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Named Medals, Photos, Camp Items, Etc. Stalag Luft 1 & Stalag 17b


suwanneetrader

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suwanneetrader

I first saw these about 6 years ago. I talked the Son into trying to keep in Family, but I saw him this past weekend and found out that did not work out, They had an offer from a retired Col at a AF Museum in GA but as I had offered more than double he was going to let me have the items. This man's birth father was S Sgt. Harold R. Smith Jr. He passed away when his son was 9 and shortly thereafter (1955) his Mother, Katherine wed S Sgt. Kenneth L. Kelley.

 

As the son was only 9 at the time, and now he is in early stages of dementia, his story that both men had been friends in WWII on the same bomber, and were shot down together and were POW's together at Stalag 17b. This has not checked out in my feeble attempt of research. I have found S Sgt Harold Smith Jr (ser# 33711545) was shot down approx. Mar. 24, 1945 and was a POW at Stalag Luft 1 Barth Vogelsang Prussia, and S Sgt. Kenneth L. Kelley (ser # 33408048) was shot down Apr. 11, 1944, and was a POW at Stalag 17b Braunau Gneikendorf near Krems Austria.

 

In the Group is Harold Smith's cased and named Purple Heart, and a dog tag. His son thought he was a pilot but as a S Sgt. on a Heavy Bomber it is not likely, evidence indicates probably a Gunner. There was a Silver Star awarded to Harold R. Smith but I'm not sure it was this one in question.

 

The Group also contains S Sgt. Kenneth L. Kelley's named Air Medal, named Prisoner of War Medal and a unnamed Good Conduct Medal. A large Gunner's Wing Kelley made into a ring while in POW Camp as well as a Coffee Cup made from what I think was a canned Milk tin can (it has about half of the lettering burn't off from an open flame but still has his initials "KK" on it). There is also a small Gunner's Wing (Records show he was a Nose Gunner on a B-24) by Amico. A S Sgt stripe, a .50 Cal deactivated cartridge, and some kind of POW ID tag for something. A US Air Corps lapel pin and a 57 page autographed presentation illustrated copy of "Shot-Down" by his friend S Sgt. Ben H. Phelper who was also a POW at Stalag 17b.

Then there is a metal bound Name/Address Rooster made from a Powdered Milk Tin for a cover and with Cigarette pack wrappers for pages. It has a piece of tin riveted to the front with "STALAG XVII B and No. 105279 stamped on it. This is supposed to be Kelley's Prisoner number. Inside is name and addresses (Probably for after the war contacts), some have "dead" by them.

There is a War Time Newspaper Article with photos of Kenneth Kelley and 3 brothers and one sister who were serving in WWII.

The highlight is a Nov. 15, 1968 newspaper article about the photos of his crashlanded B-24 in which 5 of the 10 crew died, The photos were mailed to the US War Dept by the German man who witnessed the crash near his home and took photos on 4-11-1944. Now it was 1968 and the man in his 70's sent the letter which was in German but a neighbor translated and rewrote in longhand. It was addressed to John Downey (I think he was the Pilot as letter from Joseph Mast of Vreden, Germany requested Downey share them with the Crew). Three pictures show plane wreckage, a German Doctor and a Policeman assisting the Waist Gunner Tony Van Wymeren laying on the ground with shot up broken leg, which he lost. There is also a Jan. 1944 photo of the Crew.

There is also a large photo (from a magazine) of the "Little Warrior" Bomber which the seller thought was his Dad's, but he was not sure as he had seen a Photo of the crew standing under Kelley's plane and it had 2 Dice with a Dragonfly over them for Nose Art.

 

I apologize for the lengthy description and all the pictures attached with this posting. But I believe this is a POW Group worthy of the extra space and time. Someone needs to continue the research. I believe I finally have something that someone will trade me a Green Wool M1917 - 1918 patched USMC Uniform for, even if a dealer. I am not offering for sale as I will be proud to hold this and only trade for the item I've been looking for for 5 years. Richard

 

 

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ww2relichunter

Very nice grouping this has many key pieces and everything looks like it was kept in great shape

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suwanneetrader

Thankyou. I really tried about 6 years ago to see the family kept them but when it did not work out I grabbed them up. We (Collectors like us ) will keep these brave former Flyboys POWs memory alive. Richard

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suwanneetrader

I guess I'll move this to For Trade tomorrow, but with all the pics etc it will be time consuming. I thought for this area of collecting this was best place to get some exposure. :) Richard

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Hi Richard, I heavily collect POW material as you can see from my avatar, but don't have any WWI USMC items to trade.

 

Is that the only thing you are looking for?

 

Kurt

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suwanneetrader

Durn It: I know you are an advanced collector and I would like to see you get the items as you would find out even more. Maybe we can get a 3 way trade going? Richard

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Great group. Thanks for sharing it. It's a great complete AAF POW group. I hope you can trade it for what you are looking for!

 

JD

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suwanneetrader

Thankyou JD: I hope so also, then I'll have filled an important slot in my collection, and a AAF or POW collector will do likewise and I will be able to tell the son (who had two Fathers in a German POW camp after being shot down) even more history on his 2 Dads. Richard

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Hi Richard

 

I will see what information I can turn up on them. I especially like the the home made diary. The fact he put half of his POW dogtag on the cover is awesome!!

 

Kurt

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suwanneetrader

Thank You Thank you for trouble you went to. I want you to have items more than ever now. Richard

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suwanneetrader

To me it is interesting that Smith was a gunner on a B17 out of Italy shot down over Berlin then took to Stalag 1 and Kelley was a gunner on a B24 flying out of England shot down over Oschersleben,Ger. then taken to Stalag 17b. Only to windup that Smith died in a truck wreck approx. 1954 - 55 and Kelley married his widow. As a side note: Smith's son, 9 at the time did not like Kelley at first and went to live with Grandmother for awhile. RLM

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