Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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Minelaying on the night of January 12/13. 1945.


Operations :
13 Mosquito to Bochum.
9 Mosquito to Rechlingshaven.
32 Halifax to Flensburg / Kiel Bay on gardening duty. Four Halifax lost.

 

Halifax MZ812 of 77 Sqn Lost without trace.
Halifax MZ805 of 424 Sqn Lost without trace.
Halifax NP947 of 424 Sqn crashed Flensburg Fjord.
Halifax NR173 of 429 Sqn Crashed in the sea east of Als.
 

Kriegstagesbuch des Kommandant im Abschnitt Südjütland (KT):
Weather between 21:14-21:45.
Clouds 10 / 10.
Lower level: 300 meters.
Sight at ground level: 10 Kilometres.
Wind: East south east 3.
 

Halifax B MK III performance:
Max speed: 281 mph = 450 km/hrs
Economic cruise: 225 mph = 360 km/hrs
Stall speed Clean 104 mph = 160 km/hrs.
Stall speed Full flap + u/c down : 90 mph = 144 km/hrs.
 

Where nothing else is mentioned below,
the reports in black are from The Danish Civil Air Defence.
Blue is from German claim list via Dr. Theo Boiten and from Schröder Flugbuch.
Red is from AIR and crew de brief and letters from crew.
Green is authors notes
Reports of special interest are highlighted.

 

20:09 a few a/c near the west coast of Southern Jütland. Heading east. (From Fluko Aarhus)

20:17 aircrafts near Esbjerg. Heading east. (From Fluko Aarhus)

20:24 a/c near Esbjerg (approx. 100).  Heading east. (From Fluko Odense)

20:25 several a/c south of Lunderskov. Heading east. (From Fluko Kolding)

20:39 a/c near Aabenraa. Heading east. (From Fluko)

20:45 a/c near Assens lighthouse. Heading east. (From Fynske DC)

20:47 a/c east of Aeroskobing.  Heading east.

20:48 several a/c east of Assens.  Heading south.

20:50 many a/c near Bogense. Heading east. 

20:54 aircrafts near Ringe. Heading south.

20:55 aaircrafts south east of Rudkobing. Heading south east.

20:55 aircrafts east of Odense. Heading north west.

20:55 Halifax RG345 of 10 Sqn dropped mines at 54`34N 10`47E (SE of Langeland)

20:56 several a/c west of Rudkobing. Heading east south east.

20:56 a/c south of Rudkobing. Heading south east.

20:57 Halifax MZ300 of 102 Sqn dropped mines at 54`31N 10`19E (Kiel bay)

20:58 Halifax NR242 of 102 Sqn dropped mines at 54`29N 10`20E (Kiel Bay)

20:59 several a/c near  Svendborg. Heading south.

20:59 Halifax MZ412 of 78 Sqn dropped mines in Forget me Not.(Kiel bay)

20:59 Halifax PN176 of 102 Sqn dropped mines at 54`41N 10`02E (Near Kappel)

20:59 Halifax MP957 of 427 Sqn droppet mines at 54`51N 09`31E (Flensburg inner fjord)

20:59 Halifax HS346 of 77 Sqn droppet mines at 54`33N 10`15E (Kiel bay)

21:00 Halifax NR155 of 78 Sqn dropped mines in Forget me Not.(Kiel bay)

21:01 Halifax MZ830 of 102 Sqn dropped mines at 54`41N 10`02E (Near Kappeln)

21:01 Halifax PN579 of 77 Sqn droppet mines at 54`33N 10`15E (Near Kappeln)

21:01 Halifax NA237 of 10 Sqn droppet mines at 51`41N 10`45E (S of Langeland)

21:01 Hptm. Eduard Schröder Luftkampf mit viermot. Feindflugzeug

21:02 Halifax MZ411 of 10 Sqn droppet mines at 51`41N 10`45E (S of Langeland)

21:02 Halifax NA201 of 429 Sqn droppet mines at 54`52`18N 09`49`12E (Flensburg outer fjord)

21:04 Halifax NR225 of 102 Sqn dropped mines at 54`41N 10`02E.(Near Kappeln)

21:05 Ofw. Hans Schadowski: 19     3./NJG3    Halifax   Langeland    

21:05 Halifax NR117 of 433 Sqn droppet mines at 54`50N 09`48E (Flensburg outer fjord)

21:06 Halifax MZ865 of 427 Sqn droppet mines at 54`50N 09`43 (Flensburg outer fjord)

21:06 Halifax NR136 of 433 Sqn droppet mines at 54`49N 09`56E (Flensburg outer fjord)

21:07 Halifax MZ414 of 78 Sqn dropped mines in Forget me Not. (Kiel Bay)

21:07 Halifax MZ315 of 10 Sqn droppet mines at 54`36 10`54E (SE of Langeland)

21:07 Halifax MR131 of 10 Sqn droppet mines at 54`36N 10`54E (SE of Langeland)

21:08 a/c near Bogense.  Heading south east.

21:08 Hptm. Eduard Schröder: 20     3./NJG3   Halifax   S.W. Faborg QA 53  

21:08 Halifax NA201 of 429 Sqn firing at JU 88 at 55`01N 09`15E (WSW of Aabenraa)

21:09 Nysted on Lolland report strong flashes of fire and 3 flares in NW direction.

21:10 several a/c near Assens.  Heading east.

21:10 a/c over The Baltic Sea.  Heading east. (From Fluko Kolding)

21:10 Halifax LW119 of 424 Sqn droppet mines at 54`50N 09`50E (Flensburg outer fjord)

21:10 a few a/c near Sonderborg.  Heading west.

21:10 a/c crashes into Flensborg Fjord on German territory. (Parts from this a/c drifts ashore near Sonderhav on January 13. See statement from Svend Aage Gram)

21:10 a/c near Koge, Sealand. Shots are fired..     

21:11 a/c east of Haslev,  Sealand.

21:15 a/c near Naestved,  Sealand.

21:15 a/c near Bogense. Heading north east.

21:16 Halifax MZ392 of 78 Sqn dropped mines in Forget me Not. (Kiel bay)

21:16 a/c closing in on Rudkobing . Heading south.

21:17 a/c near Rudkobing.  Heading north west.

21:17 a/c north west of Nysted, Lolland. Heading south west.

21:18 Halifax NP937 of 433 Sqn dropped mines at 54`49N 09`56E (Flensburg outer fjord)

21:20 a/c south of Middelfart.  Heading north west.

21:20 Ofw. Hans Schadowski: 20       3./NJG3      Halifax      W. Abenra

21:22 a/c near Rodby, Lolland.

21:24 a/c over The Kieler Bay.  Heading west. (From Fluko Odense)

21:25 Grove reports kl 21,25: 1 Abschuss in QR 2. (Junker)

21:26 Hptm. Eduard Schröder: 21     3./NJG3     Halifax    W. Römö  QR 36

21:26 Absturz etwa 25-30 km sw. Esbjerg beobachtet. (KT)

21:26 Halifax RG346 of 77 Sqn saw an aircraft in flames lit up sky.

