Original Research on “The Wild Hare”

Special credit for the original research on the fate of “The Wild Hare” and its crew must go to the late Paul Pouwels of Elshout, The Netherlands.  Mr. Pouwels researched and wrote two articles for the regional newspaper, Brabants-Dagblad, on the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the destruction of  “The Wild Hare.”  The English translations of the two articles appear on the next two pages.

In addition, Mr. Pouwels was of tremendous help to me in my research.  On what must have been at least three occasions he picked me up at the train station in Den Bosch,  twice  to see the places that were important in Tom Applewhite’s story–the villages of Hedikuizen, Well, and Bokhoven.  On another occasion, he took me to the Marechaussee Museum in Buren to see the special exhibit in honor of Karst Smit.  He was a source of invaluable information, including correspondence from Eugene van der Heijden listing the airmen the Smit-van der Heijden line helped and the civil defense police report on the arrest of the members of the crew of “The Wild Hare.”

The two articles by Paul Pouwels are as follows:

1. “Flying Fort Crashed Near Dussen,” (“Vliegend Fort verongelukte bij Dussen”), Branbants Dagblad, Lanstr/Heusden-A, 10 November 1983, p. 4.

2. “Pilot Savers from Well See American Again; Meeting Again After Half a Century in St. Louis(“Wellse pilotenredders zien Amerikaan terug”), Brabants-Dagblad, Bommeler-Waard, 2 June 1993.

2 responses to “Original Research on “The Wild Hare”

  1. Leatha McGowan Cooksy

    Bruce: Do you have a copy of the maps Paul Pouwels marked with sites where the crew of The Wild Hare landed after parachuting from the plane?
    Leatha McGowan Cooksy

  2. Hi Leatha,

    I don’t recall any maps marked by Paul Pouwels, although there could have been some. I vaguely recall working with several maps when I tried to pinpoint where each of the members of the crew came down. But, having donated virtually all my files to the Air Force Academy Library in Colorado Springs, CO, including my maps, I no longer have those files. A finding aid on those files can be found on the Internet at https://airforceescape.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Finding-Aid_MS-71-Bolinger-Bruce.pdf. If you decide to contact the library, I will provide you the contact information. I still have my correspondence with Paul Pouwels covering the period of 2002-2016. I just finished thumbing through it and selected three items that I will copy and send you that might have some useful information, (1) “Flying Fort Crashed Near Dussen” by Paul Pouwels, Nov. 10, 1983; (2) “Pilot savers from Well see American again” by Paul Pouwels, June 3, 1993; and (3) letter from me to Paul Pouwels, Feb. 28, 2002. Please let me know if you would like the copies. Contact me at bcbolinger@comcast.net and let me know your current address. You are welcome to look through the entire file of my correspondence with Paul but that would require your coming here. Eventually I will ship the file to the Air Force Academy Library.

    Best wishes,
    Bruce Bolinger
    229 Success Mine Loop
    Grass Valley, CA 95945
    (530) 273-6442

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