Many were the bullets that had whizzed past me during the years of the war up to this stage. it required great nerve to disregard these dangers and to expose oneself to them day after day, month after month, and year after year, without losing one's peace of mind or becoming unduly reckless. But my nerves had not given way, and so far I had come through. In order to withstand everything it was necessary to formulate definite principles, and to live up to them. First of all I had tried to picture all the possibilities that might happen. There was the possibility of being wounded; I had already been wounded twice and was well acquainted with this way of being knocked out. Naturally there was the further possibility that I might sustain wounds which would have a life-long effect. But I felt that come what might, life for me under all conditions would seem worth living.

The second possibility was the danger of being captured, a risk with which we were always confronted. I had had no experience in this direction, but I thought that life even as a prisoner would be worth while, especially as there would always be the possibility of escaping. It seemed to me that this second possibility, especially when one thought of the possibility that one might escape, was certainly preferable to the third possibility of being killed in action. But I certainly had to face this possibility; and the only thing to do was to face all dangers calmly and without fear, and if the bullet that was intended for me came, to await the end with a smile.

When during our reconnoitering flight of the night of May 20-21 a shell exploded in the immediate vicinity of our plane, I felt that of all the possibilities I have just mentioned, it was the second that awaited me: the possibility of capture. A splinter must have hit the gasoline line, because all of a sudden our gasoline gauge began to drop, and as a result one of our motors stalled. We tried to reach our own lines with the other motor and the remainder of our fuel, but the distance was too great. We had not covered quite half of the distance when the second motor stalled at an altitude of 500 meters. Below us spread quietly in the moonlight a small French village, over which we glided towards a nice meadow on the edge of a wood. We landed silently, without causing the least damage to our plane.

Nobody noticed us, because only the swish of the wind through the wires of the plane could have betrayed us. My pilot did not quite know where we were, and asked me whether we had landed on the German side. I had to tell him that unfortunately we were still 50 to 60 kilometers away from our first lines. We were both rather annoyed, but there we were, 60 kilometers behind the lines of the enemy, without knowing their customs and without knowing the language of the country. We had to act quickly. The first thing was to make sure that our plane would not fall intact into the hands of our enemy. This was easy. We carried with us two airplane-destroyers. Everything that we thought would be of use to us in the near future was removed from the plane. Everything which should not fall into the hands of the enemy was piled up so that it would be destroyed. We placed our destroyers between the oil tanks and the cylinders of both motors, and set off both primers at the same time. Then we got away as quickly as we could.

We decided to try to reach our lines. We transformed our flying suits into walking garb and set off straightway in a northeasterly direction. We crossed several railroad tracks and soon found our bearings. Our progress was not very rapid, because we were afraid of every noise and at times we had to cower in the ditch along the road for half an hour at a time until the sounds we had detected, subsided. In the morning we sank down for a rest in a cornfield. When we awoke from our first slumber, we were tortured by dreadful hunger, which we tried to appease by all possible means, but in vain, because it was too early in the season for much to grow.

It was a beautiful May day. The sun rose and its hot rays made us feel appallingly thirsty, but we could not leave our hiding place. We observed in our immediate vicinity the drilling of recruits, and saw a number of automobiles passing along the road towards the front. Our thoughts followed them. We had to wait in our hiding place for night to fall. Then we proceeded on our way. At midnight we had already reached Compiegne.

We were happy that we had already passed two sentries, and became gradually less careful. With our flashlight we threw a beam of light upon a roadsign and marched on. A French sentry noticed the flash, and shouted "Halt." We could not distinguish the sentry standing in the shade. I tried to make him believe that I was an English Captain by shouting: "Captain Cook." But it had not the desired effect. He stepped forward from the shadow of the moon and captured us. He declared that we would have to follow him to the guard, and ordered us to pass through a gate in the wall into a courtyard. I saw the sentry, and behind the gate unavoidable imprisonment loomed up. Only a few seconds separated me from it, and in those seconds my will rebelled against it.

