Hampden I P1341 crashed Nordenskov 15/1-1942.
The aircraft belonged to RAF 106 Sqn. and was coded ZN-?
T/O 17:10 Coningsham. OP: Hamburg.
On Thursday 15/1 1942 at 106 Squadron at Conningsby Airbase in Lincolnshire in
East England, 11 bombers were planned to participate in an attack on Hamburg
along with 84 bombers from other squadrons.
Take-off was planned to take place between 16:35 and 17:30. However, some
problems arose when two bombers were unable to start due to technical
difficulties. In addition to this, a bomber crashed during take-off and two
bombers returned after less than an hour’s flight because of problems with the
At 17:10 Sgt William Storrier Dashwood took off in Hampden P1341.
Besides Dashwood who came from the New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), the crew
consisted of the navigator Sgt Roger O. R. Rousseau of the Canadian Air Force (RCAF),
the wireless operator/gunner Sgt Arthur W. Horsemann and the gunner Sgt Ernie A.
Moore – both of the British Air Force (RAF).
Moore, Horsemann, Dashwood and
It was an experienced crew that was leaving on its 22nd operational sortie. The
average within the squadron was 4-5 campaigns due to great losses.
The squadron experimented with dropping target indicators for others to aim at
when bombing. This later led to the establishment of the so-called Pathfinders.
On this campaign, Dashwood’s bomber was 1 out of 3 that had to drop target
indicators approximately 10-12 minutes prior to the arrival of the rest of the
The target indicators consisted of 4 containers – each weighing 500 pounds –
with incendiaries, which the plane carried in the bomb compartment. In addition,
the plane carried a 250-pound bomb under each wing.
The intention was that the 3 bombers dropped the target indicators in a triangle
round the target, so that the other bombers could drop their load consisting of
bombs in the middle of these.
The approach to Germany/Hamburg would take place north of Wilhelmshaven. From
there they had to cross the mouth of the river Weser and then keep to the left
of Bremerhafen and south of Cuxhaven.
Shortly before reaching Wilhelmshafen the bomber was hit by flak in the
starboard engine which burst into flames and had to be stopped. The plane
started to lose altitude and it was clear that they were unable to make their
way back across the North Sea to England. The crew decided to try to reach
Sweden and the course was set north towards Denmark. The bomb cargo was dropped
and the bomber was lightened of ammunition, machine guns, radios, and everything
else they were able to drop.
After having crossed the Danish border the crew realised that the plane was not
going to stay in the air much longer, and near Nordenskov they jumped out in
Moore jumped first, then Horseman, and finally Rousseau and Dashwood. Horseman
landed on a property belonging to Villads Pedersen in Heager. Rousseau landed on
a field belonging to Rasmus Rahbæk of Oved, and at once he saw Dashwood descend
in his parachute onto the same field clearly illuminated by the burning plane.
Moore’s landing site is uncertain, but since the police on 20/1 found the
bomber’s emergency hatch at Plyhøj near vester Åstrup, it must be assumed that
Moore, as the first to jump from the plane, landed somewhere nearby.
The bomber crashed at 21:50 on the property called Nørregård owned by farmer
Johannes Lauridsen in Hostrup east of Nordenskov. The bomber burnt at the crash
and was completely destroyed.
In the meanwhile heavy anti-aircraft fire was shot from Esbjerg against other
planes, and the Germans wrongfully attributed the kill at Hostrup to the Flak of
Femhøje near Esbjerg.
When landing on the frozen ploughed field Horseman had hurt his shoulder and
sprained his foot. At about 23:00 he knocked on the door at farmer Kristen
Kristiansen in Bolhede not far from the landing site. He was invited in, and
because no one in the family spoke English the daughter Tora was sent for the
married couple who taught at Hostrup School. They were not at home as they were
invited to a party at Aage Larsen who was a neighbour to the property on which
the bomber had crashed. Tora went there on her bicycle and told the party about
the English flyer. He was shortly afterwards arrested by the Danish police who
handed him over to the German Wehrmacht.
When Dashwood and Rousseau had landed, they left their parachutes at Rahbæk’s
field and went north. At about 22:25 they came to Jens Nielsen’s farm in Oved.
They wanted to know where they were, and he showed them a map which they later
brought with them. When Jensen an hour later went to fetch the police, the
flyers left the property heading north east.
