Streamed live on May 2, 2024

Jim Keeffe and Carol Godwin join Glenn to share the history of Stalag Luft III.

On the 8th of March 1944, during a bombing mission to Berlin, 19-year-old B-24 pilot James Keeffe was shot down over Holland, catapulting him into a world squeezed colorless by the ever-tightening fist of Nazi occupation.

Moving from safe house to safe house with the help of the Dutch Underground, Lt. Keeffe, in plain view of the enemy, evades for five harrowing months.

During an escape attempt through Belgium he is betrayed, captured and transferred under armed guard to the infamous German prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft III – site of the Great Escape.

Jim will share the story of his fascinating book, Two Gold Coins and a Prayer: The Epic Journey of a World War II Bomber Pilot, Evader, and POW 

Carol Goodwin is the niece of Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets who flew the B-29 Enola Gay and dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima, and is the daughter of Stalag Luft II POW Capt. William Carey, who was a chief operative in Military Intelligence Service-X ( MIS-X), which was highly secret and functioned out of Ft. Hunt in Alexandria, VA.

Bill had been co-piloting an experimental YB40 [reconfigured B-17] on a run to bomb the Hüls synthetic rubber plant Recklinghausen in northern Germany when he was shot down in June 1943. After arriving at Stalag Luft III, he continued the war effort by utilizing his previous training as an OSS [Office of Strategic Services] agent to become a covert code writer for MIS-X in Ft. Hunt.

Carol’s father was head of the intelligence operation communicating with MIS-X from SL3. MIS-X sent and received coded letters with POWs. He taught other POWs how to code. He also participated in plays in the compound’s camp theatres, keeping him associated with many POWs while conducting intelligence.

Her father thought he was corresponding with a woman in the U.S. He finally met “the woman” when he returned home. British intelligence service MI9 did these same things from London. A German guard in the camp bragged he was going home to Peenemunde where there was a big VII rocket factory, and he said that rocket would win the war for the Germans.

The RAF coders immediately reported that news to MI9 in London, and they passed the info on to the RAF who then immediately set up a bombing raid on Peenemunde destroying that facility. The guard returned to the camp and was dismayed to tell the POWs that the facility had been bombed, and he couldn’t understand how the RAF knew it was there.

The United States Department of War operated MIS-X. Secret equipment, such as small compasses, maps, and radios were smuggled into the camp to aid with escapes and intelligence operations. Between MI9 and MIS-X, an abundance of contraband made its way into the camp.

Each packer of special illegal parcels had a unique mark that the prisoners at Sagan were alerted to look for. As the tunnels advanced in the spring and summer of 1943, the steady delivery of illegal parcels flooded the camp, and shipments were quite sizable.

Monopoly games with real German money, brushes that came apart to reveal contraband, including inks for forging documents, sports equipment that hid the same, and compasses hidden in uniform buttons were gratefully received.

There were blankets that when washed revealed pattern marks to cut along to turn into civilian jackets. At one point, MI9 delivered a full German uniform. Ten days after the Japanese surrendered, ending the war, MIS-X was shut down. It was not until 1986 that any information about the covert operation was revealed.

Exactly what they communicated and their methods for doing so are still somewhat classified today.