I bade the sentry with a polite gesture lead the way. He took off his bayonet, and the moment he tried to pass through the gate I gave him a violent push and ran away. My pilot who was standing near me, also ran, but in a different direction. The sentry must have been rather stunned as the result of this not too amiable treatment, because I did not hear a sound for the next ten seconds. Then, however, things livened up, and I suspected that the pursuit of us two criminals was in full swing. Although I was in a great hurry to get away from the streets of Compiegne I was forced once more to resume a rather slow pace. From across the street a soldier started towards me and asked me the way to the railroad station. Although I understood the purport of his question, I could not reply. I pretended in the beginning that I had not understood him, and remained on my side of the street. Upon his repeated question, I turned around, and pointed in a different direction from the one I had come, with the word: "Directement." That was all of my French that I could remember at that moment. The soldier, rather dissatisfied, started on his way, and I walked on. I turned into a garden, and from there I came into the open country. I had escaped from my first capture!

I did not know where my pilot was. I was now alone. I consider that in such difficult circumstances, being alone is not exactly a bad

thing, because one man alone can fight his way through easier and is able to follow sudden impulses more easily than two. The few seconds that are necessary to communicate one's thoughts to the other are often sufficient to turn fortunate ideas into failure.

I encountered another patrol that night, just as I was about to cross the main road. A French police official ran straight into my stomach. Before he could entirely recover from his surprise, descend from his bicycle and take in the situation, I had already disappeared some 50 meters away in a cornfield. From then onwards I timidly avoided every road, or effected its crossing in moonlight when it was necessary by wriggling along on my stomach.

I fought my way through for four days. On the fifth night I had reached the foremost line and had spent a full day lying in shell holes. As the firing from the German side was rather heavy, and as often quite unexpected fire was scattered over the whole territory I saw very little of any soldiers. Apart from the detonations and whistling of the shells, dead silence prevailed. As the evening approached, things began to liven up. I had just crawled up a tree, and below me I saw troops appear who began to dig out trenches in my immediate vicinity. Everything proceeded in comparative silence.

The moment had come for me to overcome the last obstacles and so reach our trenches. I had to cross a hollow which had been transformed into a position of defence. I stepped into the hollow, then all of a sudden heard steps near me. The "bleu horizont" of the French uniform was so adapted for these nights that I could only hear the men who walked beside me. In the shade of the trenches with the moonlight pouring on them, the men could actually only be seen at a very close range. A squad of 15 men had already passed me, when suddenly I heard from forward the leader of the squad say something to those behind him. The man who stood nearest to me gave an answer which I am unable to repeat. Thereupon the leader of the squad returned. I hoped that by keeping perfectly quiet I would escape detection. But the private touched me, and then all of them threw themselves upon me. I was captured.

Between the minute of my capture and the lay of my successful escape sixteen months passed. During the whole of this time I was ender strong guard, but always my thoughts end endeavours were directed towards an escape. I made very many futile plans for flight, over the roofs, across the barbed wire obstacles and ender the ground. They were all doomed to failure. Little points were overlooked, which caused the failure of my plans.

The first few months were the most disagree_ able part of my imprisonment. During this time I became well acquainted with small narrow cells, in which I was left entirely alone with my thoughts and impressions. I learned how unutterably miserable and dreary a prisoner's cell could be. It was only by thinking of the hundreds of thousands of other men dragging out a similar existence, and by reminding myself that my imprisonment could not possibly last forever, that I conquered my depression. Enforced inaction and the impossibility of getting away to help my country, so hard pressed in the great world fight, was the second bitter drop in my glass of sorrow. But what could I do? I had to resign myself to circumstances and to find a way of living through that time without going crazy or becoming forever dulled. I observed the progress of the rays of the sun which shot into my cell across the high window, and constructed a sun dial. In such ways I managed to kill the hours. I piled my table and chairs upon each other and crawled up to the window to enjoy a few whiffs of fresh air and to gaze out upon the distant blue sky. At night I observed for hours at a time the course of the stars.

My clothes had been very much torn during my march towards the front. My gaoler gave me needle and thread, and for hours I mended my dilapidated garments, in which art I gradually became quite proficient.

I underwent several trials during the first weeks of my imprisonment. My examiners made all kinds of attempts to drag out of me in every conceivable way information about our troops, the organization on our side, etc. They soon became convinced, however, that they could not learn anything from me at an open trial and then resorted to other methods. Each day the German prisoners were locked up together for a short time in the tiny court, to enjoy the fresh air. I do not know whether there were more than two spies let loose among them, but twice I detected French spies disguised in the uniform of German officers. I need not mention that I tried in every way to mislead them, and I lied to them just as I had lied at my trials.

