Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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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.
 


                                                       (Ulfborg Arkiv)


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.
 


                                                        (Klaus Hald)



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

RAF Arsenal

The 40 Holer

The Most Sought for Job in Doitzland

The Pipe Band

The Reprisal for the Dieppe Raid - 1942

 

The Washtube

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 Jan 45

 

 



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.

 

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