Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Lancaster I ED305 crashed into Lille Bælt near Lyngsodde 10/3-1943.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 44 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded KM-S.
T/O Waddington. OP: Gardening Willows.


When flying at 4500 metres the Lancaster was attacked by a German night fighter from 5./NJG 3 piloted by Oberleutnant Gerhardt Raht.
 
At 22:13 hours the Lancaster crashed into the Lille Bælt near Lyngsodde in 20 metres of water. It fell 2 kilometres from Middelfart and 50 metres from the bridge across Lille Bælt.
The crew consisting of Pilot Sgt Brian T.C. Smith, Flt.Engr Sgt Gordon R. Black RCAF, Navigator F/O Robert H. Carr, Air Bomber Sgt Charles H.D. Cook, Wop Sgt Geoffrey S. Love, Air Gnr.Sgt Charles V. Brown, Air Gnr. Alfred Healey have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
 
In the next days different wreckage and some body parts drifted ashore between Middelfart and Strib. Among these was a flying helmet with a name written in it which years later made it possible to identify the aircraft.

 


    (Via Peer Petersen)

Air Gnr. Sgt Charles V. Brown

 


     (Via Peer Petersen)

Navigator F/O Robert H. Carr.

 

On 10/3 2013 a memorial for the crew was unveiled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite freezing, strong windchill conditions a crowd of around 120 spectators gathered to watch the unveiling ceremony of this noble, permanent monument with their names carved in granite of the 7 man crew from Lancaster ED 305, RAF 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, shot down into coastal waters by the combined guns of a German nightfighter and flak vessel on 10th March 1943.

Although commemorated by name on the RAF Runnymede Memorial the crew were never found and have "No Known Grave" nor was there previously a monument to their names anywhere in Denmark.

From idea to fruition the 2 year project had been entrusted to De Danske Forsvarsbrødre (DFB) for Fredericia og Omegn (Danish Defence Association for Fredericia area) by Fredericia Council.  Supported by many sponsors and helpers, a special mention must go to Peer Petersen who produced an excellent book commmorating the airmen and history of the tragic event for posterity.

So it was that exactly 70 years to the day the impressive monument was unveiled on the Jutland shoreline close to where the aircraft went down.  A 12 strong party representing RAF 44 Squadron Association and relatives attended, with the principal wreath layers and speakers being Brigade General Steen Hartov, (Royal Danish Airforce), Air Commodore Baldwin (RAF) and for the Ministry of Defence and British Embassy Copenhagen (the Danish speaking) Lt Col Gordon Fotheringham, all being introduced by DFB Chairman Mr Johannes Lund Nielsen.

An especially poignant in this poignant ceremony was a salute flypast by F16 s of the Royal Danish Airforce and "Last Post" played by a trumpeter.

At the Reception and book signing ceremony in a nearby diving club the Club Chairman also introduced a special edition "Memorial Ale" brewed by a local micro brewery, much appreciated. 

It is to the great credit of Fredericia Council that the area around the stone has been paved with granite sets and the whole area made into an attractive recreational area so that many more will remember these brave men.

As Air Commodore Baldwin quoted from the Kohima monument,

"When you go home,
Tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow,
We gave our today"

Text by Bob Cobley.

 


Sources: LBUK, RL 19/455, Theo Boiten, Holland, Directorate of Lighthouses.
 

 

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