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Halifax III MZ863 crashed in the Baltic Sea west of the
island of Langeland 17/8 1944.
The aircraft belonged to RCAF (RAF) 433 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded BM-E.
T/o 21:15 Skipton on Swale. OP: Gardening Kiel Bay.
MZ863 is believed to have been claimed by a German night fighter and to have
crashed in the sea south or southwest of the island of Langeland killing all
It should be noted that Oberleutnant Fritz Brinkmann of 8./NJG 3 claimed a Four-engined
bomber NNE of Kiel at 00:06 hours while Oberfeldwebel Martin Kramer of Stab./NJG
3 claimed a Four-Engined bomber SE of Kiel at 00:15 hours.
The body of Navigator P/O John A. Tolmie was retrieved from the sea south of the
island of Langeland on 21/8 and taken to Bagenkop harbour where he was
identified by Constable Iversen of the Danish police. Soon after two German
Marineunteroffiziers arrived and demanded that Tolmie should not be given a
proper burial but should be thrown in a hole in the ground. Iversen did not
agree and called the German Commandant on Fyn who allowed Iversen to handle the
funeral. However, no flowers would be allowed on the grave. Iversen had received
a number of flowers for the grave from local people, and these were now placed
inside the coffin. Arrangements were made with the vicar for the funeral to be
at 19:00 hours on the same evening. Two Unteroffiziers arrived and declared that
the decision which allowed Iversen to handle the funeral had been changed and
they wanted the flyer to be handed over to them. After a discussion they agreed
to letting the body been in the coffin and to bury it at Bagenkop cemetery. They
did that on the same evening.
On 25/8 at 09:30 hours Air Bomber F/O George Scott RAF was found washed ashore
on the beach near Østerby on the island of Kegnæs by a border gendarme and taken
to the hospital in Sønderborg.
On the same day at 14:30 hours the body of Wop/Air Gnr. F/O John C. Sprott was
found on the beach near Bredsten on Kegnes by the same gendarme who found Scott.
Also Sprott was taken to the hospital in Sønderborg.
On 26/8 the body of Air Bomber F/O Henry M. Fleming was found on the beach near
Lysabildskov on the island of Als by a local farmer and was taken to the
hospital in Sønderborg.
The Wehrmacht was informed and Hauptfeldwebel Andresen from Fliegerhorst
Flensburg arrived and transported the flyers to Aabenraa cemetery where they
were laid to rest on 27/8 1944 without ecclesiastical assistance.
Today Air Gnr. F/S Thomas L. Baker rest in Kiel War Cemetery, Germany while
Pilot F/L John C. Valk and Flt. Engr. Sgt Ralph I. Atkinson RAF have no known graves
and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Air Bomber F/O George Scott RAF
Sources: UA, LBUK, Report Langeland and Aabenraa Police, BCL.
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