Flight Lieutenant Charles Fredrick Peter Brown
Unit : RNZAF, attached to A Flight, 7 Squadron, RAF.
Service No. : N.Z.39664
POW No. : 222489
Camps : Oflag VIIB.
Peter Brown, a New Zealander, served in the RAF as a pathfinder but was shot down over Holland. What follows is an account of his closing days in captivity.
'Over the years I have often thought about a Lt. Andrew, a man with whom I made an escape as a P.O.W. in Germany in 1945. I knew him as Andy.'
'We had been imprisoned at Oflag 7B, at Eichstadt. Because of the proximity of advancing allied troops, the Germans decided to shift the prisoners to a prison camp near Munich. Andy and I had decided that if the opportunity arose we would escape and head northwards and slightly west of Nuremberg and to somehow make contact with the advancing force.'
'Unfortunately, just after leaving the prison camp, the column of prisoners was straffed by some American planes. Some prisoners were killed and a number wounded. It was decided by the Commandant that it would be safer to return us to the camp and shift us out during the night.'
'I think it was 12 April when we left camp. After passing over the bridge at Eichstadt we moved up a hill into the forest. About fifteen minutes later our column was halted to allow for the passage of a number of trucks moving in the opposite direction.'
'When the guards ordered the column to start moving again, Andy and I managed to escape. We headed down the hill through the forest, across a railway line, then across the river, which fortunately at this point was less than chin deep. We then managed to get past the camp, across a road, and headed north into the hills.'
'We decided to travel as far as we could during the night then to find somewhere to conceal ourselves before dawn. We were lucky enough to enjoy bright moonlight nights and fine weather all of the time we were on the move. We had a few narrow squeaks, but we were lucky.'
'After about a week of moving during the night and hiding during the day we moved to the edge of a pine plantation and could observe tanks moving around in the vicinity of some houses about a kilometre away. We decided that they must be American tanks as at that time the allies had virtually complete air control.'
'Andy decided that it would be OK to make our way across to the tanks, so, holding a white flag, we did so and were given a good reception. We were taken to a house where a german woman ran a bath for us and we enjoyed the luxury of a good night's sleep in a huge bed.'
'A couple of days later I was shifted to a P.W.X. camp near Manheim and about ten days after that was flown back to England and landed there near Nottingham on V.E. day. I don't recall what arrangements were made for Andy's return to Britain but I suppose he would have been put in touch with the British army and hopefully returned home safely.'
'I have often felt sorry that from that time Andy and I lost touch. It would be good to know what became of him and to be able to contact him if possible.'
Peter Brown currently resides in his native New Zealand, and he would welcome any assistance in tracking down Lieutenant Andrew. It is believed that he may be one of the following; Lt J.C. Andrew, REME, Service No. 9742, P.O.W. No. 1415, or Lt. J.P. Andrew, The Welch Regiment, Service No. 217410, P.O.W. No. 50099.
Offsite Links: Peter Brown - Artist
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