1LT Telford Testimony

Declassified per executive order 12356, Section 3.3, 735027, By NND, Date 1973


      : SS

      First Lieutenant George D. Telford, ASN (omitted), having been duly sworn according to Law, upon his oath deposes and says:
      It was during the first part of May, 1944 that S/Sgt. Howard Melson, who was interned in Switzerland, attempted to escape from Adelboden, Switzerland, with Sgt. Daniel Culler. I believe Melson got across the border, and got in with a bunch of Italians, who were coming into Switzerland, but he got mixed up in his directions, and finally would up in Switzerland again.
      He was then put in a camp, “Wauwilermoos,” in the town of Wauwil, and was kept there from the first week in May through the month of August. While Melson was in Wauwilermoos, he had an attack of (omitted for privacy reasons), and reported on sick call, but the authorities refused him medical aid, saying he was all right. He reported on sick call for three consecutive mornings, before he was finally recognized, and sent to a hospital. The hospital to which Melson was sent had no English-speaking people, and he had a difficult time getting anyone to understand him when he tried to explain what ailed him. The Swiss authorities in Berne, sent a guard to bring him back to Berne City Jail, and at the time, he was under medical care. The doctor in charge advised against the trip. It was at this time that I saw Melson personally, and could se that he was in dire need of medical aid, and was just about passing out from pain. At that time, I went o the American Legation in Berne and reported what I had seen happen to Colonel DeJons there, who started calling and checking on the matter right away, and I believe it was tow or three days before they finally found out where they put Melson, and got medical aid to him.
      I also saw the living conditions at “Wauwilermoos,” and the beds are just straw with one blanket, in addition to which the sanitary conditions are about eh most deplorable that I have ever seen. From what I have heard, the Americans were treated about he worst of any of the others who were interned.
      Sgt. Daniel Culler, who attempted to escape with Melson, got sick and returned to Adelboden. He reported to the proper authorities at Adelboden, and was sentenced to ten (10) days in Frutigen Jail. After his sentence was completed, he returned to Adelboden, where he remained about a month and then the Swiss called up and sentenced him to another term in Wauwil, for a time which was indefinite, and they wouldn’t give the number of days he was supposed to be there. I wrote letters and contacted everyone I could to try to get him out, but he did not get out until just about ninety (90) days after he had been jailed, at which time he was sent to a hospital in Lucerne for the treatment of boils and pimples he received, and also for treatment for appendicitis attacks. I saw several American internees who had some bites from bugs for which they were not being treated.
      Sgt. Culler told me that one morning they had line the American internees up for formation and the Commanding Officer, a Captain (name unknown), but described as about 45 to 50 years of age, 5 feed, 8 inches tall, weighing about 185 to 190 pounds, with receding brown hair, and slightly hunched over, belittled the American soldiers as a whole, and told them they were not fit to wear the uniform they were wearing. This Captain was in direct command of Camp Wauwilermoos. The only time I actually witnessed any of this was when Melson was being taken from the hospital to the Berne City Jail.

1st Lt. George D. Telford

Subscribed and sworn to this
9th day of December 1944

Glen E. Smith
Captain, A. C.,
Summary Court Officer