Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Stirling III BF522 crashed in the North Sea south-east of the island of Sylt on 24/8 1943.


The aircraft belonged to RAF 218 Sqn Bomber Command and was coded HA-N.
T/O 20:40 Downham Market. OP: Berlin.


On the return flight from Berlin the Stirling was attacked by a German night fighter. At 03:34 it sent out a distress signal, and after this nothing further was heard from BF522.

On the same day Stirling EH883 from 149 Sqn spotted a dinghy in the area to the west of the island of Sylt. The dinghy had five airmen, probably from BF522, onboard. EH883 and one more Stirling circled the dinghy while they called for assistance from England to arrive. At 14:15 hours 2 Hudsons coded OS-H and OS-R from 279 Sqn (Air sea rescue) took off from Bircham Newton and reached the dinghy two hours later. The two Stirlings now returned back to England. The Hudsons each carried a lifeboat which could be dropped to the airmen. One lifeboat was dropped and the airmen managed to transfer to it from the dinghy.
Shortly after the Hudsons and the lifeboat were attacked bye two Bf 110 piloted by Oberfeldwebel Brannicke and Oberfeldwebel Statzinger from Epr. Kdo 25. The two Hudsons tried to protect the lifeboat but at 17:30 hours OS-H was damaged and OS-R shot down.
The crew on OS-R which consisted of F/O Alan Owen Whapham, P/O Douglas Cameron, F/Sgt John Galbraith Gourley and F/Sgt Ellis Lister Pennington have never been found and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
After this, the lifeboat was attacked and sunk with the loss of the five onboard.

On September 24 the body of Air Gnr. Sgt George A. McArthur was found in beach area no. 35 near Fjand on the Danish west coast by Receiver of Wrecks Milter Jeppesen. He was laid to rest in Lemvig cemetery on September 28.

Flight Engineer Sgt Keith Robson was found drifted ashore near Bjerghuse on September 30 by receiver of Wrecks Anders Chr. Eriksen and was laid to rest in Gravlunden in Esbjerg on October 4 1943.

The rest of the crew have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memoria. They were Pilot F/S William Martin RCAF, Navigator Sgt Evan R. Lowe, Air Bomber F/O Leslie J. De’Ath, W/Op F/S James Cassidy and Sgt Air Gnr. Herbert Taylor.

The German night fighter which shot down BF522 is believed to have been piloted by Oberleutnant Hermann Müller of 10/NJG3 who operated from Denmark and claimed a Stirling in the above mentioned area on this night at 02:15 hours.

 


          (Sheila Clifford nee Taylor)

Sgt Air Gnr. Herbert Taylor

 

 

 


 

Sources: Reports Ringkøbing Police, Stirling file, Hank Welting via Finn Buck, BL, BE, CWGC.
 

 

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