Date: 1944 Jan 30/30 A/C Type: B-24 H  Liberator SN: 42-73507 Code: A/C Nickname: Sunday Girl
 File: 432 Airforce: USAAF Sqn/Unit: 93 BG - 328 BS Mission/Raid: Brunswick (Braunschweig)
1 Pilot 1Lt. Harold J. Killian     evd. to Switzerland 9 RWG S/Sgt George R. Haynie    POW
2 Co-pilot 2Lt. Henry V. Schultz   evd. to Switzerland 10 TG S/Sgt Duthiel H. Borcherding   POW
3 Nav. 2Lt. Edward L. James    POW 11    
4 B 2Lt. Carl J. Guzikowski  POW 12    
5 E T/Sgt Raymond A. Slomowicz    evd. 13    
6 RO T/Sgt Theo S. Simmons  evd. 14    
7 BTG Sgt Leroy Croy,  evd. 15    
8 LWG S/Sgt Donald H. Crawford, evd. 16                    

Return from Brunswick. Over Dummer Lake left formation in trouble. Over Lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea) had its 3rd engine out and turned to the southern shore line. Made successful belly landing east of Bunschoten with all 10 crew on board.

Northeast of Osnabrück the aircraft flew lower and lower, but still in direction of Great Yarmouth in England. Over the central lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea) in Holland, a third engine stopped and it was eminent the B-24 had to ditch in the lake. Northeast of Amsterdam pilot 1Lt. Harold J. Killian decided to turn to the left and ditch or land as close as possible to the Southern lake shore line. He managed to get two miles inland and belly landed in the meadows between Bunschoten and Nijkerk, near a hamlet named Palestina, village Zevenhuizen. Today this is just north of motorway A1 behind Texaco petrol station Neerduist (Amersfoort-North, Vathorst).   

On the ground all ten men stepped out unhurt. Pilot Killian told them to split-up in teams and to get moving in separate directions (see image below). The Germans would arrive on the scene soon.

Four men were arrested after a few hours northwest of village Hoevelaken, not far from the landing position. They were 2Lt. Guzikowski, S/Sgt. Haynie, S/Sgt. 'Dutch' Borcherding and 2Lt. Edward L. James. They were brought to the Amsterdam jail and interrogated there for the first time. In this jail, Lt. James met "Lt. Edward Meade", a wounded fighter pilot with both his legs injured. Note: this was 2Lt. Edwin R. Mead (nick name "Sailor"), P-47D 42-8506, 4FG-335FS, shot down same day east in the Netherlands near the German boder. 

Lt. Killian and his co-pilot Lt. Henry Schultz evaded successfully and reached (with a lot of help and luck) Switzerland. One of their first safe houses was with pilot helper Mr. Gelius Ottens in Amersfoort. He later was awarded (12 March 1947) the Medal of Freedom for his dangerous pilot help in WW2.

Tech. sergeants Raymond Slomowicz and Theo Simmons found safe houses in the area first. The Dutch resistance assisted them south towards Belgium. Seven months later in August 1944 their hiding place was passed by Americans troops from Normandy and they were liberated.

Belly turret gunner Sgt. Leroy Croy and Left waist gunner S/Sgt. Donald H. Crawford also made it towards the south and evaded successfully, first safe house being in village Appel near Voorthuizen.



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- Photo belly landing Jan 1944:

© ZZairwar (Zuyder Zee Air War)