Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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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.

Navigator F/O 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 1945.




Sources: Quistionaire for returned aircrew, Vicar Bøgebjerg Andreasen, LBUK.

 

 

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