Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Halifax III HX348 crash landed at Trappe 15/2-1944.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 158 Sqn Bomber Command and was coded NP-O.
T/o 17:54 Lissett. OP: Berlin.


Flying towards Berlin HX348 was hit by flak when crossing over Flensburg and the engines on the left wing caught fire. The crew managed to extinguish the fire but it was not possibly to carry on towards Berlin on only two engines. The load of firebombs were dropped and at 21:15 hours the Halifax belly landed in a fruit plantation near Trappe. The crew were unhurt and split into two groups to try to escape.

 



One group consisted of Navigator F/Sgt Bernard V. Millett, Flt. Engr. Sgt George ”Georff” A. Naylor, Mug. Sgt Ronald H.E. McLaren and Rear Gnr. Sgt George E. Ksendz, while the other group consisted of Pilot William ”Bill” C. M. Hogg, Bombaimer Sgt Peter L. Chamberlain and W/Op F/Sgt Robert McDonald. Ksendz soon lost contact with his group but met up with the other group.

Millett, Naylor and McLaren walking towards Graasten met two Danish gendarmes and joined them untill they reached the German School in Graasten. Here they were stopped by a German patrol that arrested the flyers. The flyers were taken to the police station in Graasten and placed in the detention cell. Untill next day at 13:15 when they were picked up by a German truck they were guarded by three privates and an Unteroffizier.

Hogg, Chamberlain, McDonald and Ksendz followed the railroad towards Sønderborg and hid in a barn at dawn.
On the evening of 16/2 they knocked on the door at a farm and were given a meal of egg and bacon
They stayed until midnight and then continued their journey. At dawn they had covered 16 kilometres and hid in a shack. Later in the day they were found by the wife of the owner and were once again treated with food, but this time the police was called. The flyers became suspicious and walked away, splitting up in two teams.
Hogg and Chamberlain headed back towards Trappe but were on the same day captured by a Wehrmacht patrol in a nearby forest.
McDonald and Ksendz managed to reach the coast which they followed for a few kilometres. When passing a hotel they were spotted by German soldiers and captured. When entering the hotel they met with Hogg and Chamberlein. They were all taken to the airfield at Flensburg where they met with Millett, Naylor and McLaren. After a couple of days the whole crew were sent to Dulag Luft at Oberursel near Frankfurt.
From Dulag Luft they were sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and later to Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel.
 


Sources : LBUK, AS 70-372+375, RL 19/458, BCL, Gunnar Hounsgård, Sønderborg, OLCB.


 

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