On 21 April 2014 at 14.00 this
stone with a memorial tablet to the crew of
HAL HR722 was unveiled with this speech by Helge
We are gathered here to
unveil a memorial stone to 8 airmen who lost their lives right here during
World War II. I shall now remove the
introduce the stone.
A brass tablet with an engraved inscription is mounted on it and I am going to
read it to you:
On 21 April 1943 a bomber of the
Royal Air Force
All perished and were buried in
DONALDSON - Pilot
LAY - Navigator
PARSONS - Navigator
BANKS - Air Bomber
COLE - Wireless Operator
WHYATT - Flight Engineer
WILLIS - Air Gunner
FITZGERALD - Air Gunner
Halifax HR722 - 158 Squadron
Mounted on 21 April 2014
website mentioned, AirmenDK, is made by Anders Straarup i Randers,
who also assisted with the text for this
memorial stone. For 7 years he has gathered all information on Allied planes
and airmen and put it on the internet.
shall try to explain the background of this memorial stone:
On 4 May last year the annual memorial ceremony was held in
in South Zealand. It was particularly marked that then it was 70 years ago
bomber was shot down here at Drøsselbjerg. That was because 71 year-old Rosalind Anne
Elliot, née Parsons, was among the attendants. She had not reached
the age of 2
when her father was killed here, and now she had travelled to Denmark
together with her husband Ted Elliot to see her father's gravestone.
(See Visit at the gravestone of an airman shot down
Wilfred John Parsons. He was the navigator of the plane and one
of the 8 airmen who perished here. He
reached the age of 25. He left behind
his wife and little daughter Rosalind back
home on the Isle of Wight near the south
The killed airman was washed ashore and he and another airman,
George H. Willis, were both found on 18 May
near Kirke Stillinge and Bildsø Strand. On the same
day the Falck in Ruds Vedby took them to the chapel of rest in
On 21 May 1943, one month after they perished, they were buried in
Svinø Kirkegård next to their comrades.
After the memorial
service in the churchyard in Svinø last year Rosalind Elliot asked if the crash site
at the Drøsselbjerg Cliff is marked in any way, but it was not.
That made me wonder if the site ought to be marked. That is what is
we had a Memorial stone near Kongsmark erected to
the 7 airmen who perished there. It was the 4th of the memorial stones
erected in Zealand at the crash
sites. This stone will be the 6th in Zealand apart from gravestones in
years I have seen how significant it has been to a number of relatives to
find the spot where their father or grandfather lost his life. I can mention
that a young married couple from Canada planned their honeymoon trip
so that they could visit both his grandfather's memorial stone near
Kongsmark and his gravestone in
the churchyard in Svinø.
shall give an account of what happened in that night in 1943:
Allied wanted to give Hitler a special greeting on his birthday on 20 April.
425 Royal Air Force bombers were dispatched against Stettin and Rostock
great number of factories were totally destroyed. However, the
Germans were prepared with anti aircraft guns and night fighters, so during
the overflight 19 RAF
bombers were shot down over Danish territory and 112
airmen perished. 3 of the planes crashed in West Zealand after midnight near Halsskov,
Kongsmark and Drøsselbjerg.
(See Stettin + Rostock 20 - 21 April 1943
Google Map p149-167.)
Halifax that crashed here was one of the bombers targeting Stettin. They
left RAF Lissett in Yorkshire at about 9 p.m. At a very low altitude they
flew over the
North Sea, Esbjerg and Fyns Hoved and then to the south east. The first
planes had perfectly marked the bombing target in Stettin and about 40
hectares of the
central part of the town were hit. 13 factories and 380
houses were totally destroyed, and 580 persons were killed by the attack.
During the return flight things went wrong. The
weather was clear with moonshine, so it was nearly like flying in daylight.
Danish Aviation Historical Review states that
the Halifax was hit by flak
over Korsør. Pilot
James Donaldson, 34, then attempted a forced landing in the field above
the slope behind me. The plane hit the
speed was too high and it went on into the water. It happened at 02.16. All
8 airmen aboard perished, either from the shooting or by drowning.
The explanation about a forced landing cannot
be confirmed. The local witnesses all state that the Halifax was shot down
by a German plane. It exploded in the air
and fell into the water in a number of parts. Very likely it was the same
110 that shot down the Stirling near Kongsmark a few minutes earlier.
German plane was piloted by Unteroffizier Berg.
At the same time as the above mentioned
aerial battle Løgstrup's farm Emilsminde only 600 m from here caught fire.
It burned down and all cows and pigs were
burned to death
in the fire but the farm building and the horses were rescued. (See
Korsør Avis about air crashes)
On the following day the parts of wreckage of
the plane were found and 4 of the perished airmen were taken to the chapel
of rest at
The other 4 perished airmen were washed ashore south of the cliff during the
following 4 weeks. (See Photos by Christian Larsen)
8 young men 20 to 35 years old had to
sacrifice their lives at this spot. Their effort was one of many which
since the war we have been able to live in
We will honour them with this stone and by singing
"Always dauntless -
" accompanied by Børge Riis Larsen.