Halifax II MZ355 crashed near Knaplund 14/2 1945.
The aircraft belonged to RCAF (RAF) 427 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded ZL-W.
T/o 18:01 Leeming. Op: Gardening in
the Kadett Channel.
On the return flight MZ355 was attacked by a German night fighter flown by
Oberleutnant Herbert Kock of
1./ NJG 3 while flying at 12.000 ft. The Halifax received one burst of bullets
which the crew believed was flak. Pilot F/Lt William B. Britton did evasive
action and windows were dropped.
Almost immediately the bomber received another burst that set fire to the port
inner engine, the port main plan and port side of the fuselage.
The engine was feathered and fire button pressed and Flt. Engr. Sgt Philip De
Metz RAF and Mid Upper Gunner P/O Everett M. Ford was ordered to fight the fire
in the fuselage with hand extinguisher. They were unable to put the fire out and
Brittain ordered the crew to bail out.
Five members of the crew got out of the aircraft before it at approximately
22:30 hours crashed at Dyrvig Mark near Knaplund.
The remains of the two gunners, namely P/O Everett M. Ford and P/O John F. Peak
were found in the wreckage and buried next to it by the Wehrmacht.
In December 1945 their remains were disinterred and given a proper Christian
funeral at Hoven Cemetery by Vicar Bøgebjerg Andreasen and a English Field Priest.
The graves at Hoven
(Via Finn Buch)
(Via Finn Buch)
P/O Everett M. Ford and P/O John F. Peak
(Via Finn Buch)
Navigator F/O Driscoll and F/O H. McKay
W/Op P/O Raymond W. Dallin left through the front hatch and landed safely. He
went to a farm and hid in the barn. When he was found in the morning the farmer
took the flyer to the house and called members of the resistance, among them
Vicar Bøgebjerg Andreasen, for help. The Wehrmacht however was searching the
area, and they arrived at the farm before Dallin could be moved. Dallin was
captured and sent to Dulag Luft Wetzler. After questioning he was sent to Stalag
13N Nürnberg where he stayed from 5/3 to 4/4. Then to Stalag VIIA Moesburg from
18/4 to 29/4.
Brittain broke one leg when he landed and hid in a ditch. He was found in the
morning and laid in a Danish ambulance to be taken to the hospital in Skjern. The
Germans however stopped the ambulance and made it take Brittain to the German
Field Lazarett in Horne instead. During his stay Sigrid Nielsen og Tistrup and
Asda Jørgensen of Varde acted as translators for him. He stayed at the lazarett
until 24/2 when he was taken to the jail on Fliegerhorst Grove. He stayed at
Grove from 25/2 to 3/3 when he was sent to Hohemark hospital next to Dulag Luft
at Oberursel near Frankfurt am Main. He stayed here from 5/3 to 30/3-1945.
Driscoll and De Metz both landed safely and were independently of each other
captured by the Wehrmacht 4-5 kilometres from the crashsite at 23:30 hours and
taken to Skjern.
Driscoll had tried to make contacts with civilians but had no luck. He ended
up in POW camp XIIID Nürnberg where he stayed from 1/3 to 4/4 when he was moved
on to VIIA Moosburg where he stayed from 18/4 to 10/5-1945.
De Metz was taken to Fliegerhorst GRove where he stayed from 17/2 to 20/2
when he was sent to Oberursel for questioning. He styed from 27/2 to 29/2 when
he was sent to Nürnberg. He arrived on 2/3 and stayed until 30/3 when he was
sent to Stalag VIIA Moosburg. He arrived on 12/4 and stayed until 5/5.
How F/O H. McKay was captured is not known. He was sent to Dulag Wetzler for
questioning and afterwards sent to Stalag 13D Moosburg where he stayed until
4/4. From the he was sent to Stalag VII Moosburg where he stayed until 29/4
Sources: Quistionaire for returned aircrew, Vicar Bøgebjerg Andreasen, LBUK.
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