21:30 Halifax RG346 of 77 Sqn firing on JU 88 ? at 52` (Read 55?)`12N  08`26E (W of Römo)

21:30 a/c near Bogense.  Heading south east.

21:30 Halifax MZ422 of 427 Sqn droppet mines at 54`51N 09`31E (Flensburg inner fjord)

21:31 Halifax NR173 of 429 Sqn reports to base. Position fixed to 55`20N 08`58E (East of Ribe)

21:35 Halifax NR173 of 429 Sqn reports to base. Stating intention of abandoning aircraft.

21:35: Esbjerg reports: im 180 grader Heller Feuerschein, warscheinlich Absturtz einer Maschine (Junker)

21:36 a/c near Assens. Heading east.

21:40 a/c near Svendborg.  Heading south.

21:50 a/c near Nykobing Falster

22:00 (approx.) Crew of NR173 parachute to safety on island of Als.

22:00 Grove reporting: Die Jäger von Büffel überfliegt Esbjerg und Nymindegab in 3000 m Höhe.
(
This means that Büffel was managing 2 nightfighters this night. It is unknown if other radar stations were operating as well) (Junker)

22:05 4 bombs (mines) is reported to have been droppet at Kollund mark

22:10 search light reportet used south east of  Naestved, Sealand.

22:15 gun fire near Kastrup, Copenhagen, Sealand.

22:25 a/c near Rodby.  Heading south (German aircraft)

22:32 one a/c near Tonder.  Heading north east.

22:32 a/c over  island of Fyn

22:47 one recce a/c near Ribe

23:00 Hptm. Arnold Brinkmann: 15  8./NJG3 Halifax  (III/NJG 3 was based on Westerland og Schleswig airbases)        

23:04 flares fired near Landskrona, Sweden.

23:09 shooting in direction of island of Hveen. Reported from Helsingör.

 
 

On this night the following mines was dropped on land in Denmark:

4 mines at Kollund mark/Gammelmose . Three exploded. One did not.

2 mines 350 meters west of Krusaa custom. One exploded. One did not.

4 mines near Branderup 10 km south of Toftlund. Did not explode.

The mines at Krusaa and Branderup were reported on January 13.

 

 

If  nothing else is mentioned the information below is from AIR and crew de brief and letters from crew and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Mining operations in Flensburg Förde and Kiel bay AIR 14/2680

4 Group 20 bombers for mining duties in Forget-me-not. (Flensburg Förde)

6 Group 12 bombers for mining duties in Wallflower. (Kiel Bay)

 

4 Group:

Five aircrafts from 10 Sqn took part in mining oparations. AIR 27/145

To disrupt German shipping lanes bring troops from Norway and to interfere with U boats moving from Hamburg to Kiel Bay for exercises.

Route : Base - Flamboro Head - 55.30N 07`00E - 55`15N 08`40E - 55`05N 09`42E –Garden -55`05N 09`42E - 55`15N 08`40E - Flamboro Head - Base.
 

Halifax III MZ411 ZA-A.
T/O
Melbourne 17:36 Landing 23:09
Piloted by Fl. Blackwell. Dropped mines at 54`41N 10`45E at 21:02 Hrs from 15000 ft.

 

Halifax III NA237 ZA-C.
T/O
Melbourne 17:49 Landing 23:03
Piloted by F/O Smith. Dropped mines at 54`41N 10`45E at 21:01Hrs from 15000 ft.

 

Halifax III MZ315 ZA-G.
T/O
Melbourne 17:34 Landing 23:20
Piloted by F/L Neill. Dropped mines at 54`36N 10`54E at 21:07 Hrs from 15000 ft.

 

Halifax III MR131 ZA-F.
T/O
Melbourne 17:42 Landing 23:01
Piloted by F/O Atkins. Dropped mines at 54`36N 10`54E at 21:07 Hrs from 15000 ft.

 

Halifax III RG345 ZA-Y.
T/O
Melbourne 17:47 Landing 23:04
Piloted by F/O Grayshan. Dropped mines at 54`34N 10`47E at 20:55 hrs from 15000 ft.


 

Five aircrafts from 77 Sqn RAF took part in mining operations. AIR 27/658

 In the Kattegat. ???

Route: Base 17:29 – 55`30N 07`00E  20:00 – 55`00N 10`00E 20:55 – Garden 20:55 – 54`40N 10:30E 21:01 – 55`00N 10`00E 21:07 – 55`14N 08`40E 21:20 – Base 22:55.

 ORB states that crews from this squadron saw three aircrafts fall in flames.

 

Halifax III MZ353 KN-C.
T/o Full Sutton 17:36 Landing
22:40
Piloted by F/S Ward.
Mission abandoned as theH2S was u/s and two mines was dropped safe and two brought back.
 

Halifax III RG346 KN-B. AIR 50/194
T/o Full Sutton17:30 Landing
22:40
Piloted by F/Lt Johnstone. Dropped mines at 54`33N 10`15E at
20:59 hrs from 14000 ft.
At approx.
21:26 it was noticed that an aircraft in flames lit up sky. At 21:28 a JU 88 was picket up on Fishpond on starboard quarter at 600 yards at 52`12N 08`26E at 13000 ft. At 21:30 gunners saw JU 88 at starboard quarter. Corkscrewed starboard. Rear gunner opened fire at 600 yards and kept firing long busts. JU 88 closed in without firing. Broke away at 200 yards to port quarter and dived in a steep and apparently uncontrolled dive which continued until the fighter disappeared in cloud well below. Hits were observed in JU 88 fuselage aft of cockpit. The fighter was claimed as damaged.
 

Halifax III MZ812 KN-X. (Loss card)
T/O Full Sutton 17:45

Piloted by F/Lt Braund. No news heard after take off. Lost without trace.

 

Halifax III PN579 KN-H.
T/o Full Sutton
17:45 Landing 23:20
Piloted by S/Ldr Lord. Dropped mines at 54`33N 10`15E at 21:01 hrs from 14000 ft. Due to icing not all mines was dropped at first attempt.

 

Halifax III MZ346 KN-L.
T/o Full Sutton
17:30 Landing 23:25
Piloted by F/Sgt Gaddes. 30 miles from release point starboard engine caught fire and engine had to be feathered and consequent the H2S went u/s and height could not be maintained. Dropped mines live.


 

Five aircrafts from 78 Sqn took part in mining operations AIR 27/662 & AIR 14/3460 (Via Rod Mackenzie)

Forget-Me-Not Area 

 

Halifax III MZ392.
T/o Breighton 17:29 Landing 23:19

Piloted by F/O Rayner. Dropping area identified by H2S. Dropped three mines at
21:16 hrs from 15000 ft. One mine brought back to base as it failed to release over dropping area.

 

Halifax III MZ414.
T/o Breighton 17:32 Landing 23:18

Piloted by F/L Ashbyal. Dropping area identified by H2S. Dropped mines at
21:07 hrs from 15000 ft.

