Stirling IV LK567 crash landed in Plougslund moor on 27/4
The aircraft belonged to RAF 295 Sqn Sqn 38 Group Fighter Command and was coded
T/O 21:12 Rivenhall OP: SOE to Denmark.
Shortly before take off, navigator F/S Thomas Jones was called to the Squadron
Operation room where he was given another drop zone where the drop should be
The original zone, which had the Danish code name “Arthur” and was located at
“Holsteinshus” by Faaborg on the island of Fyn, had apparently been compromised.
The Stirling with its six man crew flew low level over The North Sea and Jylland,
and then turned to the south of Fyn to be able to approach the drop zone from
When the Stirling was over the drop zone the crew saw no signal lights as
expected, and after having circled a couple of times they turned to a
north-westerly course to fly back to base.
It should be mentioned that drop zone “Arthur” was manned this night. The
resistance people waited until four o’clock in the morning, without hearing any
aircraft, before they left.
Apparently there had been a slip in communication, so the resistance had not
been informed about the change in plans.
Heading west, the Stirling flew at 150-200 feet altitude. When it reached
Fliegerhorst (Airbase) Vejle flak started firing, and a fire started in the
inboard port engine.
The crew tried unsuccessfully to stop it, and when a fire started in the inboard
starboard engine as well, the Pilot W/O Edward (Ted) A. Dax ordered the crew to
After a look at the altimeter he changed the order to prepare to crash land.
At 01:00 hours the Stirling hit the ground in Plougslund moor to the west of
The sad remains of Stirling LK567
When it laid still Dax, Jones and W/Op F/S Frank Fuller got out of the front
exit and jumped 10 feet to the ground.
They landed in mud and water to their knees.
They called for the rest of the crew, but receiving no reply. They ditched their
parachute harnesses and Mae west and then started to walk away from the
aircraft. Soon they decided to get rid of their pistols as these
would do them no good if they were captured, and buried them in a sanded spot on
They walked the whole night to lay as much distance to the Stirling as
possible. When daylight came they found a wood where the hid for the day. It
started to rain and soon they were soaking wet. They only managed to sleep for a
few minutes at a time due to the rain and the cold. After a while they gave up
sleeping and left the wood and after a while found a farmhouse.
They watched it
for about three hours to make sure that no Germans were inside it. Late in the
afternoon they knocked on the door which was opened by a small girl. They were
not able to make themselves understood and she closed the door again. They did
not want to frighten her and left the door and started looking at the out
Over the stables they found a hay loft where they decided to sleep. They
found some turnips that they eat and then went to sleep.
The next morning they
met with the farmer and his wife and were given a proper meal. At the same time
they were informed about the whereabouts of the Germans in the area. The flyers
left the farm about 11:00 hours and headed for a large wood to the south of the
farm. The Danes had advised them to hide there for a few days as the Germans
were searching the area for them. They arrived at the wood at about 04:00 hours
but found it impossible to sleep due to the cold.
They decided to leave and when
dusk fell they made their way to a farm and knocked on the door. No one answered
and they continued to another farm. Here the door was opened by a young woman
with a small baby in her arms. She invited them in and gave them food. When they
were ready to leave she insisted that they take some hard boiled eggs with them.
The flyers headed south with the aid of the small compass from their escape kit.
After about an hour they walked into what seemed to be a German rifle range.
They hid on the ground and started moving forward on the stomach. When they got
out of the range they followed a road going southeast and made good pace. When
dawn came, they found a hayloft to sleep on after having had turnips for
At midday they were awaken by three children playing in the barn. The oldest, a
girl at about eleven came to the loft and almost tripped over the flyers before
seeing them. They tried to explain to her that they were English flyers and she
told them that her name was Karen. The two other kids climber the hayloft. One
was a boy aged sex and the other was a girl aged five. The flyers made the
children understand that they were hungry and the boy went to the house and
brought back their mother. After some talking between Karen and her mother the
flyers was taken to the house where they were given a meal. A English speaking
woman arrived and in broken English she tried to explain where the Germans were
camping in the area.
When the flyers left, the mother led them to a road she
suggested that they should follow. They walked all night and when dawn broke,
they found a barn and climbed to the hayloft and went to sleep.
In the morning they awoke at seven when a farmer started moving around in the
barn. Soon after a hen came into the loft and laid an egg. After having looked
around a little the flyers found two more eggs. That made one for each for
When darkness fell, the flyers went to the house, but when they looked in at the
window the farmer said something that sounded like “go away”. They left the farm
and headed south. They found some milk churns and filled their bottles and
walked on. At a house near the road they were given a sandwich and something to
drink before they moved on. During the night they crossed streams and bogs and
marshes as well as going through small woods. They were hungry when they found a
hayloft to stay at for the day. They were awaked at 09:00 hours by a dog that
stood barking in the barn for half an hour before someone called it and it went
to the house. At half past eight in the evening it returned and started barking
for a long time. After a while a boy came to fetch it, but on seeing the flyers
he returned to the house.
