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View Full Version : Escaped POWs from B-17 (Sweet Patootie) finally meet



XyZspineZyX
10-22-2003, 08:02 PM
Cliff Grubbs and Robert B. Harrington were on their 4th mission together in Sept. 1944 when their B-17 started having problems during flight. Harrington was the co-pilot and Grubbs a gunner. "We radioed the mission's lead navigator we were over friendly France, so we landed the plane. Once we got on the ground, it turned out to be not too friendly."

As they were being loaded on a train for Germany Grubbs asked if he could go to a portable toilet. The German soldier said yes, and when he turned around, Grubbs made a break for it. Harrington wasn't far behind. After the train got moving, he and some others managed to unlatch a cargo-car door. None of the men would have made it if it wasn't for the French underground. Harrington said his group were treated like royalty.

Grubbs received an honorable discharge and came back to Indianapolis. Harrington stayed in the Air Force for 21 years, eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Neither knew if the other had lived through the ordeal.

A Frenchman living near the site took several pictures of the battered bomber. Years later Grubbs' son came across the pictures and began researching the plane and its crew. He came up with the names of the entire crew and had addresses on the five members still alive. He mailed the information to Grubbs, who called Harrington.

Plans are in the works to reunite all five remaining members of the crew.

XyZspineZyX
10-22-2003, 08:02 PM
Cliff Grubbs and Robert B. Harrington were on their 4th mission together in Sept. 1944 when their B-17 started having problems during flight. Harrington was the co-pilot and Grubbs a gunner. "We radioed the mission's lead navigator we were over friendly France, so we landed the plane. Once we got on the ground, it turned out to be not too friendly."

As they were being loaded on a train for Germany Grubbs asked if he could go to a portable toilet. The German soldier said yes, and when he turned around, Grubbs made a break for it. Harrington wasn't far behind. After the train got moving, he and some others managed to unlatch a cargo-car door. None of the men would have made it if it wasn't for the French underground. Harrington said his group were treated like royalty.

Grubbs received an honorable discharge and came back to Indianapolis. Harrington stayed in the Air Force for 21 years, eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Neither knew if the other had lived through the ordeal.

A Frenchman living near the site took several pictures of the battered bomber. Years later Grubbs' son came across the pictures and began researching the plane and its crew. He came up with the names of the entire crew and had addresses on the five members still alive. He mailed the information to Grubbs, who called Harrington.

Plans are in the works to reunite all five remaining members of the crew.

XyZspineZyX
10-22-2003, 08:15 PM
Nice story...

Nic

XyZspineZyX
10-22-2003, 08:23 PM
Interesting story.

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XyZspineZyX
10-22-2003, 08:26 PM
I love stuff like that...../i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

<CENTER>http://www.world-wide-net.com/tuskegeeairmen/ta-1943.jpg <marquee><FONT COLOR="RED"><FONT SIZE="+1">"Straighten up.......Fly right..~S~"<FONT SIZE> </marquee> http://www.geocities.com/rt_bearcat

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XyZspineZyX
10-22-2003, 10:18 PM
After such a long time..... impressive. Gathering of surviving veterans. S!

Thanks for posting this nice story.