Whitley IV K9048 - At Hadsund                                                           Updated:  21 SEP 2015

Airman Surname Init Rank Service Sqdn P_link Plane Operation Crash_site Crash_d Buried_d C_link At_Next
o888115.htm Hargraves F LAC RAF 51 p005.htm WHI K9048 Attack DK At Hadsund d240440 o888 o888.htm POW
o888116.htm Hayward B W F/Lt RAF 51 p005.htm WHI K9048 Attack DK At Hadsund d240440 o888 o888.htm POW
o888118.htm Lyne AWG LAC RAF 51 p005.htm WHI K9048 Attack DK At Hadsund d240440 o888 o888.htm POW
o888114.htm Milne K T F/Lt RAF 51 p005.htm WHI K9048 Attack DK At Hadsund d240440 o888 o888.htm POW
o888117.htm Ritchie J B Sgt RAF 51 p005.htm WHI K9048 Attack DK At Hadsund d240440 o888 o888.htm POW


Den 24. april 1940 var
WHI K9048 en af 6 Whitleys, der angreb Rødslet Flyveplads (Aalborg West her, overblik her. Se også Flyvepladserne i Aalborg.) Flyet blev ramt af flak, lige da pilot F/Lt Keith Milne havde kastet den sidste bombe i nærheden af flyvepladsen. "Venstre motor stoppede øjeblikkelig, og højre motor fik skudt oliebeholderen væk. Uden olietilførsel ville motoren hurtigt blive varm og antagelig bryde i brand. Piloten kaldte derfor de øvrige fire besætningsmedlemmer over samtaleanlægget, og man opdagede derved, at agterskytten, LAC F. Hargraves, havde forladt flyet. Han var sprunget ud med fladskærm og blev om morgenen fundet af tyskerne i bevidstløs tilstand i nærheden af Limfjorden. Piloten foretog en perfekt nødlanding på en mark ved "Fuglegård" (omkring her, overblik her 6 km nordvest for Hadsund) og besætningen forsøgte at sætte ild til flyet, men det lykkedes ikke. De fire besætningsmedlemmer delte sig i to grupper.

F/Lt Milne og 2. piloten/navigatøren F/Lt Bernard W. Hayward gik sammen, da de begge var canadiere, der havde søgt ind i RAF, mens næseskytten Sgt J.B. Ritchie og radiooperatøren LAC A.W.G. Lyne dannede den anden gruppe. Milne og Hayward nåede tidligt om morgenen frem til gården "Svalhøjgård" (her, overblik her) hvor familien Lykke Ravnborg bød dem på mad og varm kaffe. De fik anvist vejen mod Hadsund og begav sig mætte ud over markerne. Senere havnede de hos familien Engberg på "Mariehøj" (her, overblik her) der også bespiste dem og gav dem sko i stedet for de tunge og ubekvemme flyverstøvler. De ønskede at forlade landet, men efter at have fået forklaret situationen i Danmark, besluttede de at overgive sig til tyskerne, idet de mente, at krigen kun ville vare et års tid. Der blev ringet efter politiet i Hadsund, som hurtigt kom og kørte flyverne til Aalborg.

Den 28. april kunne man i England høre Radio Hamburg og Lord Haw-Haw give følgende meddelelse: "An Armstrong Whitley bomber has been brought down and the following are prisoners of War - Milne, Hayward, Ritchie and Lyne". Fra Aalborg blev flyverne transporteret til Tyskland i en Ju52. Milne og Hayward kom til fangelejren
Oflag IXA i Spangenberg. (Se Tyske krigsfangelejre.)

 

I slutningen af august 1940 kom to civile malere til fangelejren for at male kommandantens kontor. Keith Milne og en anden canadier i RAF, Donald Middleton, øjnede straks en chance for flugt. Hvide lagner blev hurtigt syet sammen og da malerne forlod lejren ved frokosttid uden malegrej og stiger, skulle man blot vente på det næste vagtskifte, som fandt sted kort efter. Uden at veksle et ord med den nye vagt gik Milne og Middleton ud af fangelejren, men dermed ophørte deres held. Flugten havde ikke været tilstrækkelig forberedt, og på den nærmeste jernbanestation blev de opdaget. En flok civile holdt dem tilbage og tildelte dem flere slag før det lokale politi ankom.
På politistationen blev de pryglet og efterladt i en kold fangecelle uden lys og vand. Deres flugt var muligvis den første fra en fangelejr i Tyskland, og de blev i flere uger behandlet som meget grove forbrydere.