My imprisonment only became bearable after my removal to the Officers' Prisoners Camp of Montoir. There I found 250 German officers and 80 orderlies locked up together in a rather limited space. As I had been a Captain I was given what was in the circumstances quite considerable space, and I was satisfied with my fate. I spent the first two weeks recuperating from the ill effects of the various prisons I had been in. It was July, and I lay outside in an easy chair in the beautiful sunshine. After a fortnight, however, I became tired of peace and rest, and from that time onward I began seriously to plan and work out the possibilities of an escape. We tried several means of escape, unsuccessfully.

One of our plans was to try to reach one of the surrounding courts through a big hole which we had made in the roof of our lodging house. Unfortunately, one of the tiles fell down and attracted the attention of the guard standing below, so we had to make a retreat before the dawn.

Another attempt was to have been made through the barbed wire obstacles and the fence. After displaying much craft and cunning, and after many days of careful work, we felt that we had arranged a way in which we could slip through. There were three of us. Second Lieutenant Sand clipped the last few wires and had just finished his job. He had already reached the far side of the barbed wire obstruction. There the path of the patrol had to be crossed. The second of our little band was to follow, and I came third. The two of us could see Sand already far ahead on the edge of a small river, which cut off the camp from the outside world. We intended to swim across that river. At that moment the sentry on duty walked down the path and discovered us both in the barbed wire obstruction. On seeing us he naturally raised a fearful alarm, but as there were two of us, he could not lay hands on us both. My friend was captured. I managed to escape by retreating into the camp. It was rather dark, and I hoped that as the sentry had not seen me often before, he would be unable to recognize me later. My garments were naturally badly torn by the barbed wire. I spent all the night restoring them to their original condition so that in the morning at the call they would not betray me. The next morning the sentry did not recognize me, but picked out another prisoner as being the one who had attempted the escape. This fellow was promptly punished with one month in jail. Later when I reported to the commander of the camp that I was the one they had been looking for, I was also sentenced to jail. After twelve days, however, I was set free.

I discovered later that the superior officer of the commander of the camp did not consider that my statement, which was diametrically opposed to the official statement of a French soldier, could possibly be true. I was thankful that the authorities did not punish me for lying by locking me up with the other poor innocent fellow.

Another time we worked for weeks digging out a very long tunnel from one of the shacks. Everything proceeded in the greatest possible secrecy. After the tunnel had been completed to such an extent that we hoped to break through the top at night, feeling that from there we should be able to get away, we formed our group. The evening before the escape was to take place, however, the authorities discovered our intentions, called the roll all of a sudden, seized our nice provisions, and put in jail for one month all those who somehow carelessly betrayed their participation or who seemed suspicious. Again I fortunately slipped through and received quite a lot of the chocolate from the confiscated escape supplies.

Another attempt of two of us to escape by the shortest route was over the wall with the ladder that the lamp lighter used each day. I came second; my comrade had already got over the wall, and I was just about to clamber over it myself, pulling up the ladder after me, when a shot was fired from the other side. My partner ran straight into the hands of a sentry we did not know. It was not difficult for me to turn round and return to the camp without being recognized. There I again got some chocolate, while my comrade had to sit in jail.

From then on I began to feel that an attempt to escape could only be successful if undertaken alone, and kept a secret from everybody in the camp.

While I had been making these fruitless attempts to escape, a long time had elapsed. The 9th of November, 1918, arrived. My hopes of soon returning home began to fade as day after day went by. The conditions became worse than ever during those sad winter days.

So during the coming spring I began to think of new plans and resolved this time to escape alone. I only confided in those whose assistance in the carrying out of my plans was absolutely necessary. Not even my room mates knew anything about it.

