Sunday, October 9, 2011

Father John McHugh---WWII POW

A few months ago, my daughter Kristine called to tell me that she had met someone who had to be included in this book (at that time, I was still thinking “short story). She had been to a dear friend, Bernadette Cathers Valsquez, wedding, and had met Fr.  John McHugh.  Kristine told me that Fr. John is a riot, and so personable to visit with, but that was not why he needed to honored.”--. Fr. John, a bombardier with the 448th Bomber Group, was declared dead along with the entire crew of his plane that exploded on a bomb run. It was not until after the end of the war that Father (at that time Lieutenant  John McHugh) and two fellow crewmen were found among over 9,000 POWs at Stalag Luft #1 at Barth, Germany on the Baltic Sea.  
   I told Kristine that sounded like a wonderful story, but I was writing about nurses. Then she told me (as Paul Harvey would say) the rest of the story. Father had a sister Mary who was a flight nurse during the war.  Of course, Mary's heart broke when she learned her brother and the entire crew had been lost. It was also difficult knowing that her parents were suffering so much anguish. After the war, one of her last assignments before discharge was serving on the crew of one of the final evac flights of Stalag Luft #1. The events that followed is the stuff of movies about miracles.
. Recently, I checked out Stulag Luft #1 in Barth, on the NET and was amazed with the 1st person accounts that are available. If you would like to learn more, a very interesting, informative sites is:

In addition, you can see Fr. John McHugh on YOUTube.  If the following won’t open just type in his name.


  1. Is your book completed?
    I've known Fr John for over 20 years, since I was a child doing mission work in Belize, and would love to see his story in print. I never heard him tell it firsthand, but my own father did and I've heard it recounted many times. S

    1. Hi Megan,
      I have finished the book. I decided to concentrate on it, and stopped blogging until I did so. I have shared with Fr. John, and he loved it. Now I am trying to get it published. I really don't want to self-publish for many reasons.
      Thanks for the note.
      I hope to meet Fr. John in May.