Friday, November 11, 2011

Roland ‘Bud’ Wolfe

This is an interesting story I just learned of today

This American who joined the Royal Air Force had quite a unique experience.

What brings his story to us is after 70 years his Spitfire had trouble and crashed in Ireland and has been recently uncovered.

It was machine guns, buried so long are still operable.

The 23-year old, a member of No. 133 Squadron RAF, originally from Nebraska, was on convoy patrol when his engine overheated, eight miles from his RAF base at Eglinton -- now City of Derry Airport. Realizing he would certainly crash, he radioed back to base with a last message: "I'm going over the side."[2] He then pushed back the Spitfire's canopy, released his safety harnesses and jumped out of the plane.

The plane penetrated deep into the peat when it crashed.

Ronald "Bud" Wolfe survived to fight another day.

But not so quick.

. .  instead of fighting again the serviceman was interned in a camp - where captured UK and U.S. troops mixed freely with the German enemy.

Despite managing to escape from Ireland, neutral during the war, and making his way back to Britain, the 23-year-old was sent back to the camp.

Fearing a diplomatic row, the British Government the British Government returned Wolfe to the most relaxed of 'prison' camps in Ireland where he was kept for a further two years.


The pilot from Nebraska had been stripped of his U.S. citizenship after agreeing to fight for the British because the Americans had not yet joined the war.


A most crazy story.

Spitfire down: The WWII camp where Allies and Germans mixed

Wolfe found himself heading not back to his airbase, RAF Eglinton, now City of Derry Airport, in Northern Ireland just 13 miles away, but to Curragh Camp, County Kildare, 175 miles to the south.

Here, a huddle of corrugated iron huts housed 40 other RAF pilots and crewmen who had accidentally come down in neutral territory. They were effectively prisoners of war.

It was an odd existence. The guards had blank rounds in their rifles, visitors were permitted (one officer shipped his wife over), and the internees were allowed to come and go. Fishing excursions, fox hunting, golf and trips to the pub in the town of Naas helped pass the time.

But what was really odd was the proximity of the Germans.

It was not just the British and their allies who got lost above and around Ireland. German sailors from destroyed U-boats and Luftwaffe aircrew also found themselves interned. The juxtaposition of the two sides made for surreal drama.

From war movies, we all know it is the duty of a POW to escape.

On 13 December 1941 he walked straight out of camp and after a meal in a hotel, which he did not pay for, he headed into nearby Dublin and caught the train the next day to Belfast. Within hours he was back at RAF Eglinton where he had taken off two weeks earlier in his defective Spitfire.

He could not have expected what was to happen next. The British government decided that, in this dark hour, it would be unwise to upset a neutral nation.


He was sent back to not such a bad place to spend the war.

Story of this guy does not end there.

This guy " later served in Korea and Vietnam, and died in Florida in 1994. He retired as a lieutenant colonel."


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