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This is a collection guide. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division,
J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our
reading room. To see what's been digitized in this collection, click on the thumbnail at the top right of this page
or look for hyperlinks in the container list and/or the preliminary inventory.
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.
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.
April 30, 1969, 4 items: Memoir, diary, and photographs of German POW T/SGT. Walter F. Larson, U.S. Army Air Corps. Deposited by Mr. Michael T. Larson, Greenville, N.C.
Gift of Mr. Michael T. Larson
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Walter Francis Larson Papers (#90), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Processed by G. Newbold, May 1970
Encoded by Apex Data Services
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Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.