He returned with his father and when the flyers stood up covered with mud and
hay the son and father bust into laughter. The flyers came down and were taken
to the house. A kettle was put on the stove and soon after the flyers could have
their first wash and shave in warm water since their arrival in Denmark.
Then they were given a meal prepared by the farmer’s wife. The name of the
farmer was Lars P. Jensen.
Lars had told the flyers where the Germans camps in the area were found and by
heading east for a couple of miles and then heading south would take them around
the largest of the camps. They followed the road for a while and then left it to
be able to travel east. Suddenly they head a shout followed by three shots. The
flyers froze in their tracks and waited for a while. Nothing happened and they
turned back towards Vorbasse again. After a while they turned south again this
time came to a marshy grounds. They tried to cross it but had to give it up and
head north again. Then east and then south again. They were now near the village
of Bække and it was 09:00 hours. They found some milk churns and started
drinking. A door opened at the nearby house and a man came out and stood looking
at them smiling. By signs they asked if they could sleep on the hayloft and he
smiling agreed. They awoke at five in the afternoon when the man and a girl came
to the barn with trays of food, three beers and milk. The farmer then returned
to the house to listen to the radio while the girl stayed with the flyers until
they had finished eating.
At 20:45 hours in the evening the farmer and an older man and the girl returned
to the barn laughing.
The war in Europe was over.
The flyers followed the farmer to the house and listened to BBC on the radio. A
bottle of vine saved for the liberation of Denmark was opened and a toast proposed.
The flyers were invited to stay at “Grandal” until the British troops arrived by
Farmer Hans, his wife called Mor and his son Lauge. The name of the daughter was
Later the flyers were picked up by members of the underground movement and taken
to Kolding. In Kolding they received the news that Day and Tate were in Vejle
and went there to meet them at Store Grundet.
Dax and Jones visiting the crashsite
Air Gnr. F/S Edward Tate and Flt. Engr. F/S Ronald S. Day had managed to get out
of the rear exit and to bring the severely injured Air Bomber F/S John Ayers out
as well. They were not able to bring him along, so they left him a short
distance from the Stirling before they started walking away.
When they reached a collection of temporary huts a few
hundred metres away they stopped next to a horse stable to smoke a cigarette
before they continued.
After a couple of days they were addressed by smallholder Søren Ohlenschlaeger,
Frederiksnaade while walking on the road to Vorbasse.
He had tried to buy
cigarettes from them before realising that they were English. He took them to
his home and then contacted Doctor O. Clausen of Vorbasse.
The Doctor arranged for them to be hidden in a smallholding belonging to Jeppe
Nikolajsen and his wife Mia
just outside Hovborg and picked the flyers up in his car
and took them there.
They stayed by Nikolajsen until the liberation of Denmark, when they were taken
to ”Store Grundet” near Vejle where they met the rest of the crew.
Tate's fake ID-card in Denmark issued by the resistance
Tate and Day with Danish friends
Tate and Day
Day at the City Hall in Vejle
Tate and Day also found time to visit Mia and Jeppe
Nikolajsen together with three British army officers.
Mia Nikolajsen with Day and Tate
Mia and Jeppe Nikolajsen with British
Unknown resistance member, Mia and Jeppe
Nikolajsen with parachute used for dropping supplys
Mia and Jeppe Nikolajsen after the war
The men in Vejle
The crew in Vejle with members of crew of
Roberts (Halifax NA672), Day, Tate, Jones
Fuller, Dax, MacDougall (Halifax NA672)
They all stayed at Store Grundet for a few days and took part in the celebration
They went to where the Stirling had crashed and searched for
the pistols they had buried. By help of the resident peat cutters they formed a
line abreast and walked east-west thru the moor, but did not find anything.
They also met people who told
them that the Germans had brought the injured Ayers to a German Lazarett.
It turned out to be in Fredericia where he had passed away on 30/4. On 4/5 he
was buried in a common grave with 24 Germans.
On 31/5 he was transferred to his present grave at “Nordre cemetery” in
Fredericia and given a proper Christian funeral. Six members of the resistance
movement carried the coffin and Reverend Erik Christensen officiated at the
graveside ceremony that was attended by numerous Danish citizens as well as a
detachment honor of English soldiers.
John Ayers grave as seen today
After a while the flyers were informed that they would be driven to København on
12/5. In København they spent the time sightseeing and celebrating.
The crew in København with Danes and the crew
of Halifax NA672
Dane, Dax, Hay, Jones, Dane, Dane, Dane,
Fuller, Dane, Mervyn Roberts, Roberts, Dane
On 19/5 1945 they were flown back to England.
On 27/4 1995 a memorial was erected near the crash site.
Jones and Fuller unveils the memorial
On 27/4 2005 a propeller from the Stirling
was added to the memorial.
Fuller and Jones were also present on this
Sources: Frank Fuller, Thomas Jones, AIR 27/1644, Yearbook of Ribe County.
Back to 1945
Top of page