Bøgballe - 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 standing here at the memorial stone that Mads Nielsen had erected and unveiled on 2 April 1971. That was the way he wanted to celebrate his 85th anniversary!

On 21 April 1943 at 03.00 hours this Stirling plane (STI BF506 - Bøgballe) crashed here into the field behind us about 150 m away. It was on fire when it crashed
and was crushed into many pieces. None of the 7 airmen survived. Mads Nielsen was assigned to deliver coffins and collect the bits of bodies. The airmen were
buried in Esbjerg. You may see photos of their headstones on my website www.airmen.dk.

In the same night at 03.12 hours a Lancaster (LAN W4330 - Vestbirk) crashed near Vestbirk. All of the 7 airmen were killed.

At 03.26 hours a Stirling
(STI BF476 - Kragelund Fælled) force landed about 1 km south of where we are standing now. I have photos from the crash site.
All 7 airmen were captured by the Germans, but
Horsens Folkeblad managed to take photos of them.

What kind of operation were they on? (Danish) Aviation Historical Review writes:
In the night between 20 and 21 April 1943 339 bombers from the RAF attacked Stettin. The sky was clear and the marking made by the Pathfinders was perfect.
About 40 ha of the city centre were hit, and 13 factories and 380 houses were totally destroyed. 580 persons were killed in the attack. At the same time 86 Stirlings attacked the Heinkel factories outside Rostock, but due to a heavy cloud cover over the target area the attack was changed to the Neptun U-boat shipyard in the city
of Rostock. All planes flew over Denmark from Esbjerg to Fyns Hoved, where the Pathfinders had dropped yellow target indicators. The Rostock formation then was
to fly to the south along the Storebælt, while the Stettin formation was to pass Sjælland to Rügen. The flight level was determined to 500-1000 feet or lower over

13 Lancasters, 8 Halifaxes and 9 Stirlings - 30 bombers - were lost due to flak or attacks from German night fighters. (See Stettin+Rostock April 1943.)
On www.airmen.dk I have 19 planes lost over Danish territory with 138 airmen. 84 of them are buried in Denmark, 28 have no known grave, 25 became Prisoners of
War and
 1 man reached Sweden!

30 planes of 425 planes lost - that is a loss of 7%. A high number! In comparison there were 677 sorties with air-drop operations to the Danish Resistance movement
with a loss of only 18 planes, a loss of only 2,7%.

At Halskov just south east of the bridge head of the Great Belt Bridge on Zealand a big Halifax bomber (HAL DT628) crashed in the same night. The bomb load blew
the plane and its crew to bits. I have worked a lot with that plane, because the crew members are buried as unknown in Bispebjerg Cemetery in Copenhagen.
According to one account the Germans had had a lot of drinks to celebrate Hitler's birthday and they were very noisy. They really shot a lot at the planes that came
near. The next day a 17-year-old girl was at the crash site together with her friend, a police auxiliary in his uniform.
D. Hansen wrote to me: Parts of bodies were scattered around us. What was most macabre about it was that the soldiers were playing football with the heads of the deceased people.
Jørgen Bech Nielsen: I saw P. K. Justesen with his horse-drawn carriage loading the corpses onto the wagon with a pitchfork. They were scattered all
over the place.
Bjarne Johansen: The Germans walked about picking up parts of bodies. They were put into 4 zinc coffins.

If I manage to make the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission accept that the airmen in Bispebjerg are from this plane and that it was HAL DT628, it should
provide the basis for a replacement of headstones. The 7 headstones to unknown airmen can then be replaced with 8 headstones with names! It was just an estimate
that there were 7 airmen, because normally there were 7 men in a Halifax! The decision making process is long, and last time I made a call, there were 80 unsolved
cases to consider in England!

Normally the airmen had to complete 25 missions, and then they would be transferred to another kind of duty without direct contact with the enemy. Lester Schrenk
whom I often talk to on Skype relates from 1944 that 21 missions was the record he knew - and that plane was shot down and all of the crew perished on mission 22!

We can not only be grateful that the young men fought against the Germans. We can also hold them in profound respect because they kept flying in spite of the
heavy losses.

I now lay this wreath from the Danish Home Guard to commemorate the perished airmen.