On a beautiful moonlit night in September, 1919, the hour for escape had arrived. My preparations had been made down to the smallest detail. Each evening the officer on duty, accompanied by a German interpreter, made a round of all the rooms. I proceeded with my work until he had passed me. My room was situated on the first floor. Adjoining it were other small rooms, in each of which two men were housed. In one of these rooms I had already secreted two blankets. Immediately after the officer had left our section of the camp, I hurried into this room, quickly tied together the two blankets, and asked the occupants of this room to hold the blankets for me. I swung myself over the window sill and let myself down with the blankets into the open yard. There, behind a bush, I waited until the officer crossed the yard towards the other quarters. I walked behind him as nonchalantly as I could in the direction of the main guard. At that particular moment most of the guards were on duty at their various posts, and only a few remained in the guard house. In full sight of these guards I stepped into a stable adjoining the guard house. There I obtained a broom with a very long handle and proceeded to climb the gutter pipe in the corner, in order to clamber over the roof of the stable into the neighbouring courtyard. The climb was not as easy as I had imagined it would be. Supporting myself with the broomstick, with a considerable effort I reached the last hook, and by clinging to it I managed to pull myself up. While I was on the top of the roof, guard after guard passed below me. However, I had previously noticed that the guard did not look into this particular corner, but towards the interior of the camp. Finally even the last guard with the inspection officer, the German interpreter and the lock guard passed me. It was indescribably lucky that they did not detect me.

I waited for a time on top of the roof and listened for any suspicious sounds from the camp which might indicate that my escape had been noticed. Then I descended into the adjoining garden, in the same way that I had made my ascent. I used every possible caution. First of all I made sure that the house which stood in that garden was not inhabited. It was not ; the owner was probably still away at the beach. The gate leading into the open market square was locked. I looked around to see if it were possible to reach the open over the roofs of the adjoining houses. But that was a more dangerous way than by the market square. I hid the broom in a cart shed in which I found several boxes. I packed my uniform in one of these light wooden boxes, and changed into more or less civilian clothes. I had two kinds of trousers, a luster jacket, a civilian vest, a khaki shirt, my uniform coat, and a sports cap which I had made myself. Everything that I did not need I packed into the box.

The only chance of emerging from my hiding place without attracting too much attention was through the gate into the market square, which I would have to break open. Half of the small town of Montoire seemed assembled in the market place. Diagonally across the square from the gate there was a small puppet show, around which sat a multitude of people. Apparently a very funny play was in full swing. I stood for a few minutes behind the gate, and soon found that it would be possible to force it open. Then all of a sudden two cabs came rattling over the cobbles. One cab had already gone by; and the other was just approaching. I considered the noise very opportune, as it would drown the noise I made in forcing the gate. I broke it open and stepped into the market place behind the rolling cab. With the box on my back I now started to walk out of Montoire along the middle of the road. I could have walked in the shade, but there I should certainly have caused more suspicion than in the middle of the road. I did not even go out of the way of people, but went along muttering to myself. They did not think that I was a German officer and prisoner of war from the camp, or else they would have raised an alarm.

In this way I left the small town in which our prison camp was situated. With my box I plodded along for another half hour, until I reached the next village, where a bridge led across the Loire. I made a bundle of my coat. My infantry cap I threw into the river and saw it drift away. After passing through this small village, and as everything seemed quiet, I sat down behind a hedge along the road to rest for a while. I must confess that inwardly I was rather excited and that my heart was still beating fast. I did not know which direction to take. There was a moon, but I had not yet had time to notice its course. In an airplane I should have been rather at a loss. Here, however, I had sufficient time to sit until I could determine my direction. Ten minutes later I had found my bearings. I saw the polar star, and noticed how the moon moved along westward, and so I knew where the East, the direction of my country, lay. I walked in this direction for the whole night.

It was a beautiful moonlight night, as beautiful as any I had ever experienced during my night flights. Peace reigned over the land. I passed through villages and farms; dogs barked; the echo died away as I went on. I reached the road connecting Verdome with Tours, which crossed the path of my escape. There I lay down behind a dense bush along the road, to await the morning. In spite of being very much fatigued I had only a short sleep. I was afraid that I might snore and attract the attention of passers-by. The morning came, and seldom in my life have I seen such a wonderful sunrise. The entire easterly sky from North to South was a pink hemisphere which pushed the blue silvery night westward.

Before the sun rose like a shimmering glowing sea, the first villagers came pilgrimaging along the road. I gave up the idea of marching across the devastated territory to Holland. Happy in my newly acquired freedom, I decided to select a nice long route. I had never seen the South of France and Switzerland, so I bent my steps in their direction.