In the course of Friday 16/1 they must have visited a property where they were
given a packed lunches. They were still carrying these when they shortly before
midnight came to the house of Johannes Laursen, Sønderby, Grindsted. Here they
were given blankets and shown to the barn where they went to sleep. Later in the
night Laursen went on his bike to Grindsted, where he at 03:20 woke up Village
Constable Willer in order to report the incident.
Since Willer did not speak English, he sent for rentier Hans Lundsgård who had
been on active service with the Canadians during World War I. Together with
Constable Villadsen they went to Sønderby and picked up the two flyers that were
weak from exposure. The flyers’ maps and packed lunches were left in the barn.
The British men were taken to Willer’s house on Vestergade 5 where they were
placed in the detention in the basement. At Willer’s they were given a bath and
a meal. Willer’s son Heine took the opportunity in the morning to show them his
Around 8:00 Saturday morning Willer informed the Varde police station that he
had arrested the two flyers, and he was ordered to bring them there late in the
morning. Before the flyers left Grindsted they gave Willer some of their escape
money which was French notes. On one of the notes they wrote their names.
The flyers were brought to the police station in Varde. They were taken into
custody and stayed for some days. Here the citizens of Varde treated them to
food and cigarettes. Especially Kristian Pedersen from the Hotel opposite the
prison was a great help.
Dashwood and Rousseau at Varde Police station
Meanwhile the police unsuccessfully continued the search for the last flyer.
On Wednesday 21/1 at 20:30 Moore knocked on the door at farmer Peter Petersen in
Farup north of Ribe. When Petersen opened the door, Moore was lying on the
ground weak from exposure and starvation. He was helped into the warm house, had
some coffee and something to eat. A message was carried to the Parish Executive
Officer who in turn contacted the police in Ribe. A car was sent and at 21:30
the police reached the Peterson property where they found Moore in the kitchen
with the family. He was barefoot as Mrs. Petersen was mending his socks. After
being informed that he was now a Danish prisoner, he was questioned. He refused
to give any information about the rest of the crew, but did tell that he had
crashed six days ago. In the daytime he had slept in bushes or similar places
and during the night he had traveled by foot. He had been living of snow and a
small emergency ration of Cadbury chocolate - only two oz. He believed that he
had walked a good 150 kilometres, but had no idea about his whereabouts. Moore
was brought to Ribe Prison. When the news about his capture reached Varde
police, they requested that he be brought to Varde Prison.
Moore in flying gear
Prior to this Dashwood and Rousseau had been transferred to the German airfield
near Esbjerg, where they spent three days and were well treated. They ate in the
same mess as the German flyers, and during the day they were able to walk about
the airfield along with their English-speaking guard. Dashwood got the
opportunity to sit in a Messerschmidt 110 fighter. The British men were locked
in only between 21:00 and 8:00. After their stay at Esbjerg Airfield Dashwood
and Rousseau were transferred to Dulag Luft in Oberursel near Frankfurt am Main
in Germany for questioning.
Shortly after their departure Moore was transferred from Varde to Esbjerg
Airfield and from there to Dulag Luft.
In Nordenskov Rasmus Rahbæk was facing problems. His neighbour farmer Niels
Ladefoged had given him a parachute which he had found hanging from a
barbed-wire fence while he was making his daily trip to the dairy with milk.
Rahbæk declared that he was going to keep it and would not turn it in. He later
found another canopy which he hid in a burrow. The first one he brought inside
and hid behind a bed in a small room.
A team of Danes headed by a police constable were searching for the English
flyers. When they reached farmer Jens Andersen, Oved, he informed Agerbo that
Rahbæk was in possession of a parachute.
Agerbo, his search party and a German lieutenant paid Rahbæk a visit and
demanded that the parachute be handed over. Rahbæk denied all knowledge of the
After a while Rahbæk however admitted to be in possession of the canopy and
showed the way to the small room in which it was hid behind the bed.
The German lieutenant took the parachute with him, and Rahbæk was charged with
larceny and later sentenced for this.
The parachute that he had hid in the burrow stayed there until the war had
ended. It was then sold to Mrs. Laursen, Sønderskovvej 10, Nordenskov, who made
the material into both some net curtains and a child’s shirt. The latter of
which is still in the family’s possession today.
