Veteran Stories:
Harold Bastable

Air Force

  • A piece of the fuselage of the Halifax bomber Harold Bastable flew in before they were shot down. This piece was dug out of the ground after the crash and sent to him.

    Harold Bastable
  • Photo of Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp after it had been liberated.

    Harold Bastable
  • Pin worn by survivors of Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Mr. Bastable was a prisoner there for 101 days.

    Harold Bastable
  • Sgt. John Lane, tailgunner of Harold Bastable's crew, who died when their plane was shot down over Soulaires, June 8, 1944.

    Harold Bastable
  • Prisoners in their bunks at Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

    Harold Bastable
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"Then Goering’s Luftwaffe got me out and got me to Stalag Luft III, where they had that big ‘hobby horse’ escape."

Transcript

I was in the Air Force. Ended up as a Navigator in Bomber Command. I was in an RAF station, 640 Squadron in Leconfield, I think it was.

We got shot down over Versailles on June the 8th, the day after D-Day. From then, I ran into more trouble, I think, than the average. I got involved in the French Underground and got caught by the Gestapo, and ended up in French prison and then went on one of those boxcar rides into Germany, and into Buchenwald concentration camp for a hundred and one days.

Then Goering's Luftwaffe got me out and got me to Stalag Luft III, where they had that big 'hobby horse' escape. Then in January, '45 they took us on the winter march, and I ended up in, not Buchenwald, but Luckenwald, just twenty miles south of Berlin. Then we were released by the Russians… I shouldn't say 'released', they wouldn't let us go. The Americans had to come in and take us out.

Then I went back to England, and back home.

Follow us