An Experience in Stalag Luft 1
1944 - 1945

2nd Lt. Richard
Raymond Bale



Grabow is a bodden (bay) off the Baltic Sea

2nd Lieutenant Richard Bale was taken prisoner and moved to North 1 compound at "Stalag Luft 1" near Barth, Germany; located on the Baltic Sea. This Stalag was restricted to Air Force flying personnel only. One other prisoner became a life long friend, Jack Cuthbertson, who stood up for Dick at his wedding in Detroit.

The memorial is physically on the site where the German administration buildings were located. On the boulder are two bronze plaques, one written in German, the other in English. To one side of the boulder are four flag poles flying British, American, Russian and the POW/MIA flags. Forming the apex of a triangle, there are three types of trees: American pine, British oak and Russian birch. This triangle can very well be distinguished in Google Earth. Click Image

There photos available of the guys. Dick is not spotted.
He could be 2 from left, back row.
Click image

POW's arrive by train at Barth, Germany. Click image

On May 1, 1945 the prisoners at Barth were liberated by Russian forces. Dick was flown to “Camp Lucky Strike” near La Harve, France to wait for orders for transportation home. 

POW's drew many cartoons about their imprisonment. Click Image
Stalag Luft I consisted of a strip of barren land jutting into the Baltic Sea about 105 miles northwest of Berlin.  Two miles south of the main gate a massive Lutheran church marked the northern outskirts of the village of Barth.  A large pine forest bordered the west side of the camp and, to the east and north, the waters of Barth Harbor slashed against the shore less than a mile from the barbed wire fence. 

Enclosing the camp there stretched miles of barbed wire, in two rows four feet apart, attached to 10-foot posts.  Every hundred yards, a Guard Tower mounting a machine gun and a pair of spotlights provided constant vigilance and permitted an unobstructed view of all within the confines of the enclosure. The Stalag was divided into five separate areas, called compounds.  There were four for prison compounds: South or West, North 1, North 2 and North 3.  The fifth area consisted of the German buildings, in the center, well constructed buildings, green grass, and attractive shubbery, "The Oasis" as the prisoners called this area, was in sharp contrast to the prison compounds.

Stalag Luft 1, a P.O.W. camp was opened in 1941, by the end of the war it held 7700 American and 1400 British prisoners. As the Russians advanced on the camp in late April 1945, the Germans wanted to evacuate the prisoners to the west. The SAO (Senior American Officer) refused this, and, after the Germans left, the remaining prisoners were liberated by the Russians on May 1, 1945. The SAO made a quick trip to Bassingbourne, England, to make the authorities aware of the conditions in the camp. Between May 13 - 15, 41 B17-G's evacuated the ex-prisoners from the near-by Barth airfield to a holding centre in France.
 see also

One prisoner's challenge became a career. CLAIR CLINE thought how wonderful it would be to hold a violin again. But finding one in this place would be impossible. Just then he glanced at his cast-aside model, and a thought came to me: I can make one!

There was newspaper published with in the camp called "POW WOW".

Go To Dick's Page