We are standing here at an unusually fine
memorial stone erected in 1947 to the fallen airmen of the crew that crashed
here on 10 April 1944. In the same night and also after minelaying
operations other Lancasters crashed at
Sejerø Bugt, near Torrild,
Brande, Varde and
Filskov - and 2 in the North Sea, so that night 63
airmen were lost over Danish territory. 44 of them were buried in Denmark, 9
have no known grave and 9 became Prisoners of War, but 1
managed to get from Filskov to Sweden assisted by the
LAN ME663 caught fire about
03.30 over East Jutland, hit by a German night fighter at an altitude of
23,000 feet. "After an evasive manoeuvre down to 18,000 feet
Pilot Peter Crosby gave the order to abandon the plane. They all confirmed
the order, but the plane turned over and went down to 6,000 feet before he
The pilot repeated the order and now it was urgent, as the plane dived again.
Both wings were burning and flames were licking along the fuselage, when
Rear Gunner Stanley Hodge managed to get out of the tower. He landed at a
farm just north of Bjerregaard, while the plane went on and exploded 1 km
north of the village of Aale." (From Jens Thomsen, Tørring)
"Debris was scattered over a couple of
kilometres. A wing fell at the Aale-Mattrup road, and two engines fell on a
field nearby, where also a couple of deceased airmen were found. The
fuselage had ploughed itself into the southern part of Mattrup plantation,
where another couple of crew members were found. Way into the plantation
about 8 a.m. the search party found the sixth airman nearly lifeless. It was
Navigator F/O Charles Edward "Ted" Suffren. He had written on his water bag,
"At 03.40 attacked by fighter, thrown out of the aircraft. Back broken. Love
to my family, Ted - 05.10 pain unbearable."
Photographer Gregers Hansen from Horsens Folkeblad very soon reached the
crash site, and he was in the ambulance which took Suffren to Horsens
On their way to Horsens he got the water bag, so that it would not be taken
by the Germans. After the war the bag sank into oblivion. In 1994 the
photographer's son, reporter Lars Gregers Hansen, Kolding, told Ole Kraul in
Horsens that his mother had the bag. Later Ted Suffren's sister has received
the bag via the Australian
Suffren was taken to the
hospital in Horsens, where an immediate operation was prepared. However, the
Germans arrived shortly after and demanded that Suffren
be handed over at once. That caused loud protests from the doctors and
nurses involved. But the severely suffering airman was ruthlessly placed on
a truck body and transported to a German field hospital in Århus. Shortly
after one of the doctors in Horsens was called to the German HQ in Horsens,
where he received a highly
powerful rebuke for the protests and the abusive language to the team that
fetched the airman. Soon rumours went around in Horsens that Suffren
had died due to
the inhumant treatment. The rumour found its way to the BBC, which on 19
April mentioned it in the broadcast to Denmark. That caused the Germans to
photo of Suffren alive in the German field hospital in the newspapers
as a retraction. Suffren was transferred to Germany some weeks later.
He died on 16 February
1945 at a Luftwaffe hospital in Bad Tölz, and today he rests at Durnbach
Cemetery south of Munich."
"As mentioned before Rear Gunner Stanley
Hodge landed with his parachute at a farm north of Bjerregaard. He
crossed the stream Gudenåen at Åstedbro Inn (here)
and near Rask Forest (which is
here) he got in touch with a school girl, who contacted a teacher, Mrs.
Emilie Henriksen, Boring School. She could
talk to the airman. He was not very communicative and wanted to go to Sweden.
Considering his Australian background and the distances in his homeland it
is easy to understand that
he considered the distance to Sweden to be very short. After a meal he went
on in the evening. Next day he unfortunately got in touch with the wrong
meant that he was taken prisoner." (From Jens Thomsen, Tørring)
After the war Mrs. Emilie Henriksen had a letter from Hodge and she made it
her mission to contact relatives of the deceased airmen in the years after
She became a connecting link and an incentive behind this
memorial stone in Mattrup Forest. Her photo albums
contain photos of parents, brothers and sisters
and wives of the airmen. The contact went on till her death, when Ole Kraul
took over and carried on with at least the same energy as that shown by Mrs.
(See photo of and more about Ole Kraul. AS)
of the correspondance between her and relatives of the airmen are in a
number of boxes in The Museum of
Danish Resistance 1940-45 in Copenhagen where I
have seen them, but a lot of other things from her were passed on to Ole
Kraul and from him to Kristian Zouaoui who sent me a photo of the most
she has made.
made a big cross stitch embroidery in 1965 for herself with 47 names of airmen who lost their lives in the neighbourhood of
In 1966 she made the same again for the church
St. Clement Danes in
London, of course with some of the text in English.
In 1970 she made another embroidery with the 47 names. This she presented to
where it was placed in the
the assembly hall in the
old city hall at Søndergade 26,
Now the City Archives and
Tourist Information are situated in the building. She died in 1972.
An outstanding work she made! I cannot do
anything in cross stitch, but I can make something on the internet.
I now lay this wreath from the
Danish Home Guard
to commemorate the airmen who lost their lives during the war, and to show
that they are still remembered in 2011, many years later.