F.O. Percy Bruce Crosswell

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by crosswell1960, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. crosswell1960

    crosswell1960 Junior Member

    J88362 Flying Officer (No. 429 Bison Squadron RCAF air gunner) Percy Bruce Crosswell (b.1924) of Prince Albert was KIA 19450414 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial west of London, England, for airmen from the north European theatre who died with no known grave. Crosswell's Lancaster was shot down during a night raid on Dusseldorf. He and two of his crewmates were captured, and Crosswell was shot while trying to escape from Stalag Luft #3. According to They Shall Not Grow Old, he is buried at the POW Camp cemetery, Luckeswilde, as well as being honoured at Runnymede.
    Also written in a book, Objects of Concern:Canadian Prisoners of War through the Twentieth Century on Page161: Three airman tried to cut through a perimiter fence at Stalag A Luckenwalde,they were fired upon and two of the escapers were hit,including Flying Officer Percy Crosswell of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan,who was killed instantly. The fate of other Canadian escapers remains shrouded in mystery.


    Now the story my family was told that yes he was shot but he made to a safe house with the other crewmen.
    Does anyone know how I can fine out who the two other crewman were and if and when these books are written are there facts checked out properly. T.Crosswell
     
  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    I have studied this case since 1992 and have F/O Crosswell's entire service record as it relates to both his time with the Dutch Underground, his subsequent betrayal to the Germans and his incarceration in POW camps ending with his being shot as he and at least one comrade, perhaps two, tried to climb over the fence at Stalag IIIA, Luckenwalde, on 13 April, 1945. I did interviews with RCAF POWs in Ottawa and Toronto in the early '90s who had been at IIIA at the time, it being one of four places where the diaspora from Stalag Luft III ended up, including men who saw him get shot. One RCAF man spoke to the German guard who shot him, a rather old fellow, and asked why he had done it with the war's end so close and the guard just burst into tears and said "Why did he try and escape? The war is over". Just nine days later the Soviet army liberated the camp.

    There are far better books on Canadian POWs than "Objects of Concern" and Professor Jonathan Vance, the author, left out a few things especially about the early 1945 marches. Given the scope of that book I can see how he made these errors. He was dealing with everything from the Boer war up to Korea.

    F/O Crosswell was buried in the cemetery at Luckenwalde which as mentioned subsequently came under Soviet control. A flood washed all the buried men away which is why he is listed on Runnymede as having no known grave.

    His comrade who was also killed was an RAF man, 3050454 F/Sgt Geoffrey Johnson. The two climbed over the fence at 2300 hrs 13 April, were both shot and Johnson was killed immediately. F/O Crosswell died at 1300 hrs the next day. As I recall I have a few photos of him as well as letters written to the RCAF and a Mrs Rowley by Dutch civilians who hid him after his Halifax (LK802) was lost on 23 April, 1944. The opinion of the Dutch, who he told them his name was Paul Bill Crosswell (they referred to him as Wim) was that he had been betrayed. This is written time and again in the many letters written by the Dutch to the RCAF.

    One question I have that occurs immediately: Is his brother still alive? At the time he was serving in the Royal Canadian Navy.

    There are also some extremely sensitive family related issues in the file that I do not think would be appropriate to post in a public forum. I will be happy to send it all to you. My email is alieneyesATyahooDOTcom, replacing the obvious.

    I hope some of this helps. When I get the documents to you, your family will know the whole story of one very brave man.

    Best regards.
     
  3. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Name: CROSSWELL, PERCY BRUCE
    Nationality: Canadian
    Rank: Flying Officer
    Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
    Unit Text: 429 Sqdn.
    Date of Death: 14/04/1945
    Service No: J/88362
    Additional information: Son of Mary Crosswell.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 279.
    Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

    (Name at top of photo - From CL1's collection)

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=32399&d=1279558397
     
  4. Dennis N

    Dennis N Junior Member

    Dear all,

    My name is Dennis Notenboom and chairman of the foundation WO2 Goeree-Overflakkee from the Netherlands who will unveill an information/memorial panel in honor of the crew of the Halifax LK802. Furthermore our foundation is writing a book about the airwar over our island Goeree-Overflakkee and off course the sad story of this crew will be told. I read your posts with great interest as at this moment I'm working on the text for the panel. I'm in close contact with the relatives of two of the crewmembers Francis Fennessey (RCAF) and Herbert Ingle Austin (RAF) and have gathered quite some information including a lot of pictures. I would like to come in contact with both of you to exchange some information. Is that possible?

