Walter Francis Larson Papers, 1844-1945

Manuscript Collection #90

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Walter Francis Larson Papers
Creator: Larson, Walter Frances
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1844-1945) consisting memoir, diary, photographs, description of imprisonment, prisoner of war camp, diary, move on foot covering 603 miles, wartime log.
Extent: 0.11 Cubic feet, 4 items , consisting of a war diary, a wartime log and two photographs.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

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.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Walter Francis Larson Papers (#90), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mr. Michael T. Larson

Processing Information

  • Processed by G. Newbold, May 1970

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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