Prisoner of war day
RAF Halton recently hosted Andy Wiseman, a World War 2 veteran. Andy was a member of Bomber Command flying the Halifax. On one mission his aircraft was hit by German anti-aircraft fire and the order to bail out was given.
Many of his crew were lost as the aircraft was shot down and Andy landed in occupied France. The training he had been given was to stay hidden for the first 24 hours and then look to contact the resistance and try to escape back to Britain. There was no answer from the first two French farms that Andy approached but at the third farm, the farmer gave Andy his bike and directions to a house that would help him. Andy thanked the man and rode off following the directions given. In RAF uniform Andy knocked on the door only to be met by a German soldier. In his best German he said ‘Sorry, wrong house’ and was about to walk away when the soldier called him back. After a hot coffee and some bread, Andy became an internee of Stalag Luft 3, the notorious venue for the Great Escape.
Andy was born in Berlin of Jewish parents who seeing the political situation in the 1930s moved to Poland and later moved Andy to England. The family were less fortunate and died at the hands of the Nazis. After school Andy lied about his age to join the RAF and showed an aptitude for flying. He had many adventures in the RAF up until his capture, but even this didn’t stop him fighting the German war machine.
Andy regaled an audience of over 100 personnel in Kermode Hall about his time in Stalag Luft 3 and was joined by the engaging Dr Howard Tuck who provided more detail about the RAF in World War 2. Dr Tuck shared the story of the 50 RAF personnel that escaped during the Great Escape as he has been involved in projects to locate the tunnels Tom, Dick and Harry.
Later in the day Andy was joined for lunch at Halton House by Gp Capt (Ret’d) Min Larkin and he visited the Trenchard museum to see the history of RAF Halton. Here a group of recruits from Jackson Flt and McTeague Flt were able to ask Andy questions and learn more about his time in the RAF.