It was at a young age that I became aware of the rich and deep European history of my family; especially that of my fathers side. I was in junior High when I discovered that my step grandfather the only Opa that I ever knew and loved was a Stuka pilot during WWII.
His father, August Dryer III, was infantry in WW1. My grandfather, Albert Dreyer, was born in Hanover, Germany on September 26, 1921. During trade school he joined the Deister Gleider Klub in 1938. After the war broke out in '39 my grandfather joined the Luftwaffe and began infantry training in Posen, Poland from October of '40 to March of '41. He then attended Communication equipment training in Paris, France (Le Bourget) from March of ’41 to June of ’41. Then he went to Vlissingen, Holland for aircraft machinegun training from June of ’41 the end of August. Then from there he went back to France to study advance communication in Lorient from August of ’41 to February of ’42.
He began his air training with gliders, to which he was already familiar with, in Gelchsheim, Germany from February of ’42 to October of ’43 in the Flugzeug Fuhrer Gruppe Schule A/B 24. He then trained at the Flugzeugfuhrerschule B35 in Hagenow, Germany from the winter of ’43 to June of ’44. Then after completing his training he was issued his Ju-87 in Hagenow and flew it to the eastern front near Posen, 60 miles from the Russian front lines. There he met his co-pilot, Heinz Meyer. He flew his first sorties in Sep. of '44 and hunted tanks, targeted bridges and railroads in March of ’45 he was shot down by Russian AA fire. What became of Heinz after bailing out he never knew, but he was rescued by villagers and convalesced from a near fatal injuries in a church converted hospital in Pine, Germany.
After the surrender that area was occupied U.S. forces and he was transferred to a prison camp in Halberstadt, Germany. There he met Fallschirmjäger Otto Stickel. Fed up with potato peel soup and being half starved, the stuka pilot and fallschirmjager escaped the camp to Brunswick. His uncle Willie Hartman was a cobbler in Brunswick and gave them civilian clothes, for Albert was still wearing his flight pants. From Brunswick he hitched a ride on top of a bus to his home in Hanover. Being an escaped POW he was not issued a ration card and could no longer take from what little food his family had and surrendered to the British forces so that he can be discharged with a ration card. Because he was not a ranking officer and just a combatant, the British offered full reinstatement of civilian status. He emigrated to Canada in '51 and then the U.S. where he met my grandmother, Ana Molnar, at a German Nightclub. They later married.
We are honored and greatful to have Justin Molnars grandfather as our Honorary Opa of the unit. His short but interesting story of his grandfathers time during the war is simular to many German WWII veterans who where simply serving their country. For most of them the politics did not go much beyond that of survival.