Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Halifax III HX294 crashed Langelands Bæltet 29/1 1944.


The aircraft belonged to RAAF (RAF) 466 Sqn Bomber Command and was coded HD-A
T/o 00:07 Leconfield. OP: Berlin.


In the Berlin area HX294 was followed by a German night fighter but managed to shake him off and after having dropped its bombs the Halifax turned east and then north towards Denmark on the route back to England. Over the Danish islands south of the island of Fyn (Funen) it became clear that they would not have fuel enough to reach England and they set course for Sweden. It soon became clear that they would not make it to Sweden and around five o’clock in the morning they left the aircraft by parachute.

The first to leave the Halifax was Navigator P/O Jack W. Tyler RAAF who landed in the sea south of Fyn and probably froze to death. His dead body was found near Dybskrog Huse in Nakkebølle Fjord on 16/4 and brought to the chapel in Aarstrup church. The next day it was placed in a coffin and taken to Faaborg where it was laid to rest in Faaborg Ny Assistens cemetery on 18/4 1944.

The next to leave was Wop F/S Jack Clark RAAF who landed in the water off Vornes Skov forrest. He entered the island of Taasinge and walked about for the day until he early on the evening of 30/1 knocked on the door of the farm of Fruit Grower Holger Larsen, Eskær Fruit plantation. The flyer was wet and cold and exhausted. The police was informed and two constables picked him up and took him to Svendborg where he was handed over to the Wehrmacht in Møllergade street.

The third to bail out was Bomb aimer F/S Geoff Walker RAAF who landed in a field on the island of Taasinge. He hid the chute and headed south towards Vejlegaard farm. Outside the farm he met two farmhands but since they had no command of the English language they called for the owner. He was however afraid of hiding the flyer and called the Danish police. It was now 10:40 hours. A constable was sent to pick up Walker and took him to Svendborg where he was handed over to the Wehrmacht.

Air Gnr. Sydney L. Smith RAAF and Flt. Engr. R. Collings both landed in the sea off the island of Siø. Smith entered the island and at 06:30 hours he arrived at Siøgaard farm and told Farmer Petersen that he and six more flyers had bailed out. Petersen then set out searching for the others while Smith was laid to bed due to being wet and freezing. The farmer found Collings in the sea and took him to the farm and put him to bed. Petersen then informed the flyers that he would have to inform the police since there was no way they could hide on the small island. The police in turn informed the Wehrmacht and around noon the flyers were picked up and taken to Svendborg.

Air Gnr. F/Sgt Ross A. Whitfield RAAF landed in a field in the northern suburb of Rudkøbing town on the island of Langeland. Ha saw a light from a house and entered the chicken coup of the house. The noise from the chickens alarmed the owner Rudolf Navne who found Whitfield. Navne did not speak English and called for the neighbour sons to translate. The rumour spread that a flyer was at Navnes house and Navne had to call the police. At 08:45 he was picked up by the Danish police from Rudkøbing. In the afternoon the Wehrmacht brought him to Svendborg.

Pilot S/Ldr Allan O.McCormack RAAF landed in the sea off Langeland and made it to land. After having walked for a while he found a shack. When standing outside the shack he was approached by a boy who showed Mccormack on his escape map where he was. The boy then disappeared but returned with some sandwiches for McCormack. McCormack stayed in the shack for the day and spent the night searching for a boat but did not have any luck. In the afternoon of 30/1 the boy returned followed by a police constable who took McCormack to the police station of Rudkøbing. In the evning the Wehrmacht brought McCormack to Svendborg.

The Halifax is believed to have crashed into the Langelandsbæltet east of the island of Langeland.

The crew were sent by train to Germany and Dulag Luft at Oberursel for interrogation.
 
After Dulag Luft McCormack was sent to Stalag Luft III sagan where he stayed for the rest of the war.

The other crew members were sent by train to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug where they arrived on 12/2 and stayed until 14/7 where they were loaded into cattle wagons and taken by rail to Stalag 357 Thorn. They arrived on 15/7 after 34 hours in the wagons.
On 9/8 the camp was evacuated and the prisoners were sent to Fallingbostel where they stayed until they were sent on a march which took them across the river Elbe. After liberation they were flown to England.

 


        (Horace Tylor via Finn Buch)


Left to right: Pilot S/Ldr Allan O. McCormack RAAF, Flt. Engr. R. Collings, Navigator P/O Jack W. Tyler RAAF,Bomb aimer F/S Geoff Walker RAAF, Wop F/S Jack Clark RAAF, Air Gnr. Sydney L. Smith RAAF, Air Gnr. F/Sgt Ross A. Whitfield RAAF.



Sources: LBUK, AS 25-86, EDIH, UA.
 

 

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