I november blev Milne og Middleton i selskab med F/O Howard D. Wardle overført til borgen Colditz, hvorfra det skulle være umuligt at flygte. De var de første tre
logerende i fængslet, og den første morgen blev de ført ud i en skov og stillet op af en granitmur med besked om, at de skulle henrettes. Efter et større show førte de grinende vagter de tre chokerede flyvere tilbage til Colditz. Keith Milne kom sig aldrig over den grove behandling, og resten af sit fem år lange fangenskab førte han en tilbagetrukken tilværelse, hvor han helt og holdent helligede sig astronomien og byggede sin egen stjernekikkert.

Milne og Middleton blev i Colditz indtil befrielsen, men det lykkedes F/O Wardle at flygte til Schweiz i oktober 1942. Efter krigen blev Milne apoteker i Vancouver, mens "Haybag" Hayward blev landmand i Dugald i Manitoba." (FT 90-43-1) 5 flyvere. Se Google Map 51 Squadron.

On 24 April 1940 WHI K9048 was one of 6 Whitleys to attack Rødslet Airfield (Aalborg West here, overview here. See also Airfield Aalborg West.) It was hit by flak just as Pilot F/Lt Keith Milne had dropped the last bomb near the airfield. "The port engine immediately stopped, and the starboard engine had the oil tank shot away. Without supply of oil the engine would soon get hot and catch fire. Therefore the pilot called the other 4 crew members on the intercom, and it was discovered that Rear Gunner, LAC F. Hargraves had abandoned the plane. He had bailed out, and in the morning he was found unconscious near the Limfjorden. The pilot made a perfect forced landing in a field at "Fuglegård" (about here, overview here 6 km north west of Hadsund). The crew tried to set fire to the plane, but they did not succeed. The 4 crew members split up into two groups.

F/Lt Milne and Co-Pilot / Navigator F/Lt Bernard W. Hayward teamed up as both of them were Canadians, who had joined the RAF, while Nose Air Gunner Sgt J.B. Ritchie and Radio Operator LAC A.W.G. Lyne formed the other group. Early in the morning Milne and Hayward came to the farm "Svalhøjgård" (here, overview here) where the Lykke Ravnborgs offered them food and hot coffee. They were shown the way towards Hadsund. They were full when they walked across the fields. Later they ended up with the Engbergs at "Mariehøj" (here, overview here). Here they had food and they got shoes instead of their heavy and inconvenient flying boots. They wished to leave the country, but after the situation in Denmark had been explained to them they decided to surrender to the Germans, as they thought that the war would only last about a year. The police in Hadsund was called, and the airmen were soon picked up and taken to Aalborg.

On 28 April 1940 in England Lord Haw-Haw was heard on Radio Hamburg giving this announcement: "An Armstrong Whitley bomber has been brought down and the following are prisoners of War - Milne, Hayward, Ritchie and Lyne". From Aalborg the airmen were taken to Germany in a Ju52. Milne and Hayward were taken to the POW camp Oflag IXA in Spangenberg. (See German POW-Camps.)
 

At the end of August 1940 two civilian painters came to the POW camp to paint the commandant´s office. Keith Milne and another Canadian in the RAF, Donald Middleton, spotted a chance to escape. Quickly white sheets were sewn together, and when the painters left the camp at lunch without their equipment and ladders, the prisoners only had to wait for the next change of guards, which took place shortly after. Without a word with the new guard Milne and Middleton walked out of the POW camp, but then they ran out of luck. The escape had not been sufficiently prepared, and they were discovered at the nearest railway station. A number of civilians kept them in custody and beat them several times until the local police arrived. At the police station they were beaten and left in a cold cell without light or water. Maybe their escape was the first escape from a POW camp in Germany and for weeks they were treated like serious criminals.

In November Milne and Middleton together with F/O Howard D. Wardle were taken to the castle Colditz from which escape was supposed to be impossible. They were the first three lodgers, and in the first morning they were taken out into a wood and placed at a granite wall with the message that they were to be executed. After a kind of show the grinning guards took the three shocked airmen back to Colditz. Keith Milne never recovered from the gross treatment, and during the rest of his 5 years in captivity he led a solitary life where he completely dedicated himself to astronomy and built his own telescope.

Milne and Middleton remained in Colditz until the liberation, but F/O Wardle managed to escape to Switzerland in October 1942. After the war Milne became a chemist in Vancouver, while "Haybag" Hayward became a farmer in Dugald in Manitoba." (FT 90-43-1)

This Whitley from Bomber Command No. 51 Squadron took off from RAF Dishforth. See also No. 51 Bomb Squadron and The 51 Squadron Website.
5 airmen
  See Google Map 51 Squadron.