B 17G 42-32070 - The long version                  In Danish                       Updated:  14 JAN 2010

The story of B17 42-32070 from  (Danish) Aviation Historical Review (Flyvehistorisk Tidsskrift):

"Over the target the plane was hit by flak, engine number 3 cut out, and Wireless Operator Earl F. Green was hit in one leg. When the plane reached Lolland, it was attacked by some FW 140s. The pilot slipped out of the small formation and made a perfect forced landing in a field near Ryde. The wounded wireless operator was taken to a road nearby by a few crew members while the rest tried to set fire to the plane by collecting inflammable material, pouring petrol on it and igniting it with a signal-light pistol. The fire was blazing when the nine crew members fled towards the wood, but it soon went out, and during the following days the Germans were able to take the plane apart and send it to Rechlin in Germany, as reserve parts for a fairly small German air unit which used allied planes.

Sgt. Green was quickly fetched by Falck and taken to Nakskov hospital (here) where chief surgeon MacDougal and his staff saved Green's leg. On 9 August he was discharged from the hospital, and after a few days' stay in a German hospital in the Copenhagen area he was transported by train to Germany. After being held in several prison camps he was liberated by the Russians on 5 May 1945 in the prison camp Stalag Luft I in Barth auf Rügen.

Of the 9 crew members who fled, three (2nd Lt (Pilot) Joseph R. Patterson, 2nd Lt (Bombardier) Douglas N. Galloway and S/Sgt (Top Turret Gunner Nielan J. Smith (Source: AOD)) were caught by the Germans in a garage in Sakskøbing (here) on 10 April while two others (S/Sgt (Right Waist Gunner) Alfred H. Dickmann and Sgt (Tail Gunner) Anthony LaRusso (Source: AOD)) were taken prisoners near the spot of the forced landing. On the other hand Left Waist Gunner Pvt. James J. Valley and Ball Turret Gunner S/Sgt. Mansfield Hooper quickly got into touch with helpful persons in the area, and assisted by among others Gerhard Krogh, the electrician, from Maribo (here) they arrived in Copenhagen after some days. Here they stayed with Halfdan Rasmussen, the author, for about a week until they were sent by ship to Sweden, and on 29 April they returned to England safe and sound.

The last two crew members, 2nd Lt. Tony P. Gill (Co-Pilot) and 2nd Lt. Charles F. Markowicz (Navigator), had far greater problems. Both were of Polish descent and were determined to avoid being captured, but the persons to whom they turned in the area, were very anxious and could only help with clothes and food. The two airmen tried to get along without much contact with the Danes. They hid in an adjoining wood till 12 April when they got into contact with a Dane who thought they could escape in a boat from Hesnæs (here) on Falster.

They set out, and on the night between 13 and 14 April they made an attempt to cross the Guldborgsund bridge (here), which at first sight seemed unguarded. At the last moment, however, they discovered a German guard in the light from a passing car and avoided capture. After several attempts and quite a lot of problems they crossed the Guldborgsund on 15 April in a small boat they had stolen. They spent the next two days observing the ships sailing in and out of Helnæs. There were only fishing vessels, and as the two airmen would rather hide in a fairly large ship, possibly Swedish, they gave up their plan and walked towards Stubbekøbing (here).

On 18 April they tried their fortune in Stubbekøbing, but they didn't find any ships of satisfactory size or nationality there either. In the evening Gill and Markowicz went towards the Storstrøm bridge (here) and again evaded a German guard at the last minute.
After careful observation of the German guards and the railway traffic they got an opportunity to jump on to a German transport train the following night. On the morning of 20 April they jumped off the train after passing Næstved railway station (here) and began to walk north.

On the evening of the following day, during a howling gale, they went for shelter into an outhouse belonging to a market garden in St. Valby (here) north of Roskilde. The owner had seen them, however, and the Danish police was called. Three policemen arrived, and they quickly discovered the identities of the two airmen. The policemen had contacts in the resistance movement, and a transport to Copenhagen was speedily arranged. After staying there for a few days they were sailed to Sweden, and on 29 April 1944 they flew back to England."  (FT 86-91-26)