Heather Steele is a good friend of Air War Publications, and today we would like to share a link to her excellent WWII History Project website. For several years now, Heather has focused her attention on contacting and meeting with Second World War veterans from all nations and services, receiving invaluable support from her friend Charley (more on him below). Heather’s website features a blog, pages devoted to individual American veterans, and much more besides.
As a result of Heather’s efforts, she has conducted dozens of excellent, in-depth interviews, with some fascinating service personnel. She has traversed Germany to meet with these men and women (all now aged in their 90s), and has also interviewed people in the United States and United Kingdom. She has also been kind enough to interview some veterans on our behalf, and extracts from these interviews will be adding colour to Air War Publications books and articles for many years to come. We are exceedingly grateful to Heather for her efforts. Aside from the interviews, Heather also dutifully copies any photographs or documents the veteran is happy to have copied.
Alongside Heather for most of her interviews is Charley Koenig, who has been absolutely vital to her efforts over the last few years. Charley was a German soldier with Panzer-Regiment 5, and was captured by the Allies in Tunisia in 1943. Since the war he has devoted much time to meeting his old foes. To quote Heather: “He has been a tireless, self-sacrificing and generous research partner who has given his life’s energy, at a time when he needs it most, to help us succeed in our work.” And aside from all that, he is a fantastic person and great company.
Amongst the Luftwaffe airmen Heather has met and interviewed are members of the following units:
– Jagdgeschwader 1, JG 3, JG 5, JG 11, JG 26, JG 51, JG 52, JG 54, JG 102, JG 104, JG 300, JG 302, JG 400
– Kampfgeschwader 53, KG 55, KG 100
– Lehrgeschwader 1
– Nachtjagdgeschwader 6, NJG 102
– Ergänzungsjagdgruppe 1
– Schnellkampfgeschwader 10, Nachtschlachtgruppe 4, St.G. 2, Sch.G. 1
– Schlachtgeschwader 1, SG 2, SG 3, SG 9, SG 10, SG 77
– Sonderkommando Elbe
She has met men from a wide variety of unit types, with an equally varied range of wartime experiences. These old gentlemen were all happy to receive a visitor who was interested in their lives and military careers, and gladly shared their wartime stories and memories with her.
Please visit Heather’s WWII History Project website. She is also in the process of writing some books, and we have no doubt that they will be excellent pieces of work, featuring interesting and sometimes amazing stories from the men and women who experienced the war first hand.