Krieg in der Luft -> Stalag Luft VI, St. Wendel, Germany -> Leeland T. Engelhorn

Leeland T. Engelhorn


home: San Diego, CA


SSgt, Ball turret gunner

15th AF 55th Bomb Wing 465th BG 780th BS


pilot: Lawrence Crane

Base: Pantenella Air Base, Italien

flew from Pantenella Air Base, Italy


1.  August 3, 1944, returning from a bombing run on the Manzel Jet Plant, Friedrichshafen, Germany - by Me 109s, 11:24 hrs - 5 B-24s and 13 Me-109s lost - crashed near Innsbruck, Austria - I was taken POW near Imst, Austria

2.  I was loose for 18 days - taken by German lieutenant from Imst to DuLag Luft Wetzlar then to St. Wendel

3.  by train - I think I went to Mannheim on Stuttgart first - not sure - my memory is quite dim on this (incidentally the Engelhorn family has its beginning in Altlossheim near Mannheim - my father's father migrated to the US in 1860s from Hockenheim)

4.  don't recall - Luftwaffe Lt. delivered me personally

5.  No - none of this do I recall

6.  quite a short time. Remember I was not captured for 18 days. then short time in hospital of Imst - then to several Luftwaffe Air Bases - to Dulag Luft then to St. Wendel. Incidally I caught up with 3 members of my crew there - 2 were KIA. These men were picked up on August 3 - officers went to Barth

7.  don't recall - maybe several hundred - maybe more

8.  only US that I am aware of

9.  the building that I was detained in was - I think - a large round building - used as a motor pool - garage or maybe house barn - open - with straw on floor - no latrines - very filthy

10.  train to Stalag Luft IV

11.  nothing - exempt this large barn like structure was surrounded by barbed wire with machine gun towers at intervals. All of us picked up body lice there because of the unsanctuary conditions

12.  no - but I would like too very much. I recall the beauty of the country side - with vineyards and orchards - it this correct? Is the location in the Saar Valley?

13.  none


MACR 7538

ME 1855



465 BG 780 BS



03.08.1944, 1137 hrs


B-24   # 42-52498


P        Crane  Lawrence Richard     1Lt    

Co      Kurtz   Robert Russell 2Lt

Nav    Spontak        Joseph 2Lt

Bom    Britton George Henry 2Lt

Eng     Bracken        Leonard Edwad        SSgt  

ROp    Cooper          Johan Shreffler        SSgt  

Gnr     Englehorn      Leeland Thomas       Sgt

Gnr     Jezowski       Anthony John Sgt

Gnr     Hamilton        Lawrence Joseph      SSgt

Gnr     Sellars Charles Francis        SSgt


no witnesses. Not seen after attack by enemy fighters


a map shows an area west of Innsbruck, including the towns Lermos, Elmen, Nassereith, Haining.


statement of Paul Schmitt, Captain, AC, S2 Officer of 465 BG


on the mission of 3 August 33, on the return trip over Austria-Germany, our group was attacked by enemy aircraft. During the short time the attack lasted, the fast action and shifting movements of planes was so confusing that it was impossible for personnel of our formation to accurately identify our losses in planes as they left the group.


Some of the planes were burning and others damaged and dropping out of the formation and down, all in a very few minutes. Parachutes were seen coming from most of the planes, but it was not possible to determine the identity of the planes in most cases.



Sellars, Gunner

1. not to my knowledge


3. I assumed that his chute had burned up

4. no conversation - interphone out of commission

5. to my knowledge only badly burned about face

6. in waist compartment


8. While in the bomb bay section Sellars came out to me and motioned that his chute had been lost. I tried to get him to ride down pick-a-back but he returned to the waist compartment which was badly burning. I got up from the catwalk and went in to look for him but he was not seen. I assume that he had found the extra chute and had bailed. Upon getting in contact with the other crew I later found out that here was no extra chute carried that day. I noticed only the burns on his face and could not tell if he was wounded further. It was his first mission with our particular crew.


