Faldne Allierede Flyvere – Fallen Allied Airmen by Anders Bjørnvad, 2. Edition 1995
Summary in English by Anders Bjørnvad, translated by Varinka Wichfeld Muus
“This book, which is published by ”The Veterans of the Danish Fight for Freedom”, contains a preface as an introduction to a list of those Allied Airmen, who were buried in Denmark as a result of their operations during World War 2, and extracts of documents appertaining to these events.
The preface “Triumph and Tragedy” highlights incidents in the allied flights
over Denmark, not least those connected with the 677 drop-operations, which the
Almost 300 allied aircraft crashed in or near Denmark in the course of these operations.
Examples are given of the fate of surviving airmen, both those who were taken prisoners, and the almost one hundred, who were given assistance by The Resistance Movement to reach neutral Sweden in safety.
From the above mentioned planes, and from those who crashed at some distance
from Denmark, for example near Norway or Holland, 1160 bodies were buried in
In addition some 80 airmen from the more than 300 planes were buried in other countries: Sweden, Norway, Poland, Germany, Holland and England.
Finally around 500 airmen remained lost at sea.
To begin with the German command in Denmark sought to concentrate the burial of
allied airmen at a few large cemeteries, each of which was to cover a certain
geographical area. These cemeteries were situated at Esbjerg, Aabenraa, Lemvig,
Frederikshavn and Svinø. There about half of the allied airmen were interred.
Two reasons for this played their part. Many bodies were washed ashore on the
Danish coast and were to a large degree buried in the nearest local cemetery.
The burial of the many dead airmen in Denmark was considered by the Germans to be the concern of the German Forces.
During the period 1940-1943 allied air personel were given a military funeral arranged by the local German authorities. This included a service by the German army chaplain, a salute fired by a platoon of German soldiers, and a wreath.
On the basis of a new German directive it became possible to leave out the services of the German chaplain, the salute and the wreath laying.
At some places the German chaplain immediately ceased to participate in
funerals, while a whole year passed elsewhere before the religious participation
Following yet another order of August 1944 the allied airmen were buried “on the spot”. After the war 65 such bodies were recovered in Denmark.
The Danes took an active part in the burial of allied airmen right from the
beginning of the occupation of Denmark in April 1940. During the period
1940-1943 it was
County councillors, police commissioners, lord mayors and even garrison
commanders arrived at the funerals in full dress bearing wreaths, and at many
This was also a clear demonstration against the German occupation and at the same time a gesture of sympathy towards the allied casualties.
The Germans were very sensitive to Danish demonstrations with enemy airmen, and
therefore arranged burials at odd times, such as in the very early morning,
The time at which the Germans started cutting down on the ceremonies coincided
with the worsening of relations to the occupying power, the Danish Government´s
resignation and the King´s confinement to his castle. Shortly thereafter the
capture of the Danish Jews started, but the Danish people organized escape
The opportunity for active resistance against the Germans increased in the late 1943 with the creating of an underground army on directives received from London.
It was, in fact, towards the end of this eventful year that the German Forces
began to bury airmen in Danish cemeteries without the assistance of any clergy.
At one site the Danish police commissioner arrived on the scene with a Danish
vicar and a wreath for the airman. At other sites the local authorities were
At many places, where the vicar had not been allowed to officiate at the funeral, he did so “on the following Sunday”, often in the presence of the entire congregation.
In September 1944, when 8 RAF flyers had been buried in a bare field in West
Jutland, the local vicar took matters into his own hands. With the aid of local
When the Germans heard of this, they arrested the vicar and several of his helpers.
Many Danish clergymen showed both courage and determination to ensure allied personel a Christian burial.
The first allied airman was put to rest in Denmark in the Autumn of 1939, the
last airmen were found in 1949. By that time, though, around 127 American airmen
At present there are 1017 pilots and flying personnel buried in 110 Danish churchyards; of these 5 are American.
In the section “Allied Graves” those men, who are or were buried in Denmark are listed and the cemeteries are mentioned in alphabetical order.
At the churchyards where crews of several planes rest, or did so until remove,
the dead are mentioned as a crew and chronologically listed according to the
The number of crew members lost at sea are also mentioned.
In each case, a description of the type of plane involved, its target and site of crash has been included, and where the bodies were found and how they were buried.
The book is based on a wide range of sources: they are of Danish, English,
American and German origin. In Denmark a wide range of archives have been
At the Freedom Museum a list of the monuments erected in memory of deceased
flyers, and around the country, knowledge has been culled from local archives,
Lastly several persons have given short descriptions of events they personally were involved in, in support of materiel from the archives consulted.
The Ministry of Defence in London has compiled a manuscript based on Imperial
War Graves Commission´s register of British air personnel buried in Denmark.
With regard to American airmen, of which only a few are still buried in Denmark,
information was taken from The Missing Air Crew Report. This material was
With great veneration this book is dedicated to the Royal Air Force and to the United States Air Force.”