 

Halifax III NR155.
T/o Breighton
17:31 Landing 23:10
Piloted by F/O Hubbard. Dropping area identified by H2S. Dropped three mines at
21:00 hrs from 15000 ft. One hung up and was brought back to base. The aircraft was gunned and hit by nine rounds of 0.303 inch ammunition on returning believed by friendly aircraft. Wop F/S J.Wright sustained foot injuries.

 

Halifax III MZ774.
T/o Breighton
17:26 Landing 23:14
Piloted by F/O Sullvan.
Mission abandoned mission over dropping area H2S was u/s. Mines brought back to base.

 

Halifax III MZ412.
T/o Breighton 17:37 Landing 23:07

Piloted by F/O Fraser. Dropping area identified by H2S. Dropped mines at
20:59 hrs from 15000 ft.

 Weather over dropping area 10 / 10ths cloud.

 

 

Five aircrafts from 102 (Ceylon) Sqn took part in mining operations AIR 27/811

Kiel Bay

 

Halifax III MZ300 DY-A.
T/o  Pocklington 18:00 Landing 23:13.

Piloted by F/O Withington. Dropped mines at
20:57 hrs at 54`31N 10`19E from 14000 ft.

 

Halifax III NR242 DY-B.
T/o Pocklington
17:55 Landing 23:06
Piloted by S/L Whyte. Dropped mines at
20:58 hrs at 54`29N 10`20E from 15000 ft.

 

Halifax III MZ830 DY-C.
T/o Pocklington
17:59 Landing 23:03
Piloted by Cpt. Rea. Dropped mines at
21:01 hrs at 54`41N 10`02E from 14000 ft.

 

Halifax III NR225 DY-E.
T/o Pocklington
17:54 Landing 23:12
Piloted by Cpt. Gillett. Dropped mines at
21:04 hrs at 54`41N 10`02E from 14000 ft.

 

Halifax III PN176 DY-G.
T/o Pocklington
15:57 Landing 23:02.
Piloted by F/O Dale. Dropped mines at
20:59 hrs at 54`41N 10`02E from 14800 ft.

 Weather over dropping area 10/10ths cloud tops between 5000 and 8000 ft.

 

 

6 Group AIR 25/144

Rute:

Base – at 5-6000 ft to 55`30N 07`00E – at 15000 ft to 55`20N 08`28E – 55`05N 10`05E - 54`54N 10`40E – 54`46N 10`30E – Garden – 55`00N 09`30E – 55`14N 08`30E – 55`20N 07`00E – Filey – Base.

Base – 55`30N 07`00E – 55`20N 08`28E – 55`05N 10`05E – Garden – 55`00N 09`20E – 55`14N 08`30E – 55`20N 07`00E – Filey – Base.

 Aiming points: 54`50`33N 09`30`55E / 54`50`18N 09`41`15E / 54`50`00N 09`48`45E / 54`52`18N 09`49`12E / 54`49`09N 09`56`15E.

 Tactics: S/C Alt setting 1030 and climb to 8000`. Level out cruise at I.A.S. 170 to English coast on track. Let down to 5-6000`level out and cruise at I.A.S. 175 to 5530N 0700E. Climb at I.A.S. 155 to 15000`. Cruise at I.A.S. 165 to Garden. Aircraft on A.P.I. Will turn off at 5505N 1005E and time waste north of 5505N 1005E to 5454N 1040E For gardening IAS 160 Let down IAS 230 1000`per min to top of cloud. Level out at IAS 190 to base.

 

 

Three aircrafts from 424 (Tiger) Sqn RCAF took part in mining operations AIR 27/?

 Mining Flensburg harbour.

 

Halifax MZ805 QB-X. Loss card
T/O Skipton in Swale 17:22 

Piloted by F/O Mackie. Lost without trace.

 

Halifax LW119 QB-O.
T/O Skipton-on- Swale 17:26 Landing
23:15
Piloted by F/O Wright. Dropped mines at 54`50N  09`50 E at 21:10 hrs from 15.000 ft.
Returned safely to base with no difficulties.

  

Halifax NP947 QB-Y. Loss card.
T/O Skipton on Swale 17:24
Dropped mines from 15.000 ft when attached by a night fighter. The Halifax was hit. Corkscrewed.
Mug claimed to have hit the attacking JU 88. Pilot Grant lost control of the Halifax and ordered the crew to leave it by parachute.
Navigator F/O James Gillespie Agnew RCAF left the a/c at 10.000-12.000 ft and landed on Danish territory. He became pow.
On 18/1 the body of W/Op F/Sgt Charles Thomas Rielly RCAF was found dead at Holbol Moor and was brought to Holbol church. Apparently he had hit a tree upon landing, and froze to death as he lay unconscious. On 19/1. the body was picked up by Wehrmacht troops from Søborg and taken to Aabenraa. He was laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on 20/1 1945.
In August 1945 , probably 2. or 3., the body of Air Gnr F/S Robert Campbell Carnegie RCAF was found by a diver from a rescue unit of the German 33rd U-Boat Flotilla, still entangled in his parachute, “about 1 mile down Kollund-Bay” in Flensburg Fjord. He was laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on 6/8 1945.
The body of  Pilot F/O M.C.Grant RCAF was recovered at sea at Glucksburg near Flensburg by No. 612 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers on 25/9 1945. He too was laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery.
A body initially identified as that of Flight engineer Sgt John Pollard RAF was washed ashore near Sönderborg on the north side of Flensburg Fjord on 3/11 1945 and laid to rest in Schleswig Military Cemetery.
In 1947 the British started transferring their dead military personnel to Kiel War Cemetery and in Schleswig Military Cemetery was found two graves bearing the name of John Pollard.
Air bomber F/O Mervyn George Fife RCAF remained missing until May 1947 when a grave marked as being of Sergeant F. Pollard at Schleswig Military Cemetery was opened and Fife`s body was identified by its identity disks and markings on the shirt collar.
It is therefore unclear if the body recovered near Sönderborg was that of Pollard or Fife.
Both were on 22/5 1947 re-interred at the Kiel Was Cemetery.
Mid upper gunner F/S William Edward Archer have no known grave

 

 

Library and Archives Canada RG 24 vol. 27632
J.27632 Grant, Miles Carson

Miles Carson Grant was born 5 July 1921 in Port Lewis, Montreal, Québec, the son of Stewart Grant, a commercial artist, and Leslie V. Grant.  The family lived on Park Avenue in Montreal.  Grant finished his secondary education at Montreal High School in 1939, and took an arts course at night school at Sir George Williams College in 1940-41.  From 1939 to 1942 he was a reporter for the Montreal Gazette.

