beings.  It never gets reported.

If no pictures, search google images with pilot names, Franz Stigler, Charlie Brown.  Lots there to be found.

POST from T.Stokes London

What a great story below. Have to take my hat off to this one. Very touching.
Look carefully at the B-17 and note how shot up it is - one engine dead, tail, 
horizontal stabilizer and nose shot up.. It was ready to fall out of the sky. 
(This is a painting done by an artist from the description of both pilots many years 
later.) Then realize that there is a German ME-109 fighter flying next to it. Now read 
the story below. I think you'll be surprised....

 Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton , England . His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.

After flying the B-17 over an enemy airfield, a German pilot named Franz Steigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage.  The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere.

Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.

     BF-109 pilot Franz Stigler                                B-17 pilot Charlie Brown.
    

Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to, and slightly over, the North Sea towards England . He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe .  When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.

More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions.

They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.


(L-R) German Ace Franz Stigler, artist Ernie Boyett, and B-17 pilot Charlie Brown.


 When asked why he didn’t shoot them down, Stigler later said, “I didn’t have the heart to finish those brave men.  I flew beside them for a long time.  They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do that.  I could not have shot at them.  It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute.”

Both men died in 2008.

WARTIME BRAVERY

Thanks for sending this article about the German figter who escorted the Britsh bomber to its correct journey home, It's very moving. That is one of many instances where consideration won through.

Soon after D-Day two German stretcher bearers wandered into the lines where my Dad was. Dad was in front line Intelligence. Often they were surrounded by the enemy as their job was to go ahead of the forward line and observe. One of the German stretcher bearers could speak English and said they were non-combatant, their job was to rescue the wounded regardless of nationality.They asked if they could carry on and their request was granted amid heavy gunfire as there was such a shortage of stretcher bearers as the battle was so ferocious. 

They could have been sent back to the POW cage, as it was called, but they continued to risk their lives in no-mans-land, collecting the wounded, British and German. They carried on relentlessly during a ferocious 24 hour enemy bombardment.They could have wandered back to their own lines but didn't and stuck to their word. Eventually they were caught by the British and ordered to stop as they said it was against the Geneva convention and kept as POWs. 

As these brave men left to go to the POW holding area, everyone had a tear in their eye. They shook hands with these brave Germans and wished them luck. Many men owe their lives to those men. There are no monuments to those stretcher bearers and their heroism would have been lost in history if it were not for my Dad's book.

In the late 1980's early 1990's Dad and I tried to find out if those men were still alive and thank them. We contacted German newspapers. Apart from one the rest were not interested. A German reporter was fascinated and took the details, but sadly it never got to print. German television and radio couldn't have cared less either. It was the same with British radio and television. We also did a request for those men on Classic FM, but they ignored us. Many Germans emigrated to Australia after the war, so we did a request on ABC (Australian Broadcasting). Australia was the only country that tried to help us and the classical programme on Australian ABC were so moved they did all they could to help, but sadly to no avail. 

All the best,

Chris Powis -  War Veteran website 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The rulers of this world must truly hate it when people refuse to do what they are told and, instead, act in a humane way.
This reminds me of WW1 when there were 'outbreaks of peace' all along the Western Front. Allied and German troops met in no man's land at Christmas, they played football, shared photos of loved ones. The Generals were horrified, of course!
Here's an interesting quote, from official sources in WW1: 'The supply of heros must be kept up, at any cost'

Anonymous said...

Hi Tap,

Pictures on this thread aren't showing up. Would be nice to see them :)

All other pictures on the blog are fine and have tried both Chrome and Firefox to view blog/thread in question.

Regards.

Paul said...

Everyone needs to learn from this story. People need to refuse to carry out inhuman orders.

Tapestry said...

Pictures fine here.

I'll get the original link.

Tapestry said...

No link available. It came in by email.

Andrew Llewellyn said...

ah commets seem to be back but still no pics for this post(for me at least)
cheers
andy

Julia said...

It's stories like this, some within my own experience, which remind me that humanity will win. The human spirit is indestructible.
I sometimes wonder if that's what it's all been about. An absolutely massive test to see how strong the human spirit is. You can't find out if you don't put it to the test. Maybe next time round, we will just have faith that the human spirit is strong, and not feel a need to prove it.