Date of Interview
Lee Bedsted was born 31 October 1923 on a farm near Tyler, Minnesota, and grew up there. He entered military service in March 1943, with the US Army Air Corps, and was trained as an engineer/top turret gunner on B-17 Flying Fortress 4-engine heavy bombers. Lee arrived in England in May 1944, and was assigned to the 546th Bomb Squadron, 384th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, stationed at Grafton Underwood. His crew completed twenty-eight bombing missions before their aircraft was shot down on 12 July 1944, while on a mission to bomb rail yards at Munich in southern Germany. Of the nine-man crew, five survived. Lee spent the next nine months as a POW of the Germans, at Dulag Luft interrogation center, and Stalag Luft IV at Gross Tychow, in far northern Germany (July 1944 - February 1945). The Germans evacuated Luft IV on 6 February 1945, as Soviet forces advanced near to the camp, and POWs then were marched through Germany until liberated by American forces near the central German city of Bitterfeld on 26 April 1945. Lee spent several months in military medical facilities recovering from his time as a POW, then in October 1945 was discharged from the Army. Again a civilian, he got married (wife Beverly) and spent a career as an industrial arts teacher and then a high school counselor in Austin, Minnesota.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Lee Bedsted" (2005). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 5.