Grant enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force for aircrew training through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan on 8 June 1942.  After ground training at manning depot and initial training school, he learned to fly the Fleet Finch II biplane at No. 13 Elementary Flying Training School at St. Eugene, Ontario, 23 January - 18 April 1943.  The next level of training was on the North American Harvard II single-engine monoplane at No. 2 Service Flying Training School at Uplands, Ontario, today the Ottawa International Airport, 18 April - 6 August 1943.  Here he was rated as “Very quick to learn and flies with confidence.”  He was promoted to Leading Aircraftsman on 30 December 1942 and commissioned as Pilot Officer upon his wings graduation, 6 August 1943. He embarked for overseas from New York on 12 October 1943 and arrived in the United Kingdom on 19 October.  From the Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth, he was posted first to No. 11 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, 11 January - 2 May 1944.  During this time he was promoted to Flying Officer, 6 February 1944.  Grant next attended No. 22 Operational Training Unit, 2 May - 9 August 1944, where his crew formed and trained on the Vickers Wellington X twin-engined bomber.  The crew eventually took the form of:    

Flying Officer Miles Grant, pilot

Flying Officer James Gillespie Agnew, navigator

Flying Officer Mervyn George Fife, air bomber

Flight Sergeant Charles Thomas Rielly, wireless operator

Sergeant John Pollard, flight engineer

Flight Sergeant William Edward Archer, initially rear gunner, later mid-upper gunner

Flight Sergeant Robert Campbell Carnegie, rear gunner

Pollard was from the Royal Air Force.  All the others were RCAF.  At the OTU Grant was assessed as: his ex AFU Pupil converted early & finally became an above average pilot.  Owing to his youth and inexperience, this pupil had trouble with his first navigator.  A change of navigator rectified this, and the crew settled down into a very keen & efficient team.  F/O Grant’s ability as a captain perceptibly developed as the course progressed, and by the end of his time here, crew co-operation was very good .This crew has volunteered for P.F.F. [Pathfinder Force] duties, and recommended for consideration. The crew were next attached to the Dalton Battle School, 9-20 August 1944, then to No. 1659 (RCAF) Conversion Unit, where they converted to the four-engined Handley-Page Halifax heavy bomber, 20 August - 26 September 1944.  Here Grant was assessed as, “Average.  A likeable sound pilot, who improved remarkably after a slow start.  Has a good crew.”

The crew joined No. 424 Squadron, RCAF, on 26 September.  On the night of 12-13 January 1945 the crew was lost while dropping mines in Flensburg Fjord harbour.  (See separate narrative.)  Nine months later, on 25 September 1945, No.612 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, reported that Grant’s body had been recovered at sea at Gluckenburg, near Flensburg, Germany.  The RCAF buried him in Aabenraa Cemetery, Denmark, along with the bodies of Rielly and Carnegie.

 

Navigator J37206 F/O James Gillespie Agnew, RCAF  
Born
27 August 1918. Enlisted in Vancouver, 6 April 1942. Posted to No.3 Manning Depot, 7 June 1942. To No.10 SFTS (non-flying duty), 24 July 1942. To No.7 ITS, 12 September 1942. Promoted LAC, 6 November 1942. To No.6 EFTS, 5 December 1942. To No.4 SFTS, 6 February 1943. Appears to have washed out as a pilot, as he is posted to No.2 Manning Depot, 21 April 1943 and then posted to No.7 AOS, 29 May 1943. Commissioned 15 October 1943; reported to No.3 PRC, Bournemouth, 30 October 1943. Reported missing (POW), 12 January 1945; safe in UK, 10 May 1945; repatriated to Canada, 1 June 1945; released 20 August 1945.

 

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RETURNED AIRCREW
Loss of bomber aircraft

NUMBER. J-37206

RANK. F/O

NAME. Agnew J. G

SQUADRON. 424

AIRCRAFT. LV-998 QB-Y

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT. Halifax III

DATE OF LOSS. 12/13.1.1945

TARGET. Mining east coast of Denmark

HOW MANY OPS. 17

DUTY. Navigator

DATE OF INTERROGATION. 14.5.1945

INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM. POW report

NARRATIVE OF EVENTS FROM TAKEOFF TO LANDING.

From take off to target flying above cloud, everything normal. Did mining run and mines dropped from 15,000 feet, holding aircraft straight and level for camera to operate when heard a noise. Mid upper gunner gave order corkscrew port, but had been hit. Mid upper gunner said enemy aircraft to be a JU-88 which he claimed to hit and set on fire. Pilot reported aircraft seemed to be going out of control, prepare to abandon. Took necessary steps owing to poor intercom connection was off intercom for a few minutes. When ready to go I noticed the plug was out, so I completed connection and contacted the skipper and asked if the order to jump had been given as the intercom had been u/s. He said yes, gave the crew approximate position and left the aircraft at 10,000 to 12,000 feet. Had a bit of difficulty getting clear of the aircraft in cloud so lost sight of aircraft. Cloud almost to ground so nothing seen on way down, no injurie
 

J.94243 Rielly, Charles Thomas

Charles Thomas Rielly (spelled Reilly on some documents and on his Commonwealth War Graves documentation) was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 11 June 1922, the son of Charles Thomas Rielly and Mary Elizabeth O’Malley.  In 1927 the family moved to Montreal, Québec, and Rielly grew up within the Irish community, attending St. Patrick’s School, 1928-1936, and D’Arcy McGee High School, 1936-1938.  From 1939 to 1941 he studied junior engineering in the evenings at the Montreal Technical Institute.  He worked as a clerk for M.R. Cuddihy Co., 1938-1940, as a machinist for Northern Electric, 1940-1942, and at Canadian Vickers aircraft factory in 1942.  At the time of his enlistment he was single, interested in all sports, marksmanship and model aircraft.

Rielly enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force 28 August 1942, for aircrew training in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  After ground training at the manning depot and pre-aircrew academic training at McGill University in Montreal, he did wireless training at No. 2 Wireless School, Calgary, Alberta, 6 February - 13 November 1943, on the Noordyn Norseman and Fleet Fort, both single-engined Canadian designs.  While there he was struck in the head by a baseball bat during a game and treated for a depressed sinus fracture.  He was next posted to No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mountain View, near Hamilton, Ontario, 14 November 1943 - 14 January 1944, for air gunnery training on the Bristol Bolingbroke and Avro Anson twin-engined aircraft.  He was promoted Leading Aircraftsman on 8 March 1943 and Sergeant on 23 December 1943.

Rielly proceeded overseas on 20 January 1944.  In England he first went to No. 9 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit, 7 March - 18 April 1944, and was recommended for a commission.  On 18 April he went to No. 22 Operational Training Unit and joined Flying Officer Grant’s crew as wireless operator.  (See Grant biography for movements of the crew.)  While at the OTU, he was severely reprimanded for reporting late for the night flying programme and for leaving base between the briefing and takeoff.  On 23 September 1944 he was promoted Flight Sergeant.

 With the crew he joined No. 424 Squadron on 26 September 1944, and was lost with the crew on 12-13 January 1944 (see separate narrative on the last flight).  The Germans recovered his body at Holebuell on 18 January and he was buried at Aabenraa, Denmark.  The RCAF later learned from a Danish civilian that Rielly had parachuted into the Holbof Marsh, probably hit a tree, and froze to death as he lay unconscious.

Like the other noncommissioned members of the crew, after the aircraft’s disappearance, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer, effective 12 January 1945.

