Beyond the Call: The True Story ofOne World War II Pilot’s Covert Mission to Rescue POWs on the Eastern Front by Lee Trimble with Jeremy Dronfield
Bomber Pilot Captain Robert Trimble finished his tour of duty in the European Theatre and was anxious to return home to his wife and his newborn daughter he hadn’t even met yet. But duty called. He was offered a position to retrieve downed planes and crew in Europe from a post at Poltava in Russia, which seemed a safer deal than being called back up for a second tour of duty. Keeping aircraft and American technology away from the Russians was not his only job in Poltava. Trimble discovered upon arrival that he was being tasked with a much different mission. Russians treated their POWs horribly (often sending them to gulags or killing them on sight) and they weren’t treating former Allied POWs from German camps well at all. Trimble was supposed to retrieve aircraft, but he was also to covertly find and help American and British POWs liberated from camps with no way to get home with an avenue home by way of trains to Odessa. This man is responsible for secretly getting over 1,000 people out of Poland and on their way home, and until now no one knew his story.
Lee Trimble learned about this part of his father’s life less than a decade ago when Robert Trimble finally started to open up about his experiences. It is a fascinating look at the courage and wherewithal of one man and how he helped so many that were losing hope. There are a number of heartwarming events and gripping edge of your seat maneuvers, but what will stick with me the longest is the frustration Robert faced because of politics and bureaucracy. He overcame so much and helped so many people, but it is awful to contemplate how many he was not able to help because of the roadblocks governments threw in his way.
Lee Trimble will be at the Hillsborough Library talking about this book on Monday, February 23rdat 6:30pm. Sign up here to learn more about the story behind the story.