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Lancaster I W4786 crashed near Gejlbjerg 17/12-1942.
The aircraft belonged to RAF 103 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded PM-V.
T/O 17:35 Elsham Wolds. OP: Gardening Broccoli. (Store Bælt off Nyborg)
Upon crossing the west coast of Jylland at 1300 metres altitude on its way to
the target W4786 was attacked by a German night fighter piloted by
Gruppenkommandore Major Günther Radusch from Stab. II./NJG 3 operating with
Bordfunker Feldwebel Erich Arndt and Bordward Unteroffizier Alfons Hundschell.
Canterbury, Frater, Hewitt, Smith, MacDonald,
Hollingsworth and Collins
Radusch was guided to the target by 13 Kpm Ln Rgt 212 which was the radar
“Robbe” based on the island of Rømø. At 19:54 hours the Lancaster crashed on the
farm of Hans Møller in Gejlbjerg. One of the onboard mines exploded when the
aircraft hit the ground and the aircraft was totally wrecked and several
buildings in the neighbourhood was damaged. The whole crew perished. The corpse
of Wop/Air Gnr. Sgt Gerald T. Canterbury was found 200 metres away from the
crash site, having been thrown there by the explosion. A German recovery group
excavated over the next days a number of human parts.
It were the remains of Pilot P/O Harry B. Smith, Flt. Engr. Sgt Frederick R.
Collins, Wop-Air Gnr. Sgt Norman Frater, Wop-Air Gnr. W/O Jack A. Hollinsworth
and Navigator F/o Samuel T. Hewitt.
Together with Canterbury they were laid to rest in Abenrå cemetery on 22/12-1942
at 08:00 hours in the morning.
On 5/1-1943 the body of Air Gnr. W/O Angus D. MacDonald was found in the crater.
He was laid to rest in Åbenrå on 16/1-1943 at 08:00 hours in the morning.
Sources: AS, CWGC, LBUK, BÅ, BCL, Peter Lund, Skærbæk.
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