Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 24H 41-29479 crashed near Poulsker 29/4 1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 448 Bomb Group, 715 Bomb Squadron.
T/o Seething. Op: Berlin.


Three engines were shot out by flak and the nose turret as well as the top turret and the tail plane was badly damaged by flak. The plane was loosing height by 600 feet pr. minut and it was decided to leave the aircraft as soon as they were over the island of Bornholm.

Bombardier 2nd Lt Laurin M. Derosier, Top turret gunner T/Sgt Harry J. Ambrosini, Right waist gunner S/Sgt William L. Hutchins, Left waist gunner S/Sgt Harold W. Nininger, Nose turret gunner S/Sgt Stanley E. Jones and Tail gunner Sgt Albert L. Heikkila bailed out through the waist escape hatch at 3000 feet.
 
When they had left, Radio operator T/Sgt Russell D. Leonard, Navigator 2nd Lt Robert L. Bobst, Co-Pilot F/O Thonas J. Verran and Pilot 2nd Lt Orland T. Howard bailed out through the bomb bay.
 
At 14:22 hours the Liberator crashed in a field belonging to “Jomfrugaard” farm near Povlsker on the island of Bornholm.
 


                               (Neksø Museum via Niels Christian Pihl)

 

All landed safely except Top turret gunner T/Sgt Harry J. Ambrosini whose parachute failed to open. His body was taken to Pedersker and laid to rest in a white coffin in the cemetery on 2/5 1944.
Parish minister Levy Blang officiated at the graveside ceremony and a German guard of honour saluted the dead flyer while the Danes living in the parish were not allowed to enter the cemetery during the ceremony.
As soon as the Germans had left, the villagers covered the grave with flowers.
Ambrosini rests in Pedersker cemetery to this day.
 


                           (Via Ib Lødsen)

 


                      (Birger Bendtsen)

 

Doctor Helge Schmidt Nielsen of Pedersker had seen the plane go down and drove in the general direction. He found S/Sgt Nininger laying unconscious a few hundred metres from the wreck. He freed Ninninger of his parachute and carried him to a nearby house. He then called for an ambulance to have the wounded flyer taken to the hospital in Rønne. On its way to Rønne hospital the ambulance was stopped by the Wehrmacht and diverded to the German lazarett at Galløken.
 
Next Doctor Nielsen was called to “Myregaard” farm to treat two flyers. He found S/Sgt Jones lying in a bed with concussions of the brain. He was sent by ambulance to the hospital in Rønne, but also this ambulance was stopped by the Germans and diverted to the German Lazarett at Galløkken.

The other flyer was S/Sgt Hutchins who after treatment was given civilian clothes and a packet of sandwiches and told to follow the Øleaa creek in a northerly direction towards Bølshavn.

F/O Verran had landed in a tree near the farm “Boesgaard” and had hurt his loin and seat Doctor Nielsen was asked to go and treat him. After having found nothing broken Verran was given a packet of sandwiches and advised by farmer Peder Kofoed to follow the Øleaa creek towards the small harbour of Bølshavn. On 1/5 he arrived at Bølshavn having severe pains in his stomack and asked some local people to call the Wehrmacht. The German coast guard in Svanike was called and in the evening he was taken to the German headquater at Galløkken in Rønne.
 
The POW`s were sent by a German naval vessel to the Reserve Hospital in København. On 8/5 they were discharged and sent to Dulag Luft in Oberursel for interrogation.
After about a week Jones was sent to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow while it is not clear where Verran and Nininger were sent to.
 


                                 (Via Niels Christian Pihl)

Rear: Bobst, Verran, Howard, De Rosier,
Front: Jones, Ambrosini, Heikkila, Leonard, Hutchins, Nininger


Sgt Heikkila was found hiding in some scrub by Farmer Peder Kofoed and he too was advised to follow the Øleaa creek in a northerly direction.

In the evening Doctor Nielsen was asked to come to the house of Carpenter Andreas Rasmussen who had found T/Sgt Leonard at Pedersker Sømark and had taken him to his house. Doctor Nielsen examined him and found him in a good condition. Leonard stayed in the house during the night. When dawn came Leonard was hidden in a nearby wood and brought food by Mrs. Rasmussen. In the evening Rasmussen drove Leanard all the way to Bølshavn in his truck. En route he picked up one more flyer.

2nd lt Bobst landed in a manure pile at the farm “Maden” and was stuck but was freed by a farmhand. Next the farmhand fetched 2nd Lt Derosier who had landed nearby and hid both flyers between a couple of haystacks. The farmhand went to the kitchen to get some sandwiches and milk when a German soldier arrived and asked if he had seen any flyers. The farmhand pointed and told the German that they had gone in that direction, and off the German went in persude.
 
When darkness feel the flyers walked northeast towards Ibsker where they met a Danish farmer who called the Danish police. Police inspector Johannes Hansen told the farmer to make sure that the flyers stayed on the farm. Next Hansen called Constable Valdemar Lauritsen and instructed him to go to the farm and tell the flyers to go to Bølshavn at once. Hansen stalled time before he passed the information of the whereabout of the flyers to the Wehrmacht and when they came to the farm to arrest the flyers they had left.

By the help of many people all six flyers eventually made it to Bølshavn. Four of them stayed in a summer cottage belonging to Mr. Munck while waiting for transport.

On the night of 1-2/5 the four airmen was picked up by Danish police inspectors Johannes Hansen and Dahl-Jørgensen and taken in two police cars to Tejn. Despite one of the cars turning over in a curve they all made it to Tejn where the flyers entered the fishing boat “Codan” owned by Fisher Louis Olsen. On board was all ready one of their comrades and sail was set for Sweden which was reached safely.

2nd Lt Howard walked across the island and arrived at the farm “Sandegaard” near Gudhjem where he was seen by farmhand named Frede Mortensen. Mortensen hid Howard on the hayloft and went in search for help. In the meantime Howard was brought food by Else Christensen. After a number of hours Veterinarian Stender from Østermarie took Howard by car to the house of Mr. Munck in Bølshavn. Howard was given a false ID-vard and taken to the Gudhjem harbour where he entered the ferry “Carl”. When “Carl” passed through Swedish territorial waters a Swedish custom officer entered the ferry and took Howard along in his boat. After a short trip they arrived in Sweden where Howard met his comrades.
 
On 10/5 they all left from Bromma airport on a currier flight for England.

 

 



Sources: MACR, AS 18-373, LBUK, UA, MFS, N.K.Pihl, Bornholm, Bornholmske samlinger 1976.

 

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