Escape from Villingen, 1918

978-0-89096-956-4 Cloth
6.125 x 9.25. 214 pp. 20 b&w photos., 2 maps.
Pub Date: 09/01/2000
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On July 26, 1918, American aviator First Lt. George Puryear shot down a German observation plane and then, in an act of bravado, landed to accept the crew's surrender. In fact, by miscalculation he had landed inside the German lines, and it was the Germans who accepted his surrender. But Puryear redeemed himself ten weeks later when he led a mass escape from the prison camp at Villingen, Germany.

Once he was out of prison and safely in the Black Forest, Puryear “went to a prearranged spot where we were to meet and waited fifteen minutes. While I waited there were about fifty shots fired. No one came, so I got down on my knees, prayed for luck and started off.” Five days later he reached Switzerland, the first American officer to escape from the Germans and return to his unit during World War I. Early the following morning Edouard Isaacs and Harold Willis made the hazardous crossing of the Rhine River to freedom.

C. A. Brannen Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press