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Ed Merkel Memoir

 Collection
Identifier: CSWS-0024

This autographed memoir, entitled "My Last Mission", describes Lieutenant Colonel Ed Merkel's time, May 1943 -July 1945, as a B-17 pilot and German POW during World War II. Merkel was trained as a B-17 "Flying Fortress" pilot and was first stationed at Bassingbourne Air Station in England.

Dates

  • undated

Language

The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript and University Archives collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 24 hours is needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

This autographed memoir, entitled "My Last Mission", describes Lieutenant Colonel Ed Merkel's time, May 1943 -July 1945, as a B-17 pilot and German POW during World War II.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lieutenant Colonel Ed Merkel was raised in Shafter, California. He graduated from pilot training in the Army Air Corps in May of 1943 and was assigned to a B-17 Bomber crew in Ephrata, Washington. In October of 1943, Merkel was sent to Bassingbourne Air Station in England and assigned to the 91st Heavy Bomber Group of the 8th Air Force. At the time, the base commander was the famed General James Doolittle. During Merkel's sixteenth mission (flown on 1944 February 22), his plane was shot down over Germany. Merkel survived the crash and was taken prisoner by the German Army.

Merkel spent the rest of the war in captivity. He was sent to Dulag Loft, a POW interrogation center, immediately after his capture, but was kept primarily at Stalag Luft 1. This prison was located in Barth, Germany along the Baltic Sea. During the night of 1945 May 1, the POWs noticed that the Germans were abandoning their post at Barth. It was at that time that Merkel realized that liberation had come.

Merkel was sent back to Germany during the Berlin Air Lift. He later taught at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Base and flew bombing missions over North Korea during the Korean War. His final post was near Tokyo, Japan. At the end of his service career, he had logged more than 3,000 flight hours in multi-engine planes.

Previous Citation

This collection was originally listed as MS.3220 (Ed Merkel Memoir). It was then listed as CSWS.WWII.1.0024 until receiving its current number.

Acquisition Note

This collection was donated to Special Collections in 2007.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480