Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G 42-31156 crash landed near Neksø 11/4 1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 447 Bomb Group, 708 Bomb Squadron.
T/O Rattlesden. OP: Arminswalde.


When approaching the Focke-Wuft aircraft factory at Arminswalde it was found to be covered by clouds and the alternative target in Stettin was bombed. After having dropped its load 42-31156 was hit by flak and Pilot 1st Lt Howard S. Pauling and Co-pilot 2nd Lt Lauren M. Davis had to feather the two inboard engines. They then left the formation at 12.000 feet and headed towards Sweden. Believing that they was over Sweden they belly landed the Flying fortress named “Big Stoop” at “Skyttegaard” farm near Ibsker 3 kilometres north of Neksø on the island of Bornholm at 14:52 hours.
 


                                     (Via Niels Christian Pihl)

 


                                   (Via Niels Christian Pihl)

 


            (Anders Bjørnvad via Ole Rønnest)

 


When members of the German Wehrmacht arrived at 15:30 they found that the crew had left and seached the area until 21:00 hours without finding any of the flyers.

The flyers had teamed up two and two and had left the area.
 
Later in the afternoon two of the flyers approached farmer Knud Lassen who after a while called the local Constable A. Andersen. Andersen asked to talk to the flyers and advised them to get into the nearby forest and then head in a certain direction. At 18:30 when he was sure that they had got away he called the Wehrmacht as he was supposed to and informed them about the flyers.
When the Wehrmacht arrived at the farm the flyers were long gone.

On the evening of 12/4 Left waist gunner S/Sgt Henry McCowan and Ball turret gunner S/Sgt James L. Prusa had managed to get to the Ibsker vicarage where they asked Reverend Ejnar Olsen to call the Wehrmacht. He took good care of them and tried to talk them out of giving up, but to no avail and at around midnight he called the Wehrmacht who arrived and arrested the flyers at 01:15 hours and took them to Galløkken.

At 08:20 hours at 13/4 a man who worked on the timber works in Tejn informed the police that two airmen were present at Hugo Carlsens farm “Granly” in Olsker. Navigator 2nd Lt Ernest Norman and Radio operator T/Sgt Paul Knight had come to the farm in the evening and had asked for food and accommodation. The flyers had a bath and afterwards dinner with family. Later everyone went to bed. Just after breakfast two trucks arrived with German soldiers arrived and surrounded the farm. When asked if there were flyers on the farm Carlsen denied. The Germans then searched the farm and found the two flyers underneath the bed in the bedroom. The flyers as well as Carlsen were put in one of the trucks and taken to the German headquarter at Galløkken where Carlsen was put in a cell.

The Germans questioned Carlsen several times and told him that it had been stated in the newspapers that anyone who helped allied flyers could well be sentenced to death. His answer was that he never read newspaper and only followed the Bible. When asked if he would also help German soldiers, he said that he would help anyone in distress, even Russian soldiers. The Germans was not able to connect him with the resistance and after a while they were nearly convinced that he was crazy and when the Danish police and the local vicar agreed to the description of Carlsen as being weird he was released on 14/5 1944.


                                 (Via Niels Christian Pihl)

Rear: Albaum, Knight, Kingston, Prusa, Standish, McCowan
Front: Pauling, Davis, DeFelice, Sherer
 


Top turret gunner T/Sgt Glenn D. Standish and Co-pilot 2nd Lt Lauren M. Davis had worked their way north of Hasle and hid near Jons Kapel. Police constable Ebbe Hasselholt Jørgensen of Hasle was informed of their presence and together with hotel owner Bidstrup he searched for the flyers and found them and took to the house of fisherman H.P. Holm in Teglaas. On Saturday evening 15/4 Hasselholt Jørgensen visited the fishingboat of fisherman Ernst Petersen and told him about the flyers. Ernst Petersen had several times sailed refugees to Sweden and agreed to take the flyers across. It was planned to leave on Monday morning and in the meantime the flyers would be moved to Bidstrups hotel “Herolds hotel”.
Monday morning at 05:00 the flyers were guided on board the fishing boat “Svanen” and hid underneath some fishing tackle. It was now time to have the boat searched by the German guards before setting out to sea. Ernst Petersen, Frede Olsen and Aksel Jørgensen who were all armed had been positioned so they would be able to shoot the guards should they find the flyers. Luckily the guards did not find the flyers and “Svanen “ left the harbour. When “Svanen” reached its fishing place a sub marine surfaced and “Svanen” had to start fishing. The U boat stayed all day and when darkness came “Svanen” turned on the lantern. When the U boat left the lantern was placed on a buoy and “Svanen” set course for Sweden without lights. When nearing Skillinge the flyers entered a rowing boat and rowed the rest of the way. The flyers were taken to Stockholm and on 27/4 they returned to England on a courier flight.

“Svanen” returned to its fishing place and found the fishing tackle it had left and were loading the fish which had taken the hooks during the night when the U boat returned at 6:00 hours in the morning. “Svanen“ returned to Hasle in the evening with 95 boxes of cod.

Pilot 1st Lt Howard S. Pauling, Bombardier 2nd Lt Paul N. Scherer, Tail gunner S/Sgt Elvin Albaum and Right waist gunner Leo V. Kingston arrived in pairs at Svend Aa. Muncks summerhouse in Bølshavn with a couple of days spacing and were hidden by neighbours. Clarence Jensen and Knud Andersen agreed to sail the flyers to Sweden and made arrangements with fisherman Harald Jensen who had his boat in Haralds harbour. It was agreed that he would not lock the boat as he usual did, thus making it easy for Jensen and Andersen to steal it. On the night of 15/16-4 the six men entered the small boat and after a ruff trip they arrived safely in Sweden.
 


                           (Via Finn Buch)



Those who had been made POW`s were brought to Dulag Luft at Oberursel for interrogation. After interrogation Ernst M. Norman was sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan and later moved to Stalag XIIID Nuremberg-Langwasser. Paul D. Knight and James L. Prusa were sent to Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf near Krems in Austria while Henry R. McCowan was sent to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow.

 



Sources: MACR, Bornholmske samlinger 1976, LBUK, AS 18-359+361.

 

 

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