 

Library and Archives Canada RG 24 vol. 24755
J.93870, Archer, William Edward

William Edward Archer was born 14 August 1918 in Metaline Falls, Washington, the only child of William Archer and Sylvia Elizabeth Reynolds.  Although both his parents were American, Archer held dual Canadian and American citizenship, perhaps because the family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, when he was four or five.  He attended General Gordon School, 1925-1931, and Kitsilano Junior High School, 1931-1934, both in Vancouver, and completed Grade 8.  He worked for his father at the Arbutus Sash & Door Company, 1933-1936, then operated an electric locomotive at Britannia Mines, 1936-1937.

On 25 April 1935 Archer enlisted as a “boy” in the 85th Field (Heavy) Battery, Canadian Artillery, of the non-permanent militia.  He trained  at Camp Sarcee, Alberta, with his battery in the summer of 1935, and remained as a militia gunner until 27 May 1937, when he was released to join the U.S. Navy.  There he served until his release on 23 September 1941, rated as a fireman and also gaining a qualification as an expert marksman.

Archer returned to Vancouver in late 1941, and worked for some time for Boeing Aircraft as a welder and fitter, then for Burrard Drydock company, also as a welder and fitter, 1942-1943.  His father had died and his mother re-married to Albert Baldwin.  Archer married Patricia Delville-Pratt in Vancouver, 23 January 1942, but they were estranged from his mother and stepfather.  They had a son who died shortly after birth on 19 May 1944, when Archer was already overseas.

Archer enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on 10 March 1943, initially as a boat crewman, Aircraftsman, Class 1.After training at the manning depot in Edmonton, Alberta, and No. 3 Repair Depot in Vancouver, he was posted at his request to RCAF Station Ucluelet, B.C., and remustered as a seaman on 1 June 1943.  He may have been dissatisfied that he was still serving in a backwater of the war, because he requested to be released to serve at sea with the U.S. Navy.  Instead, he was selected for aircrew training through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was posted to No. 3 Wireless School, Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 20 September 1943, then to No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School, MacDonald, Man., 1 November 1943, where he trained as an air gunner on the Fairey Battle I aircraft, a single-engined obsolete light bomber.  He was promoted to Leading Aircraftsman on 1 January 1944 then, upon qualifying as an air gunner on 11 February 1944, was promoted Sergeant.  He was posted to No. 1 Air Gunners Ground Training School in Quebec City on 1 November 1943, then back to No. 3 B& GS on 2 January (paper moves only?), then to No. 4 AGGTS at Valleyfield, Québec, on 26 February 1944.  On 30 March he embarked at Halifax, N.S., and reached the United Kingdom on 7 April.  On 3 May 1944 he was posted to No. 22 Operational Training Unit, where he joined Grant’s crew, flying on the Wellington bomber initially as rear gunner, but becoming the mid-upper gunner from13 July.  He did well at the OTU and was recommended for a commission.  (See Grant biography.)

Archer was promoted Flight Sergeant on 11 February 1944.  He continued to fly with Grant’s crew until their aircraft was lost on 12 January 1945.  His body was never found, and in 1949, Air Force Headquarters notified his widow that, “In the absence of further information Flight Sergeant ARCHER is to be recorded on the memorial to the missing as having no known grave.”  His name appears on the Runnymede Memorial in England.

Like the other noncommissioned members of the crew, he was commissioned as Pilot Officer to date from 28 December 1944, even though he was already posted as missing.

 

Library and Archives Canada RG 24, vol. 25012
J.94257, Carnegie, Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell Carnegie was born 28 October 1923 in Uno, Manitoba.  His parents, Ernest D.A. Carnegie and Elizabeth Carnegie, farmed in Arrow River, Man., and had eight other children.  During the Great Depression they lost the farm and his father worked as a storekeeper.  Carnegie completed a Grade 10 education before going to work in 1938, initially on a farm, then going to British Columbia, as a mechanic at the Home Garage in Union Bay and Corfield’s Garage in Courtenay.  However, he was unemployed at the time he enlisted.  He was single.

Carnegie enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Winnipeg, Man., on 9 January 1943, as an aircrew trainee in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  His interviewer at the time noted: Big fisted farm boy – slow reactor –  hesitant.  Nervous in conversation.  Gets things the hard way.  Poor home background – parents lost farm and moved into small town.  Practical, steady, dependable.  Has the capacity and ability for A.G. [air gunner] and should smarten up in training.  Has 1 brother in Navy and one overseas with army – Is keen for active service combat.

After awaiting a place in the training stream, Carnegie went first to the manning depot in Brandon, Man., then to No. 2 Initial Training School, Regina, Saskatchewan, 11 July 1943, to No. 1 Central Navigation School, Rivers, Man., 26 August 1943, to No. 1 Air Gunners Ground Training School, Quebec City, 1 October 1943 (all as a general duties airman awaiting training?) and to No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School, MacDonald, Man., on 12 November 1943.  He completed his air gunner’s course there on the single-engined Fairey Battle, a obsolete light bomber, and on the twin-engined Bristol Bolingbroke, and was rated an, “Average student, diligent worker; accurate; will make a good crew member.”  He was promoted to  Leading Aircraftsman on 12 November 1943 and Sergeant on 23 December 1943 on completion of his air gunner’s course.  After a short posting to No. 4 Air Gunners Ground Training School, he embarked from Halifax on 5 March 1944 and arrived in the United Kingdom on 15 March.

Carnegie was posted to No. 22 Operational Training Unit on 21 March 1944 and joined Grant’s crew and continued to train with them.  (See Grant biography.)  At the OTU, he was assessed as, Average A/G.  Started rather badly in every way, but has shown considerable improvement.  As a Fighting Controller he is average, but made, again, a very remarkable improvement from a very bad start. Keen, hardworking.  Appearance neat, and with more experience & practice he should rate an above average assessment.  Not recommended for commissioning at this stage of training, but certainly at a later date.

On 23 September 1944 he was promoted Flight Sergeant.

Grant’s crew arrived at No. 424 Squadron on 26 September 1944, with Carnegie as the rear gunner.  He was lost with the aircraft on 12 January 1945.  (See separate narrative.)  Some seven months later, after the end of the European war, on 2 August 1945, a diver from a rescue unit of the German 33rd U-Boat Flotilla found Carnegie’s body entangled in his parachute “about 1 mile down Kollund-Bay,” within Flensburg Fjord.  He was buried in Aabenraa Cemetery, Denmark, on 6 August.  Two of his fellow crew members were already buried there.

Like the other noncommissioned members of the crew, he was commissioned as Pilot Officer to date from 28 December 1944, although he was already listed as missing.

Carnegie’s eldest brother, William, served in Europe as a sergeant in 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisional Signals.  A sister, Mary Ellen, served with the RCAF in Newfoundland and another brother was in the Royal Canadian Navy.

 

Library and Archives Canada RG 24 vol. 77502
J.38445,
Fife, Mervyn George

Mervyn George Fife was born 24 February 1920 in New York City.  His father, also Mervyn George Fife, was a Canadian and his mother, Emily Kathryn Thriscutt, was born in London, England.  The family moved at some point to the Windsor, Ontario, area, where Fife attended high school.  He also completed a one year business course at Assomption College before going to work for the Chrysler Corporation in Windsor for two years as a purchasing clerk.  His father died in 1941 and at the time of his enlistment he gave as his address the family residence in Riverside, now part of Windsor.  He was single.

