Lamason, Phillip J

Name: Philip John LAMASON

Born 15 September 1918

Hometown: Napier, New Zealand

Age at arrival in Buchenwald: 25

Died 19 May 2002 in Dannevirke, New Zealand, age 83

Service: Royal New Zealand Air Force

Service ID: 403460

Service Rank: Squadron Leader

Duties: Pilot

Air Group: 15 Sq

Airbase: Mildenhall St-George, Suffolk, UK

Aircraft: Lancaster bomber ML575

Date shot down: 7 June 1944

Fate of crew: 2 KIA, 5 evaders, 2 of those recaptured (CHAPMAN and Lamason)

Evasion summary: Introduced to Desoubrie and Orsini, taken by car to Prevot house.

Date captured: 27 July 1944

Capture summary: Stayed at the Prevot house for several days, interviewed by Marcheret, then moved for one night at 2 square des Aliscamps (Draga). The next day they were arrested and taken to Fresnes Prison after interrogation.

Boxcar Transport: 15-20 August 1944, initially in boxcar # then shifted to #3 in train change. Was then with PENNELL, PERRY, BASTABLE, GIBSON, HIGH, HODGSON, PRUDHAM, SONSHINE, ROBB, MILLS, WHELLUM, SPIERENBURG, TAYLOR, ALLEN, HARVIE, LARSON, MCLAUGHLIN, MOSER, PETRICH, ROBERSON, STEVENSON, VINECOME, ZEISER, WATMOUGH, SCULLION, SMITH, HEAD, WATSON, and HOFFMAN.

Buchenwald ID: 78407

Notes on Buchenwald internment: Senior officer and leader of the Buchenwald Airmen. His leadership was essential to their survival. Suffered beatings and psychological abuse in addition to the malnutrition, dysentery, scabies, and other afflictions that plagued the airmen in Little Camp.

Transferred from Buchenwald to: Stalag Luft III, East Compound

Kriege ID: 8056

Notes on SLIII internment: Filed reports with Red Cross on treatment at Buchenwald and on the 11 men left in the hospital there.

Subsequent transfer to: Stalag IIIA, Luckenwalde, after forced winter march to train in Spremberg

Notes on internment: Recommended for citations by Senior British Officer for work on morale and escape plans.

Liberation: 22 April 1945 by units of the Red Army but held for negotiated release in mid-May.

Repatriation from ETO:

Discharged:

Veteran status:

Notes on Post-War period: No national recognition, avoided the limelight, lived quietly on a farm in Dannevirke, NZ. Interviewed for the BBC documentary film The Lucky Ones and his role was featured in the History Channel’s Shot from the Sky and in Michael Dorsey’s film The Lost Airmen of Buchenwald. After his death, his family established the Philip J. Lamason Trust and published a book about him, I Would Not Step Back, which is available from Amazon.com.

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