Disaster with 10 deceased remembered   Part 1 * 2   HAL BB309  * Slaglille Kirkegård - Churchyard     Updated:  24 OCT 2018 

Article and photos by Bjarne Stenbæk in Sjællandske, Monday 17 SEP 2018
Translation: Anders Straarup

See photos in the pdf-file in Danish:
Katastrofe med 10 dræbte mindet
1. Zbigniew Kasprzak, the brother of one of the Polish soldiers, lays a wreath on the plot of the Christensens. Now it is 75 years since the disaster.
2. Ingelise Larsen lays a wreath on the plot of the Christensens.
She is the granddaughter of Laurits and Mary.
3. The church in Slaglille was filled to capacity. Zbigniew Kasprzak is in the foreground to the left.
4. The monument in Slaglille Churchyard was created by the Polish sculptor Kazimierz Danilewicz.

ACCIDENT OF WAR: 17 September 1943 is a black day in history. Shortly before
5 a.m. Halifax BB309 of the Royal Air Force was shot down over Slaglille near Sorø. The accident, which also had fatal consequences for a local family, was
remembered in Slaglille Church and in Slaglille Churchyard on Saturday afternoon. The church was filled to capacity.

SLAGLILLE:  The plane had been on a mission to Poland to drop weapons and a number of paratroopers for the Polish Resistance. It was spotted by a German Junkers 88 night fighter and the Germans hit the British plane with a Polish crew. The plane failed to return to England. It crashed into the house of the Christensens on Stokholtsvej.

Five Danes killed
All of the family were asleep in the house. At the crash woodman Laurits Christensen, his wife Mary, their children Inge, 1, and Ulla, 6, were killed together with Laurits Christensen’s mother, Karen Marie.

Wladyzlaw Bardo, Julian Michalski, Wladyslaw Patlewicz, and Wicenty Wasilewski were also killed. The survivors Eugeniuz Kasprzak and Tadeusz Miecnik were taken to the hospital in Ringsted, where Kasprzak later died from his injuries. Miecznik survived and he was successfully smuggled to Sweden.

In the house the daughter Betty, 22, and her newly christened baby survived together with Viggo, 18, Ruth, 13, Jørgen, 11, and Egon, 10. Two more children were in service away from home.

It was a terrible tragedy, and to some degree it split the family, Ingelise Larsen relates. She is the granddaughter of Laurits and Mary. None of the children of the couple are alive today.

On the other hand it was not something that was talked about very much. The surviving children were taken to their aunt Esther in Pedersborg.  But of course you cannot get through an experience like that without suffering, and particularly the two youngest boys were marked by the disaster. However, apart from that they did very well.

Local subscription

There was no public help, she continues. Emergency relief was nearly unknown and the attitude was also that it was the best to forget what had happened. There was no financiel support, but enough money came from a local subscription to buy a new and bigger house for the family.

The subscription was on the initiative of landowner Erich Steenberg, Store Ladegaard, and about 40.000 kr were collected. Really a big amount in 1943. The family also received a telegram from King Christian X expressing the  sympathy of the Queen and himself.

Polish joy

Among the attendants in the ceremony on Saturday were the Polish ambassador to Denmark Henryka Moscicka-Dendys, the Military Attache of the British Embassy in Copenhagen, Company Rosenborg of the Danish Home Guard, Mayor of Sorø Gert Jørgensen, Mayor of Næstved Carsten Rasmussen, the Polonia Society, members of the Christensen family, and from Poland the Kasprzak family.

Zbigniew Kasprzak, 84, the younger brother of the fallen pilot Eugeniusz Kasprzak, came from Lublin in Poland.

It means a lot to all our family that a memorial service like this can be held with participation of both Danes and Poles, he says. We live far away and unfortunately we are not able to come here very often. Especially for that reason it is important to keep the memory alive and honour those who had to pay the ultimate price.

                                     Continued in Part  2