crashed west of Grønhøj on 27 SEP 1942. All 7 airmen perished. After
contacts from his readers editor Knud Gaarn-Larsen
UGE-AVISEN KARUP established a
likely crash site. On Monday 8 October 2012 we found pieces of wreckage with
See the front page on 17 OCT 2012.
On 22 OCT 2012 the Scotsman David Geddes sent a letter of thanks to editor Knud Gaarn-Larsen, published in full on
www.airmen.dk with permission from both
Dear Knud Gaarn-Larsen,
Re: Lancaster R5679: Flight Sgt Lewis Morrison
I hope you are able to publish this letter of thanks in the Uge-Avisen.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to you and your newspaper, to
Anders Straarup, and Gregers Laigaard, and their friends for their
considerable help, time
and effort, in identifying the wreckage of the Lancaster that my uncle
piloted in 1942.
The breath of publicity is of enormous importance in trying to piece
together small facts; memories; folk knowledge; and oral tradition. I am
very aware of the strength
of oral tradition, living in an area in Scotland fought over by Scots,
Vikings, and the many clan families. In it the truth still resides.
I have been fascinated to learn of the accurate location of the buried
wreckage of the plane, the eye witness accounts of the aerial battle and
crash, the finding of the
crash location and debris, and the various small parts of the wreckage
retained by local people. It was a quite emotional moment to see the
cigarette lighter that may
have come from the wreckage.
I have been able to research some descendants of the crew members that flew
with my uncle. Some more may yet be possible to contact. The descendants of
Tail Gunner - Ralph Bevan would like to come with my wife and I, to Denmark
in 2013, to visit the site of the crash and also the graves at
Frederikshavn. We would
like to explore the possibility of creating a small memorial to all the
members of the crew of Lancaster QRO R5679, which flew from
based at Syerston
in Nottinghamshire. It was that crew's first mission together after training,
though my uncle had been second pilot on many 1000 bomber missions over
My mother was very badly affected by the loss of her brother. She gave up
her place at university to look after her bereaved parents. I don't think
any of them ever recovered fully. So the matter was not talked about in our
home. The information given to the family concerning the shooting down of
the plane and loss of the crew
was completely wrong, for the deaths of all the crew were said, at the time,
to be a war atrocity. This made discussion even more unlikely.
The past was buried until I started researching the family history. I found
some details of Anders Straarup's webpages with the help of a Danish Dental
colleague with whom I at worked for some years in Nepal on charitable
projects. His information was entirely new to me, and now we know so much
more of the aerial combat, the
crash and the crew. His information unlocked the past for me.
Recently the 70th anniversary of the crash passed, and as I write this, the
70th anniversary of the
second battle of El Alamein will pass in a few hours.
My father was
there as a young officer. He watched over 500,000 artillery shells explode
in 5 hours as the battle commenced. He was in charge of the transport of an
armoured field ambulance unit located in front of the guns and just behind
the minefields of the front line. He did once say he was sorry for the
German and Italian troops under that fearsome barrage. This too was not
talked of in our home.
He went on to fight at
Monte Cassino in Italy, another battle with
horrendous levels of casualties, and then to India and nearly to the
Japanese war in Burma.
It is enormously important as those who fought these battles for our freedom,
who now gradually fade away, that their efforts are remembered. And their
enabling us to live in modern democracies is acknowledged.
So I would like to close this letter by thanking the People of Denmark, who
have kept a vital interest, and enabled the truth of these matters to be
revealed all these
many years on. It may be difficult to describe just how important it is to
the families of the crew, that the details of the losses, that happened
before I was born, have
been discovered at last. Thank you Denmark!
I have a living reminder of my uncle: - my son. He shares the same name
'Lewis' taken from the Island on the north west of Scotland where the
originated. There is a considerable facial likeness, and the remarkable
ability with Maths and Physics that brought them both 1st Class Honours
Degrees at university.
I am told my uncle was a gentle, kindly and considerate young man and very
modest. And so is my son.
I do hope that consideration for a small memorial to their lasting memory
might now be possible. I am prepared to afford this.
Yours most sincerely,
David Geddes. Dental Surgeon.
retired, Royal Army Medical Corps/ Royal Army Dental Corps.