Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Lancaster III NE144 ditched in the sea of Kattegat off the island of Anholt 30/8 1944.


The aircraft belonged to RAAF (RAF) 460 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded AR-F.
T/o 21:06 Binbrook. OP: Stettin.


At approx. 00:30 hours NE144 was attacked by a German “210” night fighter which wounded the rear gunner Sgt Philip B. Aviet and shot away the elevator controls and trims, set fire to the H2s and 6000 rounds of ammunition, put part of the electrical equipment and intercom u/s.

Pilot F/L K.W. Humpfries ordered the crew to put on parachutes and to try to put out the fire. Next he dropped the bomb load and turned towards base. Upon discovering that the elevator controls were gone he headed for Sweden, controlling the Lancaster by use of the throttles.
Mid upper gunner Sgt Dennis Fallon and W/Op F/O Ronald K. Stratford DFM was told to get the badly wounded rear gunner out of his turret.
They were loosing height all the time and when down to 3000 ft the crew were ordered to take up ditching positions.
Fallon and Stratford had got Aviet out of the turret, but denied to leave him in the aft fuselage and choose to stay with him.
The ditching at approx. 01:00 hours north of the island of Anholt ( 564500N 113300E) was successful, but the tail broke off and went down.
Humpfried was thrown about 20 metres out in front of the Lancaster and when he swam back he found Navigator F/O T.B. MacNeill Bomb Aimer Sgt G.D. Walsh and Flt. Engr. Sgt S.R. Wild sitting on the Lancaster with the dinghy out.
The three men in the tail had gone down with it.
 


                          (Via Helme)

 


             (Handels- og Søfartsmuseet Kronborg)

 



                      (Via Helme)

The crew arriving at Anholt


The survivors entered the dinghy and in the early morning the dinghy was observed from the island of Anholt and the rescue launch sailed out and picked the flyers up. They were taken to the island where they were made POW`s by the local Wehrmacht garrison. Then spent the next four days on the island before they were shipped over to København by the weekly supply boat. From København they were sent to Dulag Luft at Oberursel for interrogation, and after about a week Humpfries and MacNeill were sent to Stalag Luft I Barth while Walsh and Wild were sent to Stalag Luft VII Bankau.

 

 


                (Via Ole Kraul)

 


              (Via Ole Kraul)

 


                   (Via Ole Kraul)

 


                     (Via Ole Kraul)

 



On 4/9 1944 the body of W/Op F/O Ronald K. Stratford was found washed ashore on Vesterstrand beach on the island of Anholt. The German Wehrmacht buried the body in Anholt cemetery on the same day.



                        (Gary Newman via Alain Charpentier)

W/Op F/O Ronald K. Stratford

 


                     (Hans Møller Hansen)

 


                     (Hans Møller Hansen)

Anholt cemetery

 


  (Dieter Friedrick)

 


  (Dieter Friedrick)

 


  (Dieter Friedrick)


Tail gunner Sgt Philip B. Aviet and Mid upper gunner Sgt Dennis Fallon were found washed ashore on the Swedish west coast and both rest in Falkenberg Forest cemetery in Sweden.



After the war Humpfried wrote a letter to Officer Commanding Noil, RAAF describing the events of the night of 29/30-8-44 ending with:
I then recommend for bravery W/Op P/O Stratford DFC and Sgt Fallon as they gave their lives endeavouring to save a wounded member of their crew, knowing that after such a fire and the characteristics of the Lancaster that the tail surviving a ditching was a million to one chance. The rest of the crew were also outstanding in their duties and utter disregard for themselves.

The bomb load dropped from Lancaster NE114 consisted among other things of a 1000 lbs. cookie fell in a field next to Kærgade road in Vorup near Randers. It detonated and the explosion destroyed 3 houses and rendered three houses useless. Six civilians were killed and six were severely wounded while eleven were lightly wounded.

 

 



Sources: CWGC, FAF, LBUK, Fyrdirektoratet, Letter from Humpfries to Noill, BCL, AIR 25/13.

 

Night of 29/30 August 1944

Groups

Squadrons

Combats

Lancaster I PA163 crashed into Lovns Bredning bay 29/8 1944

Lancaster I LM184 crashed Aalestrup 29/8 1944

Lancaster III PB202 crashed at Førby Hede heath 30/8 1944

Lancaster X KB709 crashed in the sea of Kattegat 6 miles off the island of Anholt 30/8 1944

Lancaster III PB143 crashed at Ingerslev / Estruplund 30/8 1944

Lancaster III NE144 ditched in the sea of Kattegat off the island of Anholt 30/8 1944

Lancaster III EE193 crashed in the sea of Kattegat 30/8 1944

Lancaster I ME718 crashed at Ove 30/8 1944

Lancaster III PB436 crashed Gunderup 30/8 1944

Lancaster I LM116 crashed near Karup 30/8 1944

Lancaster III LM479 crashed Dejbjerg 30/8 1944

 

 

 

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