Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Wellington II W5576 ditched in the North Sea on 11/9-1941.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 104 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded EP-N.
T/O 21:30 Stradishall OP: Torino.


On the return flight W5576 ditched in the North sea at 07:20 hours. Approx. one hour later the crew, consisting of Pilot S/L D.M. Strong, Co-pilot Sgt Gordon T. Woodroofe RNZAF, Observer P/O H.T.Beare RCAF, W/Op Sgt N.S. Fisher, W/Op-Air Gnr. Sgt J.A. Chubb and Air Gnr. Sgt R. Ritson was picked up by a Danish fishing boat and taken to Esbjerg.
They arrived the next day, and were handed over to the Wehrmacht. They were taken to Esbjerg airfield and kept there for two days.
In that period of time, Woodroofe tried twice to escape, but without any luck. They were then sent to Dulag Luft in Oberursel where they were interrogated for nine days.

They were then passed on to different prisoner of war camps. Woodroofe was taken to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf where he arrived late September and stayed until June 1942. He was then moved to Stalag Luft II Sagan for two months.
Then in July 1942 on to Jagerndorf. While detailed to working party 367 at Jagerndorf in May 1943 Woodroofe managed to escape and stayed at large for two weeks.
When he was caught, he was put in the cooler in the local camp in Landeck, Austria on a diet of bread and thin potatosoup.
Early June he was sent to Stalag XVIIIC Markt Pongau, St. Johan where he was put in solitary confinement for three weeks.. Later the same month he was sent to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf where he stayed until September 43. He was then part of different working parties until August 1944.
On August 17 1944 he managed to escape with three more prisoners. They split in two teams and Woodroofe and Private Glasnau tried to reach the Baltic.
In Brieg Glasnau was arrested as he had no papers. Woodroofe continued by train to Wismar where he managed to get onboard a Swedish ship. On 29/8-1944 the ship arrived in Karlsham, Sweden and on September 9. Woodroofe landed at Leuchars airbase in England.

Strong was sent to Stalag IXC Mühlhausen, Stalag VIB Mauveerssen bei Meppen, Stalag XXIB Turs to end up in Stalag Luft III Sagan.
Beare was sent to Stalag XC Nienburg a.d. Weser and later to Stalag Luft III Sagan.
Chubb was sent to Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf, to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug to end up in Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel.
Fisher was sent to Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf, Stalag Luft III Sagan to end up in Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel.
Ritson was sent to Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf, Stalag Luft III Sagan, Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug to end up in Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel.

They all returned to England after the war.



Sources: AIR 27/821, WO 208/3323, BCL, OLCB.
 

 

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