Norman T. Powell  Updated:  12 MAR 2017   Photos from Kenneth Kristensen                 10 JUN 2000                        24 JUL 1941

Airman: o888155.htm Surname: Powell Init: N T Rank: F/Sgt Service: RAF Sqdn: 106

P_link: p045.htm Plane: HAM AE301 Operation: Minelaying Crash_site: Limfjorden near Hals

Crash_d: d270841 Buried_d: o888 C_link: o888.htm At_Next: POW

HAM AE301 på en mineudlægningsopgave blev 03:30 den 27 august 1941 ramt af flak og styrtede ned her på ca. 2,5 m vanddybde sydvest for batteriet "Flakzug Hals" i den lille skov
på Nordmannshage. Næsepartiet var totalt knust, men det lykkedes tyskerne at bjærge F/Sgt
N.T. Powell
med svære kvæstelser. Han kom på feltlazarettet i Aalborg, og senere blev han
overført til krigsfangenskab i Tyskland.

I de næste dage bjærgede tyskerne ligene af F/O M.J.C. Harwood og F/Sgt W.A. Oastler, der
blev begravet i Frederikshavn den 30. august, mens F/Sgt N. Lusher blev begravet samme sted
den 8. september efter at være fundet ved Hals Barre, omkring her. (Kilde: FT 89-69-19 og
Kenneth Kristensen, Kystmuseet Bangsbo)

Da HAM AE301 fra en position over Hals Barre fløj ind mod nedkastningsområdet ved
udmundingen af Limfjorden, affyrede tyskerne 51 granater i retning mod flyet (siger rapporten
fra batteriet til deres hovedkvarter i Frederikshavn). Skytterne på flyet skød tilbage med alt, hvad
de havde. Nogle af 2 cm granaterne ramte flyet, så det styrtede i vandet. 3 flyvere blev dræbt på stedet, og Powell, tårnskytte i denne Hampden, blev slået bevidstløs.

"Inde i flyet vågnede Powell pludselig op. Hans hoved var under vand. Han brugte et par sekunder
på at orientere sig og greb så i refleks håndtagene til toplugen i skyttetårnet, som straks gik løs.
Det var en manøvre, han havde øvet utallige gange. Hurtigt bevægede han sig ved hjælp af sin redningsvest, af englænderne kaldet Mae West, op gennem hullet til overfladen. Samtidig kunne
han mærke, at flyet langsomt gled væk under ham. Med et var alt blevet stille, og Powell lå nu og plaskede i mørket midt i Limfjorden. Han var ikke helt klar i hovedet, og han havde ved styrtet beskadiget ryggen - . Op fra flyet havde han fået sin lille gummibåd (dinghy). Båden var gået i gang med at puste sig op. Powell prøvede at komme op i gummibåden, men måtte opgive på grund af sine kvæstelser. Han måtte nøjes med at bruge gummibåden til at holde sig oppe og derved spare
på kræfterne.

Selv om det var svært i mørket, prøvede Powell at tyde land omkring ham. Langt væk kunne han skimte et søgelys, som lyste ud på vandet. På et tidspunkt blev søgelyset stærkere, og det var som om det langsomt kom nærmere. Powell begyndte også at kunne høre svage stemmer et sted ude i mørket. Efter en tid blev lyset rigtigt skarpt, og han lå pludselig badet i et lys, som ikke længere bevægede sig. Samtidig begyndte han at høre noget, der lød som åretag fra en båd tæt på ham.
Efter nogle minutter kunne han i lyset begynde at ane konturen af en jolle med to mænd ombord. Det var to tyske soldater. Forrest i jollen stod en soldat med geværet rettet direkte mod Powell. Da soldaten, der sad ved årerne, havde sikret sig, at Powell ikke var bevæbnet, lagde den anden soldat geværet fra sig, og sammen hjalp
de Powell ombord i jollen. Det var det sidste, Powell huskede fra den nat. Han gled ud af bevidstheden i samme øjeblik." (Norman Powell krydser sine spor,
særtryk af artikel af Kenneth Kristensen i Vendsyssel Årbog 2005, fås på Kystmuseet Bangsbo)

Powell blev taget til felthospitalet i Kamillianerklinikken (her), Kastetvej 3, 9000 Aalborg og videre til et fængsel, hvor han i dagens løb fik besøg af den tyske soldat,
der om natten havde sigtet på ham med sit gevær. Han medbragte en gave: en flot rød tomat! Efter nogle minutters forsøg på samtale med fingersprog og få engelske gloser tog de afsked med et håndtryk.

Næste dag blev han af to tyske soldater med tog overført til et tysk hovedkvarter i Hamburg på vej til Tyske krigsfangelejre. Efter grundige forhør blev Powell ført til
Stalag VIII.B i det sydlige Polen. I 1944 blev Powell flyttet til Stalag Luft III. Ved krigens slutning kom russerne tæt på lejren, og de tyske fangevogtere flygtede.
Powell
og de andre flyvere begyndte at bevæge sig mod vest. Den 5. maj 1945 blev de mødt af amerikanske styrker, og dermed var de befriet.

Norman Powell blev gift et par år efter krigen og fik 3 børn. Han lukkede sin købmandsbutik i Wales i 1990 og skænkede hele butikken til det lokale museum.

