Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Stirling IV LJ999 crashed on Tippepold on 5/3 1945
 

The aircraft belonged to RAF 138 Sqn Bomber Command and was coded NF-Q.
T/o 23:48 Tempsford. OP: SOE to Tablejam 241 with Danish drop zone number 025 and code name Adolf.


After having received the correct letter from the drop zone which was C for Charlie, the load of 24 containers and one package containing pistols was dropped on position 553049 N, 113150 E near Eskilstrup sø lake 9 km NNW of Sorø and 15 1/4 km East of Høng. On this night a resistance group from Sorø received the load.

After the drop Pilot P/O ”Mac” Leslie G. Sleven headed west on an altitude of 50-100 feet. When Sleven sighted Hvide Sande on the Danish west coast, the Stirling was hit by 20 mm flak from Stauning flak and Sleven lost control of the elevator while he could still control the rudder and aileron.
At 04:30 hours LJ999 hit the water in the most northern part of Tipperne in Ringkobing Fjord with a speed of 230 miles/hour.
Navigator F/O Noel Tilly who was sitting in his allotted position behind the pilot facing the port side of the aircraft was thrown from his seat to his right and down the steps to the bombaimers compartment during which he lost his flying boots.
The crew, who thought the Stirling was floating in the North Sea, prepared to leave the aircraft.
Pilot Mac Sleven inflated his “Mae West” and slid down the sloping nose of the Stirling and realised that the water barely reached his thighs. By this time the crew were tumbling out of the aircraft from the nearest exits.

 

Stirling IV LJ999
 

 

Wing with flak damage


The crew, that apart from “Mac” Sleven and Noel Tilly, consisted of Air bomber F/S T. F. Kyle, W/Op F/S G. M. Maude, Air Gnr/Desp. Sgt W. L. Clarke, Rear Gnr. Sgt. J. H. Bloomer and Flt. Engr. Sgt. J. T. Breeze split up in two teams and started walking to the south, since this was the only direction they could possibly walk without getting in deep water. During this walk, the rest of the crew supplied Noel Tilly with spare socks which were thankfully fairly plentiful.
In the morning, after a 5½ hour walk, both teams were made prisoners of war near the Nymindegab barracks by Hungarian soldiers in German service.
The flyers were taken to Esbjerg airfield and shortly after sent by train to Dulag Luft in Oberursel near Frankfurt.

From now on their stories vary:
Sleven spent 7 days several times being interrogated in the late afternoon.
One day he and Noel were marched down the road to the station with other pow`s and loaded on a train. Some 24 hours later they arrived at Wetzlar after having travelled by train for several hours and walked the last 15 miles.
At Wetzlar they were fed and those needing essential clothes were fitted out and Noel Tilly was given boots.
After another 24 hours they were marched to the station and loaded onboard cattle wagons and taken to Stalag VIIID Nürnberg-Langwasser.
They only spent two weeks in the camp before it was evacuated by the Wehrmacht and they were sent on a march to Stalag VIIA Moosburg a.d. Isar where they arrived on 9/4.
On 3/5 1945 they were liberated from Stalag VIIA by American troops.
 
After interrogation in Dulag Luft also Breeze was sent to Nürnberg where he arrived on 18/3 and stayed until 4/4 when he was sent to Stalag VIIA Moosburg. He arrived on 20/4 and stayed until 7/5.
It seems that Clark was passed on to Stalag VIIA after having spent two days in Dulag LUft without being interrogated. He stayed in Stalag VIIA from 10/4 until being liberated on 29/4.
Kyle arrived in Dulag Luft and stayed until 15/3 when he was moved on to Wetzlar. He arrived on 16/3 and left again on 18/3 for Nürnberg. He arrived on 25/3 and stayed until 5/4. Then he was moved to VIIA Mooseberg where he arrived on 21/4 and stayed until liberation on 29/4.
 
When the crew split up, Blumer and Maude walked on their own until 8/3 when they reached the town of Herning. On “Ny Vejlevej” road they entered a grocery store and asked for something to drink. When they left the store, two heavily armed German soldiers were waiting for them. The flyers were arrested and send to Germany.
Blumer was sent to Offlag VIIB Eichstatt where he was held until 4/5. Maude was sent to Nürnberg.

 


                   (Via Poul Erik Pedersen)

Sgt W. L. Clarke, W/Op F/S G. M. Maude, Flt. Engr. Sgt. J. T. Breeze, Rear Gnr. Sgt. J. H. Bloomer
Air bomber F/S T. F. Kyle, Pilot P/O ”Mac” Leslie G. Sleven, Unknown Navigator.
The unknown navigator did not fly with this crew. F/O Warsh not on photo

 

Note: F/O Noel Tilly was not normally a member of this crew but was a substitute for F/O Warsh who had been struck down with a heavy cold and certified as “Unfit to fly”.

 


                                         (Via Peter Høj)

The wreckage being removed after the war

 


                     (Via Poul Erik Pedersen)

Sgt W. L. Clarke

 


                           (Via Poul Erik Pedersen)

W/Op F/S G. M. Maude, Flt. Engr. Sgt. J. T. Breeze, Sgt W. L. Clarke

 

Sleven visits site in 1997

 

Sources : LBUK, AIR 27/957, AIR 20/8283, HS8/146,  “Mac” Sleven, Stirling file, Bent B.Anthonisen, Illegal newspaper “Daggry”, POW de brifings.                                                                   

 

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