The internment of T/SGT Clark
It was a vicious attack all the way. We were about 15,000 feet over Lechfeld in southern Germany, a long way from base when we got rid of our bomb load. I watched the bombs go down and it was a good bomb pattern on a major German luftwaffe base on the lech river south of Augsburg, Germany.
It was 13 April 1944 and most of the crew had about finished their tours of duty with all mission in and were counting on getting back to base. Ww lost so much fuel the flight engineer figured we had no chance of making it back to base over 700 miles of enemy territory.
The decision was made to divert to Swiss territory whichg we could see from our altitude because the Alps were clearly visible to the south. We diverted but as we did i sent a bomber code message to the group we were making an emergency dash to Swiss territory. As we approached the border of Germany, marked by Lake Constance, we got hit by three or four bursts of flak. One hit our waist gunner Sgt. Jack Harmon and one narrowly missed me. The pilot, Lt. Rockford C. Griffith, dove our bomber down to the left and a second later four more bursts of flak exploded where we had been seconds before. They had our range.
Upon finding escorts we managed to limp into an emergency landing at Dubendorf. As I got out of the plane I tripped the detonator of the IFF blowing up the set as required by my instructions. That must have startled some. I got down out of the bomb bays and started walking away from the aircraft.
As i did so I say we were surrounded by armed soldiers which I thought were Germans at the time. I thought perhaps the plane would blow so I wanted to get as far from it as possible.
Then I felt an armed guard coming up behind me and pointing an automatic rifle at my back. I immediately stoped, raised my hands and said, "I give up"
It was after that, and only then, I discovered we had made a landing in Swiss territory not far from the city of Zurich. The crew was interrogated for several hours by Swiss Air Force officers and released in custody of army guards.
We were transported the next day to Adelboden, the internee camp in the Bernese Oberland. There I remained for eight months until I escaped via the border into France in Dec. 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. We walked into a sniper holdout pocket and some mines but got picked up by the US Seventh Army patrols and taken to Annecy, France about Christmas time 1944.
This is a brief account of our last mission 13 April 1944.
Crew of Lt. R. C. Griffith, 44th Bomb Group, 67th Squadron,
8th US Air Force.
T/Sgt Forrest S./ Clark, Radio Op and Gunner of crew, One of the founders of Swiss Internee Association in the United States.
I attest that all of the information given in this account is true as far as I remember after 50 years.
See Hans Stapfer book for a photo of our bomber at Dubendorf Airfield 1944. A group no. 330L.
More information forthcoming in my memoirs. 1944-45.
Returned to US in Jan. 1945 and discharged Oct. 1945.
I was at Adelboden and Wengen from April 1944 to Dec. 1944.
Got to Annecy, France on or about Ded. 22-23, 1944.
T.sgt Forrest S. Clark ---------------44th BG Flying 8 Balls