”On the night before 10 February, 1945, they were ready at 7 drop zones on
Funen to signal to allied planes with weapons. However, at about 10 p.m. bad
weather started, so none of the planes reached the waiting residents of
Funen." (FAF) The other 6 planes returned, but
STI LK279 failed to return.
Google Map p392r Stirling LK279 and this long version with
"That night the drop zone
"Henriette" on Fønsskovodde was ready to receive weapons from the
from a plane with more than one engine made the leader
of the reception turn on some light - and it appeared to be a German night
fighter. 5-10 minutes later at about 01.00 hours a sudden noise was heard.
(As if a plane
had crashed into the water.) The team for the reception broke up and on
their way home they fell into a German ambush at Udby. Two of the Germans
were killed, one
was severely wounded and a number slightly wounded, while all of the
Danes from the reception got away. (A book by Anders Bjørnvad has more - see
the text in
Danish) The plane for "Henriette" had returned due to bad weather starting at about
22.00 hours (snow and sleet).
The plane for "Niels", a drop zone at Østerballe on North Funen, was
reported missing. Over the radio the RAF requested a search from the
resistance movement in
the region of Funen. The missing plane
LK279) was observed in the Lillebælt
south of Stenderup Hage and west of Fønsskovodde at Flækøjet. It had broken
two parts and in the next days the cargo drifted ashore near Stenderup,
where the resistance movement in Middelfart fetched the supplies. It is
believed that the plane
was shot down by the German night fighter, and possibly the wreckage was
salvaged by the German authorities, as there are no pieces of wreckage on
that position today." (FT 86-67-43)
On 9 June 1945 the body of
W. J. Carthew was found at Aalehoved (see
Google Map p392r Stirling LK279). He was buried on 11 June 1945 in
On 2 January 1946 the body of R.
Y. French was found in the Lillebælt near Brandsø. On 5 January 1946 he was
buried in Fredericia. AOD has details.
R. J. Ball, W. M. Haragan,
G. E. Mercer, G. C. Toes and
L. S. Tucker have no known grave - but one of them
might be the Unknown Airman in Fredericia!
Obviously the author of the article
in (Danish) Aviation Historical Review (FT 86-67-43) did not know the salvage
operation in 1951:
"In September-October 1951 the wreckage of the plane was salvaged from the
position 55º26’00” N and 09º41’40” E at a depth of 18 m.
All 4 engines were salvaged together with the wings, fuselage and landing wheels.
Four machine guns with ammunition and some items for sabotage actions were in
Only some bones from a leg and a foot were found
in a boot. On 10 October 1951 the newspaper Fredericia Dagblad reported that the
human remains had been
to the chapel of rest in Fredericia: "It is believed that the perished airman
has been wedged in the plane. He appears to have been a very big and strongly
and possibly that will lead to an identification."
Two days later the same newspaper reported that
the British Air Force Attache in Denmark, Wing Commander N.A.N. Bray, had
examined the remains. It was Bray's
view that the human remains were from the pilot and that the current
investigation would bring up his name. The newspaper reported that the pilot
would be buried "in Skærbæk or in Fredericia".
An identification of the parts of the body as belonging to pilot
F/S Tucker does not appear to
have been carried out, and even more remarkable: In the newspaper, the church
register or other church records there is not any piece of information about the
burial. Even if it may be believed that the headstone in Christians Kirkegård
the Unknown British airman must be a memorial to the airman retrieved in 1951 it
cannot be said with certainty. It also adds to the confusion that the text on
the headstone reads:
“An Airman of the 1939-1945 War. Royal Air Force February 1943”.
allierede flyvere på Christians Kirkegård, an article from Fredericiabogen
Jørgen Peder Clausager and Flemming Hansen)