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Heinz Knoke's victim on March 8, 1944

Jacob Moskowitz & Theodore J. MacDonald in Stalag I
Jacob Moskowitz is the 2nd one from the left.
In third position, from left, stand a Luftwaffe soldier, probably a guardian of the Stalag sufficiently sympathetic
to be invited on the picture... Maybe that it was is own camera ? Such a device was probably rare in Stalag I !

2nd Lt. Jacob Moskowitz B-17G-30-DL 'Sleepy Time Gal' Serial 42-38211

2nd Lt. Jacob Moskowitz (from Brooklyn, NY) Navigator in Stalag I, WA

[Photos courtesy from Alan Foreman]

Extract from
"The Final Flight of Sleepy Time Gal"
C. Alan Foreman

There's our escort at twelve o'clock high," a voice soon announced over the intercom. The fighters initially appeared as distant specks but grew larger as they approached the bombers. From head on and in shallow dive, the fighters rapidly closed on the bomber formation. The bomber crews soon realized that the fighters were not escorts as waves of ten to fifteen FW-190s, Me-109s and Me-110s, flying wing abreast, opened up on the bombers with machine gun and 20mm cannon fire...

...Lieutenant MacDonald struggled to keep control of his aircraft. A moment later, the voice of Lieutenant Moskowitz came over the intercom, "Mac, the fire destroyed both our chutes." The plane carried only one spare parachute, which meant that with the two damaged chutes of the navigator and bombardier, the crew still needed one more parachute. MacDonald replied to Moskowitz: "Stand by." Lieutenant Godsey, the copilot, broke the momentary silence on the intercom. "Mac, I think we better do something. We're on fire and with two engines out, we're losing altitude fast."
MacDonald did not wait long to make a decision. He sounded the alarm bell, signaling the crew to evacuate the plane. Immediately, the voice of the navigator came back over the intercom, "Mac, I have no chute." Without hesitation, MacDonald replied, "Come up here and take mine. Get out now." Jack Moskowitz complied with his commander's instructions and obtained MacDonald's parachute from the cockpit. Lieutenant Harris grabbed the plane's spare chute and got ready to bail out. After opening the hatch on the underside of the plane's nose, Harris, Godsey and Moskowitz jumped free of the burning aircraft...

...Lieutenant Moskowitz floated down using the chute given to him by Lieutenant MacDonald. His descent put him on a collision course with a German anti-aircraft battery. After scraping through some trees, he landed right in the middle of the gun position. Before he could even get up, the Germans manning the position had their rifles and pistols in his face. Though not happy with his new status as a POW, he was relieved that his part in the war was now over...

...The surviving crewmembers, minus Willie Rowden (who was in a German hospital), were temporarily reunited at the Oberursel Interrogation Center near Frankfurt On-The-Main. After interrogation, Lieutenant MacDonald and Lieutenant Moskowitz were sent to Stalag I...

...The eight crewmen that survived capture on March 8, 1944 all lived to see liberation in April of 1945. The experience of war created a bond that held them together for almost six decades. Currently, there are five surviving crewmembers of Sleepy Time Gal: Chuck Batdorf, Willie Rowden, Bill Valigura, Mearl Cline and Wendell Dowell. Despite the passage of nearly 60 years, each one can still vividly recall the final flight of Sleepy Time Gal.

Article written in August 2003.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The author is greatly indebted to ... Without his help, this story would not be what it is, and I wish to express my sincere thanks for his fine cooperation.

Data courtesy of C. Alan Foreman


"Sleepy Time Gal" ' crew
Jacob Moskowitz & Theodore J. MacDonald in Stalag I clic on photo to enlarge it.
Sgt Charles R. Batdorf
clic on photo to enlarge it.
Charles R. Batdorf
William J. Valigura, Jr.
Sgt William J. Valigura, Jr.
clic on photo to enlarge it.
2nd Lt. Jacob Moskowitz
clic on photo to enlarge it.
Jacob Moskowitz
Robert L. Allen
Sgt Robert L. Allen
clic on photo to enlarge it.
T/Sgt Wilburn C. Rowden
clic on photo to enlarge it.
Wilburn C. Rowden
Mearl I. Cline
T/Sgt Mearl I. Cline
clic on photo to enlarge it.

* - - - Special thanks to Alan Foreman (nephew of Sgt Charles R. Batdorf) for his help - - - *

serial number

 plane type or name




mission lost on

pilot / crew


"Sleepy Time Gal"

452 BG
731 BS

Heinz Knoke Bf 109 &


Crash Location
25 km North/West of Wunstorf 415 / I11

2nd Lt. Theodore J. MacDonald P POW,
2nd Lt. John T. Godsey CP KIA,
2nd Lt. Jacob Moskowitz N POW,
2nd Lt. Anton L. Harris B KIA,
T/Sgt Mearl I. Cline TTG POW,
T/Sgt Wilburn C. Rowden R POW,
Sgt Charles R. Batdorf RWG POW,
Sgt Wendell E. Dowell LWG POW,
Sgt William J. Valigura, Jr. BTG POW,
Sgt Robert L. Allen TG POW,

MACR 3193

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