Lancaster crash – 1943 near Stadil

English Summary: One a fine late summer Sunday on a trip to western Jutland, we drove around the small village of Stadil, to visit a memorial grove for an allied Lancaster with Australian and British airmen that crashed in 1943. The plane and airmen are still buried at the crash site.

En skøn sensommersøndag kørte vi en tur til det vestlige Jylland for at besøge Kaj Munk præstegård i Vedersø, der er indrettet som museum.  Ved samme lejlighed kørte vi omkring den lille landsby Stadil, hvor der på en mark er en mindelund for en Lancaster der styrtede ned i 1943. Flyet og besætningen ligger stadig begravet på stedet. Vi havde tidligere forsøg at finde stedet, men denne gang havde vi ikke tænkt at give op.

Crash site near Stadil

På kortet er nedstyrtningstedet angivet med pil. Da det ligger ude på marken, er det vanskeligt at få øje på fra vejen.

Da vi langsomt kørte på Stadiløvej, fandt vi efter en del søgning skiltet der viste til mindestedet. – Mindestedet set fra vejen.

Gravsted og mindested

Mindested samt gravsted for flyverne og Lancasteren der stadig hviler på stedet. På grund af kviksand var det umuligt at bjerge flyet.

Information tavlen på 3 sprog

Informationstavlen på 3 sprog der fortæller historien. For tydeliggørelse er herunder gengivet den Engelske version.

ON THE NIGHT OF 3 SEPTEMBER 1943, BRITISH BOMBER COMMAND CARRIED OUT A MAJOR RAID ON BERLIN WITH 316 LANCASTER BOMBERS AND 4 MOSQUITOS. OF THESE, 20 NEVER RETURNED FROM BERLIN AND MORE THAN 100 YOUNG ALLIED AIRMEN LOST THEIR LIVES.

BUT FOR THE CREW OPERATING IN EE138 THAT NIGHT IT WAS THEIR FIRST OPERATION WITH 460 SQUADRON SO THEREFORE THEY WERE ACCOMPANIED BY THEIR SQUADRON LEADER, A SENIOR EXPERIENCED PILOT, BRINGING THE TOTAL CREW TO 8.

AFTER THE BOMBING OF BERLIN, THE BOMBERS CONTINUED FURTHER EASTWARD IN ORDER TO AVOID GERMAN DEFENCES. THEN THEY SWUNG NORTH, PASSING OVER THE SOUTHERN PART OF NEUTRAL SWEDEN AND UP THE SWEDISH WEST COAST. THE PLAN WAS THAT THE PLANES WERE THEN TO ROUND THE NORTHERN TIP OF JUTLAND AT SKAGEN AND RETURN TO ENGLAND. A MAJOR PART OF THE ROUTE THUS LAY ACROSS WATER, WHERE THE RISK OF BEING SHOT DOWN WAS A LITTLE LESS. ON THAT NIGHT, THE BOMBERS WERE GOING TO THE LIMIT OF THEIR RANGE AND LANCASTER EE138 MAY HAVE BEEN FORCED TO FLY ACROSS DENMARK ON ITS RETURN ROUTE BECAUSE IT WAS RUNNING SHORT OF FUEL.

AS PER THE ACCOUNT OF THE AIR BATTLE WITNESSED BY INGEMANN HALKJÆR:

“THE NIGHT OF THE 3RD/4TH SEPTEMBER THERE WERE MANY AEROPLANES OVER DENMARK, ABOUT 2 O’CLOCK…” “WE WOKE UP BY HEARING MOTOR NOISE FROM TWO AIR PLANES, AND AT THE SAME TIME WE COULD HEAR SHOOTING…” “…I GOT UP AND HEARD THE PLANES COMING FROM THE SOUTH…” “…I WENT TO THE WINDOW AND SAW TWO AEROPLANES AT GREAT HEIGHT FIRING AT EACH OTHER.” “…AND PASSING ABOVE OUR HEADS WHILE FIRE TONGUES FROM THE GERMAN NIGHT FIGHTER SHOWED THAT THERE WAS SHOOTING…” “…THEY FLEW TO THE NORTH BUT TURNED LEFT AND CAME BACK…” “…SHORTLY AFTERWARDS, THE PLANES RETURNED AGAIN AT A LOW ALTITUDE AND THE BRITISH PLANE WAS HIT AGAIN BY THE GERMAN PLANE AS IT LIFTED BACK UP INTO THE SKY, THE BRITISH PLANE HAD BEEN HIT, AND JUST SOUTH OF FUGLBJERG THE PLANE TIPPED OVER HALFWAY AND WENT DOWN VERTICALLY. THE HEIGHT PROBABLY WAS A COUPLE OF HUNDRED METRES, AND THE CREW MIGHT NOT HAVE DARED JUMP OUT. WHEN THE PLANE HIT THE GROUND, IT SOUNDED LIKE A BIG THING HITTING WATER IN AN ENORMOUS CRASH. IT WAS SO VIOLENT THAT PEOPLE IN HUSBY (14KM AWAY) WERE AWAKENED, AND I REMEMBER THAT I INSTINCTIVELY JUMPED AWAY FROM THE WINDOW BECAUSE IT FELT SO CLOSE.”

