Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Halifax II DT620 crashed in the Baltic Sea off Store Heddinge 14/3-1943.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 138 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded NF-T.
T/O 17:50 Tempsford. OP: SOE to Drop Zone Wrona 614 in Poland.

At Fliegerhorst Kastrup Staffelkapitän Oberleutnant Martin Drewes of 7./NJG 3 was alerted by the Jägerleitoffizier of radar “Seehund” who reported that several enemy aircrafts was crossing Sjælland from west towards east at low level. At this level the radar was not able to assist the night fighter and he could only give the course of the aircraft.
Just after take off in his Bf 110 coded D5+DR Drewes sighted a Halifax at 200 metres height and opened fire at a distance of 80 metres. After a short bust the Halifax started burning, exploded in the air and fell into the Baltic Sea off Harvig at 21:42 hours. It fell on 8 metres of water 200 metres from the coast east of Fisherman Jens Hansens property.

It was DT620 with the crew of Pilot F/S Leslie R. Smith, Co pilot Sgt Horace R. Harrap RNZAF, Wop Sgt Thomas Mairs, Navigator/Air Bomber Sgt Colin F. Chambers, Air Gnr. F/S Eugene S. Masson RCAF, Wop/Air Gnr. Sgt Donald R. Ross RCAF and Flt Engr. Sgt Arthur C. Sixsmith who all perished.

Sgt Mairs have no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial while Sgt Chambers rests in Fjelie, Sweden. His body was found washed ashore next to Villa Hage in Bjerred between Malmø and Halskrona on 4/5 1943 at 20:30 hrs. He was found to carry a parachute harness but no chute. The body was left there for the night guarded by military from the local barracks. In the morning the body was examined by the local police and laid in a coffin and taken to the local chapel in Fjelie. Chambers was laid to rest in Fjelie cemetery on 26/5 1943 with full military honours. Military clergyman E. Eberhard performed the graveside ceremony.

On 15/3 at 00:30 hours a body was found on the beach next to Jens Hansens property. At 06:30 hours one more flyer was found near by. Both bodies were taken to Rødvig and handed over to the German Wehrmacht who brought them to Fliegerhorst Kastrup.
It must have been Masson and Ross as they were laid to rest in Copenhagen Bispebjerg cemetery on 19/3-1943 at 11:00 hrs. A Evangelical Clergyman performed the graveside ceremony and personnel from the Swiss Consulate in København was present.
The funeral was ordered by Oberstleutnant and Fliegerhorstkommandant Volbehr and Oberleutnant Gombert was in charge of the funeral procession. With him were 1 Unteroffizier and 4 men from the Horstkompanie Kastrup and 1 Unteroffizier and 8 men from Flakuntergruppe Seeland as well as 1 Ensign and 8 men from the Ln.-Stelle. Dress code was: Service uniform without overcoat, with helmet and carbine, no gas mask. Unteroffizier Ernst of the Bildstelle was present and took three pictures which was afterwards placed with the deceased`s documents. The Gruppe Verwaltung der Fl.H.Kdtr. L Kastrup procured two wreaths for the grave. The coffins were borne into the Chapel of the Bispebjerg cemetery and from there through the Untergruppe Seeland to the open grave and lowered into it. The salut of honour was ordered by Oberleutnant Gombert after the consecration of the bodies in the open grave.

On 21/3 a body was washed ashore near Rødvig. It was secured by the Danish police and taken to the hospital at Store Heddinge. The body was severely mutilated and was dressed in a blue grey uniform with three chevrons and a gold crown on the right upper arm. Futhermore it carried the mark RAS in gold. On 22/3 it is reported that the body had been collected by the Wehrmacht. It must have been Sgt Smith who was laid to rest in Bispebjerg cemetery on 26/3-1943.

 


                  (Via Finn Buch)

Co pilot Sgt Horace R. Harrap

 


                  ("Libary and Archives Canada" via Bob Whitehouse)

Air Gnr. F/S Eugene S. Masson RCAF


On 29/3 a fisherman brought the body of a flyer to Rødvig harbour. The Wehrmacht had hired the fisherman to retrieve the aircraft wreck from the sea, and doing this he had found the body. It was the body of F/Sgt Harrap who was laid to rest in Bispebjerg cemetery on 7/4-1943 at 11:00 from the southern chapel.
 
On 14/4 Fisherman Jens Hansen found yet another body which was taken to Store Heddinge hospital. It was collected by the Fliegerhorstkommandantur Kastrup on the same day.
It was the remains of Flt Engr. Sgt Arthur C. Sixsmith. He was laid to rest in Bispebjerg Cemetery on 19/4 from the Southern Chapel at 11:00 hrs.


Staffelkapitän Oberleutnant Martin Drewes

 


         (Jørgen Møller)

On 5/9 2010 a memorial for the crew was enaugurated at Højerup church.

 


         (Jørgen Møller)

Sergeant Mark Frisby of the British Embassy in Copenhagen

 


         (Jørgen Møller)

 


         (Jørgen Møller)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  (Dieter Friedrich)

 

 

Sources: Letter from Martin Drewes, LBUK, AS 15-42, FAF, Flyhistorisk Tidsskrift 2-88, CWGC, BCL, RL 19/455. Sonderbefehl Nr. 7.

 

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