At the arrival to Dulag Luft the Flyers were placed in isolation for about a
week while the interrogations were going on. After the interrogations the four
flyers saw each other once again. The crew was transferred from Dulag Luft to a
camp for French prisoners of war in Stalag VIIA in Moosburg near Munich.
The camp contained 26-27000 French soldiers and a small number of other
nationalities. It had forced labour, and during the winter groups of prisoners
were daily sent to clear the area outside the camp of snow.
This provided the prisoners with the opportunity of finding frozen potatoes and
the likes. If the guards discovered this the prisoners were hit with a rifle
butt. A bright spot in the prisoners’ everyday life was the frequent arrivals of
Red Cross parcels.
In July Moore took place in an attempted escape through the camp’s sewers. After
a very long crawl through a sewer 60-cm in diameter, Moore was caught as French
informers had reported them to the Germans. That cost Moore a severe beating
with riffle butts before he was placed in isolation for 28 days with nothing to
eat but bread and water. Every third day he only got watered-down soup. He was
in isolation from 30/7 to 27/8. The French informers were eliminated shortly
after their treason.
On 6/8 Dashwood’s 21st birthday was celebrated in the camp. His friends had
traded the German guards their cigarettes from the Red Cross parcels for an
extra loaf of bread and two bottles of schnapps.
The crew stayed in this camp until 15/9 1942 where they were moved to the prison
camp Stalag 383 in Hohenfels.
Rousseau had to stay, though, as the Germans used him as an interpreter in
English/French/German. He was later to be transferred to Stalag Luft III Sagan,
to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow.
Dashwood with friends in Hohenfels
In Hohenfels lived about 5000 prisoners from all areas of the British Empire.
Just under 100 of these were flyers. Here too, the prisoners were given Red
Cross parcels, without which a large part of the prisoners most likely would not
have been alive by the end of the war, seeing that the German food rations were
both small and poor. In the camp, time was spent taking lessons in all kinds of
different subjects as well as participating in various kinds of sports.
Queue at the kitchen barrack
In July 1942 the RAF personnel consisting of 92 men were moved to Stalag Luft
VII in Bankaw on the Polish frontier to which they arrived 27/7.
The prisoners were transported in a train with three wagons. They were
reasonably happy with this since the average otherwise would be 40 persons per
In January 1945 the German forces had been driven so far east by the Russians
that the camp had to be evacuated.
On 17/1 at 11:00 the prisoners had one hour to collect all their items. By a Feldwebel Frank they were informed that if one man escaped five men would be
killed. Apparently something did not go according to plan and the prisoners did
not leave until 19/1at 03:30.
About 1550 men were hurried along on a march westwards in the cold winter
without food or proper clothes. Only 720 made it to the prison camp Stalag Luft
IIIA in Luckenwalde south of Berlin. The remainder passed away due to the cold,
poor provisioning and fatigue.
Dashwood's personalkarte Stalag VII
In Luckenwalde around the 24/4 the prisoners were liberated by a division of the
711th Hussar Regiment of the Russian Tank Corps. In the middle of May the
Americans transported the prisoners westwards and home to Britain.
In the course of 1945 and 1946 the crew were sent home.
To Ernest Moore it happened on 14/4 1946. Prior to that he had got married on
29/9 1945. Moore died from a heart attack in 1969.
Dashwood got married in to Eileen in Britain with Arthur Horseman as his best
man. Dashwood and Eileen moved to New Zealand where he got a job in a bank. He
retired from his job as head of the branch and lives today (1999) in Mt.
Maunganui in New Zealand.
Arthur Horseman died from a heart attack in about 1960.
Roger Rousseau returned to Canada where he worked for the Foreign Ministry.
Following some stationing in different parts of the world, he was given the
opportunity of organising the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Having finished this,
he returned to the Foreign Ministry and was in 1982 appointed Commissioner in
New Zealand. Here he died of cancer in 1985.
Sources: William (Bill) S. Dashwood, OLCB, AS 63-52, Esbjerg police report,
LBUK, KT, AIR 27/832, RL 19/453, Ernest Moore Posthumous notes via Kelvin Moore.
Letters from Dashwood and Horseman, about 1950, Letters from Viller. The
Occupational Collection (Besættelsestidssamling) Grindsted.
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