Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted


1939-1940 Updated 22/7-17
1941 Updated 28/1-18
1942 Updated 14/1-18
1943 Updated 15/2-18
1944 Updated 13/8-17
1945 Updated 13/3-17

1940 Updated 20/2-18
1941 New 15/2-18
1942 Updated 7/9-17
1943 Updated 13/10-16
1944 Updated 7/9-17
1945 Updated 30/5-17

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Stirling I R9351 crashed in Store Bælt between the island of Sprogø and Nyborg on 19/9 1942.

The Stirling belonged to RAF 15 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded LS-R.
T/O 20:05 Bourn OP : Gardening Asparagus (The Great Belt)

While dropping mines, R9351 was hit by flak from Sprogø and Korsør, as well as from the ship “Albrich” from Hafenschützflotille Nyborg.
R9351 started burning and crashed into the sea at 00:39 hours near the ferry M/F “Korsør” which lay anchored between the island of Sprogø and Nyborg due to air raid alarm. At 03:50 hours it was reported by Captain Tronhjem from the ferry that it had picked up a surviving airman. Shortly after he was picked up by a German boat from Korsør. After interrogation in Oberursel he was sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan.

It was Pilot P/O John Miller Steel who went down with the Stirling when it had hit the water. He was stunned by the crash and came to under the water. He got out of the plane after a struggle and reached the surface half drowned and then swam after the dinghy and scrambled on board.

The rest of the crew died and have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
They were Navigator Sgt Jack G. Newman, W/Op Sgt Stanley Greenbeck, W/Op Thomas C. Smith, Air Gnr. Sgt Edward A.J. King, Flt Engr. Sgt Thomas B. Brown and Navigator Sgt Roy A. Heathcote.

The wreck of the Stirling was located and blown away on June 15 1990 when the bridge over Store Bælt was constructed.


                        (Ronald M Steel)

Pilot P/O John Miller Steel


                      (Julie Smith)

W/Op Thomas C. Smith

                   (Julie Smith)

W/Op Thomas C. Smith


Sources: RL 19/454+455+472, LBUK, BCL, 1st Officer Petersens report, Ronald Steel.


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