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American
Ex-POW List of
Officers

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Stalag XVII-B
List of Officers


In Memorium

A New Ex-POW WebSite

Mukden POW Museum

Some old Photos of
POWS smuggled out of Stalag XVII-b

 Ex-POW Family Memorial

POW medal

POW Medal

DULAG LUFT
STALAG XVII-B
Inside XVII-B
 Stalag 17b in History

Stalag XVII-B
Original Roster
By Barracks

(02/08/06)
Mystery Man of Stalag XVII-B

 

Vet Bio's/

Links to Other
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Purple Heart

Department of Veterans Affairs






HOME PAGE

              

(For more Information about  Stalag 17 Living Family Memorial go to bottom of this page)

 

Robert C. "Bob" Bridges Memorial

Robert C. Bridges Sr., of Phoenix, Arizona passed away January 13, 2005; born in South Deerfield, Massachusetts April 13, 1920. He is survived by his wife of 59 years Ilene, a sister Harriet, 4 children Robert Jr., Elise, Eugene and Susan, 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons. Memorial services for Robert Bridges will be held at Christ Church of the Ascension 4015 East Lincoln Drive Paradise Valley, AZ 85253. Services are to take place in the chapel at 10:30 am on Saturday, January 22, 2005. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Valley.

        Robert "Bob" Bridges was a Life Member of the Stalag XVII-B (often referred to as "Stalag 17"). Bob was a crew member on a B-17 during WWII, with the 8th Air Force Strategic Air Command in England.
        He was shot down and wounded in 1943 over Germany. He was a POW in Stalag XVII-B in Krems, Austria until April 1945 when all prisoners from that camp were forced marched across Austria, and finally liberated by General Pattern's 3rd Army. At that time of the war, U.S. heavy bombers were not only flying mission during daylight hours, and without fighter escort, but often out gunned by swarms of Nazi fighter planes, and heavy Flack from the ground. Bob often said, "I was never on a mission when we did not lose a plane. Our losses were sometimes horrific!"
        The facts now show us why so many airmen were killed, or taken prisoner during that early period of the war. At that time 25 missions were a "Tour." and qualified you to go home, however during that period an airman's chances were 70% that he would either be killed or taken prisoner - before he ever completed 25 missions.

Bob and his beautiful new bride, Ilene

        Personal Comments: During the summer of 1942, three New Englanders (all Red Sox Fans) met at the U.S. Air Corps Gunnery training school at Tyndal Field in Florida, "Bob" Bridges, Roy Livingstone, and Fred Newcomb. We bunked in the same barracks, had about the same training schedule, and sort of watched out for each other when on those 24-hour passes...Several weeks later we were told we were heading to Wichita, Kansas. a "dry" state. "Hey," Fred said, "This is a chance for us to make some money. Let's buy a few bottles of Rye or Scotch, or something before we leave, then we can sell it to the guys in Wichita for a nice profit. Watch say?" (Please understand our pay in those days was still only $21.00 a month)...Anyway, we pooled what money we had left, and bought a few bottles of "Seagram's 7," and  some Rye, and Gin. When we got on the train, the M.E.'s were all over the place, and we were told we could not take any hard stuff across the state line. "WOW! And we've got all our money was tied up in that darn booze!" said Bridges. Then, I'll have to admit that I came up with the next bright idea..."Hey, see that water faucet. It's filled with ice. Why not put these bottles on top of the ice? The M.E.'s won't look there." So we stored our investments on top of the ice...Sure, enough, when they came in and started frisking around, checking our B-4 bags, etc. They walked right past the tall water tank.   
         When we reached our destination, and the M.E.'s left the train, we returned to the water faucet, the ice had melted, and our bottles had sunk to the bottom of the tank, and we didn't have time to find a way to somehow et them out - because the train was pulling out of the station.
          The three of us were flat broke for almost a month.

          Bob, Fred, and Roy managed to survive the combat, but eventually each were shot down. Fred Newcomb (Died 2001)went down on the first Bremen raid over Germany, as did Roy Livingstone (April 17, 1943) Bob Bridges was shot down a few months later. They all ended up in Stalag XVII-B

Bob Bridges Crew in Mobile, Alabama February 20, 1943: Back Row: L-R: Sgt. Robert Noll, Radio Operator; 2nd Lt.Paul Blank, Navigator; 1st Lt. John Van Wie, Pilot; 2nd Lt. James Walsh, Co-Pilot.
Front Row: T/Sgt, Albert Hlebasko, Engineer; S/Sgt. Robert Bridges, Tail Gunner (Before he had the rest of his stripes put on) S/Sgt. Eugene Morton, Ball Turret; S.Sgt Ben Spring, Waist Gunner.

Roy Livingstone

Meet the Bridges' Family

 

Pictures (L/R) - (1). Ashli & Dirk's Wedding - Erika, Elise, Eric, Ashli, Dirk, Ian, and Ilene Bridges  (2). Newest members
of family: Brodie, Topper, Aster, and Cayleigh in foreground. - (3) Bath time. Erika and Scott(5) "I'm Cole Cieplik.
     I'm kinda new to this family. That's my mommy and daddy on your left. I saw my Great Grandfather just before
 he went away.                       
 

     

     Often, I look back to those exciting, but often dreadful, days when we were in combat. I remember many close friends who never returned from a raid. I think about my own crew who died on our last mission, Lt. Bjornsgaard, Sgts. Giraud, Sanders, Bottomley, and Davis. I remember how Bob Hansen and I escaped from a prison train, only six weeks after we were shot down, only to be recaptured fourteen days later...and those endless days and nights in solitary confinement...the 747days, in Stalags VII-A and XVII-B...The cold, hunger, lice, infections, and disease. I remember how Bob Bridges' hand was partly paralyzed from flack...For months we were still digging out pieces of shrapnel...Since the war, Bob and I corresponded by letters and telephone. In 2001, we arranged a meeting at our EXPOW Convention in Tucson, AZ. Robert Bridges was one of the most honest and sincere friends I have ever had, and a very brave and patriotic American.
Roy Livingstone

Would You Like A
Living Family Memorial For Christmas?
It can last for Generations to come & can be updated at least twice a year!
You can start with only $25 or $50 (Depends how many pages or pictures you want to include)

 We always wanted to make room on this website to have at least a Picture and Story about Stalag VII - B Members, and their Family - Or even better, "A Living Family Memorial" that will include more than just our WWII Generation, but beyond! We have made arrangements to have others who will be keeping care of our Website after we are gone. It is now possible for us to publish the kind of Living Memorials that will make us and our posterity proud.
Dorri and I are already working on our own Living Memorial  involving  TWO Families. Call or write us when you can. Roy and Dorris Livingstone: 727-734-1679 or write: rliving3@tampabay.rr.com