Papers (1844-1945) consisting memoir, diary, photographs, description of imprisonment, prisoner of war camp, diary, move on foot covering 603 miles, wartime log.
Sergeant Walter Larson became a prisoner of war when he and the other crew members of their B-17 were shot down over Calais, France, on February 28, 1944. Sergeant Larson was liberated by elements of the U.S. Fifth Army at Bitterfield, Germany, on April 18, 1945.
The diary contains descriptions of the five phases of Sergeant Larson's imprisonment.
The first phase concerns the capture and processing of the prisoner of war. In this phase the sergeant was transported to the prisoner of war camp, Stalag Luft 6. The second phase includes descriptions of the daily routine at Stalag Luft 6 and, although the diary was not kept on a day-to-day basis, includes the more important or humorous events which occurred. In the third phase the POW's were transferred to another camp more distant from the advancing Russian front. This phase concerns the move itself and describes the Heidekruge death run which resulted in the deaths of eight hundred of the two thousand American POW's who began the run. Life at the new camp, Stalag Luft 4, is described in the fourth phase. The final section of the diary again concerns movement away from the approaching Russian forces. This time the move was made on foot and covered a period of seventy-nine days and a distance of 603 miles. At the end of the long march Sergeant Larson and his fellow prisoners of war were liberated by American forces.
Also in the collection is a journal kept on a day-to-day basis while on the long march across Germany. Photographs of the B-17 on which Sergeant Larson was waist gunner and of the crew are also in the collection.
Gift of Mr. Michael T. Larson
Processed by G. Newbold, May 1970
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.