Freedom has a price, 2020                    Both monuments and crash site of JA967                                  Updated:  01 JUN 2023 

Friheden har en pris * Artikel på dansk med fotos.

Freedom has a price * Translation without photos – see photos in the edition in Danish.
By Matthias Ingemann Holm, photos by Timo Battefeld in Jyske Vestkysten 30 JAN 2020


In memory of the killed airmen: Freedom has a price
Photo 1: Memorial ceremony for killed Allied airmen crashed over the northern part of Als during WW II.

Every year on 29 January people gather on Næsvej in Broballe to remember the two English planes that crashed nearby during WW II.
14 Allied airmen perished.

Broballe: - It is important that we remember that our freedom has a price.

A gathering of people met on Wednesday at 13:00 on Næsvej near Broballe.

They were gathered to commemorate 14 English and Australian airmen who lost their lives in  two Lancaster bombers that crashed over the northern part of Als in 1944.

Photo 2: Jeanette Hounsgaard laid flowers on behalf of the surviving relatives of the 14 crew members.

The memorial tablet is changed 

One plane was attacked by German night fighters when it flew over Varnæs. In an evasive action it lost parts of both wings and crashed nearly vertically on fields near Broballe.

The crash was only about 100 metres from the site of the two memorial stones. They bear the names of the 14 killed airmen of the two crews. The crater can still be spotted on the opposite side of the road.

The other plane was flying over Augustenborg Fjord when an incendiary bomb stuck in a wing and set the plane ablaze.

50 years later the two brothers Gunnar and Henning Hounsgaard saw to it that the two memorial stones were erected.

Lucky not to be hit

Earlier Gunnar Hounsgaard was in charge of the ceremony, but after he passed away last year his daughter Jeannette has taken over.

Sometimes I was kidding my father by pointing out that he was lucky not to be hit by one of the planes, Jeanette Hounsgaard stated.

Her father Gunnar Hounsgaard and uncle Henning Hounsgaard grew up near the air crash.

I decided to continue the work of my father because I find it important. It is important to remember, and we would like history not to be repeated. She also points out that even if the participants in the gathering do not know any of the 14 airmen in person, it is worth remembering and honouring their names.

Certainly they were great people. They sacrificed everything for our freedom. They had families and friends waiting for them. Their effort shall not be forgotten, Jeanette Hounsgaard states.

Photo 3: The two bombers with altogether 14 crew members crashed over the northern part of Als near Broballe.

It is our history
One of the participants stressed the importance of the events for his part.
This is our history. These stones show where we come from.

Then the audience sang Always dauntless when you tread.

After the song flowers were laid at the memorial stones and there were a number of speeches.
After the ceremony the participants went to a common coffee table at Oksbøl Friskole.

Photo 4: The 14 deceased crew members were from the RAF and the RAAF.

Photo 5: For a long time it was believed that the two planes had collided and then crashed. The truth turned out to be different. One was shot down and the other hit by an incendiary bomb. On 28 January the memorial tablet was changed by the Municipality of Sønderborg.

Photo 6: The memorial ceremony was opened with a speech before the community sang Always dauntless when you tread.

Photo 7:  The 14 fallen airmen from England and Australia were commemorated with flowers and a song.

Photo 8: The memorial ceremony for killed Allied airmen that crashed on the northern part of Als during WW II.

Photo 9: Jeanette Hounsgaard made a short speech in honour of the deceased airmen and their surviving relatives.

Photo 10: Memorial ceremony to killed Allied airmen who crashed on the northern part of Als during WW II.