Category Archives: Claude McLaughlin

News of Claude McLaughlin

Photo of Claude McLaughlin (on left) with another crewmember.

Two months ago I received an e-mail from Claudia McLaughlin-Wood of Toronto, Canada. She wrote:

“I have discovered the Camp 59 website and am quite certain that my father, U.S. Army Air Force S/Sgt. Claude H. McLaughlin, was a prisoner there in 1943. He was in the 32nd squadron of the 301st Airborne Division flying in a B-17 bomber that was shot down over Gabes, Tunisia on February 4, 1943. From there he was sent to a prison hospital somewhere near Naples, then to a prison camp near Naples before being transferred to Camp 59.

“I have a newspaper account from his hometown in Iron Mountain, Michigan that states he was in Camp 59 in northern Italy. I’m not sure how long he was there but I know that he escaped and was hiding with an Italian peasant family for nine months before crossing enemy lines and meeting British forces on June 19, 1944. I note from your website that there was a massive escape in September 1943, but in his account he just said, ‘some of us managed to escape.’ He was with an English sergeant and a South African sergeant while hiding in the mountains. I assume the area is the Tenna Valley. In trying to figure out the dates it looks as though he would have escaped in October 1943. I am wondering if you have any information about escapes subsequent to September 1943.

“He was the only one of his crew that was in the camp because he was injured. The rest of his crew was sent to Germany for the duration of the war.

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