Fife enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force as an aircrew trainee in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan on 16 February 1942.  After training at the manning depot in Toronto, and a short spell, presumably of general duties at No. 5 Service Flying Training School, Brantford, Ont., he began pilot training at No. 1 Initial Training School on 2 July 1942.  He was promoted Leading Aircraftsman on 28 August, then began flight training at No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School, St. Catharines, Ont., on 27 September 1942.  However, he washed out as a pilot trainee and was sent to the Composite Training School in Trenton, Ont., where he re-mustered for training as an air bomber.  He was posted first to No. 5 Bombing and Gunnery School, Dafoe, Saskatchewan, on 9 January 1943, then to No. 1 Central Navigation School, Rivers, Manitoba, on 4 April 1943.  Here, on his air bomber’s course, he finished eighth out of seventeen students and was recommended for a commission, but did not get it - the only student on the course not commissioned.  He was instead promoted Sergeant on 14 May 1943.  He was next posted to RCAF Station Mountain View, near Hamilton, Ont., 16 May 1943, on the Aircrew Bombing Instructor’s Course, where he placed second.  On 1 June he was posted to No. 4 B&GS, Fingal, Ont., as an instructor.  He was at last commissioned Pilot Officer on 16 November 1943, just before he proceeded overseas. In the United Kingdom, Fife was posted first to No. 7 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit on 28 March 1944, then to No. 22 Operational Training Unit, where he joined Grant’s crew as bomb aimer.  (See Grant biography.)  He was promoted Flying Officer on 16 May 1944. Fife continued with Grant’s crew to operations with No. 424 Squadron, and was lost with the aircraft on 12 January 1945.  (See separate narrative on the last flight.)  He remained missing until May 1947, when a grave marked as being of Sergeant F. Pollard at Schleswig Military Cemetery was opened and Fife’s body was identified by its identity disks and markings on the shirt collar.  His remains were re-interred at the Kiel War Cemetery, Germany

 

Three aircrafts from 427 (Lion) Sqn RCAF took part in mining operations AIR 27/1847

 Gardening Young Wall flower Area.

 

Halifax III MP957 ZL-L
T/O Leeming 17:21 Landing
22:56
Piloted by F/L Garvin. Mines were released at 20:59 Hrs from 14.500 ft while heading 212 T. Mines released at position 54`51`00N 09`31`30E.

 

Halifax III MZ422 ZL-N
T/O Leeming
17:26 Landing 23:39
Piloted by F/O Britton. Mines did not drop at first run so had to orbit. Mines were released at 21:30:30 Hrs from 14500 Ft while heading 224 T. Mines released at position 54`51`00N 09`31`30E.

 

Halifax III MZ865 ZL-V.
T/O Leeming 17:46 Landing
23:24.
Piloted by F/L Brittain. Mines released at 21:06:53 Hrs from 15000 ft while heading 278 T. Mines released at position 54`50`15N 09`43`00E.


All three reported: Heavy flak, slight to moderate was encountered en route and in the target area. Numerous fighter flares, orangish in colour were noted on track outwards and home wards.

 

Three aircrafts from 429 (Bison) Sqn RCAF took part in mining operations  AIR 27/1854

 Mining Flensburg.

 

Halifax  III NA201 AL-W. AIR 27/1855
T/o Leeming
17:19 Landing 23:05
Piloted by F/L R.K. Mitchell dropped mine as ordered at 54`52`18N 09`49`12E at 21:02:12 hrs from 15000 ft. Was at 21:08 attached by a JU 88 at 7000 ft at 55`01N 09`15E when homeward bound. Rear gunner saw orange light astern approaching rapidly. Corkscrew port was given and fighter broke away port level. Fighter came in again and rear gunner opened fire and gave corkscrew port. When at the bottom of dive mid-upper gunner opened fire and fighter was seen to catch fire and dive through the cloud in flames. A large glow could be seen on the ground through the cloud.

 

Halifax III MZ427AL-E.
T/o Leeming 17:24 Landing
21:53
Piloted by F/O F.H.Biddell returned to base at 20:10 hrs due to the blister protecting the H2S scanner broke off. Brought back the mine load.

 

Halifax III NR173 AL-D. Loss card.
T/o Leeming 17:18
Piloted by F/Lt A.R.Milner. On its way to the target area NR173 was attacked by a JU 88 nightfighter at approx. 21:00, and was badly damaged. Corkscrewed. Lost rudder control and flaps came down slowly. Outher right hand engine damaged. Lost power. Fuel tanks were holed. Rear gunner claimed to have hit JU 88. Headed 290 degree back towards England. Did two more corkscrews when rear gunner claimed to see JU 88.The navigation equipment had been destroyed by the German fire, and since the cloud cover was 10/10, they were lost. After flying for a while the flaps had come full down and the speed had dropped to 115-120 knots and they could not maintain height. They realised that they would not be able to reach England due to lack of fuel. At
21:31 an emergency call was made and at 21:35 hours a message was sent, stating they would leave the plane. Position fixet to 55`20N 08`58E (which is east of Ribe). Mines dropped approx. 20 miles “short of target” ?.Headed 60 degree towards Sweden. Left plane at 2000 feet over island of Als and landed in the area of Mommark. (The plane must have crashed in the sea to the east of the island of Als) F/L A.R. Milner, Sgt K. Turner, F/O H.K. Frair, F/O R.H. Barnes, WO1 H.L. Johnson, F/S O.H. Sulek and F/S J.G. Small all landed on Als and became  pows.


QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RETURNED AIRCREW
Loss of bomber aircraft

NUMBER.  3040021

RANK.  Sgt.

NAME.  Turner  K.

SQUADRON.  429

AIRCRAFT.  NR-173 AL-D

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT.  Halifax  III

DATE OF LOSS.  12/13.1.1945

TARGET.  Mining

HOW MANY OPS.  21

DUTY.  Flt/engineer

DATE OF INTERROGATION.  16.5.1945

INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM.  POW report

NARRATIVE OF EVENTS FROM TAKEOFF TO LANDING.

When turning in for the bombing run an enemy fighter attacked from the stern I had just removed the bomb station covers and was standing behind my panel when there was a loud explosion which was the H2S blowing up and I immediately checked my panel and noticed that 2,5,6 tanks were hit and draining rapidly.  I informed the pilot of this after he took evasive action.  The port outer engine was overheating and the pilot informed me that he could not get any boost from it.  After checking the mines which were released soon after the attack, I came forward to my position again.  The pilot then noticed the flaps slowly falling down and told me to see if I could find the trouble.  I checked the flap isolation cock and then the hand pump.  There was no pressure form the hand pump.  I then checked fuel and gave the pilot our endurance.  He asked if all the crew were prepared to fly as far as we could for base and then ditch and everyone was in favour of this.  Shortly after the pilot told the wireless operator to wireless back the message that we were going back to bale out.  The visibility was none to good and we descended to approximately 2,000 feet to find land.  The crew baled out and all landed safely except navigator who injured his ankle.  No warning of fighter attack until struck.

