Hardy A. Mitchener, Jr. Journal

​Hardy A. Mitchener, Jr. was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 509th Bombardment Squadron, 351st Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force, stationed in Polebrook, England, during World War II. He was shot down and captured on May 30, 1944, after a bombing mission in Oschersleben, Germany, and sent to Stalag Luft III shortly thereafter. During his stay at this POW camp in Sagan, Germany, known principally for the famous “Great Escape” that took place in March 1944, Mitchener kept a diary of his experiences. The diary contains detailed drawings of life at the camp as well as documentation of the prisoners’ rapid evacuation of Stalag Luft III on January 27, 1945. Mitchener was fond of writing songs and poems in his diary, and has included numerous examples of works that speak to the prisoners’ depression, boredom, frustration, and overpowering desire for freedom.