Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Wellington II Z8410 crashed Neder Holluf 26/2-1942.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 12 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded PH-C.
T/O 23:30 Binbrook. OP: Kiel.


When passing over Esbjerg on its way to the target Z8410 was hit by flak from 2.lei.Flakabt.836 +Marine. It was hit in an engine and it soon became clear that it could not reach the target. At 03:00 Binbrook received a radio message stating that Z8410 would try to make it to Sweden. The aircraft was loosing altitude and when it reached the Great Belt it was clear that they would not reach Sweden, and the pilot Sqn./Ldr. Ralph B. Abraham turned back towards Fyn. Shortly after the bombs was released, but they was still loosing altitude and Abraham gave the order to leave the aircraft.

The first to leave was the co-pilot Sgt David Wardill RAAF followed by the tail gunner Sgt Everett Littlefield RCAF. After landing west of Seden they hid their parachutes and started walking. At 05:00 in the morning they arrived at the farm “Gammeleje” in Seden and were allowed to sleep in the barn. Later on they were given breakfast, and were then picked up by the Danish police and handed over to the Wehrmacht.
The third to leave the aircraft was Air Bomber Sgt Frank Payne who landed near the farm “Grønløkke” west of Åsum. He hid his parachute and followed the road towards Åsum. In Sct.Jørgens Gade road he met a police man at 07:30 and was taken to the police station. About one hour later he was handed over to the Wehrmacht.
The fourth to leave the plane was Air Gnr. Sgt George R. Duckham who landed near Blangstedgård farm and at 05:30 he met one of the milkmaids and followed her to the farm where he was given breakfast. Soon the Danish police arrived to arrest Duckham.
Still on the farm he was handed over to the Wehrmacht together with Navigator P/O Eric N. Foinette who had jumped just after Duckham. He had landed near the farm “Store Tornbjerg” where he arrived 04:00 and was given breakfast. He was then picked up by the Danish police and taken to “Blangstedgård”.

Abraham being arrested


The last to leave was Abraham who landed after “Store Tornbjerg” towards Over Holluf. In a forest he made contact with some workers who covered his tracks and gave him a bicycle. He continued towards Åsum and after a while he found himself at” Rågelund Boys home”. At 09:00 he entered the building, but since the manager spoke no English, Mrs. Salling who lived in the neighbourhood was called for. Abraham wanted to go to Sweden, but due to the search that was on, he was taken to Odense where the Danish police arrested him.

Wellington Z8410 hit the ground at “Nytoftegård” farm near Over Holluf shortly before four o` clock and was destroyed in the crash.

Wreckage

 

The Wehrmacht brought the crew to the Odense barracks where the officers were separated from the sergeants. They stayed at the barracks until 2/3 when they were sent by train to Dulag Luft at Oberursel.
Abraham and Foinette were after a while sent to Oflag IX A/H Spangenberg near Kassel. After about three month Abraham and Foinette was moved to Stalag Luft III Sagan in Schlesien where they stayed until the January 1945 when they were sent on a march away from the advancing Russian troops. On April 22 1945 they were liberated by the Russians just to the south of Berlin together with Duckham.

 

Duckham was sent to Stalag VIIA Moosburg a.d.Isar. Then on to Stalag 383 Hohenfels to end up in StalagLuft VII Bankau.
Wardill, Payne and Littlefield were sent to Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf. Later Payne was sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan and Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel while Littlefield was sent to Stalag IVB Mühlberg a.d.Elbe. Wardill was sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel. He was liberated by English troops near Lüneburg to the south of Hamburg.
 


Sources: Erik Jensen, Odense, OLCB, LBUK, UA, T-501, RL 19/453-472, AS 29-29. Pictures via Erik Jensen

 

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