Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G 42-31619 belly landed at Sosegaard on the island of Bornholm 24/5 1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 615 Bomb Group, 401 Bomb Squadron.
T/O Deenethorpe. OP: Berlin


Over Germany 42-31619, called “BTO in the ETO”, was hit by flak and number four engine stopped as did number two engine turbocharger. At 12:45 hours the B 17 left the formation at 55`00N 13`10E and headed for Sweden. Apparently believing that the Danish island of Bornholm was Swedish “BTO in the ETO” came low over Rønne airport from the sea after having dropped the radio equipment in the water and belly landed in a field belonging to “Sosegaard”. The time was 14:12 hours.
 


                                 (Via Niels Christian Pihl)

B 17G 42-31619



A farmhand named Christian West from the farm quickly informed the flyers of their mistake and they burned som papers and smashed the Sperry equipment. They then left and is believed to have got a lift by a truck to Almindingen where the split up in groups of two.
 


                            (Via Niels Christian Pihl)

Nunn, O'Bannon, Colliton, Liddle, Corroway, Yerman
Whiteman, Swisher, Ringle, Stevenson



On the next morning (25/5) at 08:15 Radio operator S/Sgt William G. Nunn and Top turret gunner S/Sgt Richard H. O`Bannon Jr. arrived in Stammershalle where they were captured by the German Matrosgefreiter Zschek. They managed to knock him out and headed towards Allinge where they met the Dane Oscar Fält who hid them in an abandoned house where they stayed until the next morning when they found a small rowing boat and started out for Sweden.

Left waist gunner Sgt Orlando J. Yemma and Tail gunner Sgt Jack R. Culliton stole a small rowing boat near Sandvig and had the good luck to be picked up by a Finnish ship that took them to Sweden.

Over the next three days the Germans started an intensive search for the flyers. But found no one.

Navigator 2nd Lt Seymour Ringle and Bombardier 2nd Lt James A. Stevenson reached Melsted on the east coast of the island where they spend the day in a cabin on the beach. On the evening of 25/5 they followed the beach to Gudhjem and knocked on the door of the house belonging to Taylor Christian Holm. They stayed in his house for the night and were brought to the house of Teacher Kaas-Hansen who hid them in the attick. Reverend Hjort-Lange was informed and he managed to get false ID-cards for them by the help of Postmaster Sørensen.
On 31/5 Sørensen took them on board the ferry “Carl”, bound for København, where they were housed in the captain’s cabin until “Carl” reached the Falsterbo canal where they were transferred to the Swedish Pilot boat.

Pilot 2nd Lt John S. Whiteman, Co-pilot 2nd Lt Horace H. Shelton, Ball turret gunner Sgt Heath N. Liddle and Right waist gunner Sgt Marvin L. Carraway walked together to the farm “Brøddegård” in Olsker where Farmer Karl Hansen gave them food and told them to split up and walk to Vang as the area were swarming with Germans. Fisherman Ernst Petersen found all four flyers close to Teglåss on 28/5 and took them to his house. From Petersen`s place they were all moved to the house of Ernst Petersen. At this time Petersen got informed that the Germans suspected him of working against them and he decited to go to Sweden with his family.

On the evening of 1/6 Ernst Petersen with wife and three kids, two policemen and the four flyers as well as the crew members Aksel Jensen and Frede Olsen (with fiancée) entered the boat “Svanen” and at 04:00 in the morning of 2/6 they arrived safe in Sweden.



Sources: MACR, LBUK, Bornholmske Samlinger 1976, Ejvin Friis Jensen.

 

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