Stanley E. Edwards, Jr., co-author of "D-Day and Beyond: A True Story of Escape and POW Survival", was born in Boston in 1923, but spent most of his early years in Chicago. He always loved airplanes and worked for a time at O'Hare field. In 1941 he enlisted in the army and attended flight school in Granada, Mississippi, before being sent to England prior to his D-Day mission.
He flew a C-47-a (Serial # 42-23638) to drop paratroopers in the early hours of the invasion.
See the reports regarding the fate of the aircraft and crew.
When his plane was shot down,
he bailed out and landed alone in a field, separated from the rest of his crew.
Luckily, he was able to hook up with a crew of paratroopers trying to fight their way back to the American troops. They were captured by the Germans, escaped and were re-captured three times before Stan was eventually sent to prison camp at Stalag Luft III.
After returning from the war, Stan married his sweetheart, Shirley Broecker, and they raised four daughters (Pat, Margaret, Kathleen, Elizabeth) in the Chicago area where he worked for International Harvester for 30 years.
He was an avid golfer and maintained his interest in WWII and flying all his life.
A member of Former Prisoners of Stalag Luft III, he attended reunions and maintained contact with his fellow prisoners for 50 years.
As he says in the book, "I am bound to them by the extraordinary circumstances in which we found ourselves.
And all of us know what it means to be grateful just to be alive.
That's what I want to tell young people of today. Live while you can.
Spend time with your loved ones. Make every day count. It's not what you accomplish in this life that matters - it's how you live it."
Stanley Edwards died in April, 2004, having lived a long and full life.