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, E&E 321, click here.
Applewhite, Thomas B., 0-67917, 2nd Lt, USA, 936 Newell Rd., Memphis, TN. To see his escape and evasion report, E&E 324, click here.
Bailey, William Gordon, 1392374 (or 1372374), RAF
Boulter, Frederic C., R103971, Flt. Sgt., RCAF, Oijen (?), Alberta, Canada, POW no. 3109.
Burch, James F., 0-802528, 2nd Lt., USA, 203 Dellis, Terrell, TX.
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.
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.
Converse, Theodore G., 12149861, Sgt., USA, Hillside Rd., Greenwich, Conn. To see his escape and evasion report E&E #2411, click here.
Cullum, Arthur T.L., J22563, F/Lt., RCAF, Paris, Ontario, Canada.
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 Rooy, Dutch RAF. Not found by Clutton-Brock.
Duffee, George, 1384785, Sgt., RAF, London. (For a brief interview with George Duffee, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl5zYho_t6k.)
Fidler, Royce, 1549502, Sgt., RAF, 55 Fieldhead Rd., Highfields, Sheffield.
Gorman, Wilfred M., R84878, Flt. Sgt., Canada, South Nelson, New Brunswick. POW no. 260.
Holden, Arthur J., 1178754, Flt. Sgt., RAF, 201 Berners St., Lozells, Birmingham, UK. Later Warrant Officer. POW no. 667.
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 report, E&E 369, click here.
Horton, Harry H., Jr., 14164586, Sgt., USA, Carolina. To see his escape and evasion report, E&E 330, at National Archives II, click here. Note that there may be some overlap between his report and that of Edward Sobolewski (see below).
Hurst, John Kennard, O-679307, 2nd Lt., Navigator. In Hurst’s E&E report he is quoted as saying that a young man and and a young lady took him to ‘s Hertogenbosch by rail, then to Tilburg where he was turned over to a Netherlands policeman on a motorcycle. who took him about 30 km. to Baarle Nassau, left his motorcycle in some woods, changed to civilian clothes, and they walked across the border to Turnhout. From this description, it seems likely that the helper was Karst Smit or another of his fellow marechaussees. To go directly to his escape and evasion report, E&E 323, at National Archives II, click here.
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 http://www.100thbg.com/mainpages/history/history4/munster_raid.htm. To see his escape and evasion report, E&E 283, at National Archives II, click here.
Kevil, Elton F., 38229125, S/Sgt., USA, Ballinger, TX. Kevil crossed the Pyrenees with Tom Applewhite. To see his escape and evasion report, E&E 322, at National Archives II, click here.
Lepkowski, Stanley E., 32448009, Sgt., USA, 19 Hillside Ave., Schenectady, NY. Because he became a POW, there does not appear to be an E&E report for him.
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.
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. Because he became a POW, there is no E&E report for him.
Mellor, Archibald A., 86666, F/Lt, RAF, The Fields, Alsager, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.
Penny, Herbert (“Harry”) A., 139204, Flying Officer, RAF, 35 Squadron, shot down 31 Aug./1 Sept. 1943, 25 Pole Hill Rd., Chingford, London. Evaded.
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, E&E 237, from National Archives II, click here.
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, E&E 331, at National Archives II, click here. Note that there may be some overlap between his report and that of Harry Horton (see above).
Spicer, Carl L., O-671130, 2nd Lt., USA, Mendon, OH. To see his escape and evasion report, E&E 285, at National Archives II, click here.
Stanford, Lloyd A., O-673829, 2nd Lt., USA, 2058 Wallon Wy., Augusta, GA. To see his escape and evasion report, E&E 359, click here.
Staff (Steff?), E.K. – USA.
Woollard, Leslie C., 1332301, Sgt., RAF, 14 Evelyn Rd., Lower Sussex, England.
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, E&E 227, 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.