Interrogation of Pilot Officer Geoff Packham on his release from prisoner of war camp

MPackhamG1214349-160825-010001.jpg
MPackhamG1214349-160825-010002.jpg

Title

Interrogation of Pilot Officer Geoff Packham on his release from prisoner of war camp

Description

On his return to Great Britain after his release from prisoner of war camp, Geoff Packham was interrogated by his commanding officer. His aircraft was damaged during a raid on Sterkrade by Holten. The bailed out over the Netherlands. He was captured and transferred to a Dulag Luft camp then Stalag Luft 1. The camp was liberated by the Russians on 1st May 1945.

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1945-05-22

Contributor

Roger Dunsford

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

Two typewritten sheets

Language

Identifier

MPackhamG1214349-160825-010001,
MPackhamG1214349-160825-010002

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

[inserted] 21A [/inserted]
From:- R.A.F.Station, NORTH KILLINGHOLME.
[missing word] Headquarters, No. 1 Group.
Copy to:- HQ No. 13 Base.
O.C. 550 Squadron. [inserted] (file copy.) [/inserted]

Ref:- NK/S.2944/INT.
Date:- 22nd May, 1945.

[underlined] STATION NARRATIVE NO. 20. [/underlined]
530/P Pilot. P/O Packham.
IL 747 Flight Eng. Sgt. Pettit.
Air Bomber. Sgt. Jenkins.
Navigator. Sgt. Matthews.
Wireless Op. Sgt. Willson.
M/U/G. Sgt. Jackson.
R/G. Sgt. Morgan.

The following account is submitted after interrogation of P/O PACKHAM on his return to England after release from a P.O.W. Camp in Germany:-

“P” took off from North Killingholme at 2319 hours on the 16th June, 1944 on a bombing mission to the STERKRADE Synthetic Oil Plant at HOLTEN on the northwestern [sic] edge of the Ruhr. The mission was uneventful until approximately 0100 hours i.e. 20 minutes before H-hour, when in flying through a loose flak barrage “P” was hit affecting the port inner engine which was rendered completely unserviceable and also rendering the port outer partly unserviceable. In addition the perspex in the nose and the pitot head was blown away and the hydraulic system rendered unserviceable. The height flown at this time was 18,000ft. The mission was continued to the target, arriving there at approximately 15,000ft. Endeavours were made to release the bombs first manually then by other means, but all efforts were unavailing. In addition it was not found possible to open the bomb doors. “P” remained in the target area orbitting [sic] for approximately 5 minutes with an intense barrage of fla[deleted]c[/deleted]k and searchlights present while these endeavours to release the bombs were attempted. Finally “P” left [inserted] THE [/inserted] target area with all its bomb load (1 x 4,000 lb. H.C.; 6 x 500 lb. G.P. TD.0.025; 6 x 500 lb. G.F. N.I.; 4 x 500 lb. G.F.LD). It was found impossible to maintain height which was gradually lost to approximately 12,000 ft. About 15 minutes after leaving the target on the north bound homeward route a single ME 110 was seen 50 yards away on the starboard quarter level flying parallel. No exchange of fire was made, but evasive action was taken and the enemy aircraft lost to view. Some minutes later a similar enemy aircraft appeared again on the starboard quarter and again evasive action was taken and no attack developed. During these encounters height had been lost to 10,000 ft. “P” had now reached the eastern frontiers of Holland and the intention was to continue if possible to England. However, the port outer engine now became completely unserviceable and with the aircraft supported only by the two starboard motors it was realised that not even the Dutch coast could be reached, so course was set southward away from heavily built up areas and baling out orders issued by the Captain to the remainder of the crew. Height was then approximately 5,000 ft. All the crew baled out successfully, the pilot having considerable difficulty in keeping the aircraft on an even trim, while he baled out last. This was finally accomplished by shutting off the two remaining engines and gliding the aircraft for the last few moments. Even then the aircraft began to spin as the pilot left it. P/O Packham had no difficulty in pulling his [inserted] [symbol] NOT ME [/inserted] ripcord and landed uneventfully in a wheat field, although he had a severe wound [symbol] in his hand probably sustained during his leaving the aircraft. His aids box and map pack had fallen out of his pocket in descending. He landed approximately 1/4 mile from the small village of VLIJMEN (5142/0512E). He buried his parachute and made his way to a church adjoining the village after seeing “P” crash, in believed open country, several miles away. He spent the rest of the night sleeping in the churchyard. At daybreak he approached a cottager who in turn brought the vicar who spoke English. After explaining his position P/O Packham was enable [sic] to contact the Dutch underground movement who then organised his movements for some considerable time. During these movements he was joined by his mid-upper gunner Sgt. JACKSON.

/During…

[page break]

- 2 –

During the course of his assisted progress southward the Gestapo found [deleted] him [/deleted] inserted] THEM [/inserted] and after interrogation in which some threats but no actual pressure or physical violence was made, the two aircrew were incarcerated in the Wehrmacht jail in ANTWERP. From there [deleted] his [/deleted] [inserted] THEIR [/inserted] progress was via the Luftwaffe Centre at BRUSSELS, where [inserted] T [/inserted] he [inserted] Y [/inserted] [deleted] was [/deleted] [inserted] WERE [/inserted] again interrogated in a straightforward manner, then by rail to OBERURSAL (Dulag Luft) where further interrogation took place. They were only detained there for one afternoon, being transfered [sic] again by train to WETZLER (Dulag Luft) where they stayed for 3 or 4 days. Here they had their first good meal for 3 weeks from Red Cross parcels supplies.

[inserted] [symbol] THIS APPLIES SOLELY TO TO [sic] GHP – JACKSON WENT TO AN NCO’S POW CAMP [/inserted]

Finally they were transfered to their permanent P.O.W. Camp at BARTH-VOGELSANG (Stalag Luft I) on the Baltic Coast, which they arrived at on the 3rd August, 1944. The conditions in this camp were fairly good with the Commandant observing reasonable regulations and treatment; food by means of the Red Cross parcels was adequate although there was a period of several weeks when the supply of these failed and stocks became exhausted. The camp was finally released from the Germans by the Russian advance on the 1st May, 1945, when the first week of freedom was celebrated by assisting in de-mining the local airfield, enabling Fortresses to land and evacuate ex P.O.W. back to England. During his sojourn at Stalg Luft I P/O Packham was joined about October, 1944 by S/Ldr. MACALEAVY and F/O BENSON also from 550 Squadron who had been shot down while on operations on the 28th August, 1944. After returning to England P/O Packham was informed that the whole of the rest of his crew had been taken prisoner. [symbol]

[signature] S/Ldr.
for Group Captain Commanding,
R.A.F. STATION, NORTH KILLINGHOLME.

Collection

Citation

RAF North Killingholme, “Interrogation of Pilot Officer Geoff Packham on his release from prisoner of war camp,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 6, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18687.

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