Lancaster I ME449 crashed near Østergaarde south of Tarm
The aircraft belonged to RAF103 Sqn. Bomber Command and was coded PM-T.
T/o 17:43 Elsham Wolds. Op: Gardening the northern entrance to the Øresund.
On the return flight ME449 was attacked by German JU 88G-6 nightfighter coded
D5+AL and piloted by Hauptmann Eduard Schröder of 1./ NJG 3 with the crew of
1st Bordfunker Feldwebel Theo (Teddy by friends) Hessenmüller, 2nd Bordfunker
Unteroffizier Werner Zeinert and Bordmechaniker Unteroffizier Erich Brunsendorf and at 21:45 hours the Lancaster crashed
at Østergaarde south of Tarm.
Two of the Lancasters crew was killed during the attack, namely Rear Gnr. Sgt
Donald Morris and Mid upper Gnr. F/S Harvey J. Porter RAAF. They were retrieved
from the wreck shortly after the crash and taken to the hospital at Tarm. In the
afternoon the bodies were claimed from the hospital by the Germans and placed in
a couple of bags and placed on a horse drawn wagon driven by Chr. Andersen. He
was ordered to take the bodies to a wood east of Tarm where the Germans dug a
hole in the ground and threw the bodies therein.
Rear Gnr. Sgt Donald Morris
Mid upper Gnr. F/S Harvey J. Porter RAAF
During the summer of 1945 a grave site was created where the flyers had been
buried and on 12/8 1945 they were given a Christian funeral. A British
detachment marched to the grave and 800 Danish people showed their respect while
Rural Dean P. B. Gadegaard gave a speech and then blessed the graves. The parish
Executive Officer H. Gravesen spoke and promised that the town would look after
the graves for generations to come. Finally Sqn. Ldr. Smart who was the
Commander of Vandel airfield saluted the graves.
The rest of the crew successfully bailed out.
Pilot S/Ldr Stan Slater was helped by Farmer Niels Jørgen Pedersen who
called the Kørvel family of Ølgod.
Frederik Kørvel and his daughter Anna picked up the flyer on the farm and took
him to their home where he was quartered in the attic while two German officers
were quartered in the basement. Later on the same night Kørvel brought home
another flyer, namely W/Op Thomas Fairclough.
The flyers were transported via Fredericia to København, and on 23/3 they were
shipped over to Sweden.
Pilot S/Ldr Stan Slater
W/Op Thomas Fairclough
False id paper for W/Op Thomas Fairclough issued by the
Danish resistance movement
F/Eng Sgt Ken Foster got in contact with Bodil and Aage Uhre of Lyne and was
soon sent via Ølgod to Sweden.
F/Eng Sgt Ken Foster
Stoney Mitchell and Mervyn Bertie were the second and third men to bale out
of Lancaster ME449, after Ken Foster but before Thomas Fairclough and Stan
The exact locations at which Mitchell and Bertie landed are not known, but
shortly after baling out about 2200 h on 12 March 1945, they found each other in
the darkness and spent the first night sleeping outdoors.
The next day, while walking along Vejlevej towards Tarm, 21-year-old Dorthea
Kristensen approached them and led them to the farm house of her parents, Maria
and Kr. Peder Kristensen, where they were fed and protected for the night of
They continued on foot in a north-easterly direction for about 90 km over
the next three days, finding food and shelter at various Danish farms along the
Then, on the evening of 16 March, they sought help at the farm of Åge Fisker
near Funder. With the assistance of Nørdby Christensen and Maylor Ambrosiussen,
Fisker sent a message to Resistance members Sigurd Birk and Gunnar Birk at their
farm near Ikast.
The Ikast weapons receiving group operated by Ole Engberg received the
information when they returned to the Birk farm on the morning of 17 March.
Engberg then drove in his truck, nicknamed “Dorte”, to collect Mitchell and
Bertie from Funder and take them to the homes of nearby Resistance members;
first to Arnold Petersen and his wife Naomi in Ikast for 5 days and next to
Alfred Balle Pedersen and his wife Magdalene in Herning for 12 days.