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RETURNED AIRCREW
Loss of bomber aircraft

NUMBER.  J-38315

RANK.  F/O

NAME.  Frair H. K.

SQUADRON.  429

AIRCRAFT.  NR-173 AL-D

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT.  Halifax  III

DATE OF LOSS.  12/13.1.1945

TARGET.  Mining

HOW MANY OPS.  20

DUTY.  Navigator

DATE OF INTERROGATION.  16.5.1945

INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM.  POW report

NARRATIVE OF EVENTS FROM TAKEOFF TO LANDING.

Started out same as any other operation. Everything under control.  Until mining run.  Fighter attacked from below and behind.  H2S equipment went out immediately.  Starboard outer was feathered.  Dove to cloud level.  Took stock of damage.  Three gas tanks empty and flaps went down.  Airspeed so reduced that we could not make England, gas left, so turned to Denmark and baled out.  Hurt left ankle and knocked out when landed in strong wind.


QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RETURNED AIRCREW
Loss of bomber aircraft

NUMBER.  J-12764

RANK.  F/Lt

NAME.  Milner A. R.

SQUADRON.  429

AIRCRAFT.  NR-173 AL-D

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT.  Halifax  III

DATE OF LOSS.  12/13.1.1945

TARGET.  Mining

HOW MANY OPS.  23

DUTY.  Pilot

DATE OF INTERROGATION.  12.5.1945

INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM.  POW report

NARRATIVE OF EVENTS FROM TAKEOFF TO LANDING.

Set course from English coast over Scarborough at 3,000 feet over 10/10 cloud.  At Danish coast climbed quickly to 15,000 feet.  No moon, complete darkness, 10/10 cloud at 2,000 feet.  Cruising at 15,000 feet half way across Denmark on heading 090 T.  Fighter attacked from dead astern and level.  No previous warning till hit by cannon and mid upper gunner entered a corkscrew manoeuvre.  Rear gunner observed strikes when returning fire and fighter broke away.  Aircraft nose heavy and no rudder control.  Mission abandoned due to damage of mine - dropping equipment.  Returning to England on heading of 290 degrees.  Two more corkscrew manoeuvres owing to warnings given from rear gunner and mines were jettisoned.  Gradually losing height due to loss of power on starboard outer engine and flaps had dropped to full flap.  The Flt/engineer reported tanks drained and engines damaged.  Navigator said we could not reach coast so turned to heading 060 degrees for Sweden.  Navigation equipment unserviceable so broke cloud on D.R., but presumed over Baltic.  Circled, saw land and abandoned aircraft.  Starboard outer engine temperature (cylinder) at 300 degrees and starboard inner glowing brightly but no damage recorded by instruments.  Landed easily in field.



QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RETURNED AIRCREW
Loss of bomber aircraft

NUMBER. J-36285

RANK. F/O

NAME. Barnes R. H

SQUADRON. 429

AIRCRAFT. NR-173 AL-D

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT. Halifax III

DATE OF LOSS. 12/13.1.1945

TARGET. Mining south of  Sunderburg

HOW MANY OPS. 20

DUTY. Bomb aimer

DATE OF INTERROGATION. 13.5.1945

INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM. POW report

NARRATIVE OF EVENTS FROM TAKEOFF TO LANDING.

Took off 19:00, 12.1.1945 and flew at 5,000 feet across the North sea, climbed to 15,000 feet at the Danish coast. As we were on our 2nd last leg the fighter hit us. We did evasive action and as the H2S was hit and tanks holed, we turned for home but the aircraft was crippled. Flaps came down and we lost airspeed so decided to turn back to land and bale out. As there was 10/10 th cloud we descended to 2,000 feet to locate land and then baled out at 3,000 feet. Mines jettisoned about 20 miles short of the target. Out the front hatch, no difficulties.

 

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RETURNED AIRCREW
Loss of bomber aircraft

NUMBER.  J-94112

RANK.  P/O

NAME.  Johnson  H. L.

SQUADRON.  429

AIRCRAFT.  NR-173 AL-D

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT.  Halifax  III

DATE OF LOSS.  12/13.1.1945

TARGET.  Mining

HOW MANY OPS.  20

DUTY.  Wireless operator

DATE OF INTERROGATION. 

INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM.  POW report

NARRATIVE OF EVENTS FROM TAKEOFF TO LANDING.

The target was laying mines on Kiel Bay.  Take off time approximately 18:00 hours we were flying at 15,000 feet approximately, attacked by enemy fighter at approximately 21:00 hours.  Rear gunner reported that it was a JU-88 surprise attack from dead astern.  Pilot dived starboard when aircraft was being hit.  Position was somewhere near Denmark.  Pilot headed aircraft out over the sea.  Flight engineer reported 3 petrol tanks leaking.  Mid upper gunner reported turret damaged, pilot reported losing height, full flaps down, flaps could not be raised.  Air speed dropped sown to between 115 and 120 knots per hour.  Pilot ordered me to use emergency procedure.  M/F section was “K” Hull C/S GPO.  Navigator made out message - course - height, airspeed, position, time or origin was 21:20 hours.  I transmitted this message at 21:21 approximately.  M/F section acknowledged having received message, and asked me to send C/S and dashes which I did, M/F section transmitted aircraft meaning wait.  Pilot said he was afraid ditching would not be successful as airspeed was near stalling point.  Pilot told me to disregard using emergency procedure anymore.  That we were going to make nearest land and bale out.  I transmitted message to M/F section that we were going back to bale out.  This was acknowledged by M/F section.  I jettisoned trailing aerial, tore up my secret gen and destroyed gen.  Pilot said to fix on chutes, and bale out.  We were over land.  I baled out following the navigator time was approximately 21:45 hours.  I landed on an island in Denmark.  Out of front hatch.  Cover thrown in aircraft.

 

QUISTIONNAIRE FOR RETURNED AIRCREW
Loss of bomber aircraft

NUMBER.  R-256799

RANK.  F/Sgt.

NAME.  Small  J. G.

SQUADRON.  429

AIRCRAFT.  NR-173 AL-D

TYPE OF AIRCRAFT.  Halifax  III

DATE OF LOSS.  12/13.1.1945

TARGET.  Mining

HOW MANY OPS.  20

DUTY.  Rear gunner

DATE OF INTERROGATION.  16.5.1945

INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM.  POW report

NARRATIVE OF EVENTS FROM TAKEOFF TO LANDING.

Take off approximately 18:00 hours.  January 12th 1945.  Set course over base approximately 45 minutes later.  Height 8,000 feet.  Crossed North Sea at said height.  The night was very dark.  Near 21st to 21:30 hours.  Saw only flashes of enemy fighters guns.  Heard enemy fighters bullets piercing own aircraft.  Gave corkscrew port, which the pilot went into violently.  Gave burst at gun flashes.  Fighter ceased dire.  Still in corkscrew.  Next moment fighter broke way starboard up.  Gave burst with all four and observed hits on belly of enemy aircraft which was JU-88.  Then fighter flares began to drop near us.  Gave two cautionary corkscrews.  Pilot spoke of damage of fighters bullets.  Mid upper gunner said his turret was damaged.  We then found we were lost, due to navigational equipment, according to navigator due to lack of petrol to pilot decided not to attempt returning home.  Baled out at approximately 22:00 hours at 1,600 feet.  Reason for 1,600 feet - due to clouds from 2,000  to 6,000 feet.  We had to go below cloud to find land.  Picked up by German marine officer following day.  Out of rear turret, no difficulties.

