Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted


1939-1940 Updated 9/4-24
1941 Updated 28/4-22
1942 Updated 17/8-23
1943 Updated 15/4-24
1944 Updated 15/4-24
1945 Updated 4/12-22

1940 New 30/11-23
1941 New 23/7-21
1942 Updated 19/3-24
1943 Updated 28/1-23
1944 Updated 23/7-23
1945 Updated 16/7-23

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Manchester I L7463 crashed near Visgårde east of Tinglev 24/4-1942.

The aircraft belonged to RAF 106 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded ZN-S
T/o 22:00 Coningsby OP: Rostock.

The flight to Rostock and back was according to plan until the aircraft passed Broagerland when Flakgruppe Küste, based near Flensburg, opened fire and hit the left hand engine which started burning. The pilot P/O Harry Murdoch Stoffer told the crew to bail out and Air Gnr. Nickolas John Crawford Pollock worked desperately to open the front emergency hatch which was blocked by the outside wind. He managed to kick it out and left the aircraft at about 2000 feet altitude followed closely by Navigator John Herbert Paton RCAF and second pilot P/O Tim Prescott-Decie. The rear gunner Sgt John Clavey George, the mid upper gunner Sgt Norman Spencer Lewis and the Wop Sgt Ian Hamilton left thru the door in the left hand side of the aft fuselage.

                                                          (Via Jørgen Jørgensen)


Only Stoffer did not manage to get out and was still in the aircraft when it hit the ground in a flat angle near Visgårde at 03:06 hours and burst into flames. Local people saw Stoffer sitting in his seat but had no chance of getting him out due to the fierce fire.

                                                  (Via Jørgen Jørgensen)


Only during the afternoon had the fire burned out and it was possible for the German Wehrmacht to retrieve the remains of Stoffer from the wreck. He was brought to Aabenraa and laid to rest in the cemetery on 2/5 1942 at 07:00 in the morning together with flyers who had been killed in a crashes at St. Jyndevad and Holbøl. Marine Priest Graumann from Flensburg officiated at the graveside ceremony, Mayor Fink and Chief of Police Agersted participating as Danish representatives. At the end of the ceremony a German eight man guard of honour fired a volley.






Pollock and Prescott-Decie.
Pollock landed safe in a field east of Hjerneshøj. He hid his chute and started walking to the north. He had hit his head while leaving the aircraft and was a bit dizzy. From a small hill he saw a farm at Bjerndrupmark and sat down to wait for the morning light. He walked down to the farm belonging to Farmer Hans Jacobsen and saw light in three windows in the stable. Looking inside he saw two men helping a horse deliver. When they had finished the task one of them came outside to Pollock. They did not seem to be surprised to see him, since they had seen the burning aircraft crash at a distance. They invited him to come to the house where the house wife served them coffee and bread with honey. Suddenly the telephone rang, the woman answered it and made sign to Pollock that it was for him. When saying hello, he was quite surprised to hear an English voice at the other end saying: Is that you Nick ? It turned out to be Prescott-Decie who was at “Aartoftgaard” farm in Aartoft mark. He had landed near the farm of Christian Nissen and had made contact with a farm hand who had taken him to the main building where he was served breakfast. The farmer called the Parish Executive Officer Johan Nielsen to inform him that a flyer had come to their farm. He in turn told Nissen that another flyer was found at Jacobsens farm and the Nissen then called Jacobsens place to get the flyers in touch with each other. A little after six o`clock in the morning a police car driven by a Chief constable and a constable of Gråsten police arrived at Jacobsens farm to pick up Pollock. They next drove to “Aartoftgaard” to pick up Prescott-Decie. Both flyers were taken to Aabenraa where they during the morning were handed over to the German “Ortskommandantur”.

Hamilton landed near Perbøl where he entered the kitchen of a farm leased by farmer Jacob Hollænder. Here he was found at six in the morning by a farm hand that came to wake the maid. The family were woken up and Hollænder who spoke a little English discussed with Hamilton the possibility of escaping while they were having breakfast. Hollænder told him that it would be impossible and Farmer Hans Andreasen was asked to call the Danish police at Holbøl. A Police constable arrived to pick up Hamilton and took him to the police station in Graasten and later to Aabenraa where he met Pollock and Prescott-Decie and was handed over to the Germans.

George and Lewis.
Both landed safely near Bolderslev and made contact with Peter Møller of the farm “Fausbøl”. George and Lewis were given breakfast and a little later they left the farm. Peter Møller now called the Parish Executive Officer in Bolderslev to inform him of what had happened. He in turn called the police in Aabenraa at 07:50 to tell them where the flyers could be found. A Chief constable and a Constable drove to “Fausbøl” to collect the flyers only to be informed that they had left about 20 minutes ago. The policemen searched the neighbourhood, but with no luck. Reinforcement was called for and the flyers were found in a small plantation 1½ kilometres south of Bolderslev.

Lewis and George with Danes

They were taken to the police station in Aabenraa and at 10:45 hours handed over to the German Wehrmacht at the Ortskommandantur.

When Paton landed near Bolderslev and buried his parachute. He then started walking and followed the railroad tracks to the north. He did not try to make contact to anyone until in the morning of 25/4 when he reached Immervad. At 06:50 hours the police station in Røde Kro received a call from Farmer Peter Nielsen, Immervad who wanted to inform the police that a flyer could be found at his neighbour Farmer Marius Christensens farm “Kogsager”.

                                                (Via Jørgen Jørgensen)


A Chief Constable drove to the farm in his police car to pick up Paton. In the kitchen he found Paton, who was trying to make a cigarette out of newspaper paper and tobacco normally used for a pipe. He was not very successful in doing this. Christensen told the constable that the flyer had been eating breakfast with the family, but they had not been able to talk with him since they had no English. The constable who spoke a little English, told Paton that he had to come along to the police station, and Paton answered with tears in his eyes “I will be shot”. They then left in the police car. The constable felt sorry for Paton who was shaking, probably due to the cold weather, and thought back to his own time as a prisoner of war in the First World War. He then decided to cheer Paton up a bit and drove to Rishjarup school to see Teacher Ratzer who spoke English. Paton was taken to the classroom where he met the pupils. Afterwards the three of them drove to Parish Executive Officer Lau Bill`s house in Rishjarup. But since there was found no heat in the house nor any cigarettes, they drove back to the school.

                                                          (Doris Paton)

Paton with Danish police

After a while the constable and Paton continued to Aabenraa where they arrived at 08:30. Afterwards Paton was handed over to the Germans.

                                                                (Doris Paton)

Patons parachute handle

From Aabenraa the flyers were sent to Flensburg where they spent the first night in a jail. From there they were sent to Dulag Luft at Oberursel. After interrogation they were all sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan.

                                               (Doris Paton)

 George, Hamilton and Lewis were later sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug. Hamilton and Lewis ended up in Stalag 357 Thorn/Fallingbostel while George was sent to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow.
Pollock and Prescott-Decie returned to England on 10/5 1945 after having been liberated by English troops in the Lübeck area.
Also the others returned, but it is not known when.

                                                         (Doris Paton)

Paton in Stalag Luft III


Sources : BCL, T-501,LBUK, OLCB, UA, Doris Paton, RL 19/454, AS 70-86, Jørgen Jørgensen, Egernsund, Clive Smith.


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