Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Halifax III NP947 crashed in Flensburg Fjord 12/1-1945.


The aircraft belonged to RCAF (RAF) 424 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded QB-Y.
T/o 17:24 Skipton-On-Swale OP: Gardening Flensburg Fjord.


After having crossed the North Sea NP947 set course for the Marstal Bay from where it should start its mining run towards the Flensburg Fjord. The mines were dropped from 15,000 feet while Pilot F/S Miles C. Grant RCAF held the Halifax straight and level for the camera to operate. At that point the Halifax was attacked by a German JU 88G-6 night fighter from 3./NJG 3 piloted by Hauptman E. Schröder with the crew of Hessenmüller, Zeinert and Brunsendorf. The JU 88 was coded D5+AL and operated from Fliegerhorst Grove where it had taken off at 20:11 hours and landed back again at 21:57 hours.
 
Mid upper gunner F/Sgt William E. Archer RCAF gave order for a port corkscrew but the Halifax was hit nevertheless. Grant was not able to control the stricken Halifax any longer and gave order to abandon it by means of parachute. The crew except Grant did this from 10,000 feet. Apparently Grant was not able to get out and he was still inside the Halifax when it at 21:08 hours crashed in the Flensburg Fjord near Schausende. His body was retrieved from the fjord by No. 612 Field Squadron, Royald Engineers on 25/9 and was laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on 29/9 1945.

W/Op-Air Gnr. F/S Charles T. Reilly RCAF landed in the Holbøl Marsh. Apparently he hit a tree and froze to death as he lay unconscious. Local people found his body on 18/1 and brought it to the church in Hobøl. The Wehrmacht at Søgarrd Barracks was advised and they set guard outside the church. On the morning of 19/1 a group of Wehrmacht soldiers from Søgarrd collected the body and took it to Aabenraa where it was laid to rest in the cemetery on 20/1 1945.

On 2/8 the body of Air Gnr. F/S Robert C. Carnegie RCAF was found by a diver from the German 33nd U-Boat Flotilla, still entangled in his parachute “about 1 mile down Kollund-Bay” (Read Flensburg Fjord). He was laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on 6/8 1945.

Air Gnr. F/S William E. Archer RCAF has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Air Bomber F/O Mervyn G. Fife RCAF remained missing, presumed dead, until May 1947, when a grave marked as that of Sergeant F. Pollard at the Schleswig Military Cemetery in Germany was opened and Fife’s body identified by its identity disks and markings on the shirt collar. His remains were re-interred at Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.

A body initially identified as that of Flt.Engr. Sgt John Pollard RAF was washed ashore near Sønderborg, Denmark, on the north side of Flensburg Fjord, on 3 November 1945, and was buried in Schleswig Military Cemetery. As there were two graves at the cemetery in 1947 bearing his name, it is now impossible to know if this was the body of Pollard or Fife. Pollard is now also buried at Kiel War Cemetery.

Navigator F/O James G. Agnew RCAF landed safely in Denmark near Holbøl Forest. On the next morning he stepped out on the main road between Krusaa and Graasten and addressed a young girl who was riding a bicycle. He carried a pistol in hand and his face and clothes was blackened and his hair and eyebrows had been burnt from the explosion. He asked the girl for help and she agreed and told him to go back into the forest while she went for help. Apparently she belonged to the German minority in Denmark, and soon after a group of German soldiers arrived and arrested Agnew. He was taken to Haderslev air base where he met with the crew of Halifax NR173 of 429 Sqn. After two nights on the air base the prisoners was sent by train to Dulag Luft at Oberursel where they arrived on 19/1. After interrogation they were sent to the transit camp Wetsslar and next day on to a POW camp near Nürnberg. When the American forces closed in the POW`s were sent on a 14 days march heading for Moosburg in Bayern. Here they were liberated by the American forces on 29/4 and on 11/5 they were back in England.



Sources: RG 24 vol 24755/27632/25012/77502 Library and Archives, Canada, LBUK, BA, CWGC, Letter from Otto Sulek, Agnew de brief, AIR 27/1835, AIR 25/144, AIR14/2680, BC loss card, Peter Petersen and Magda Frederiksen via Martin Reimar.
 

Minelaying on the night of January 12/13 1945

Halifax MZ805 crashed in the sea east of the island of Langeland 12/1 1945

Halifax III NP947 crashed in Flensburg Fjord 12/1-1945

Halifax III NA201 attacked west of the city of Aabenraa 12/1 1945

Halifax III MZ812 crashed in the North Sea west of the island of Rømø 12/1 1945

Halifax III RG346 “attacked” west of the island of Rømø 12/1 1945

Halifax III NR173 crashed in the sea east of the island of Als 12/1 1945

 

 

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