Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Lancaster I ME449 crashed near Østergaarde south of Tarm 12/3-1945


The aircraft belonged to RAF103 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded PM-T.
T/o 17:43 Elsham Wolds. Op: Gardening the northern entrance to the Øresund.


On the return flight ME449 was attacked by German JU 88G-6 nightfighter coded D5+AL and piloted by Hauptmann Eduard Schröder of 1./ NJG 3 with the crew of 1st Bordfunker Feldwebel Theo (Teddy by friends) Hessenmüller, 2nd Bordfunker Unteroffizier Werner Zeinert and Bordmechaniker Unteroffizier Erich Brunsendorf and at 21:45 hours the Lancaster crashed at Østergaarde south of Tarm.

Two of the Lancasters crew was killed during the attack, namely Rear Gnr. Sgt Donald Morris and Mid upper Gnr. F/S Harvey J. Porter RAAF. They were retrieved from the wreck shortly after the crash and taken to the hospital at Tarm. In the afternoon the bodies were claimed from the hospital by the Germans and placed in a couple of bags and placed on a horse drawn wagon driven by Chr. Andersen. He was ordered to take the bodies to a wood east of Tarm where the Germans dug a hole in the ground and threw the bodies therein.
 

Rear Gnr. Sgt Donald Morris
 

Mid upper Gnr. F/S Harvey J. Porter RAAF


During the summer of 1945 a grave site was created where the flyers had been buried and on 12/8 1945 they were given a Christian funeral. A British detachment marched to the grave and 800 Danish people showed their respect while Rural Dean P. B. Gadegaard gave a speech and then blessed the graves. The parish Executive Officer H. Gravesen spoke and promised that the town would look after the graves for generations to come. Finally Sqn. Ldr. Smart who was the Commander of Vandel airfield saluted the graves.

 



The rest of the crew successfully bailed out.

Pilot S/Ldr Stan Slater was helped by Farmer Niels Jørgen Pedersen who called the Kørvel family of Ølgod.
Frederik Kørvel and his daughter Anna picked up the flyer on the farm and took him to their home where he was quartered in the attic while two German officers were quartered in the basement. Later on the same night Kørvel brought home another flyer, namely W/Op Thomas Fairclough.
The flyers were transported via Fredericia to København, and on 23/3 they were shipped over to Sweden.
 

Pilot S/Ldr Stan Slater

 

W/Op Thomas Fairclough

 


  (Nigel Fairclough)

False id paper for W/Op Thomas Fairclough issued by the Danish resistance movement

 


F/Eng Sgt Ken Foster got in contact with Bodil and Aage Uhre of Lyne and was soon sent via Ølgod to Sweden.
 

F/Eng Sgt Ken Foster

 

 

Stoney Mitchell and Mervyn Bertie were the second and third men to bale out of Lancaster ME449, after Ken Foster but before Thomas Fairclough and Stan Slater. 
The exact locations at which Mitchell and Bertie landed are not known, but shortly after baling out about 2200 h on 12 March 1945, they found each other in the darkness and spent the first night sleeping outdoors. 
The next day, while walking along Vejlevej towards Tarm, 21-year-old Dorthea Kristensen approached them and led them to the farm house of her parents, Maria and Kr. Peder Kristensen, where they were fed and protected for the night of 13-14 March. 

They continued on foot in a north-easterly direction for about 90 km over the next three days, finding food and shelter at various Danish farms along the way. 
Then, on the evening of 16 March, they sought help at the farm of Åge Fisker near Funder. With the assistance of Nørdby Christensen and Maylor Ambrosiussen, Fisker sent a message to Resistance members Sigurd Birk and Gunnar Birk at their farm near Ikast. 
The Ikast weapons receiving group operated by Ole Engberg received the information when they returned to the Birk farm on the morning of 17 March. Engberg then drove in his truck, nicknamed “Dorte”, to collect Mitchell and Bertie from Funder and take them to the homes of nearby Resistance members; first to Arnold Petersen and his wife Naomi in Ikast for 5 days and next to Alfred Balle Pedersen and his wife Magdalene in Herning for 12 days.  Photographs taken at the Pedersens’ house were used to make false identity cards. 
On the night of 2 April, Anton Jens Toldstrup, leader of the Jutland weapons receiving groups, took Mitchell and Bertie by car from Herning to Ebeltoft. 
Along the way, near Århus, the car was stopped by Germans who demanded identity cards but eventually let the group continue when Toldstrup asserted his apparent authority as an officer of the Civil Air Defence. 
In Ebeltoft, Mitchell and Bertie stayed for 2 days with Svend Åge Ballisager and his wife Gudrun. 
Late on 4 April, Mitchell and Bertie were taken to Øerhage, south of Ebeltoft, where they boarded a fishing boat operated by the Danish Resistance and were taken across the Kattegat, arriving in Gøteborg the next day. 
Two days thereafter, on 7 April, they reached Stockholm by train then flew to Leuchars, Scotland, on the night of 15-16 April 1945. 
Mitchell and Bertie were de-briefed by Military Intelligence, assigned leave, and did not return to 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds until May 1945, by which time the war had ended.

by Gail R. Michener Daughter of Stoney Mitchell

 

 


                 (Sue Westcott nee Bertie)

Air Bomber P/O Mervyn H. Bertie RAAF

 

Air Bomber P/O Mervyn H. Bertie RAAF

Photo taken for false id-card

 

Navigator F/o Stoney Mitchell

Photo taken for false id-card.

 

On Thursday 12 March 2015 an Memorial and Unveiling Event was held by the Graves.

This was headed by Mrs. Gail Michener and Mrs. Kirsten Kolby.

 

 

 

 

 

 


  (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

Master of Ceremonies Kirsten Kolby



 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

Søren C. Flensted, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, The Denmark Team, unveiling the plaque.

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

Wreath-laying by RAAF Harvey Porter and RAF Donald Morris families.

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

Raymond Morris, Brother to Rear Gnr. Sgt Donald Morris

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

RAAF Wing Commander A.M. O`Leary OAM

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

Honorary Consul Lars Damgaard to The British Embassy.

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

Second Secretary, Embassy of Australia, Ms Rebecca Marshall
and RAAF Wing Commander A.M. O`Leary OAM

 

 Ole Rønnest MBE. Frihedskampens Frednings- og Mindefond.

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

Wreath laying from the Bertie, Fairclough. Foster, Mitchell and Slater families.

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

 


 (Niels Schaiffel-Nielsen)

 

Gail R. Michener, Daughter of Navigator F/o Stoney Mitchell

 

Below is the graves as seen late in the afternoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 See also:  Shot Down in Denmark

 


Sources: Report Ringkøbing Police, BCL, CWGC, OK, FAF, AIR 27/817, WO 208/3326+3327, DFEV, Gail Michener nee Mitchell.


 

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