Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Whitley V Z6498 ditched in Grønsund off Stubbekøbing on 12/9-1941.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 58 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded GE-D
T/O 20:53 Linton-on-Ouse. OP: Warnemünde.


Outward bound Z6498 was hit by flak at 02:15 Hrs local time and the starboard engine burst into flames. The fire extinguisher was not working and the pilot Sgt Colin Robert Dillon Browne cut the fuel off to the engine and side-slipped the Whitley to dowse the flames down.
The propeller drag now increased and the aircraft lost height. Browne tried restarting the engine, but that started the fire again and he had to turn the engine off again.
The bombes were then dropped.
While this went on the navigator Sgt Frederick Ernest Bowen was busy calculating the return course to base. It soon became clear that they could not make it back to England and the course was set for Sweden.
After a while the aircraft was down to 1500 ft and it was clear that they would have to ditch it. This was done in Grønsund at approx. 02:20.
It had been noticed by the police in Stubbekøbing that the aircraft had ditched and a search was started by three patrol boats.
Patrol boat K.12 under command of P. Barsen headed east and after a while the smell of petrol was noticed. The area was searched and a dinghy with 5 men onboard was observed at 03:15 hours just to the south of the island of Barholm.


              (Via Ib Lødsen)



The flyers were transferred to K12 and taken to Stubbekøbing.
They were Pilot Sgt Collin Robert Dillon Browne, Second Pilot P/O Robert Taylor Charles Oliver White, Navigator Sgt Frederick Ernest Bowen, Wop Sgt Alexander Albert John Goss and Sgt Jack Overson.
Upon arrival in Stubbekøbing harbour the flyers were given coffee and bread.
At 04:40 Leutnant Sievert and Leutnat Dühresen from the Wehrmacht arrived and claimed the crew. After the flyers had finished their coffee at 05:00 they were handed over to the Germans who took them by truck to the German airfield at Avnø.
Here they were questioned and then left to themselves in a barred barrack room. They were then taken by truck to Gedser, by ferry to Warnemünde and by train to Frankfurt am Mein and on to Dulag Luft at Oberursel by tram.
Apparently White was then sent to Oflag XC near Nienburg a.d.Weser and later on to Stalag Luft III Sagan.
The rest were sent to Stalag VIIIB near Lamsdorf. Later Browne, Bowen and Overson were sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan while Goss was sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug.

 


              (Via Ib Lødsen)

Pilot Sgt Collin Robert Dillon Browne


After a while also Browne, Bowen and Overson were moved to Heydekrug. Next Browne, Bowen and Goss were moved to Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel while Overson was sent to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow before he joined his friends in Stalag 357. From there they were sent on the infamous marches during the winter of 1944/45. Brown and Bowen managed to escape from such a march in April 1945 while Overson arrived back at RAF Cosford in England on April 21. 1945.



Sources: OLCB, LBUK, F.E. Bowen, RL 19/453, AS 19-33, Report by P. Barsen.
 

 

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