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"I stood up, and just dove out of the airplane head first…" (Audio interview, 10:10)

   James Edward Frolking
Image of James Edward Frolking
James Frolking in uniform, Long Beach, CA [3/1944]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: 436th Fighter Squadron, 479th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force
Service Location: Wattisham Airfield, Suffolk County, England; Netherlands; United States
Rank: First Lieutenant
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First Lieutenant James Frolking's story has all of the twists and turns, close calls, and lucky breaks of a Hollywood movie. A fighter pilot who flew his first mission on D-Day, patrolling the English channel for enemy planes, he went on to fly 50 more, primarily escorting B-24 and B-17 bombers on combat missions. On October 7, 1944, on the way back to England from Czechoslovakia, his plane was hit by enemy fire, and he made the decision to bail out--only to land uninjured on a sandbar, with land in sight. After spending the night in the dinghy that was part of his escape pack, he decided to head for shore, and eventually made contact with the Dutch underground. For three weeks, he was put up and cared for by a Dutch family, while Germans patrolled the surrounding area, and in one terrifying incident, requisitioned the farmhouse in which he was staying.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (77 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album  (9 photos)
 Official Documents
»Escape and Evasion Report filed by Jim Frolking after returning to Allied custody
 Personal Correspondence
»View List (3 items)
 Memoir
»Down in the Dutch Islands, by Jim Frolking
[PDF: 32 MB / 57 p.]
 Other Materials
»Photocopy of a telegram and news clipping relating to Frolking's "missing in action" status
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
On 52nd mission, hit by enemy fire; making decision to bail out. (03:56) Parachuting out; watching plane go down; landing in water; could see land; discovering he was on a sandbar. (03:15) Burning hole in bottom of dinghy with flare; deciding to swim for it; realizing he could repair dinghy with sewing kit; making it to land. (03:44)
Arriving on land; encountering two men who took him to farmhouse; stayed in loft all day; at night, told he must leave; saw artillery barrage; walked down road; came upon village; spent night in hay wagon; at daybreak, went to another farmhouse. (05:29) Family gave him food, clothing, washcloth; made contact with Dutch underground; introduced to Wim De Vor; then taken to the van der Maas farm. (04:11) Living conditions with his hosts; very pleasant atmosphere; many Germans around; one night, they knocked at the door. (06:22)
Son of hosts tracking him down in Ohio in 1960; reconnecting with the family who sheltered him; making trip to Holland see the house. (03:21)  
  
 Personal Correspondence (3 items)
Photocopies of telegrams relating to Frolking's return home after being shot down over Holland Letter from the Van der Maas family to Jim Frolking [6/6/1946] Letter from Wim de Vor to Jim Frolking [11/29/1947]
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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