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POW LETTERS OF 2LT JUSTIN KEGLEY, STALAGLUFT I


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Recently, I picked up five pieces of correspondence at a local gun show. They were written by Justin W. Kegley of Indianapolis. Although I don’t have his records or the MACR yet, I thought I would post a couple of examples of the correspondence along with what little information that I know.

Justin Kegley entered the service in September 1941 and was trained as a pilot. At Harvard, Nebraska, he was assigned as co-pilot of a of a B-17 crew, with Claude L. Hickey as pilot. In November, 1943, this crew flew to England and was assigned to the 710th Bomb Squadron, 447th Bomb Group. January 11, 1944 was their third mission, the target being the Focke-Wulf factory at Braunschweig.

 

Hickey's crew before leaving Harvard, Nebraska taken October 6, 1943. ( http://www.447bg.com/Hickey%20Crew.htm ) Kegley is second from the viewer's left.

 

 

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Due to weather, “Hick’s Hack” and two other aircraft were unable to find their group, but did find locate the high squadron of the leading 94th Bomb Group and fell in with them.

A recall was ordered, but the 94th BG continued on as they were only 25 miles from the target. Unable to locate the target, the squadron that with which Kegley’s aircraft had joined, went around and tried a second bomb run. The other squadrons of the 94th bombed the target on their initial run.

Successful on their second attempt, the lead squadron headed for home. Immediately after leaving the target area, German BF 110s armed with rockets attacked “Hick’s Hack.” The tail gunner was able to shoot down two of the three attacking a/c, but their B-17 had lost two engines. The third BF 110 continued the attack and knocked out a third engine.

 

Kegley's postcard home from the Dulag.

 

 

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Unable to return home, Hickey made the decision to crash land the bomber. He already had one dead crewman, waist gunner S/SGT John L. Roth, and other crew members wounded.

Two crewmembers bailed out and Hickey crash-landed the aircraft near Wagonfeld, Germany and all were taken prisoner. (For more details, please go to http://www.basher82.nl/Data/margraten/roth1.htm )

Kegley was sent to a Dulag Luft. A POW transit camp and eventually assigned to Stalag Luft I, near Barth, Germany. He was liberated on June 1, 1945.

 

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I hope to add more to this thread as I receive the records. However, feel free to post any information you may find!

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Hi Beast

 

You can get a full copy of the MACR from Fold3.com . Do you have a subscription?

 

The DULAG LUFT card is a scarce one. The cards from Dulag Luft were given to them at the interrogation center right after they were captured before they were transferred to a permanent camp.

 

Kurt

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Hi Beast

 

You can get a full copy of the MACR from Fold3.com . Do you have a subscription?

 

The DULAG LUFT card is a scarce one. The cards from Dulag Luft were given to them at the interrogation center right after they were captured before they were transferred to a permanent camp.

 

Kurt

 

Kurt,

 

Thanks for the information about the Dulag, I didn't realize that these were that scarce. I was really surprised to see these at the gun show. They were in the very last row of the show and i had given up hope of finding anything.

 

I do have a subscription to Fold3, and will download a copy of the MACR tonight or tomorrow. I did a google search of "Hick's Hack" and found quite a few hits on-line. Most interesting to me was how many relatives were searching for information on the other crew members. I'll probable reach out to a few of them and see if they other photos of the crew that would include Kegley.

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carthage light guard

A great grouping, Erick. I particularly like the "we are o.k. here, only just a little tired of this sort of life" line. Let us know when you find more.

 

Jeff

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Kurt,

 

Thanks for the information about the Dulag, I didn't realize that these were that scarce. I was really surprised to see these at the gun show. They were in the very last row of the show and i had given up hope of finding anything.

 

I do have a subscription to Fold3, and will download a copy of the MACR tonight or tomorrow. I did a google search of "Hick's Hack" and found quite a few hits on-line. Most interesting to me was how many relatives were searching for information on the other crew members. I'll probable reach out to a few of them and see if they other photos of the crew that would include Kegley.

 

The Dulag Luft ones are tough, if you think about it, an Airman might have sent 1 card from Dulag Luft, and then 2-3 a month from a permanent camp. I have groups with as many as 50 cards from Luft I, but only 1 from Dulag Luft.

 

Out of the @ 800-900 POW letters I have from Americans in German camps, only 5 are from Dulag Luft.

 

Kurt

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A great grouping, Erick. I particularly like the "we are o.k. here, only just a little tired of this sort of life" line. Let us know when you find more.

 

Jeff

 

 

Thanks Jeff, will do!

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