Korning -  Speech by Anders Straarup on 4 May 2011     På dansk      Updated:  10 MAY 2011            
 See Photos and About memorial ceremonies and speeches  Korning * Bøgballe * Aale. Also Thanks to the Allied airmen see photo and text.

We are gathered here to show that we are delighted that the war ended the way it did in 1945. We are not neutral observers who can analyse the events as if it were just a game. It was an attempt to expand a new way of living where the state was to manage everything and where all thoughts were to be regimented.

The Germans expanded to the neighbouring countries and Denmark was occupied for more than 5 years. Fortunately the British supported by particularly Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders fought against the Germans. It was absolutely decisive that also the Americans in December 1941 after Pearl Harbour went to war.

The allied fought most of the battle, but we can be happy and proud that also many Danes in different ways joined the fight against a system for which we had no sympathy.

I have been invited here because I am particularly interested in the allied planes and airmen that came down in Denmark during World War II. I write about them on the internet on my website www.airmen.dk. In connection with planes that crashed in Bøgballe og Aale I contacted Arne Rosenkvist and others in the area. One of the 460 planes with more than 3,000 airmen that I am writing about crashed at Hostrup some kilometres south east of Hedensted on 12 September 1941. It was at a time when the Germans were still moving forward and the Americans were still neutral. I mention the episode to give a picture of the time before the Resistance movement really got under way. The plane at Hostrup had problems, so the crew of 4 men bailed out and the plane crashed into a field. Danish police deployed many men to catch the airmen, and the 3 of them were soon caught, but Philson, the last airman, had disappeared.

4 days after the crash he was found in the brake compartment of a goods van which was standing at Daugård railway station. The railwayman called the police, and that was the end of the escape. (See Google Map p047 Hampden AE300.)

Before the many policemen were to go home, a dinner was arranged at Daugård inn. Police Superintendent Palle Høybye, the leading police officer, invited the newly-caught airman to this dinner. He accepted.
When all were seated in the tap-room, among others also people from the town who wanted to see the rare guest, Philson was guided in by the Police Superintendent while everybody rose. The airman got the seat of honour at the middle of the table, and the menu consisted of rice boiled in milk and fried plaice.

There were three speeches at the dinner. First the Police Superintendent explained the situation of the Danish police to Philson and made it clear to him where the sympathy of those present lay. (Palle Høybye later became a very active member of the Danish resistance movement.) Then the burly Police Sergeant Hybschmann
from Christiansfeld stood up. He who had spent several years in British captivity during the First World War, ended by saying,"Now you must rejoice over one thing although it is depressing to be a prisoner, and that is that you have survived." (Christiansfeld here was under German rule 1864-1920).

The last of the speakers was the airman. He had borrowed pencil and paper on which a few lines were quickly jotted down. See photo of his manuscript. Now what did
a British airman say in that situation? Philson said,"Thank you, all my friends for your Godly kindness to me. My mother and father would indeed be happy if only they could know just how kind
you are. I cannot speak your tongue, but my heart is very tender to see how you love our cause. May God bless you all and keep you safe and happy until this horrible war is over."

After that people wished Philson good luck on his journey, and then the assembly ended the gathering by standing up and singing "Der er et yndigt land" (the Danish national anthem).
Subsequently the airman was fetched by a German Major." (FAF - translated by KK)

After the war Philson in 1952 and 1980 visited the area around Vejle where among others he also called on Chief Constable Høybye in Horsens - and in
November 2010 at the age of 90 he indirectly sent corrections to www.airmen.dk. (See note with more!) The plane was not on fire, but an engine had been damaged and they had lost fuel, so they had no chance to get all the way back to England. That was why they bailed out!
And among other things
Kristian Zouaoui has sent me a photo of Philson's manuscript which you may see on www.airmen.dk.

In 1946 there were 1,171 allied airmen buried in Denmark, and we still have 1,030 buried here. Then 190 airmen buried in other countries must be added and more than 900 with no known grave. There were 610 Prisoners of War. 92 airmen were helped to Sweden and 57 were sailed to England. I have 3,054 airmen in the database. (Airmen 1946)

I do not know right now the number of Danes who lost their lives due to acts of war. 193 were executed by the Germans, but many others died in other ways. Who were in the Danish Resistance Movement? It is hard to define, but on 1 May 2011 the national register of people in the resistance movement contained 70,747 persons!

After the war the politicians were wise enough to establish the
Danish Home Guard with many former members of the resistance as the nucleus - and the Danish Home Guard still exists in 2011, even if it now has a different role. From my time as an officer of the reserve in "the Artillery Regiment of Northern Jutland" I respect the Home Guard!

For centuries we have had the Dannebrog as our symbol of unity. The first allied airman, Donald V. Smith, who reached Sweden in April 1943, once walked about, tired and hungry, on the beach north west of Helsingør. Then he spotted a house flying the Danish flag, so he surmised they were true Danes. He knocked at the door, and it appeared that he was right. He got help, and there is a long story about how he came to Sweden. (First Airman to Sweden)

We can rejoice that the Denmark Society still works for the Dannebrog as our national symbol.

We can also enjoy living in a free country where we are free to choose between a number of politicians and political parties who have very different views of the future of Denmark, and where we can involve ourselves as much as we want to.

We can be grateful that the allied and the resistance movement fought and made an effort, so the dictatorship lost and Denmark became a free country. All of them fought in the same war.

I now lay this wreath from 5 associations in Korning to commemorate all the people who fell in the fight for the freedom of their own country and also for the freedom of Denmark.