Onward!...his stories continue.


 Responses from Masters of the Air

Marilyn Walton

Thu, Mar 21, 9:47 AM 

to me


Thank you, Margot,


The computer generated imaging (CGI)  really brought out the true terror of being in those bombers. For the most part, that was all extremely accurate. Those scenes were spectacular for sure.


Hollywood does take license sometimes, and it happened here. Some things were exaggerated, if that makes you feel any better about you father’s experiences. The POWs never fought with the German guards at VIIA for instance before liberation. The guards had all left 1-2 days before. And no P-51 ever fired into that camp. One, and some other fighter planes, flew over a few days before liberation doing victory rolls, and all the men cheered. They knew freedom was coming soon. Only West Compound went to Nuremberg, and Alex Jefferson never did. The was a dear friend of mine, and I still miss him.


here was a second march for those West men first week in April to Moosburg, but it was lovely springtime weather then. That column was strafed once by friendly fire, and it never happened again. Everyone knew that the war was over by then, and the POWs shared their Red Cross parcels along the way with their German guards. POWs also traded with very friendly Germans using cigarettes and chocolate for “money.”


And the American flag was not on top of a barracks’ roof! I have no idea why they did that. They had all the pictures I sent.


Here is the true story from one of my books. It has always been one of my favorites:


                                                                          1st Lt. Martin Allain


                                       “I see that the old flagpole still stands. Have our troops hoist the colors to its peak, and let no enemy ever haul them down.”

                                                                                                                                                                                              Gen. Douglas MacArthur


          Long after the liberated prisoners had left the camp, one man would be remembered for decades. 1st Lt. Martin Allain, a B-26 pilot, who had crash landed in Tunisia in 1943, was only twenty-three when he stood before interrogators after being shot down over North Africa. Beneath his tongue, he hid a Sacred Heart medal given to him by his mother. It was the first of two prized possessions he would hide as a prisoner of war. As a security officer at Stalag Luft III, he was entrusted with the second treasure, a large American flag given to him by Lt. Col. Clark. The flag was to be displayed for identification if the Allied planes, by some miracle, appeared one day flying over the camp. Allain sewed the flag between two German blankets for safe keeping.


          When the cold winds and driven snow had surrounded him on the Forced March, Allain wrapped the double blanket containing the flag around him more tightly. The treasure was held close as he rode in the over-crowded dirty boxcars from Spremberg to Moosburg and during the following months of imprisonment the flag and his medal gave him solace. Allain looked for bright spots in the dismal camp, where he could, once finding an abandoned kitten he helped survive. One of his darkest days was returning to the camp after a work detail to find nothing left but its skin.


          When on April 29th, “McGuffey,” the code name for the BBC, had reported through hidden kriegie radios that Gen. Patton’s Third Army was northeast of Munich, causing great excitement in the camp, men, who had not smiled for a long time, and who had not allowed themselves to hope, whispered, planned, and prayed. The American forces had claimed victory, liberation was at hand, and all that remained was the tumultuous celebration that followed.


          On Liberation Day in Moosburg, before thousands of cheering kriegies, a dirty malnourished man, clad in rags, scrambled up the camp’s flagpole and ripped down the detested Nazi flag. In its place, Allain hung the most beautiful sight the cheering crowd could behold, his cherished flag. Sobs and laughter were the only anthem needed when the Nazi flag came down, and the Stars & Stripes was hoisted upward. Old Glory waved in brilliance, eliciting incredible emotion from thousands of newly-freed prisoners. Amid the deafening cheers, Allain made his way down the flagpole with the crumpled Nazi flag in his hands. He took the despised flag home after the war and always hoped the American flag remained in the camp. A picture was taken of a U.S tanker with a POW climbing onto his tank right in front of the high-flying flag that had just gone up. Just after the picture was taken, the tanker accidentally shot himself in the hand with a “liberated” German pistol.


          Allain became a much-loved pediatrician after the war. Always dressed in a coat and tie, he treated little ones with tenderness and love whether their parents could afford to pay or not. He cared for the handicapped children at Holy Angels School where he was on call for twenty-eight years, twenty-four hours a day.


          Decades after liberation, any POW trying to tell the story of the flag that day would struggle to finish with his voice cracking. The visual image that Allain created for thousands of prisoners, like antique silver, would only gain more patina and definition with the passage of time. 


I think the miniseries will educate a lot of younger people about the war and what our fathers went through.


Best wishes,



Marilyn Walton

Apr 4, 2024, 8:08 AM (2 days ago)


to me



The church sat right outside the barbed wire on one side. I have been in it. POWs knew those ancient steeples well, and German SS snipers climbed up to shoot from that position during the liberation. He was shot off of there quickly. My father’s first stop when he was liberated was to go in that church and fall on his knees and thank God he survived. He was not alone in there.




The flagpole sat inside the front gate of the camp. I have attached two pictures that were taken that day. In the second one, you can see POW shadows on the fence saluting the flag. Quite a difference from the balled up dirty flag Masters showed. I guess they did that for effect, but to me, the true story would have been better.


This link below will show the American flag that was raised on the tall flagpole. Have no idea why in the series they stuck a short flagpole on top of a barracks roof!  This flag is the one all the POWs never stopped talking about even after 8 decades. Also, at 11:44-12:01 and from 12:10 to 12:18, you will see Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson. He is smoking at that latter mark. He was a dear friend of mine, and when he saw it, he said to me, “Wasn’t I stupid!” Alex never saw this film until I sent it to him some years ago. No sound, and he said he could not remember what he was saying here.


You will see the big white tents many men lived in. Clark, oddly not named in the episodes he was in until the last one, (up until then called “the Big Brass”) and my father lived in them too. He was a friend who died a few years ago. All of South Compound was moved into them. Near the end, barracks are on fire, and I see some tents pretty close to them. A few barracks burned in Moosburg, but only one in Stalag Luft 3. The Germans would not have had time to set it on fire even if they wanted to!  At 13:40, they show vats of horrible German sauerkraut they would put out and leave out all day. Rats, bedbugs, lice, and fleas were in the camp also, so the POWs found lots of other things in that sauerkraut as well. My father would never eat cabbage after the war.


Thanks for your kind words. I hope those who see this will appreciate these men for their bravery and commitment.


The Real History behind “Masters of the Air” Bombing


Alber Couture Airman talks about how Masters of the Air related to his experience





Posted on 6 April 2024 | 5:44 pm

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