Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Wellington III BJ670 ditched in the North Sea on 27/7-1942.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 115 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded KO-K.
T/O 22:53 Marham. OP: Hamburg.


The Wellington was hit by flak after having bombed from 12000 feet. Wop/Air Gnr. Sgt Glafkos Clerides and Air Gnr. Sgt Kelvin H. Shoesmith RAAF were wounded and the aircraft hydraulics was severed.

The Wellington went into a dive and pulled out at 8000 feet. In the confusion Sgt Clerides bailed out and landed on the outskirts of Bremen. Luftwaffe personnel rescued him from a hostile crowd of civilians who mistook his Greek features from those of a Jew and he was taken to a hospital in Bremen where shrapnel was removed from a wound in his leg.

Pilot Sgt Baden B. Fereday was struggling to keep the Wellington airborne but as he was steadily loosing height he was forced to ditch some 70 miles from Helgoland and 50 miles from Norderney at 03:40 hours.

Pilot Sgt Baden B. Fereday. Observer Sgt “Harry” G.H. Lindley, Bomb Aimer Sgt Frank Skelley and Air Gnr. Sgt Kelvin H. Shoesmith RAAF all got out of the aircraft but had to rely on their Mae West’s as the aircrafts dinghy was ripped by flak.

Shoesmith had been wounded by a shrapnel, and after some time he lapsed into unconsciousness and after a while he passed away.

They had been in the water for close to six hours when Skelley died from exposure.

Shortly afterwards the rest of the crew was picked up by a German DO 24 seaplane. The Germans took a look at the two dead crewmembers drifting nearby but left them in the sea and continued to Norderney.

From there the Wellington crew were sent to Dulag Luft at Oberursel for interrogation and on to Stalag VIIIB/ 344 Lamsdorf.

The body of Skelley was found drifted ashore in Holland and he was laid to rest in Den Burg, Texel.

On 21/8 Shoesmith was found drifted ashore near Oksby and laid to rest in Fovrfelt cemetery, Esbjerg on 22/8-1942.

 

 

 


  (Nico Kwakman) 

Bomb Aimer Sgt Frank Skelley

 


  (Nico Kwakman)

Texel

 



Sources: OLCB, Hans Nauta, Holland, Don Bruce homepage, BCL, BE, "115 Sqn Magazine" via Andreas Wachtel..
 

 

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