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Interview of Robert S. Dunbar by Matthew Williamson

March 28, 2013

Portrait Feature Article Transcript

Mr. Robert Dunbar was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, and he still resides here today. He has served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He joined the United States Army Air Corps shortly after graduating from high school and became a pilot of a B-17 Bomber. During the interview, Mr. Dunbar tells many compelling stories that offer a new perspective on World War II and what life was like as a Prisoner of War.

Dunbar begins his interview by discussing his early life and how he became involved with the war and then quickly moves into stories about his training. Mr. Dunbar was trained in the United States as a bomber pilot and was sent to England to fly with the 96th Bomb Group. He would go on to fly some very interesting and important missions, such as dropping guns and ammunition to the French Maquis. He was shot down over southern Germany on his 21st mission. In the interview, Mr. Dunbar tries to convey what it was like to be shot at, explaining that, after being shot down, he was thankful because he knew he would not be shot at anymore. After being captured, he was held as a Prisoner of War for nine months. He was moved from one prison camp to another and spent time in Nuremberg, Moosburg, and Stalag Luft III, the site of the “Great Escape.” He shares some very humorous tales of his time as a prisoner as well as some very emotional ones.

Mr. Dunbar explains that Moosburg, the second camp of his captivity, was so close to a British and American bombing target that the explosions of the bombs would rock their barracks at night. Mr. Dunbar also describes how one night in particular the bombing was so terrible that the prisoners took shelter in the trenches with their German guards. Mr. Dunbar was liberated by General Patton’s 3rd Army in June of 1945. In addition to discussing his WWII experience, Mr. Dunbar touches briefly on the different jobs he performed for the Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. This interview tells the story of his service.

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