Aid to Allied Airmen

The estimated number of Allied airmen helped by the Smit-van der Heijden Line varies from 31 to 53, with most estimates being in the low 40’s.  When Karst Smit was recommended for an MBE, he was credited with 43.   The variation in the numbers probably can be accounted for by (1) the risk of keeping records, (2) faulty memories over time, (3) the murder by the Germans of some of the members of the line, and (4) whether, in some instances, aid given to a particular airman should be credited to the line or only to the helper.  In any event, there are some airmen we can be fairly certain of.  The following list gives the name, serial number, rank, and organization, where available.  My thanks to Oliver Clutton-Brock, author of RAF Evaders (2009), for cross-checking my names against his database and sharing his information with me.  I will be further refining the list.  My thanks to the website, Le Réseau Comète , for permission to use the photos of Alukonis, Bailey, Boulter, Burch, Clary, Cullum, De Ghetto, Duffee, Gorman, Horning, Horton, Kevil, Lepkowski, MacGillivray, Mellor, Penney, Shipe, Spicer, Stanford, and Street.

Alukonis, Stanley, 0-679013, 2nd Lt., USA.  To see his escape and evasion report, click here.

Stanley Alukonis

Applewhite, Thomas B., 0-67917, 2nd Lt, USA, 936 Newell Rd., Memphis, TN.  To see his escape and evasion report, click here.

Applewhite  - in uniform with coat

Bailey, William Gordon, 1392374 (or 1372374), RAF

Bailey, William G - pbaileywg2

Boulter, Frederic C., R103971, Flt. Sgt., RCAF, Oijen (?), Alberta,  Canada, POW no. 3109.

Boulter, Frederic - pboultefc1

Burch, James F., 0-802528, 2nd Lt., USA, 203 Dellis, Terrell, TX.

Burch, James - pburchjf0

Cain, USA.  No other information.  Listed in Elise Chabot helper file.

Clary, Jackson T., 0-885969, 2nd Lt., RCAF, 1510 Schiller St., Alameda, CA.  Clary was an American who joined the RCAF.

Clary, Jackson

Coleman, Dirk (Derrick?) – Address: London.  This may be Flying Officer D.E. Coleman, 169201, RAF, POW.  (According to the file of Bim van der Klei of Oisterwijk, his address was Lady Smithroad, Middlesex, England.

Conroy, Robert F., R.55965, RCAF, Flt. Sgt, Middle Stewiacke, Nova Scotia.  For an interesting article about him, click here.  The following photo is from 1943.Robert Fitzgerald Conroy

Converse, Theodore G., 12149861, Sgt., USA, Hillside Rd., Greenwich, Conn.

Theodore Converse

Cullum, Arthur T.L., J22563, F/Lt., RCAF, Paris, Ontario, Canada.

Cullum, Arthur - pcullumat1

Cummings (Cunning?), Edward, RCAF.  Possibly E.W. Cunning, R102136, Warrant Officer 2nd Class.  POW no. 27140.

De Ghetto, Robert, 12054113, Sgt., USA, 31 Piaget Ave., Clifton, N.J.

De Ghetto, Robert - pdeghetrd0

De Rooy, Dutch RAF.  Not found by Clutton-Brock.

Duffee, George, 1384785, Sgt., RAF, London.   (For a brief interview with George Duffee, see

Duffee, George - pduffeegw0

Fidler, Royce, 1549502, Sgt., RAF, 55 Fieldhead Rd., Highfields, Sheffield.

Fidler snipped photo

Gorman, Wilfred M., R84878, Flt. Sgt., Canada, South Nelson, New Brunswick.  POW no. 260.

Gorman, Wilfred image 1 - pgormanwm1

Holden, Arthur J., 1178754, Flt. Sgt., RAF, 201 Berners St., Lozells, Birmingham, UK.  Later Warrant Officer.  POW no. 667.

Holden, Arthur - pholdenaj1

Holmes, E.R., RAF, Possibly 631819 Warrant Officer E.R. Holmes.  POW no.218.  (This person should not be confused with Ernest R. Holmes, 1st Lt., who was shot down in 1944 and helped by Piet Leermakers, et al.)

Horning, Arthur J., O-736598, 2nd Lt., USA, 9406 Nelson Ave., Cleveland, OH.  See his book, In the Footsteps of a Flying Boot, New York:  A Hearthstone Book, 1994.  To see his escape and evasion file at National Archives II, click here.

Horning, Arthur - phorninaj1

Horton, Harry H., Jr., 14164586, Sgt., USA, Carolina.  To see his escape and evasion file at National Archives II, click here.

Horton, Harry - phortonhh1

Hutchinson, Allan, RCAF.  Possibly J.17981 Pilot Officer A.D. Hutchinson, RCAF.  POW no. 655.

Justice, John K., O-735390, 1st Lt., USA.  See Justice’s “The Raid on Munster, Germany, October 10, 1943,My Escape from German Occupied Europe,” at  To see his escape and evasion report at National Archives II, click here.

