EVADERS/HELPERS ATTENDING THE 2012 REUNION IN ALBUQUERQUE

EVADERS Jesse Casaus, Albuquerque, NM Bombardier Jesse Casaus’s plane crash-landed in northern Yugoslavia in December 1944. All crewmen survived. For a week Lt. Casaus and the rest of the crew walked by night and hid by day, crossing rough terrain full of gullies and brush in cold temperatures, snow and rain. Finally they encountered some of Tito’s partisans and were able to return to Italy. Unlike most evaders, they resumed their missions. Forrest Fenn, Santa Fe, NM Maj. Fenn was shot down during the Vietnam War while returning from a bombing run on Laos; it would have been his final mission. He spent a terrible night in the jungle, aware that the Laotian Communists took no prisoners. Thanks to radio contact, other American airmen rescued him the next day. Forrest Fenn did not want his last mission to be a “shoot-down” and so he volunteered for one more after his rescue. John Katsaros, Haverhill, MA The current AFEES president was a 20-year old gunner when his B-17 was shot down in March 1944. After the French underground spirited him out of a hospital, Katsaros recovered from his wounds and eventually made the grueling trek over the Pyrenees to Spain, returning to England via Gibraltar. He recounted his wartime experience in a selfpublished memoir, Code Burgundy: The Long Escape. Edward Miller, Sedona, AZ Pilot Ed Miller and his crew bailed out of their flak-damaged bomber in January 1944. Miller evaded the enemy for several weeks before finally making contact with the French resistance. While

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traveling to the south of France, he survived an Allied bombing that blew the windows out of his train. He, too, crossed the Pyrenees and returned to England via Gibraltar. Joseph Perry, Redmond, OR German fighter planes finished off Sgt. Perry’s flak-damaged bomber as it returned from a mission. Seven of the crewmembers evaded capture with the help of French farmers and policemen. For two months Perry worked as a farm laborer. When Allied forces liberated the area, Perry returned to England in time to celebrate his 20th birthday. Frank Schaeffer, Montello, WI Little boys and old people led Schaeffer, a flight engineer, to safety after he landed in a French grain field in August 1944. An elderly widow hid the evader and a French agent working for British intelligence. Through a curtained window, Schaeffer watched convoys of retreating German troops pass on the road outside. He emerged from hiding to join the French in a jubilant celebration when GIs liberated their village. John Vasquez, Irvine, CA In February 1945, gunner Vasquez jumped from a damaged plane and landed in a snowy field near a farmhouse in Yugoslavia. The farmers refused to believe Vasquez was American because of his dark complexion. General Mihailovich’s Chetnik soldiers soon picked him up, however, and reunited him with other crewmembers. The group was eventually evacuated by C-47 to Bari, Italy. Joseph Walters, Brooksville, FL All four engines failed as Walters’s plane returned from a mission in August 1943, forcing the crew to jump. Flemish-speaking Belgians immediately extricated Walters from the tree where he landed. His many helpers included a farmer, a sculptor and a man who’d driven a cab in New York City. After several months, the underground succeeded in moving Walters into France and then over the Pyrenees.

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Robert Wilson, Peoria, IL Bombardier Wilson was shot down in Yugoslavia in January 1944. Impoverished Serbian farmers fed him and other stranded Americans; Wilson helped by catching minnows. He is one of over 500 Allied airmen rescued with the help of General Mihailovich during the Halyard mission. After the war, Tito’s regime condemned Mihailovich to death; Wilson and other evaders lobbied unsuccessfully to save him. Wilson visited his helpers in 1966, even though their country was still under Communist rule. Ray Sherk, Toronto, Canada Canadian Ray Sherk served in the Royal Canadian Air Force but regularly attends reunions of American evaders. Sherk has the distinction of being both an escaper and an evader. He jumped from a fighter plane after it malfunctioned, was captured, escaped in Italy, returned to England and resumed flying. Months later, in March 1944, the same mechanical failure occurred in a Spitfire over France, forcing him to parachute. Local people immediately hid the pilot. The Germans later caught and executed the Frenchman who forged Sherk’s identification papers. The same fate befell the guide who took Sherk to southern France. Sherk crossed the Pyrenees into Spain and reached England via Gibraltar.

HELPERS Marguerite Brouard Fraser Miller, Sedona, AZ The Germans interned Mrs. Miller’s family because they were raised on Guernsey in the English Channel. After Mrs. Miller’s mother was released, she and a friend risked their lives, and those of their children, by hiding downed Allied airmen in their Paris apartment. Mrs. Miller was just a teenager then, but she sometimes escorted evaders to

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the train station as they embarked on their journey to the foothills of the Pyrenees. She also served as a typist and courier for the underground. After the war, her family resumed contact with 11 airmen they had hidden, but they only met one of them again. Mrs. Miller settled in the United States in 1975. Although their paths did not cross during the war, their similar wartime experiences led Marguerite and Ed Miller to one another. Evader Ed Miller met the widowed Marguerite Brouard Fraser at an AFEES reunion in 2000.

Gabriel Sauer, Wilmington, NC Gabe Sauer was barely 18 years old when he witnessed the crash landing of a C-47 pulling a glider during the botched Market Garden operation in his native Netherlands. Although he had no underground connections, Sauer hurried to the site, gathered the crewmembers, and continued to pick up other stranded Allies. His group soon numbered 18 and included a Polish officer and a Dutch commando, as well as British and American airmen and paratroopers. Sauer hid them in a forest. Desperate to feed them, he approached a stranger. The man referred Sauer to a neighbor who was hiding Jews. Through this lucky meeting, Sauer managed to procure provisions for his charges and a tarp, their only protection from the elements. The Germans detained the Dutch teen twice when he foraged for food. After a month, the evaders moved to a town liberated by Canadian forces. Sauer immigrated to the USA in 1956. Roger Anthoine, Peron, France A Belgian helper, now living in France, Anthoine participated in underground activities from 1941 until 1944, sometimes helping downed airmen. He worked with the American army after Belgium’s liberation until the war in Europe ended. He never forgot the airmen he had assisted earlier. In post-war years, he became curious about Allied

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fliers who escaped the Nazis and made their way to Switzerland. Roger Anthoine’s extensive research on this subject resulted in a book published in French.

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