James H. Vander Laan papers, 1942-1953
- 1.00 boxes
- Preferred citation:
- Vander Laan, James H., papers. Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. http://purl.fcla.edu/fsu/WWII_01_0346.
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
This collection is open to all researchers.
Permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast works from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience must be requested and granted in writing by the director of the Institute. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Institute on World War II as the owner of the physical items and the copyright holder. Possession of a copy of an item does not constitute permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast it. The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience reserves the right to refuse permission to individuals and publishers who have not complied with its policies. Permission fees must be paid before images are provided. Please contact the director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience for current publication and duplication rates.
- Scope and Content:
This World War II collection relates to Sgt. James H. Vander Laan, who served in the United States Army Air Force and was assigned to the 511th bomber squadron in the 351st Bombardment Group. During his service, he trained as a ball-turret gunner and radio operator on a B-17 bomber. The collection consists of documents, letters, photographs, and memorabilia. The documents detail where James H. VanderLaan was stationed, inducted and discharged from service. The letters from James H. Vander Laan are addressed from Germany during his time as a Prisoner of War and are dated from November 7, 1943-November 5, 1944. The photographs are of James H. Vander Laan with his wife Marion Madeley and a photograph portrait of James H. Vander Laan. The memorabilia in the collection consist of newspaper clippings of James H. Vander Laan's capture and release and book clippings from Stalag 17B.
- Biographical / Historical:
James H. Vander Laan was born in Hudsonville, Michigan on February 3, 1913. He served as an aerial gunner during World War II with the 351st bomber group, 511th bomber squadron from May 19, 1942 to November 6, 1945. Vander Laan was stationed initially in Las Vegas, Nevada for gunnery school and then to Spokane, Washington with the 511th squadron. The 351st Bombardment Group flew bombing missions over Europe, primarily Germany and Vander Laan worked as a ball gunner and radio operator. Vander Laan's B-17 was shot down over Anklem, Germany on October 9, 1943, and he became a prisoner of war at Stalag 17B in Krems, Austria. The camp was liberated in April 1945 during which time James H. Vander Laan received these medals/ribbons: American Theater Ribbon, EAME Ribbon with bronze star, Good Conduct Medal, Air Medal with three bronze clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Prisoner of War medal. James H. Vander Laan discharged in San Antonio, Texas on November 6, 1945, and passed away in Hudsonville, Michigan on July 12, 1995.
- Acquisition information:
Marion R. Vander Laan
- Distinguished Flying Cross (Medal)
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, American
United States. Army Air Forces. Medals, badges, decorations, etc
Fort Custer (Mich.)
World War, 1939-1945--England
World War, 1939-1945--Germany
- Stalag XVII B Krems-Gneixendorf
United States. Army Air Forces. Bombardment Group (Heavy), 351st
United States. Army Air Forces
- Las Vegas (Nev.)
Fort Bliss (Tex.)
San Antonio (Tex.)