Rear Gunner, Alex Kinnear - W4786
The following is a precise of the recollections of Alex Kinnear as described by Mel Rolfe’s in the chapter ‘I thought I was a goner’ from his book Looking into Hell.
After bailing out, Alex landed in a ploughed field minus a boot which had come off as he fell. His fellow crew member Wireless Operator Peter Pitchford was picked up by the Germans but was not given the medical attention he needed and sadly died the next day. Alex was taken to Oberursel near Frankfurt, placed in solitary confinement and interrogated. After three weeks he was put on a train to Poland. There he spent next few years as a prisoner of war, living in dire conditions until February 1945.
On that icy February morning and hearing the sound of Russian guns, he and 4000 others were marched out of camp. They travelled for 43 days and 800 miles to Ziegenheim near Kassel; only 1000 men survived. Alex was thankful he had kept fit during his time in the camp. On Good Friday, the guards disappeared, and Alex and two others walked into the nearby village, they saw American’s giving out bread, they were free!
Alex returned to England on an American Dakota and landed in Leighton Buzzard. On his return he went to see the family and, Iris May the girlfriend, of Wireless Operator Peter Pitchford in Gloucester. Alex and Iris fell in love and married in December 1945.
Taken from the book “Looking into Hell” by Mel Rolfe (1995) Cassell & Co, London.