 

Authors notes concerning NR173:

Crew comments about attack and mines dropped from de brief and letter:

Milner: Attacked when on heading 90.            Dropped mines when returning on 290.

Small: Attacked 21:00-21:30.                        Landed Als 22:00.

Turner: Attacked when turned for bomb run.    Dropped mines soon after attack.

Frair: Attacked on mining run.                       Landed Als 22:00 +

Sulek: Attacked near garden before drop.       Dropped mines west coast of DK.

Barnes: Attacked second last leg.                 Dropped mines 20 miles short of target.

Johnson: Attached 21:00 near DK.                Landed Als 21:45.

 

When they called base at 21:31 they believed that they were flying over the North Sea. They were actually somewhere east of Ribe on the Danish mainland. When they decided to abandon aircraft they believed they were over the Baltic Sea and only realised it was not so, when they dived underneath the clouds and saw land (Island of Als).
So most of the time they did not have a clue about where they actually were.

A heading on 290 degree from the Assens area (QA 53) would take the a/c to the area east of Ribe.
A heading on 60 degree from the place where the mines fell at Kollund mark would take the a/c to Mommark on the
island of Als where the crew landed in parachutes.

 

 

Three aircrafts from 433 (Porcupine) Sqn RCAF took part in mining operations  AIR 27/1862

 
Gardening
Flensburg Harbour.

 

Halifax III NP937 BM-P

T/O Skipton-on-Swale 17:23 Landing 23:24

Piloted by F/O McKellar. Mines hung up on first run possible due to electrical failure. Orbited to starboard. Returned and dropped mines at 21:18:12 Hrs from 15000 ft heading 280 T. Dropped mines at 54`49`09N 09`56`15E.

 

Halifax III NR117 BM-S

T/O Skipton-on-Swale 17:21 Landing 23:13

Piloted by P/O Saunders. Dropped mines at 21:05:12 Hrs from 15000 Ft heading 272 T. dropped mines at 54`50`00N 09`48`45E.

 

Halifax III NR136 BM-R

T/O Skipton-on-Swale 17:25 Landing 23:22

Piloted by F/L Bertran. Dropped mines at 21:06:48 Hrs from 15000 ft heading 278 T. Dropped mines at 54`49`09N 09`56`15E

 

All three reported :Trip, tactics and route good. No difficulties.

 

Local material:

Retired Managing Director of a bank Svend Aage Gram, Padborg:

In January 1945 he lived at Stranderöd near Rinkenaes. He saw an a/c coming from Baekken west of Rinkenaes. It was on fire and crashed into Flensburg Fjord on the German side near Schausende west of Holnaes. There was at first fire on the water, but this stopped abruptly.
If the line is drawn from Schausende over Baekken it will further west also cover Söndermosen where the dead body of a British airman was found.

 Aabenraa cemetery protocol: En Englishman was laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on 27/9 1945.

 The newspaper ”Heimdal” 13/1 1945:
A burning aircraft crashed into Flensburg Fjord near Holnis.

 

 

Based on the above the author find it reasonable to assume the following:

 

21:01 Schröder air combat with NR173 of 429 sqn.

                  Why NR173 ? Schröder must have been in that area because at 21:08 he is in Pl.Q. QA53 (South west corner of island of Fyn). And he could not possibly move very far in 7 minutes which would also be used to disengage from the attack at 21:01 and engage in the attack which happened 21:08 (His flugbuch says that the time was 21:05 not 21:08 as the Abschuss list states). The reason why I think he attacked NR173 is, that it was attacked in this area at approx. 21:00-21:30 according to crew debrief and a letter from Frair. Probably closer to 21:00 than to 21:30 judged by the distance they flew afterwards before they crashed into the sea east of Als at approx. 22:00. This distance would be at least 150-170 kilometres. In the de brief the a/c is described as very slow and difficult to control with the flaps down and without rudder control. W/Op Johnson mentions 115 knots or175 km/hours in his de brief. That means that it was operated close to stall speed which is 144 km/Hours with flaps down. So it would take the better part of an hour to cover that distance. I know from the ORB and crew de brief that no other aircraft was attacked in that area at that time. It could maybe be one of the two which was lost without trace. But I do not find that likely.

 

21:05 Schadowski claims MZ805 of 424 Sqn by Langeland. It explodes in the air.

Why MZ805 and not MZ812 ? Based on the routes to the Gardens MZ805 of 424 Sqn would get near Langeland en route to Flensburg outer fjord. MZ812 of 77 Sqn would not come near Langeland but was supposed to pass a few miles north of  Römö on the return trip.
 

21:08 Schröder claims NP949 of 424 Sqn. SW of Assens.

Why NP949 ? An aircraft crashed into Flensburg Fjord at 21:10. It can only have been NP949 since dead crew members are retrieved from the Fjord over the next 9 months.
It is believed that NP947 crashed between
21:00 and 21:20 after having dropped mines based on the time given when LW119 dropped mines. The three a/c from this sqn. took off with 2 min spacing.

 

21:20 Schadowski air battle with NA201 of 429 Sqn W of Aabenraa.

There is a time difference from the time when NA201 is attacked at 21:08 to Schadowski claim at 21:20. The location is however the same.

 
 

21:26 Schröder claims MZ812 of 77 Sqn W of Römö.

Why MZ812 and not MZ805 ? Based on the routes to the Gardens MZ805 of 424 Sqn would get near Langeland en route to Flensburg outer fjord. I believe that MZ805 was lost near Langeland. MZ812 of 77 Sqn would not come near Langeland but was supposed to pass a few miles north of  Römö on the return trip.

 

 21:30  Halifax RG346 of 77 Sqn gunned a 78 Sqn a/c believing it to be a JU 88.

Why a 78 Sqn a/c and not JU 88 ? The 78 Sqn a/c NR155 claimed to have been hit by “friendly” fire wounding one crew member. The “JU 88” did not return the fire even when being hit itself.
There is no indication in any German files I know of that any German night fighters from NJG 3 were lost or damaged on this night.

 

Minelaying on the night of January 12/13 1945:

Halifax MZ805 crashed in the sea east of the island of Langeland 12/1 1945

Halifax III NP947 crashed in Flensburg Fjord 12/1-1945

Halifax III NA201 attacked west of the city of Aabenraa 12/1 1945

Halifax III MZ812 crashed in the North Sea west of the island of Rømø 12/1 1945

Halifax III RG346 “attacked” west of the island of Rømø 12/1 1945

Halifax III NR173 crashed in the sea east of the island of Als 12/1 1945

 

 

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