Ye Olde Pub - An Incredible Story of Chivalry!

[align=center]This Story of a B-17 Bomber in WWII is simply astonishing![/align]

[align=center]2nd Lt. Charlie Brown & his B-17F Flying Fortress named “Ye Olde Pub”[/align]

[align=center]2ND Lt. Charlie Brown was a B-17F Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17F was called “Ye Olde Pub” and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton. Most of the tail & half of the stabilizer were gone.

After flying over an enemy airfield, a pilot named Franz Stigler
was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17F. When he got near
the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he “had never seen a plane in such a bad state”. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere.

Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17
and looked at 2nd Lt. Charlie Brown, Lt. Brown was scared and
struggling to control his damaged and bloodstained plane.

Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved
at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken
plane to and slightly over the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe.

When Franz landed he told the C.O. that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remainder of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered
never to talk about it.

More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the
Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was
found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at postwar

They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.

Research shows that 2nd Lt. Charlie Brown lived in Seattle and Franz
Stigler had moved to Vancouver, BC after the war. When they finally met, they discovered they had lived less than 200 miles apart for the past 50 years!

In his first letter to Brown, Stigler had written: "All these years, I wondered what happened to the B-17, did she make it or not?"

She made it, just barely. But why did the German not destroy his virtually defenseless enemy?

"I didn't have the heart to finish off those brave men," Stigler later said. "I flew beside them for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do it. I could not have shot at them. It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute."

Sadly Franz Stigler passed away on 22 March 2008. Charlie Brown passed away on 24 November 2008.[/align]
basso said:
An inspirational story Gundulph. Thanks for posting it.
Thought it was the usual made up E-Mail passed on by a friend and was quite taken back when I found out it was true! I wonder if there are many other similar stories of compassion that have come to light from WWII or any other conflict!
A true gentleman, and a pilot of well over 400 missions!

"During the early days in North Africa Franz would find himself on the wrong end of the Royal Air forces guns and was shot down. He was escorted to an Allied Airfield only to find that the Luftwaffe was attacking the same airfield. In all the mayhem everyone ran for cover and forgot about their new prisoner! Franz took advantage of the situation and escaped back to the Luftwaffe Base! What Luck! Franz would fly his Me-109f (White 12) over the next year and half and go on to down 15 aircraft (P-40's, Spitfire's and Hurricane's"

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