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Fry was arrested in the same jail as Nielsen and Beers.  Fry told the researcher in 1986, that he was a very frightened, downed young pilot, 42 years ago.  His aircraft was a P-51 Mustang.  The plane had the name ”Julia”.  The name was painted in big letters on front of the plane.  It was the name of his girlfriend.  David M. Fry was recalled by the Air Force in 1949 and began to see the world.  In 1977, he retired, as a Lt. Col.  His last station was Aviano, Italy.

 

Lt. Fry's "Julia" with her Crew Chief

 

Some notes about Lt. Fry: He was a pilot of the 55th Fighter Group, 343rd Fighter Squadron.  Plane Serial Number: 44-13374, Type: P-51D, Squad: 343, A/C: CY-D, Pilot: Fry, Rank Given Name: Lt. David M., Markings: Julia, Comments: Lost in this a/c 13. Sept. 44 – POW.

 

On September 14th, between 2300 and 2400 hours in the night, they brought all three downed airmen away.  They were loaded into a German truck.  Fry suggested to Nielsen that they overpower the guard and steal the truck to attempt escape.  The German guard turned to them and in perfect English, said, ”I wouldn’t try that, if I were you.”  Fry and Nielsen were shocked that the guard had understood them.  They were taken to Giessen, Germany where they would spend the night in the railroad station on its terrazzo-tile floor.  Nielsen remembered that while at the Giessen railroad station, a German troop-train arrived.  A very large German soldier got off the train, and for reasons unknown, picked Lt. Donald Beers out of the crowd of prisoners, and beat him soundly.  From there, the men were taken to Oberursel, Germany to an interrogation center.  As part of a group of about 40 prisoners, they were led to the facility through the streets, where German civilians spit on them and yelled at them.  They were gathered in a small room together.  They assumed that the room was bugged, so they did not talk.  Here he was placed in solitary confinement for a couple days.  He was then taken to a room where a German officer interrogated him.  Along the walls were hung many American items.  The German officer spoke fluent English, and informed Nielsen that he had been educated at Ohio State University.  The officer asked Nielsen about fifty questions, and only got ”name, rank and serial number” for an answer.  Among some items lying on the German’s desk was a US flight navigator’s computer.  Nielsen picked it up and idly began spinning its dials.  The German officer smiled, and said, ”Ah, you are a navigator.”  He knew this because only a navigator would likely know what this device was.  The German pulled out a big, light-blue colored book.  On the cover was the insignia for the 303rd Bomber Group.  The German began quoting facts about Nielsen’s unit.  Then he said something that astounded Nielsen.  The officer said, ”Oh, Captain Heller is coming back.”  Heller had been absent from the 303rd, and even the men of the 303rd Bomber Group were not aware that he was scheduled to return.  This revealed a very high level of German intelligence of American activities.

 

Crater of where part of Liberty Run had crashed

 

Nielsen was taken to a transient camp at Wetzlar, Germany, the town where Leica cameras were made.  Nielsen was placed on a train and sent to Stalag Luft I in the town Barth (Note: located northeast from the town Rostock), at the Baltic Sea.  Again, he was with Lt. David Malcolm Fry, the P-51 pilot.  It was at this Stalag where he met the 384th Bomber Squadron pilot whose plane had blown up just before “Liberty Run’s” engine caught fire.  (Note: Stalag Luft I was a special prison for fliers.  They treated these POWs better than POWs in the other camps.  It was a rule.)

 

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