Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Stirling I W7531 shot down by flak at Galsklint on 18/5 1942.


The Stirling belonged to RAF 15 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded LS-F.
T/o 21:40 Wyton OP: Gardening Daffodil (South entrance to Øresund)


When W7531 was ready to drop mines in the southern entrance to Øresund, it was hit by flak from several ships, as well as from shore batteries.
Fires broke out and Pilot Sqn Ldr. John Hall DFC turned due west, while the crew battled the fires. When W7531 passed the Lille Bælt Bridge it was hit several times by flak from 3.lei Flak Abt. 844 II and IV Zug. At 02:10 hours W7531 crashed in the Forrest on Gals Klint , approximately 2 km to the west of Middelfart.
When the Stirling hit the ground, one of the remaining mines onboard exploded and the plane was totally wrecked.
Only W/Op Sgt Donald Jeffs survived the crash and the explosion, severely wounded. He was by the German Wehrmacht brought to the German Lazarett in Fredericia, and later on to the lazarett in Rendsburg. When he had recovered from his wounds, he was sent to Stalag VIIIB / 344 Lamsdorf.


       (Erik Jensen)

Jeff


The rest of the crew who apart from Sqn Ldr Hall consisted of Pilot F/Lt Neville G.R. Booth, Navigator F/O John P. Ryan RCAF, Air Gnr. Sgt John B. Butterworth, Air Gnr. Sgt Robert Nicholson, Air Gnr. Frank L. Sharp, Observer Sgt Ronald Maycock and Flt. Engr. Sgt Anthony Spriggs all perished.

 


                                       (Erik Jensen)

Sharp


The bodies were severely mutilated, and on 21/5 at 07:00 hours the crewmembers were laid to rest in a common grave in the Assistens cemetery in Odense.
The ceremony was performed by the German army chaplain Vorrath with full military honors. Also participating in the ceremony were several Danish and German officers.

 


            (Anders Bjørnvad via Ole Rønnest)

 


 (Frank Hansen)

 


 (Frank Hansen)

 

All crewmembers, apart from Sgt Ronald Maycock, were identified after the war by a British team. His name was thus not put on a cross as was his comrades.

In 1999 a group of people from Odense had worked their way through reports and testimonies dating back from May 1943 and had collected enough evidence to be able to convince The Commonwealth War Graves Commission that Maycock actually had been buried with his comrades on 21/5 1942.
On 10/5 1999 a ceremony was held at the cemetery and a headstone with Maycocks name on it was unveiled.

After the war a memorial stone was raised on the spot where W7531 crashed. Every year on 5/5 on the day of the liberation of Denmark a ceremony is held on the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sources : LBUK, OLCB, AS 32-34, RL 19/454+472, T501.

 

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