Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Wellington III Z1615 ditched Nakskov Fjord 16/5-1942.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 9 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded WS-H.
T/O 23:04 Honington. OP: Gardening.


On its way to the gardening area Wellington Z1615 was flying over the Nakskov area at 60 metres altitude when Obermaat Schmidt of Fluwa 6 based near Langø south west of Nakskov fired 25 rounds of tracer bullets from a machinegun which hit the aircraft in the fuselage and in the left hand engine. Pilot Sgt S. Richards ditched Z1615 in 1 metres of water at Malø Grund in Nakskov Fjord at 02:21 hours.
 


                                 (Søren Flensted)

Wellington III Z1615


Sgt S. Richards, P/O J. Simpson, Sgt R. Bell and Sgt P. Gaum RCAF were soon picked up from the wreck by a fishingboat and taken to Nakskov, while Sgt Albert Gruchy who had been hit by a shot thru the head was left in the wreck.
 


                               (Via Floyd Williston)

Sgt P. Gaum RCAF


Upon arrival in Nakskov the Danish police took the flyers to the hospital due to two of them being wounded.
The flyers were handed over to the Wehrmacht and sent to Germany. After being interrogated at Dulag Luft in Oberursel Simpson and Bell were sent to Stalag Luft I Barth.
Simpson was later moved to Stalag Luft III Sagan while Bell moved to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug. Richards and Gaum were sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan, then to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and finally to Stalag 357 Thorn / Fallingbostel.

They all returned to England after the war.

The body of Sgt Albert Gruchy was retrieved from the wreck of Wellington Z1615 later on the day of the ditching and was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 20/5-1942.

 

The lifeboat from the aircraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above pictures from Rudbjerg Lokalarkiv

 

The original grave

 

 



Sources: LBUK, T501, AS 22-40, Police report, BS, OLCB.

 

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