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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Stirling I R9190 crashlanded on Sælgrunden near the island of Siø on 11/10 1942.

The aircraft belonged to 218 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded HA-E.
T/O 18:20 Downham Market OP: Gardening Geranium (by Swinemünde)

At 23:47 hours Pilot Sgt Francis W. N. Hill crash-landed Stirling R9190 in shallow waters off Siø after being hit by flak.



                      (Ole Rønnest)

After the landing Sgt Hill together with Observer Sgt John T. Harkin, W/Op Sgt Hubert F.H. Frost, Air Gnr. Sgt James P.J. White and Flt.Engr. John Gardner climbed onboard the Stirlings dinghy and started paddling away from the island, which they apparently could not see in the darkness.
The crash-landing had been observed from Rudkøbing and Langeland Island and a search was started. After a couple of hours the motor boat returned to Rudkøbing with the five airmen from the dinghy. Four of the airmen were wounded and were taken to the hospital in Rudkøbing, and Sgt White who was unharmed was placed in the local jail.

                              (Steve Smith)

The crew

   (Catherine Harkin)

Harkin center front row. Curle, Frost and Nesbit Hill also on picture.


   (Catherine Harkin)


   (Catherine Harkin)

Observer Sgt John T. Harkin.


   (Catherine Harkin)

Click on image to enlarge (Link will open in a new window)


   (Catherine Harkin)

Click on image to enlarge (Link will open in a new window)

Air Gnr. F/S Kenneth L. Richards had apparently lost contact with his comrades during the landing. A couple of fishermen who had witnessed the landing sailed over to the wreck, and found Richards standing in water to his neck. They took him onboard and sailed to Vemmenæs, where Richards was taken to the local inn. Here he was given a hot meal and sent off to bed. In the morning, the Danish police arrived and questioned him and took him with them back to Svendborg. At 13:45 hours Sgt White was handed over to the German Wehrmacht who took him and Richards to Odense. The rest of the crew stayed at Rudkøbing hospital until they on 16/10 were discharged and picked up by the Wehrmacht.

The dead body of Air Bomber Sgt Joseph Curle was found at 07:00 on the morning of October 12 just in front of the wreck and taken to the County Hospital of Rudkøbing. Here he was laid in a coffin, which on the next day was picked up by the German Unteroffizier Martinsen and taken to Odense Assistens Cemetery. Here he was on 14/10-42 laid to rest together with Sgt H.S. Moore from Halifax DT520 which had crashed by Nordenbro on October 1.


                                       (Erik Jensen)

The ceremony was performed by The German Army Chaplain Johannes Vorrath. The coffins were carried to the graves by a German Guard of Honour. Also present were a Danish 1.Leutenant, Chief of Police Frost and the Administrator of the Cemetery Mr. Askegaard as well as F/S Richard and Sgt White who had been given permission to be present.

The surviving crew members were all sent to Oberursel for interrogation. From Oberursel they were sent to Stalag Luft I Barth and later to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug to end up in Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow.



Sources: RL 19/455, AS 25-50, LBUK, AIR 27/ 350, OLCB.


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