The Tempsford Special Duties Squadrons
"There are still many missing as many were buried where they were found
by the Germans, often on beaches and sandbars and as a result were
later washed away again. My friends in Denmark led by Colonel Gramm
are still actively trying to trace those marked as unknown.
Rumour abounds among the Danish and Norwegian Groups that Hitler
issued a directive that all Tempsford crews be executed. However this
has never been confirmed by documents though there are instances
where it appears likely that it happened when SS troops were involved."
Harold Watson ex 161 Squadron
TEMPSFORD AIRCREWS BURIED IN DENMARK
Almost 300 allied aircraft crashed in or near Denmark in the course of the War. Of the surviving airmen, many were taken prisoner, but almost one hundred were given assistance by the Resistance Movement to reach safety in neutral Sweden. From the afore mentioned planes some 1160 bodies were buried in Danish soil. Around 500 airmen were lost at sea and their bodies never recovered.
At first the German Command sought to concentrate the burial of allied airmen at a few large cemeteries. These were situated at Esbjerg; Aabenra; Frederikshavn and Svino and almost half of the allied dead are interred there. Some were also buried in some 114 cemeteries, the reason for this being bodies being washed ashore and buried in the nearest local cemetery.
From 1940 to 1943, allied air crews were given a military funeral arranged by the German authorities. This consisted of a service by a German Army chaplain, a salute fired by German soldiers, and a wreath. Danish Country Councillors, police chiefs, Lord Mayors attended in full dress bearing wreaths. Countless Danes stood outside the cemetery as they were refused admittance.
Following a directive from the German High Command the religious service ceased, and the laying of wreaths were forbidden. Yet another directive in September, 1944, this time believed from Hitler, instructed that the bodies were to be buried where found. This resulted in clashes between the German and the Danes, when the Danish people insisted on proper burials. In one case where 8 RAF aircrew were buried in a bare field, the local vicar together with the aid of the local inhabitants moved the bodies into the churchyard, where a funeral service took place in the presence of the entire local community. When the Germans heard of this they arrested the vicar and several members who had helped him. All were sent to a Concentration Camp. Many Danish clergymen showed great courage and determination to ensure the airmen received a Christian Burial.
From enquiries made it has been learnt that some bodies were disfigured to prevent identification. In other cases ‘dog tags’ were removed as proof that the aircraft had been shot down allowing the gun crews to claim extra leave. As a result there are a number of graves market ‘Known only to God’ while the resting places of other aircrew have never been found.
The dates quoted in the following entries are the day of the interment.
Esbjerg - Gravlunden 1 - Forveld
Ian McLEAN, DFC 138 Squadron
Michael Andrew BROGAN, DFC 161 Squadron.
Sgt. Roy Hedley David BOUTELL. 138 Squadron
Sgt. Henry JOHNSTON. 138 Squadron
Sgt. Leslie Leonard John SMITH. 138 Squadron
P/O Ross Ferrier PHILP. 161 Squadron
F/O Frederick John WATSON. DFM 161 Squadron
Wladyslaw BARZDO. PAF. 138 Squadron
Sondre Nissum Kirkegard
George Albert LETTS. 138 Squadron
F/O James Reid BRADLEY 138 Squadron
|Saturday, January 2, 2016 13:04||