Lancaster I R5905 crash landed near Madum on 24/9-1942.
The aircraft belonged to RAF 44 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded KM-R.
T/O 22:25 Waddington. OP: Wismar.
When R5905 crossed the Danish west coast on its way to the target flak guns from
IV Zug 2.Lei 742 opened fire and hit the aircraft in a fuel tank the left hand
wing, starting a fire. The aircraft was flying too low for the crew to parachute
to safety, so the load of incendiaries bombs was dropped and a wheels up landing
was performed in a field near Madum at 01:40.
The crew which consisted of Pilot
Sgt. William V.H.Richards, Flt. Engr. Sgt. John W. Hargreaves, Navigator Sgt.
Graham H. Roberts RAAF, Bomb aimer Sgt. Charles V. Thurley, W/Op-Air Gnr. Sgt.
Albert C. Stockley, W/Op-Air Gnr. Sgt. John B. Vardy and Air Gnr. Sgt. William
S. Gregory were all unharmed. The rest of the night and the following day the
hid and only in the evening they started walking. During the evening of 24/9
they arrived at “Øster Høgsbjerg” farm near Idum where they were well treated
by Helga and Ulrik Jensen. They were given food and a place to sleep, and stayed
until the next evening.
On 26/9 around noon the flyers was seen in a barn near Tvis by the owner. He
called the Danish police who in turn informed the German Wehrmacht about the
whereabouts of the flyers. The Germans then arrested the flyers, but since they
had nowhere to place the Englishmen in the German barracks they were brought to
the police station in Holstebro. Here they were guarded by two German
Unteroffiziers until late in the afternoon when they were moved on.
The stay in the Danish police station caused “Der Bevollmächtigte des Reiches in
Dänemark” to file a complaint on several of the Danes present to have been far
too friendly to the flyers.
Neither were the Germans happy about that the flyers had been applauded on the
street when they were taken away to Fliegerhorst Grove. At Grove the crew were
placed in separate rooms and were not allowed to speak to each other. When they
needed to use the toilet they were instructed to call a guard. After three days
the crew were sent to Dulag Luft by train via Hamburg.
After being interrogated at Dulag Luft in Oberursel they were all sent to Stalag
VIIIB Lamsdorf in Oberschlesien.
Later Roberts ended up in Stalag XIB Fallingbostel. On 30/3-1945 Gregory died in
a German hospital from decease. The rest returned to England after the war.
Pictures from John Vardys time as a pow via Gordon Robertson:
A Barrack Room (17B) in the RAF Compound
A Kit Search for Forbidden Articles
Getting in the Water Supply
Morning Check Parade in Winter
Postcard Home from Stalag VIIIB
The 40 Holer
The Most Sought for Job in Doitzland
The Pipe Band
The Reprisal for the Dieppe Raid - 1942
The Water Cart
Things to Come - The Space Machine
Time on my Hands
Watching the Spuds Boil
The Start of the Black March from the Russians - Ober-Silesia
Sources: BCL, AIR 40/1533, AIR 27/449, LBUK, AS 60-136, RL 19/454+455+472, Ole
Kraul, Sgt. John B. Vardy via Gordon Robertson.
Back to 1942
Top of page