    Please send me a PM and we will exchange emailaddresses.

    Thanks,
    Dennis Notenboom
     
  5. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    In reading this thread, I am in awe of how well this forum works!
    Well done to all that responded to the original posting by
    T. Crosswell.
     
  6. Dennis N

    Dennis N Junior Member

    Pieter F and ramacal like this.
  7. Dennis N

    Dennis N Junior Member

    I read this on the very good website of the 429th Squadron, it's a complete different story! Can you help me on this Alieneyes?

    Sgt. PB Crosswell became a POW on April 23/24, 1944. He was later killed during the march West from Stalag Luft III on April 14, 1945 when he strolled a little too far from the column of prisoners. The German guard justified it by saying Crosswell was trying to escape. He was actually looking for food. The German guard was appropriately dealt with when the guards and prisoners met up with the Guards Armoured Divison
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    In reading this thread, I am in awe of how well this forum works!
    Well done to all that responded to the original posting by
    T. Crosswell.


    T.Crosswell,

    Hello and welcome to the forum. Judging by the replies some excellent research has been carried out by alieneyes, which is a credit, especially volunteering it all to both you and your family.

    It is the membership of this forum and the Moderators that make it something really special.

    Long may it remain so.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. crosswell1960

    crosswell1960 Junior Member

    Thank You so much for the picture of my Uncle name on the memorial at runnymeade. My father is still alive at 90 yrs old & he will be so excited to see this. Thank you again, T.Crosswell
     
  10. crosswell1960

    crosswell1960 Junior Member

    This is so exciting to hear that my uncle will be honoured this way. My Dad is still alive he is 90. He was in the Navy. Bruce A Crosswell. Alieneyes has emailed me so much information & is so nice to do all of this for families that are looking for information. I have a picture of the river that was named after my Uncle the Crosswell River in Manitoba. All of the information I have received is just a blessing thank you all....you can email me at zzbabe6 (at) gmail.com
    T.Crosswell
     
  11. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    I read this on the very good website of the 429th Squadron, it's a complete different story! Can you help me on this Alieneyes?

    Sgt. PB Crosswell became a POW on April 23/24, 1944. He was later killed during the march West from Stalag Luft III on April 14, 1945 when he strolled a little too far from the column of prisoners. The German guard justified it by saying Crosswell was trying to escape. He was actually looking for food. The German guard was appropriately dealt with when the guards and prisoners met up with the Guards Armoured Divison
    That is completely incorrect. Crosswell was not captured on the date his Halifax went down, nor was he ever at Stalag Luft III or on any march when he was shot. By mid February 1945, he and his entire camp had already been marched to Stalag IIIA, Luckenwalde, where he was sadly shot trying to escape as I have written above.

    I don't know where the 429sqn.ca site got this version of events from but it's not how it happened. I have been through all official documents on this story which includes witness reports and post war RCAF investigation.

    A tiny niggle here: It was No. 429 Squadron, not "429th". That is an American term not used in the British and Commonwealth air forces.

    Hope this is of some help to you.
     
    CL1 likes this.
  12. crosswell1960

    crosswell1960 Junior Member

    Hi Alieneyes not sure if you remember me I'm Percy's niece Tracy Crosswell. We were emailing each other a few years ago. My father Bruce Crosswell passed away last October at the age of 96. I have recently found letters from the families that hid my uncle from the Germans. Your version of the story is right on the money. I hope you will contact me again so we can chat. I have other news for you.
     
  13. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hi Tracy,

    Email sent.

    Kind regards,

    Dave
     

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