The first day I had to cross certain heights. I almost died of thirst in the dreadful heat. I dare not enter a house and ask for water; and water could be had only from deep wells. For four days I marched along in this manner. I slept by night in woods and fields, and walked by day. Often I ran great risks of being detected, mostly because I did not know the language of the country, and also through trying to buy things in the various towns. On my march I had studied in various railroad stations how to buy a railroad ticket and how the trains were controlled. So on the afternoon of the fourth day, I decided to try to continue my journey with a quicker means of transportation, by the railroad. In Blois I bought myself my first railroad ticket to Bourges. In the compartment I attached myself to a family, and reached my destination without any trouble. The next morning I bought another ticket for Lyons, after having spent a night full of fears in Bourges, and after being nearly discovered by a guard. Naturally I could only buy tickets for places, the names of which I was somehow able to pronounce. My trip from Lyons to the Swiss frontier was quite dangerous. I was often addressed, without being able to reply. Every time this happened I moved into another compartment of the train.

During the trip to Belgard I knew I should have to contend with a passport inspection. I gathered from the conversation of the passengers that this inspection would be held in Belgard, and I decided to leave the train before arriving there. On looking out of the window, however, I noticed that the train was going through a narrow passage lined with cliffs, so that it would be impossible to leave it unnoticed. The train arrived in Belgard. I did not have much time to consider whether it would be best to hide myself in the train, on the top of it, or under it. It was surrounded by customs officials, and policemen with dogs. It was impossible to stay in any longer. Besides, I did not know whether the train was to proceed over the frontier into Switzerland.

I was almost the last to descend, and there was nothing left but to follow the crowd. We went through a subway passage to a large waiting room, where a wooden railing was fitted. There was only room to pass in single file to the end of the railing where passports were examined. Three policemen stood there, and looked at the passes of everybody going by. I did not possess a passport. In front of me stood a few peasant women, who fumbled about with their passes which they held in their hands. I saw these passes and wished I had one. I knew that if I reached the policemen before obtaining one my trip would be at an end.

The day before I had bought a newspaper for 10 centimes, by handing the dealer the money and taking the paper without saying a word. At the back of this paper there was an advertisement which had a slight resemblance both in its wording and size to the passes that the peasant women were holding in their hands. I folded the paper up so that only this advertisement showed, and held my railroad ticket on to the spot where the photograph stood on the passes. To the casual observer it actually did look like a pass. I squeezed myself in between the peasant women. My clothing was such that I might have been considered as belonging to them. We came to the policemen. One policeman stood on one side of the line; the other two stood together on the other side. Every pass was looked at. The women were just showing theirs. I had mine in my right hand. I looked at one policeman and showed my pass to the next one. After I had passed the first policeman, I showed it to the second one, and looked at the third. I had passed the inspection! As a matter of fact I was somewhat astonished that I had managed to get by. I had already planned how I would pretend to be deaf and dumb, and then wait for an opportunity to escape while I was being transported to the police station or after being imprisoned. I became quite confident after this success. I had no trouble in getting past the gates with my railroad ticket.

In Belgard my way led across a bridge where a soldier stood on guard. Whether it was necessary or not to show him a pass I do not know. At any rate I managed to cross also this bridge, by heading straight for the guard, who almost had to step out of my way. As it was pitch dark and raining I naturally did not know which way to take next. An opportunity to establish the cardinal directions did not present itself. Therefore I waited for day to break. Then, after having met with a few more incidents similar to the passport inspection, I marched towards the frontier. I still had approximately 20 kilometers to cover, and it took me practically the entire day.

As the evening approached, I came close to the frontier which at this particular spot is formed by the Rhone. A strong storm had arisen, heavy rain came .pelting down, and dark night set in. Therefore I was able to approach the frontier without being noticed. In addition I had the enormous advantage that no sentry stood in the open owing to the storm. I passed through villages which I could only see in the flashes of lightning. I placed my small supply of food and everything that I did not absolutely need on the banks of the river, as I intended in the first place to attempt to swim across the Rhone. During this attempt I was dragged by the tearing current into the stream. It was almost impossible for me to swim, because the small bundle that I had tied on the top of my head pressed my head into the water, and I nearly drowned. I tore the bundle off my head, dragging it alongside of me, and then I managed to make the opposite shore. There I reported at the Gendarmery station, from where I was taken the following morning to the German Consulate. The joy I experienced at the success of my flight from captivity was almost as great as the joy we felt when we awoke at Greenly Island from a heavy slumber the morning following our landing.