Justice, John K. (Jack) - pjusticjk1

Kevil, Elton F., 38229125, S/Sgt., USA, Ballinger, TX.  Kevil crossed the Pyrenees with Tom Applewhite.  To see his escape and evasion report at National Archives II, click here.

Kevil, Elton - pkevilef1

Lepkowski, Stanley E., 32448009, Sgt., USA, 19 Hillside Ave., Schenectady, NY.

Lepkowski, Stanley - plepkowse0

Lobbin (sic), John.  According to Oliver Clutton-Brock, this probably was J.A. Lobban, 1131592, F/Sgt., RAF, POW no. 651.  Sole survivor of Halifax DK 170, 76 Squadron, shot down 11/12 June 1943 (Düsseldorf), which crashed some 20 kms SW of Eindhoven.  He was captured near the Pyrenees.

MacGillivray.  Probably R.152382, F/Sgt D.K. MacGillivray, RCAF, 428 (RCAF) Squadron.  Evaded.

MacGillivray, Donlad - pmacgildk1

Madsin, Thomas, R.193919, Sgt. (later J.90296, Pilot Officer).  POW no. 470.  375 Silverthorn Ave., Toronto, Ontario.

Malavasi, Nello, Top Turret Gunner on “The Wild Hare” with Tom Applewhite.  Arrested Nov. 15, 1943 in Turnhout, Belgium, with his guide, Willem Schmidt.  From Hampden, Connecticut.  The following photo is taken from the 1943 photo of the crew of “The Wild Hare.”  To see the crew photo, click here.  It was the arrest by the Germans of Malavasi and Schmidt that precipitated the destruction of the Smit-Van der Heijden Line.

Nello Malavasi from 1943 photo of Wild Hare crew

Mellor, Archibald A., 86666, F/Lt, RAF, The Fields, Alsager, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.

Mellor, Archibald - pmelloraa1

Penny, Herbert (“Harry”) A., 139204, Flying Officer, RAF, 35 Squadron, shot down 31 Aug./1 Sept. 1943, 25 Pole Hill Rd., Chingford, London.  Evaded.

Penney, Harry 1 - ppennyha1

Shetler, Lorne, R. 150081 (later J. 86643 Pilot Officer) Sgt., RCAF, POW no. 280.  Address: RR7, Napanee, Ontario, Canada.

Shipe, Paul F., 33152998, Sgt., USA, 234 S. 2nd St., Shemocin, PA.  To see his escape and evasion report from National Archives II, click here.

Shipe, Paul - pshipepf1

Sniders, Edward S.A., 106028, F/Lt., RAF, POW no. 2286, Hampden House, Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England.   Wrote the book, “Flying In, Walking Out,” published in 1999 by Leo Cooper.

Sobolewski, Edward F., 36326245, Sgt., USA, Chicago.  To see his escape and evasion report at National Archives II, click here.

Ed Sobolewski

Spicer, Carl L., O-671130, 2nd Lt., USA, Mendon, OH.  To see his escape and evasion report at National Archives II, click here.

Spicer, Carl 1 - pspicercl1

Stanford, Lloyd A., O-673829, 2nd Lt., USA, 2058 Wallon Wy., Augusta, GA.  To see his escape and evasion report, click here.

Stanford, Lloyd 1 - pstanfola1

Staff (Steff?), E.K. – USA.

Woollard, Leslie C., 1332301, Sgt., RAF, 14 Evelyn Rd., Lower Sussex, England.

Leslie Woollard

I have deleted the following names from the above list for the following reasons:

  • Aquino, Joseph M., 33284596, Sgt. USA.  He was shot down near Antwerp and appears to have been continually in Belgium.  To see his escape and evasion report, click here.
  • Baker, Ph. (Eli), RCAF, Shot down in May 1944 after Smit-van der Heijden Line penetrated by the Germans.
  • Bowlby, Arthur T., 124853, RCAF, Sgt.  Shot down over Belgium and his helpers appear to have no connection to the Smit-van der Heijden line.
  • Davidson, Jean-Emile, RCAF, Quebec. According to Michael LeBlanc, he was arrested in Antwerp on 17/06/44.  Because of the date, it appears unlikely that he was helped by the Smit-van der Heijden Line.
  • Dungey, Elmer, R. 108567, Sgt., RCAF.  Shot down over Belgium and his helpers appear to have no connection to the Smit-van der Heijden line.
  • Matich, N.J., Pilot Officer, RNZAF, NZ 414658, 35 (RAF) Squadron.  He was shot down 27-28 September 1943.  His evasion activity, for the most part, was near the German border up to the time Karst Smit’s line was penetrated by the Germans. 
  • Miller, Charles P., RAF, shot down after Smit-van der Heijden line broken.  
  • Street, Harry T., 940782, Sgt., RAF.  Shot down in Belgium, not The Netherlands.

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Alukonis, Stanley


2nd Lt


One response to “Aid to Allied Airmen

  1. Thank you for your excellent site.
    I found your site by searching my father’s name “Arthur T. Bowlby”.
    I created a wiki some time ago based on my nephew’s essay which he developed by interviewing my father about his wartime experiences.
    I would be pleased if you would read Art’s story.

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