A letter from Canada  translated by AS from "Der kom brev fra Canada" pdf Randers Amtsavis 18 FEB 2017.     Updated:  09 MAR 2017

About James Reid Bradley of Halifax JD156, taken to the Memorial Grove in Randers North Cemetery on 23 JUN 1945Photos are only in the edition in Danish.

A letter came from Canada
One morning in January a letter from The Royal Danish Consulate General in Toronto arrived at Museum Østjylland via The Municipality of Randers.
The sender was Mrs. Nora E. Hibbert, the sister of the fallen Canadian airman James Reid Bradley. He fell in service during World War II.
He rests in the Memorial Grove in Randers North Cemetery.

By Mathilde Storvang, Randers Stadsarkiv. (Randers City Archives)
Recently Nora E. Hibbert and her son visited Randers. They went to see the Memorial Grove in Randers North Cemetery. It was the first time she was in Randers
to see the grave of her fallen brother - 73 years after he fell in combat. She was very moved by the way the Memorial Grove is kept, and about the reception he had
and has had in his last resting place.

A grateful greeting to Randers
When Nora E. Hibbert had returned to Canada she wrote a letter to express her deep gratitude for the kindness people in Randers have shown to her brother.
The letter was sent to The Danish Consulate in Toronto that passed it on to The Municipality of Randers, Museum East Jutland and Randers North Cemetery:

Dec. 1/2016
Dear Sirs,
My brother, who was a navigator flying from Norway, was shot down by the Germans. The very kind people of Randers have a memorial stone for him in its
churchyard along with other Danes who were killed by said Germans.
My son and I visited my brother's memorial and we appreciate, very much, the loving care the people of Randers give to the site.
If it is possible, could you please let the people of Randers know how much the family of the Canadian flyer James Reid Bradley appreciate, very much, the care
and kindness shown to our brother / uncle.
Yours truly,
Nora E. Hibbert.

The previous history of an air crash
The story of Nora Hibbert's brother Flying Officer James Reid Bradley and his connection to Randers started on the night before 17 September 1943. That night
Bradley and 6 other crew members were aboard the bomber HAL JD165. The plane was a Halifax, which is a 4-engined bomber built by Handley Page.
The Halifax together with Short Stirling and Avro Lancaster constituted the stock of the British fleet of heavy bombers during World War II. Primarily the RAF used the Halifax for nightly raids on Germany and occupied territories. That night the crew and plane were on their way with supplies for the Polish resistance movement.
In the area around Aarhus Bay the plane was spotted by a German night fighter and shot ablaze. Then it ditched off Norsminde (maybe about here).

The survivors
4 of the 7 crew members survived the air crash and they were rescued by 4 Danes who came in a fishing boat. The crew members were perishing with cold after
having drifted around in the cold sea in their life jackets.
On land they were taken to Norsminde Kro where they were welcomed with great hospitality. However, shortly after they were fetched by the Germans and taken to German Prisoner of War camps. They were Sergeant S. Francis and the Flight Sergeants G.T. Jones, D.R. Quinlivan, and L.A. Trotter (the latter was heavily burned).

The dead
In November Wireless Operator, Sergeant Henry Johnston of this crew was found drifting in the Kattegat. He was taken to Frederikshavn where he was buried on Saturday 13 November 1943. One of the air gunners, Flight Sergeant G.E. Snook, disappeared into the sea. 16 days later the body of Flying Officer James Reid
Bradley was washed ashore near Helgenæs.
On 4 October 1943 Randers Amtsavis stated: "Body of Canadian airman washed ashore on Helgenæs (here). Last Saturday morning the severely decomposed body
of a Canadian airman was washed ashore near Særbæk on Helgenæs. It is presumed that he came from a plane from which parts of wreckage drifted ashore on
Sletterstrand about a week ago. The body was laid in a coffin and placed in the Særbæk House." (Here, overview here and here, 700 m north west of Helgenæs!)
Later the same day his name was written into the burial register of Randers North Cemetery. During that day German soldiers had taken the coffin to Randers.
Nothing was written in any newspaper in the following days, but that is very well in keeping with how the Germans handled those matters during the Occupation.
The Memorial Grove in Randers North Cemetery was established right after the liberation in 1945, and James Reid Bradley was interred there on 23 June 1945.

Burial of Allied airmen
When the Germans occupied Denmark on 9 April 1940 burials of Allied airmen became the subject of a number of German directives. Till 1943 burials could still
be carried out by a Danish clergyman and attended by representatives of Danish authorities.
At the end of 1943 the air war over Europe changed and conditions aggravated towards the end of the war. It also influenced the way in which the Wehrmacht
viewed burials of fallen Allied airmen. In the first place Germans with a number of directives tried to exclude Danish attendance at burials of Allied airmen.
With increased Allied bombing raids on German cities the German attitude become more bitter. The airmen of the enemy were called "Terrorflieger" which meant
new measures in connection with burials of Allied airmen shot down over Denmark. According to the new rules Germans were to refrain from any form of honours
and ecclesiastical attendance.
In this country it took some time to implement the stricter rules, as German officers in Denmark continued standard military customs at burials.
(Well, see also About AirmenDK: The German attitude to burials in Tønder, Fårevejle, Dejbjerg and Mårum! See 3 burials in Vadum. FAF Summary. Links: AS.)

Captions at PHOTOS AND ILLUSTRATIONS in the original article "Der kom brev fra Canada" pdf Randers Amtsavis 18 FEB 2017. 

The Memorial Grove in Randers North Cemetery. Every year flowers are laid on the graves on 5 May on the occasion of the Liberation of Denmark and on
2 December, the date when 3 members of the resistance movement, Anders W. Andersen, Sven C. Johannesen, and Oluf Kroer, were executed. They were 3 people
of the area who participated in the sabotage against the railway bridges near Langå which were blown up on 17 November 1943. Photo: Randers City Archives.

Randers in the old days. (The 3 towers are the municipality arms of Randers)

German soldiers who died while they were posted to Randers were also buried in Randers North Cemetery. A total of 28 men between 16 and 58 years of age
were buried here. It was a tradition that the soldier's helmet was placed on the cross. Later the soldiers were taken to a common grave in another cemetery.
Photo: Randers City Archives.

James Reid Bradley was a member of the crew of a Halifax plane that was shot down over Denmark. Photo from archives. (Halifax HR871 has a special story.)

Nora E. Hibbert's letter that she wrote in gratitude to the town after her visit in 2016. Photos: Randers City Archives.

The first grave of Flying Officer James Reid Bradley. He was buried in Randers North Cemetery on 4 October 1943. On 23 June 1945 he was transferred to
the Memorial Grove in the cemetery, where he now rests with local members of the resistance movement. Photos: Randers City Archives.