Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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1943 Updated 22/3-17
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Wellington IA P9218 crashlanded in Limfjorden 21/4-1940.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 149 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded OJ-J.
T/o 17:55 Mildenhall. OP: Aalborg.

During the attack on Aalborg West airfield Wellington P9218 was hit by flak from 5./Res. Flak Abt. 603 in one engine, and had to ditch in the Limfjorden 500 meters east of the Aggersund bridge at 21:50 hours.

 


             (Falck)

 


                   (Falck)

 

 

 

 

The aircraft had been heard at the Monrad house in Aggersund and Mads Anker Sekker Lund who lived with the Monrad family was send down to the Limfjorden to bring the flyers to the house. At the same time Monrad asked his wife to prepare food for the flyers.The crew were shaken but more or less unhurt apart from minor bruises. They left the aircraft and waded ashore and were they were met by Mads. The were taken to the house of Registered land surveyor A.C.H. Monrad who asked them in, and called for Doctor Petersen from the hospital in Fjerritslev to come and treat the pilot F/O F.T. Knight for a scratch on the forehead and the wireless operator AC2 James J. Eldridge for a bruised ankle. The remaining crew were Sgt W.G. McDonald, Sgt G.E. Forsyth, AC2 Blackburn and AC1 W.J. Thew. They realised that their chances to escape were limited and chose to give themselves up. Monrad called Constable Richard Laursen of Fjerridslev who reluctant informed the Germans. At two o`clock in the morning the flyers  were picked up by Luftwaffe personnel from Aalborg West and taken there. Before leaving they wrote their names in the guestbook.

 


  (Monrad)

 

 


                 (Falck)

On the morning of 22/4 F/O Knight enjoyed the company of Gruppenkommandeur I./ZG 1 Hauptman Wolfgang Falck for a few hours before the Englishmen were sent to Germany and prisoner of war camps.

 


  (Monrad)

AC2 Jesse James (Jimmy) Eldridge

 


  (Monrad)

AC2 Jesse James Eldridge

 

Crewmembers with Germans outside the control tower at Aalborg West

 

 

From left to right:
F/O Frederick T. Knight, Sgt. Neil McDonald, Sgt. Gerald E. Forsythe, AC Philip Blackburn, AC James J. Eldridge and AC William Thew.

 

X - This Englishman who was shot down near Aalborg have been guarded by me

 

The flyers boarding the JU52, which would take them to Hamburg.

 

After interrogation at Dulag Luft at Oberursel near Frankfurt the crew was passed on to various POW camps.

AC2 Jesse James Eldridge was sent to XIIA Limburg in Westphalia where he stayed for two months. Then on to Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf in Silesia where he stayed until May 1942. From October 1942 to October 1943 he was in Stalag Luft I and from October 1943 to July 1944 in Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug in East Prussia. Finally in Stalah Luft IV Gross Tyschow in East Pommeren from July 1944 to February 1945. To end up in Stalag 357 Fallingbostel near Hannover from March 1945 to April 16. 1945.

AC1 William Thew was in June 1940 sent to Stalag Luft VIIIB Lamsdorf where he stayed for a month. Then on to Stalag Luft I where he stayed for about a year until he was sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan where he spend two years. Then to Stalag Luft VI where he spend a year before moving to Stalag 357 Fallingbostel.

Sgt Gerald Edwin Forsyth was sent to Stalag IIIB Lamsdorf where he stayed until August 1940. Then to Stalag Luft I Barth where he was until April 1942 when he was sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan. June 1943 saw him off to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug where he stayed until June 1944 where he left for Stalag 354 Thorn. In August 1944 he was sent to Stalag Luft 354 Fallingbostel. He was liberated in April 1945.

AC2 Philip Blackburn stayed in Dulag Luft Oberursel until 6/5-1942 when he left for Stalag Luft III Sagan in Silesia where he arrived on 9/5-1942. He stayed until 16/6 1943 when he travelled to Stalag Luft VI where he stayed from 19/6-1943 to 10/7-1944 when he left for Stalag 357 Thorn in Poland. Arriving on 12/7-1944 he stayed until August 1944 when he was sent to Stalag 357 Fallingbistel near Hannover where he stayed untill 7/4-1945.

On 12/5-1940 Sgt Heil Cain McDonald was sent Stalag 12A Limburg an Lahn where he stayed until 14/6-40. Then to Stalag 8B Landsdorf in Silesia where he spend a month until he on 12/7-40 continued to Stalag Luft I Barth Vogelsang where he was until 21/4-1942. Then on to Stalag Luft III Sagan where he stayed until 6/4-1943 when he left for Stalag Luft 354 Thorn. On 6/8-1944 he continued to Stalag 354 Fallingbostel where he was until liberated in April 1945.

F/O Frederick T. Knight was sent to Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang where he became ill with tuberculosis. On 6/2 1945 he was repatriated to England, where he died shortly after.

 

The Wellington en route to Aalborg

 


  (Monrad)

 

The Monrad family and Jesse James (Jimmy) Eldridge became friends after the war and visited each other several times. In 1956 the above was presented to the Monrad family.


Sources: BCL, OLCB, RL 19/454/472, WO 344/110(2)/3-12/101-1 /197-2 /315-1.

 

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