Special Orders March 2 1944
The Special Orders cut in
Switzerland on 2 March 1944 designating seven U S Army
officers to be exchanged against seven German aviators also
interned in Switzerland
1st Lt William Cantwell was a
B-17 pilot of the 99th Bomb Group based in Tunisia. His
plane was shot down on 1 October 1943 while on a mission to
Regensburg, Germany. Only five of his plane’s ten-man crew
parachuted out and landed safely in the Alps where they were
picked up by Swiss soldiers.
1st Lt Donald Oakes piloted a
B-17 of the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. He landed
at Dubendorf near Zurich on 17 August 1943 while on a
mission to Regensburq, Germany. His was the first B-17 --
though not the first plane -- to land in Switzerland.
1st Lt Martin Andrews piloted a
B-17 of the 306th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. He made
a forced landing at Magadino, Switzerland while on a mission
to Stuttgart on September 6 1943.
1st Lt Alva Geron, piloting a
B-24 flying out of Tunisia, was on a mission to Wiener
Neustadt, Austria when he was forced to make a landing in a
farmer's field at Thurnau, Switzerland on 13 August 1943.
His was the first American plane to land in Switzerland.
1st Lt Sam Turner, piloting a
B-17 of the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th AF, was on the same
mission to Stuttgart as Andrews. He was forced to ditch in
the Lake of Constance where his dead ball turret gunner went
down with the plane.
2nd Lt Robert Titus was a
navigator of the 95th Bomb Group of the 8th AF. When his
plane went down over France on the 6 September 1943 mission
to Stuttgart, he parachuted safely down, evaded capture, and
crossed the French-Swiss border. Because he had walked into
Switzerland he was considered an "Evadee " not an "Internee
" and could move freely around Switzerland.
2nd Lt Stephen Rapport piloted
a B-17 of the 390th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. He was
on the same mission to Regensburg as Lt Oakes when battle
damage forced him to make a crash landing in a farmer's
field near Utzendorf, Switzerland.