Interrogation of Kurtz:

2 Waist Gunners, Ball Gunner, Bombardier left thru waist windows and bomb bay; Pilot, Copilot + upper turret gunner thru bomb bay, navigator thru nose, nose gunner and tail gunner no knowledge


Because of an automobile accident several days earlier 3 members of our crew were not available. For the mission of August 3rd accordingly 3 gunners of another crew flew with us that day and I am not familiar with their names and corresponding crew positions. However from other crew members in the waist I learned that the tail gunner was killed practically instantly in his position as the fighters which shot us down attacked from the rear and the tail was under immense fire.


From the navigator I learned that the nose gunner was ready to bail out of the nose immediately following him but evidently either the sip exploded before he jumped or he was killed in landing by natural circumstances or the Germans.


About Hamilton:

saw him floating down in parachute. lost sight of him in clouds. he was headed for a high mountain peak. I assume that he met his death upon striking those jagged rocks. I have heard from his mother that his body has not been recovered and I am firmly convinced that his remains are somewhere on those mountains.



Statement concerning the plane crash on the 3rd of August 1944 at Brändle near Ehrwald


Ehrwald, 23. June 1946


On the 3rd of August 1944 at noon 4 formations of American planes flew over our valley from the direction of Innsbruck and were going in the direction of Kempten. Some time after they returned and German fighters attacked the last planes. One of the planes burnt at once and crashed near my house. Some German soldiers who stayed here went to the crash point but they did not come back, Therefore, I went to the crash point in the afternoon and found a dead man in a distance of 250 meters from the plane. He was approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, had curly hair and was burned very badly. I suposed that he was a navigator because he had still the head-receiver. In the wreckage of the plane was also a mulitlated body which was burning. I supposed that he was also a pilot because he was in the nose of the plane. His hair was reddish. I did not find personal effects or identification tags.


From this plane 4 men of the crew jumped out with parachutes one of them was a lieutenant. This officer went to an Alpine dairy which is situated in a little distance from my house. 2 other airmen were escorted to my house by a shepherd boy. They went then to Ehrwald. A customer of my Hotel, who was walking near my house, came back with one of the flyers. I ask two civilians who were by chance at my inn, to accompany him to Ehrwald. The fifth pilot was brought fromt he Coburger Inn. 3 or 4 weeks after my collegue, who the innkeeper of the Coburger inn, told me that a commission had inspected the crash point. The bodies, which were already decayed very much, were dosed with gasoline and burned. The remains were buried at the crash point.


Statement received from Joseph Posch, innkeeper at Ehrwald.


Unknown X-6878

Reinterred US MilCem St. Avold, IIII-4-48




On the 3rd of August 1944 at noon the last formation of American planes was suddently attacked by German fighter planes above the valley of Lermos and Biberwier. One bomber was shot and exploded in the air. From the other burning planes several parachutes bailed out. I hoped that though it many lives would be saved. On plane crashed near "Brändlisee". I wanted to go the crash point and to write down the number of the plane in order to facilitate investigations. But I did not find the time. The bad weather, the school and other duties prevented me from doing so. When I heard that the dead man who had been found near the plane, had been burnt by German soldiers ecasue his corpse was already putrefied very much, I supposed, that the soulds would have established the number of the plane. The formation returned to Italy and was flying from the west to the east.


Signature: Alois Haufis, Priest



Jack D. Fischer





8th AF 303rd BG 358th BS

ball turret gunner




1.  waist + tail gunner killed in plane. Co-Pilot was killed by civilians on ground. The rest POW - near Trier + Prüm

2.  to Köln and then to Frankfurt

3.  by train from Wetzlar to St. Wendel

4.  I think we walked after we arrived in St. Wendel. You could see the town from the camp.

5.  I think you could see the church from the camp

6.  we were the last group to arrive. Maybe a week and a half

7.  I guess around 125 to 150; only US; no German civilians around, no doctor

8.  one beg barn - enclosed in barbed wire

9.  Chuck Hartney and Frank Dwyer tried to escape about 3 or 4 days before we were moved out.

10.  Grosstychow Stalag Luft IV

11.  we could see the red deer late in the afternoon on the fields south east of the camp

12.  no

Historische Forschungen · Roland Geiger · Alsfassener Straße 17 · 66606 St. Wendel · Telefon: 0 68 51 / 31 66
E-Mail:  alsfassen(at)  (c)2009

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