World War II U.S. Glider Pilot’s POW Group
Well, my father passed away two-and-a-half years ago, and as I was going through his stuff, I found this box. And this was his cousin. They were all in World War Two together. Then I found an article in 1988. The Department of Defense was offering medals to the prisoner of wars. So he applied for his cousin, who had already passed away. And it was rejected. And so he wrote to Frank's brother's wife, who was still alive, and she sent all this. And so he did receive the prisoner-of-war medal.
You brought in a very, very large group, and we've just highlighted some of the best things here. He was a glider pilot and he was involved in Operation Market Garden, which was a joint British, United States, and Polish airborne operation to capture bridges at the Meuse River in Holland, which would go right into the Rhine River on the German border, and this was going to establish a route into Germany. This would have been September 1944, not long after the invasion of Europe in June of that year. Unfortunately for your relative, his glider was captured by SS Panzer men, and half the men were killed and he was taken prisoner. We've got his emergency map, or his bailout map, as they're called, and we can see where he's marked the Arnhem and Nijmegen area, which is where this operation took place. Unfortunately, this was a disastrous operation because the American and British and Polish troops were dropped right into the middle of two crack S.S. Panzer divisions. You've got his card that was sent home, notifying his family that he was okay, in German custody, in a prisoner-of-war camp and safe. You've got his ID cards in the German language, which would have been in the commandant's office in the prisoner-of-war camp. You've got this-- really, I think it's fascinating-- it's a letter home, but it's addressed to the Red Cross in Switzerland, which would have acted as an intermediary and gotten this home. A log book, a record of the day-to-day happenings in the prison camp. His glider wings, as a glider pilot, his ID bracelet, the United States flag that he would have worn on the arm of his uniform. His ID tag worn in the prisoner-of-war camp. But this, I thought, was fascinating. I think you indicated to me that a fellow prisoner did this artwork, showing the inside of the barracks where he actually slept, and the barracks building, where they were housed. We've also got some cartoons showing a glider being shot at, letters home, and the letter from the war department stating he was taken prisoner, and then there's many other things we don't even have on camera, it's just too much to show. A very popular area of collecting. I would say, at a retail level, probably somewhere... $4,000 to $5,000 range. Especially with all of the other things that we're not showing.
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