Sidst i 1990´erne fandt han ud af, at hans 3 kammerater fra HAM AE301 var begravet i Frederikshavn! I juni 2000 var han på besøg nogle dage i Danmark. Ole Rønnest, ekspert i angrebet på Aalborg, Fliegerhorst Aalborg West den 13. august 1940 og luftkrig i området, blev kontaktet via borgmesteren i Aalborg. I Frederikshavn var
Powell
to gange ved gravene for Harwood,
Lusher og Oastler. På Kystmuseet Bangsbo viste Kenneth Kristensen ham rundt i Det Jyske Modstandsmuseum og fik en
lang samtale, der blev grundlag for artiklen Norman Powell krydser sine spor, som er kilde til ovenstående linjer.

4 flyvere. Flere links i engelsk version - også til Norman Powell´s beretning.

During a minelaying operation HAM AE301 was hit by flak at 03:30 on 27 August 1941 and crashed here into the Limfjorden at a depth of about 2.5 m southwest
of the battery "Flakzug Hals" in the little wood at Nordmannshage. The nose of the plane was totally crushed, but the Germans managed to rescue F/Sgt N.T. Powell, who was badly injured. He was taken to the German field hospital in Aalborg. Later he was a POW in Germany.

In the following days the Germans rescued the bodies of F/O M.J.C. Harwood and F/Sgt W.A. Oastler, who were buried in Frederikshavn on 30 August, while
F/Sgt N. Lusher was buried in the same place on 8 September after he was found at Hals Barre, about here. (Source: FT-89-69-19 and Kenneth Kristensen,
Kystmuseet Bangsbo)

When HAM AE301 from a position over Hals Barre flew in towards the drop zone at the mouth of the Limfjorden the Germans fired 51 shells at the plane (says the
report from the battery to their HQ in Frederikshavn). The gunners in the plane shot back with everything they had. Some of the 2 cm shells hit the plane, so it crashed into the water. 3 airmen were killed instantly, and Powell, Top Turret Gunner of this
Hampden, was knocked unconscious.

"Powell suddenly woke up in the plane. His head was under water. After a quick look around he grasped the handles of the top hatch in the turret in a reflex movement.
It opened immediately. He had practised that countless times during his training. Quickly his Mae West helped him up through the hole to the surface. At the same
time he felt that the plane slowly slipped away under him. Suddenly everything was quiet, and Powell splashed around in the darkness in the middle of the Limfjorden. His mind was not quite clear and he had injured his back in the crash. - He had got his little dinghy up from the plane and it was inflating. Powell tried to get up into
the dinghy, but due to his injuries he had to give up. He could only use the dinghy to keep himself up and save his strength.

Even if it was hard in the darkness Powell tried to see land around him. Far away he just discerned a search light that shone at the water. At one time the search light grew stronger and it was as if it slowly got nearer. Powell could also start hearing weak voices somewhere in the darkness. After some time the light grew really
strong and suddenly he was bathed in a light, which no longer moved. At the same time he started hearing something which sounded like strokes of oars. After some minutes he could start seeing the outline of a small boat with two men aboard faintly. At the head of the boat stood a soldier with his gun pointing directly at Powell. When the soldier at the oars was convinced that Powell was unarmed the other soldier put his gun away, and together they helped Powell aboard in the small boat.
This was the last Powell remembered from that night. At that moment he lost consciousness." (Normann Powell krydser sine spor "Norman Powell crosses his tracks", special print of an article by Kenneth Kristensen in Vendsyssel Yearbook 2005, available in Danish from Kystmuseet Bangsbo)

Powell was taken to the field hospital in Kamillianerklinikken (here), Kastetvej 3, 9000 Aalborg and on to a prison, where during the day he had a visit from the
German soldier, who in the night had aimed at him with his gun. He brought a gift: a fine red tomato! After attempts for some minutes to make a conversation with
finger language and a few words in English they parted with a handshake.

Next day he was taken by two German soldiers by train to a German HQ in Hamburg on his way to German POW-Camps. After thorough interrogations Powell was taken to Stalag VIII.B in the south of Poland. Powell was transferred to Stalag Luft III in 1944. At the end of the war the Russians came very close to the camp, and
the German guards fled. Powell and the others started moving west. On 5 May 1945 they were met by Americans troops, and in that way they were liberated.

Norman Powell married a couple of years after the war and had 3 children. He closed his grocer´s shop in Wales in 1990 and donated all of the shop to the local museum.

In the late 1990ies he found out that his 3 friends from HAM AE301 were buried in Frederikshavn! In June 2000 he visited Denmark for some days. Ole Rønnest, expert
in
the attack on Aalborg airfield, Fliegerhorst Aalborg West, on 13 August, 1940 and airwar in the area, was contacted by the mayor of Aalborg. In Frederikshavn
Powell
was twice at the graves of
Harwood, Lusher and Oastler. At Kystmuseet Bangsbo  Kenneth Kristensen guided him through The Resistance Museum of Jutland
and they had a long conversation which provided a basis for the article
Norman Powell krydser sine spor "Norman Powell crosses his tracks" - the source of the
above lines.

Norman Powell got printouts of pages from www.airmen.dk. After a telephone conversation I got Norman Powell´s account.
Hampden I AE301 ZN-  took off from RAF Coningsby at 22.00 hrs on 26 AUG 1941. (Source: Aircrew Remembered has this.) See RAF Coningsby 2017.
See Bomber Command No. 106 Squadron. 4 airmen.