Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Stirling I R9261 crashed by Kongsmark on 21/4 1943.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 7 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded MG-M.
T/o 21:00 Oakington. OP : Stettin.


While attacking Stettin, R9261 was hit in one of the engines and left the target area in a height of 2000 feet on a north westerly course which would take the aircraft across the island of Falster and The Great Belt. When Pilot F/Lt Charles W. Parish spotted a ship, he turned right which brought the Stirling over Sjælland. Flt.Engr. Sgt Donald V. Smith RCAF now spotted a Messerschmidt Bf 110 night fighter on the Stirlings port side and shouted on the intercom for Parish to take evasive action. At the same moment the Stirling came under fire from a Bf 110 from 7/NJG 3, piloted by Unteroffizierz Berg with Funker Unteroffizier Krebs and got out of control.
 
Parish gave orders to leave the plane, and Smith crawled towards the aft emergency exit. When he reached it, he found W/Op Sgt Louis J. Krulicki RCAF sitting crouching next to the only half opened door. Smith succeeded in opening it fully, and the vacuum this created sucked Smith out of the exit. During this, Smith could hear the rear gunner Sgt Jack Lees commence fire at the night fighter.

Smith succeeded in deploying his parachute, and in the few seconds it took to reach the ground, he saw R9261 explode in a fireball. At 01:55 hours the Stirling fell to the ground approx. 500 meters North West of Kelstrup near Slagelse.

All except Smith perished. Apart from Parish and Krulicki it were S/L Wilfred A. Blake acting as second pilot, Navigator P/O Elmer R. Vance RCAF, Air Bomber F/S James S. Marshall RCAF, Air Gnr. Sgt Dennis C. Farley and Air Gnr. Sgt Jack Lees.

They were all laid to rest on Svinø cemetery on April 24 1943.
 

Standing: Vance, Smith, Parish, Lees, Marshal.
Kneeling: Krulicki, Farley.



Smith landed in a field a short distance to the south of the crash site and hid he’s parachute in some scrub. He then walked to the south, until he at five o’clock in the morning hid in small forest and tried to get some sleep.
The following three days Smith crossed Sjælland. The escape kit he had been issued with proved very useful to him. The mirror, compass, comb and shaving kit came in useful, while the 40.000 French francs and the map covering Middle Europe did not do him much good.
 
On several occasions he made contact to local people, and meet much helpfulness.
 
A farm hand at Regnemark provided him with civilian clothing, and a school teacher from Taastrup bought train tickets and followed Smith all the way to Helsingør.
He was also the first civilian Smith was able to communicate verbally with. Smith searched for a small boat in Hollinger, but they were all guarded or chained to the pier.
 
On April 26, Smith knocked on the door at Strandvejen 206 in Aalsgaarde and asked for help. Mrs. Dalsborg, who spoke English, asked him to come on in and gave him food and a bath. The family had small children, so it would not be safe for Smith to stay there.
Instead he was lodged by Engineer Einar Knudsen, who lived next door. He in turn contacted some friends by name of Ejnar and Sylvia Tjørn, who were involved in underground activities.
After a couple of days Smith was met by Gert Baumgarten, with whom he would stay while waiting to be transferred to Sweden.
 

Picture of Smith used for a illigal ID



In the waiting time two young ladies from the underground movement took him on a sight-seeing in København. After having watched the little Mermaid and the German HQ at Dagmarhus, Smith was taken for lunch at dÁngleterre which was the best restaurant in Copenhagen.
 
On April 30 Smith had lunch with Lars Troen, with whom he would be rowing to Sweden in a two man kayak. At eleven o’clock in the evening the kayak was put in the water and after four hours of rowing they were able to wade ashore near Helsingborg in Sweden. Here they reported to the local police, and spend the next couple of days in a cell. They were then set free, and by the English consul installed on Savoy Hotel. While staying here The Swedish crown prince (Later to be King Adolf IV) learned about Smiths escape, and wanted to know more about it. Smith was asked to come to The Grand Hotel to meet the Prince. During a half hour meeting Smith told The Prince about his escape. On 5/5 Smith and Troen were taken to Stockholm and on 12/5 Smith was taken to Bromma airport and set onboard the BOAC Dakota G-AGGA which reached Dyce-Aberdeen after five hours flying time.

Smith visited Denmark several times after the war and met those who had helped him to escape. Last time was in 1993 when he took part in the unveiling of a memorial monument on the crash site of Stirling R9261.

Smith died in Ontario, Canada on October 10. 1998. His last wish was to rest among his crew on Svinø cemetery. During a ceremony held on May 4. 1999 his urn was set down next to the graves of his comrades.
 

Smith's grave at Svinø

 

Attending were Danish friends and family from Canada, as well as a representative from no. 7 Sqn. Re-union Association. Also present was the 87 years old Sylvia Tjørn who was one of the young ladies who had taken Smith on the sight-seeing in Copenhagen back in 1943.
 

Ejnar and Sylvia Tjørn had to escape to Sweden in January 1944.
This picture was taken by the Swedish authorities.

 

 

 

 

Memorial at the crashsite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sources: LBUK, Smith, RL 19/455, UA, CWGC, BS, AS 11-116+119, AS 12-113+164, Martin Drewes.

 

The night of 20/21 April 1943

Halifax II JB930 crash landed near Esbjerg 20/4-1943

Lancaster III ED620 crashed near Stadil 20/4-1943

Lancaster III ED614 crashed Vester Vedsted 21/4-1943

Unknown Lancaster crashed Strandgården farm, Halskov 21/4-1943

Stirling III BK714 crashed Tarp, Esbjerg 21/4-1943

Stirling III BF508 crashed in Fænøsund on 21/4 1943

Halifax II DT747 crashed Hjertingvej road in Sædding, Esbjerg 21/4-1943

Lancaster III ED557 believed crashed Store Bælt 21/4-1943

Stirling I R9261 crashed by Kongsmark on 21/41943

Halifax II HR722 crashed Store Bælt off Drøsselbjerg Klint 21/4-1943

Halifax II HR712 crashed Store Bælt near Slipshavn 21/4-1943

Stirling III BF463 crashed in Store Bælt off Halskov on 21/4 1943

Lancaster III ED818 crashed Vresen Ø 21/4-1943

Stirling III BF506 shot down by Bøgballe on 21/4 1943

Lancaster I W4330 crashed Vestbirk 21/4-1943

Halifax II HR714 crashed in the tidal area off the island of Mandø 21/4 1943.

Stirling III BK698 shot down over The North Sea on 21/4 1943

Stirling III BF476 crash-landed at Kragelund Fælled North of Vejle on 21/4 1943

Lancaster ED709 crashed Ringkøbing Fjord 21/4 1943


 

 

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