AT THAT TIME, THIS CRASH SITE WAS A WETLAND COVERED IN REEDS. SHORTLY AFTERWARDS ALL THAT REMAINED TO BE SEEN WAS A LARGE WATER-FILLED HOLE AND THOUSANDS OF PIECES OF WRECKAGE FROM THE PLANE WERE SCATTERED ABOUT THE AREA, SOME STILL BURNING ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER. THE NEXT DAY FOLLOWING THE CRASH A TORSO WAS DISCOVERED BY INGEMANN AMONGST THE REEDS, IT WAS BURIED AT THE SITE BY THE GERMAN SOLDIERS. INGEMANN ARRANGED FOR A LOCAL CARPENTER TO BUILD A WOODEN CROSS BEARING THE INSCRIPTION: MINDE OVER FALDNE ALLIEREDE FLYVERE (IN MEMORY OF FALLEN ALLIED AIRMEN), THIS CROSS WAS THEN DISCRETELY LAID DOWN ON TOP OF THE TORSO BURIAL SITE. ALL MEMBERS OF THE EIGHT-MAN CREW WERE KILLED IN THE CRASH AND 7 STILL LIE BURIED HERE IN THE SOFT SOIL TOGETHER WITH THE REMAINS OF THE PLANE. IN 1947 THE TORSO WAS RECOVERED AND INTERRED IN GRAVE NO. 97 IN THE CHURCHYARD AT SVINO — AS AN UNKNOWN AIRMAN.

IN 1949, THE MOTHER OF ONE OF THE DEAD CREW MEMBERS VISITED THE SITE. SHE WAS SO DEEPLY TOUCHED AT THE SIGHT OF THE CROSS THAT ON INGEMANN HALKJÆR’S RECOMMENDATION, THERE WAS A COLLECTION OF MONEY AMONGST THE STADIL POPULATION WHO THEN ERECTED A COMMEMORATIVE STONE. IT WAS UNVEILED ON 5 MAY 1950, THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF DENMARK’S LIBERATION.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

 

Straks efter at tyskerne havde forladt stedet fik ejeren af marken lavet et kors med indskriften “Minde over allierede flyvere”. Korset her er en kopi af det oprindelige. – Senere blev der af egnens beboere rejst en sten med flyvernes navne.

Informationstavle

Informationstavle med billeder af flyverne.

MAP

After the bombing of Berlin, the bombers continued further Eastward in order to avoid German defenses. Then they swung north, passing over the southern part of neutral Sweden and up the Swedish West Coast.  On that night, the bombers were going to the limit of their range, and Lancaster EE138 may have been forced to fly across Denmark on its return route because it was running short of fuel. (Kilde: RAAF 460 Squadron Lancaster EE138 AR-E2 “Easy” ).

Pass of two Danish F16 fighters

Fra tidligere mindehøjtidligheder.

Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force – Strike and Return

3 comments

Skriv et svar

Udfyld dine oplysninger nedenfor eller klik på et ikon for at logge ind:

WordPress.com Logo

Du kommenterer med din WordPress.com konto. Log Out /  Skift )

Google photo

Du kommenterer med din Google konto. Log Out /  Skift )

Twitter picture

Du kommenterer med din Twitter konto. Log Out /  Skift )

Facebook photo

Du kommenterer med din Facebook konto. Log Out /  Skift )

Connecting to %s