Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted


1939-1940 Updated 21/7-20
1941 Updated 7/6-19
1942 Updated 27/7-21
1943 Updated 22/7-21
1944 Updated 27/7-21
1945 Updated 16/8-21

1940 New 22/7-21
1941 New 23/7-21
1942 Updated 10/5-18
1943 Updated 2/7-21
1944 Updated 16/8-21
1945 Updated 16/8-21

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B 17F 42-30206 ditched in the North Sea on 25/7-1943.

The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 94 Bomb Group, 410 Bomb Squadron and was christened “Happy daze”
T/O Rougham OP: Warnemünde.

When ”Happy Daze” had crossed the Danish coast line on the return flight it was attacked by three FW 190 who damaged the B 17F. At 17:55 hours it was necessary to ditch it in the sea approx. 77 miles northwest of Borkum. The aircraft came apart just behind the radio cabin and sank in 15 seconds. The whole crew apart from Right Waist Gunner Sgt Thomas M. Brown managed to get out of the aircraft. He went down with the aircraft and has no known grave. Two dinghies were inflated and the nine survivors entered them.

The survivors were Pilot 1.Lt John P. Keelan, Co-Pilot 2.Lt Loren Hubbell, Navigator 2.Lt William Greulich, Bombardier 2.Lt Thomas Nelson, Top Turret Gunner T/Sgt Edgar I. Cannon, Radio Operator T/Sgt Eugene Deyoe, Ball Turret Gunner S/Sgt John H. Kornick, Left Waist Gunner S/Sgt Herbert H. Simes and Tail Gunner Sgt Robert V. Hodge.
For the next 19 hours they drifted around. During the night they could watch as well as hear the sounds of an attack on Hamburg. The sent up a balloon and automatically radio signals was sent to England.

On 26/7 at 08:00 hours they started to paddle on a course set to 270 degrees.
At 12:45 they were found by two Lancaster’s that dropped a Lindholme dinghy. One hour later the flyers received one more and at 18:00 another one which was tied them together by the flyers. When the Lancaster’s disappeared a JU 88 showed up and circled the dinghies and then left without further.
At 20:10 three Hudson’s arrived one of then carrying a Life boat which was dropped to the flyers who managed to get hold of it. The dinghies were then sunk by machine gun fire from the Hudson’s. The flyers got the engines started ad headed 270 degrees.

On 27/7 at 07:30 the Danish fishing boat FN 41 “Betty” was observed by the lifeboat and it was agreed to make contact. The reception was friendly and “Betty” took both the flyers and the life boat onboard. The course was then set for England. During the day another rescue plane arrived overhead and signals were exchanged. At 17:30 “Betty” was meet by HSL 2551 and 184.

A bottle of rum was shared and “Betty” then followed the launches to Yarmouth which was reached at 22:45 hours.

Sources: AIR 20/4710 , FB, ABMC.


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