English airmen remembered, 2021                Both monuments and crash site of JA967                Updated: 01 JUN 2023  

Engelske flyvere mindet * Artikel på dansk med fotos

English airmen remembered * Translation without photos – see photos in the edition in Danish.
By Katrine Stampe, photos by Timo Battefeld in Jyske Vestkysten 30 JAN 2021


English airmen remembered in spite of Covid-19: Their history must never be forgotten
Photo 1: 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 lost their lives. This year it was not a public event due to the ban on more than 5 persons meeting  at the same place.

Every year on 29 January a memorial ceremony is held to commemorate two English planes that crashed near Broballe during World War II,
but this year it was different.

Broballe: We normally recognize traditions from year to year, but  it is not always possible to uphold all of them.

The Contact Committee for Military Tradions in the Sønderborg Area had to realize that when they met on the anniversary of two air crashes that cost 14 Allied airmen their lives back in 1944.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions only 5 people were allowed to meet and honour the fallen airmen. It was without a song. The previous years the memorial ceremony has been followed by a lecture and a common coffee table, but it was also cancelled.

A cancellation was never considered

In spite of the many drawbacks the Committee never questioned that the ceremony had to be carried out.

Their history must never be forgotten. Our freedom has come with a price, states Jens Peter Rasmussen, the chairman of The Contact Committee for Military Traditions in the Sønderborg Area.

Photo 2: Nobody in the gathering had a personal knowledge of any of the 14 crew members.

For many years he has also commemorated the 14 English and Australian airmen who crashed over the northern part of Als on their way to Berlin – and every year he reflects on what happened.

I am grateful that they gave their lives to liberate us in Europe, said Jens Peter Rasmussen when bunches of flowers had been laid at the two memorial stones that has been erected on Næsvej near Broballe. The air crashes took place here.

Remember the story

One of those who witnessed the event was Gunnar Hounsgaard, who erected the stones together with his brother Henning in 1994. It was on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of the fallen airmen.

For many years Gunnar Hounsgaard participated in the anniversary, but after he passed away in 2019 his daughter Jeanette Hounsgaard took over.

We must not forget their effort and their sacrifice, Jeanette Hounsgaard stated in her speech where she also spoke in remembrance of her father.

Photo 3: Earlier Jeannette Hounsgaard’s father Gunnar Hounsgaard was in charge of the ceremony, but after he passed away in 2019 his daughter has taken over.

He was very dedicated to it, and it meant a lot to him to take part in the memorial ceremony, as he had been very close to what happened. He was only 17 years old and could hear all of the planes that came over the fields. I have decided to carry on his work, as it is important that that story should never be forgotten, she says after the speech. 

One plane was attacked by Germans 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.

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.

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

Photo 4: Normally there would be a common coffee table after the memorial ceremony, but it was impossible due to Covid-19.

Photo 5: The Sønderborg Maritime Association also joined in commemorating the air crashes.

Photo 6: The few attendants made speeches in honour of the 14 English and Australian airmen who lost their lives in 1944 in two Lancaster bombers that crashed over the northern part of Als.

Photo 7: In spite of Covid-19 flowers were laid at the two memorial stones on Næsvej near Broballe.