Photographs taken at the Pedersens’ house were used to make false identity
On the night of 2 April, Anton Jens Toldstrup, leader of the Jutland weapons
receiving groups, took Mitchell and Bertie by car from Herning to Ebeltoft.
Along the way, near Århus, the car was stopped by Germans who demanded identity
cards but eventually let the group continue when Toldstrup asserted his apparent
authority as an officer of the Civil Air Defence.
In Ebeltoft, Mitchell and Bertie stayed for 2 days with Svend Åge Ballisager and
his wife Gudrun.
Late on 4 April, Mitchell and Bertie were taken to Øerhage, south of Ebeltoft,
where they boarded a fishing boat operated by the Danish Resistance and were
taken across the Kattegat, arriving in Gøteborg the next day.
Two days thereafter, on 7 April, they reached Stockholm by train then flew to
Leuchars, Scotland, on the night of 15-16 April 1945.
Mitchell and Bertie were de-briefed by Military Intelligence, assigned leave,
and did not return to 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds until May 1945, by which time
the war had ended.
by Gail R. Michener Daughter of Stoney Mitchell
(Sue Westcott nee Bertie)
Air Bomber P/O Mervyn H. Bertie RAAF
Air Bomber P/O Mervyn H. Bertie RAAF
Photo taken for false id-card
Navigator F/o Stoney Mitchell
Photo taken for false id-card.
On Thursday 12 March 2015 an Memorial and Unveiling Event was held by
This was headed by Mrs. Gail Michener and Mrs. Kirsten Kolby.
Master of Ceremonies Kirsten Kolby
Søren C. Flensted, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, The Denmark Team,
unveiling the plaque.
Wreath-laying by RAAF Harvey Porter and RAF Donald Morris families.
Raymond Morris, Brother to Rear Gnr. Sgt Donald Morris
RAAF Wing Commander A.M. O`Leary OAM
Honorary Consul Lars Damgaard to The British Embassy.
Second Secretary, Embassy of Australia, Ms Rebecca Marshall
and RAAF Wing Commander A.M. O`Leary OAM
Ole Rønnest MBE. Frihedskampens Frednings- og Mindefond.
Wreath laying from the Bertie, Fairclough. Foster, Mitchell and Slater families.
Gail R. Michener, Daughter of Navigator F/o Stoney Mitchell
Below is the graves as seen late in the afternoon
Memorial on 12 March 2020
12/3-2020 a memorial was held at the graves of Sgt Donald Morris and F/S Harvey
Porter at “Englændergravene” in Tarm.
memorial had been organized by the daughter of F/O Stoney Mitchell, Gail
Michener coming over from Canada with her husband Dan to attend.
on this day of March turned out to be stormy with rain and hail.
tent kept us dry even though it had to be repaired just before the gathering.
Per Bonde did a great job in keeping it together.
has been erected to carry Danish flags, the British flag and the Australian flag
as well as the Royal Air Force flag.
ceremony Lone Holme Bonde welcomed the participants.
After a cup
of coffee and a “rundstykke”, the wreath-laying took place.
wreaths were laid on the graves by Danish representatives of the families of the
Anni Guldberg Madsen, Finn Kjeld Hansen, Karen Raunkjær,
Carl Chr. Bøgebjerg.
wreath was laid by Søren Flensted as representative of Commonwealth War Graves
were laid by representatives of the families of the surviving crew members.
Slater family: Peter Slater (son), Trish Haddon
(daughter), Ruth Rogers (granddaughter), Dylan Rogers (great grandson).
Fairclough family: Nigel Fairclough (son), Nina
Foster family: Val Mercer (daughter), Peter Mercer
Mitchell family: Gail Michener (daughter). Dan Michener
Ole Rønnest laid a wreath from “Frihedskampens Mindefond”.
Birgitte Nør Jahn said a prayer for the fallen.
National Hymn “Der er et yndigt land” and a song from the liberation days “En
lærke letted” was song.
Also the younger generation took part in the Memorial
See also: Shot
Down in Denmark
Sources: Report Ringkøbing Police, BCL, CWGC, OK, FAF, AIR 27/817, WO
208/3326+3327, DFEV, Gail Michener nee Mitchell.
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