Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Lancaster III EE138 shot down 4/9-1943 near Stadil.


The aircraft belonged to RAAF (RAF) 460 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded AR-E2 call sign E2-Easy.
T/o 19:58 Binbrook. OP: Berlin.


On the return flight from Berlin EE138 was attacked by a German JU 88C-6 night fighter piloted by Leutnant Rechberger of 12. / NJG 3. It is believed that the JU 88C-6 was coded D5+AX and carried the Werknummer 750500. The Lancaster caught fire and at 02:33 it fell to the ground in a field belonging to Ingeman Halkjær, Stadil exploding on impact. The field was marshy and most of the aircraft disappeared in a water filled hole.
 

Carthew, Forrester, Jowett
Coombes, Thirkettle



The crew which consisted of S/Ldr Carl R. Kelaher RAAF, W/O Ewin C. Carthew RAAF, W/O Cyril R. Walsh RAAF, F/O Sydney M. Forrester RAAF, Sgt John C. Coombes RAF, Sgt Herbert Freeman Jowett RAF, Sgt Arthur Rolfe RAF and Sgt Ernest A. C. Thirkettle RAF perished and remains in the aircraft to this day.
Due to not being officially laid to rest the whole crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
 

S/Ldr Carl R. Kelaher
 


                          (Via Bent Bogøe Anthonisen)

W/O Cyril R. Walsh

 


              (Via Peter Forrester)

Sgt Arthur Rolfe RAF

 

 Sgt John C. Coombes

 

During the night of the crash Ingeman Halkjær, together with a German soldier, found part of a corpus, which the Wehrmacht buried at the edge of the field.
When the English War Grave Commission came to Stadil after the war Halkær pointed out where the corpus had been buried and it was brought to Svinø by a Captain Hornung.


On 13/6 1947 it was laid to rest in Grave number 97 in Svinø cemetery as a Unknown Australian Airman.

 

 

 

A memorial stone have been erected on the crash site.

 

 

70 years after the crash

Exactly 70 years after this tragic event, on 4th September 2013 a crowd of about 100 invited guests gathered in Stadil Marsh Memorial Grove, West Jutland, to observe an event, quite unique in Denmark, that of the posthumous award of medals to a crew member and the simultaneous memorial unveiling of a propeller blade from Lancaster EE138 and the crew of 8 (4 RAAF and 4 RAF).
 
Ole Kamp of Ringkøbing-Skjern County welcomed the guests and following the Danish National Anthem, “Der er et yndigt land”, he then invited Wing Commander Anthony O’Leary RAAF, Defence Attaché, Embassy of Australia to give an address giving the background for the decision to make the posthumous award.

H.E. Ambassador of Australia to Denmark Damien Miller then spoke on behalf of the Australian Government and laid the medals, placed symbolically next to Flying Officer Sidney M Forrester’s name, as inscribed on the original Memorial Stone.

RAF Sergeant Scott Cuthbertson, representing the UK Chief of Defence Staff, gave an account of the post-war recovery attempts in 1947 and 1948, which in difficult circumstances failed to free the deep-lying aircraft from marshy ground, with the crew remaining on board their Lancaster for posterity.  They are therefore all commemorated on the RAF Missing in Action Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England.

Anders Andersen and Erling Halkjær, both of Stadil, then spoke and unveiled the propeller blade Memorial, followed by wreath laying on behalf of the Australian and UK Governments and private wreaths laid by relatives.  After the solemn and traditional “Last Post” and One Minute’s Silence” the British National Anthem, “God Save the Queen” and the Australian, “Advance Australia Fair” ended the ceremonials.

Exactly on cue, two F16s of the Royal Danish Air Force flew twice over Stadil in salute, a poignant moment at the end of a very moving ceremony.

The driving forces behind this moving event were the people and Parish of Stadil, in particular Mr Erling Halkjær who has tended the original memorial for many years and Mr Peter Forrester of Adelaide, nephew to the medals recipient, Flying Officer Sidney M Forrester RAAF who has made 5 journeys from Australia to Denmark to achieve all this.
 
In all some 11 relatives attended from Australia and 4 from the UK.  It is very fitting that the medals will now remain with the Forrester family as a permanent reminder to the bravery and courage of one of their ancestors.


Robert Cobley M.B.E.
Member of The Denmark Team
5th September 2013

 

 

The stone with the medals awarded to S.M Forrester.

 

Peter Forrester with his uncles medals.

 

The memorial now including a propeller blade from the Lancaster

Above pictures from Peer Petersen, Member of the Denmark Team.

 

See also: http://www.ee138.net
 


Sources: LBUK, AD, Report Ringkøbing police, BCL, AIR 27/1908, OK, Matthew Horan.

 

 

Night of the 3. and 4. September 1943

Lancaster III EE138 shot down 4/9-1943 near Stadil

Stirling III BK774 crashed in the North Sea / Skagerak 4/9-1943

Lancaster III W4988 crashed Larös North West of Helsingborg, Sweden 4/9 1943

Lancaster III JA713 crashed in the sea of Kattegat off Tunø 4/9 1943


 

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