Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Lancaster BI ME663 crashed Aale 10/4 1944.


The aircraft belonged to RAAF (RAF) 460 Sqn Bomber Command and was coded AR-M.
T/o 21:20 Binbrook. OP: Gardening the Baltic near Danzig.

 


                        (Via Ole Kraul)

 


             (Via Ole Kraul)

 

P/O Milton H. Bender DFC, Bombardier F/Sgt Cleve Billett RAAF, W/Op F/Sgt Leslie H. Chapman RAAF, Rear gunner F/Sgt Stanley F. Hodge.

Front: Pilot F/O Peter A. Crosby, Air Gnr. F/O Laurence W. Robb RAAF, Navigator F/O Charles E. Suffren.

 


                    (Via Ole Kraul)

 

W/Op F/Sgt Leslie H. Chapman RAAF, Pilot F/O Peter A. Crosby, P/O Milton H. Bender DFC, ?.

 


ME663 was flying at 23.000 feet on the return flight to England when it was attacked by a German night fighter piloted by Unteroffizier Erich Scheding of 2./ NJG 3 and started burning. Pilot F/O Peter A. Crosby dived to 18.000 feet to escape the night fighter and ordered the crew to bale out. At the same moment the Lancaster turned over and dived to 6000 feet before Crosby managed to level it off. ME663 dived again with flames from both wings and after a short while it exploded at 03:58 hours one kilometre north of Aale. The wreckage was spread over a couple of kilometres. A wing was found near the road Aale/Mattrup and two engines were found in a nearby field where also two flyers was found dead.
 


                                          (Herluf Rasmussen)

The wreckage being removed


 
The Wehrmacht in Horsens had been called at 06:00 hours by the local police constable who informed them about the crash but at 08:00 hours they had not yet shown up.

At 08:00 hours Navigator F/O Charles E. Suffren was found laying severely wounded in Donnerupskov forest. He had been blown out of the Lancaster when it exploded and had fallen to the ground. He had with him a water bag on which he had written: 03:40 attacked by fighter, thrown out of aircraft. Broke back. Give my love to my family, Ted. 05:10 pain unbearable. He was believed to be dead but moved when the search team attempted to cover the body with a blanket. Doctor Krogsgaard was called for and he gave the flyer a shot of morphine to relive the pain. Suffren was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Horsens where the doctors prepared for an operation.
The Germans however arrived and demanded that Suffren be handed over to them. Dispite protests from the doctors the Germans placed him on the bed of a truck and took him to the German Field Lazarett in Aarhus. After some weeks Suffren was moved to Germany where he died 16/2 1945 on a Luftwaffe hospital in Bad Tölz. Today he rest in the Dürnback War cemetery south of München.

 


                    (Via Ole Kraul)

 

The search teams found five dead flyers around the crash site. They were Pilot F/O Peter A. Crosby DFC RAAF, Flt. Engr. P/O Milton H. Bender DFC, Bombardier F/Sgt Cleve Billett RAAF, W/Op F/Sgt Leslie H. Chapman RAAF and Air Gnr. F/O Laurence W. Robb RAAF who were all laid to rest in Fovrfelt cemetery in Esbjerg on 15/4 1944.

 


                     (Via Ole Kraul)



Only Rear gunner F/Sgt Stanley F. Hodge had managed to bail out and landed in his parachute near Rask Skov forest 4 kilometres east of Aale. The next day he met a girl who took him to her grandfathers house. Due to languish problems Teacher Emilie Henriksen was called for. Hodge was taken to the Boring School where he was feed and had some bruises taken care of. Too many people knew about his where about and Hodge choose to leave Boring and walk towards Vejle. In the evening he contactet a couple of young men, but they spoke no English and took him to the Uldum Inn.
At 00:02 the Parish Executive Officer of Uldum called the Police and informed them of Hodge`s where about and said that he had served coffie for him and would try to keep him in the inn until he could be picked up by the Wehrmacht. The police in turn called Feldwebel Backmann of the Wehrmacht and Hodge was arrested. He was sent til Dulag Luft in Oberursel for interrogation. Next he was sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug where he spent a few months until he was sent by ship via Swinemünde to Stalag IV Gross Tüchow.
This was later evacuated and the prisoners sent by foot to Fallingbostel which was reached after six weeks march thru the German winter. After a couple of week they were again sent marching, this time towards Lüneburg where they were liberated by English forces on 18/4 1945. When the prisoners were taken by truck to a nearby airfield the truck turned over. A sergeant was killed, Hodge got some bad cuts and F/Sgt D. Wardill who had been shot down near Odense on 26/2 1942 was wounded. He was treated for this back in England.
 


After the war a memorial stone was erected near the crash site.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sources: AS 37-108,UA, LBUK, Police report Vejle, OK, FT.

 

On the night of 9/10 April 1944

Lancaster III JB725 crashed near Jellinge 9/4 1944

Lancaster III ND625 crashed Sejrø Bay 10/4 1944

Lancaster III JB600 crashed near Torrild 10/4 1944

Lancaster III ND420 crashed at Brande 10/4 1944

Lancaster III JB734 crashed near Gunderup 10/4-1944

Lancaster BI ME663 crashed Aale 10/4 1944

Lancaster III ND675 crashed near Filskov 10/4 1944

Lancaster III JB709 crashed into the North Sea 10/4-1944

Lancaster I ME688 crashed into the North Sea 10/4-1944

 

 

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