Fooled the Germans  Nurse * Sensing * Fooled * Liquidations      B17 42-32070     Updated:  21 OCT 2015

FOLKETIDENDE Lolland Friday 8th May 2015 p. 16 and 17, by Peter Gade

Captions to the photos seen on the pages in Danish (the bottom of page 16 and most of page 17):
Aage Astrup is still living in his own home with a daily visit by a home help. (Photo: Peter Gade)

102-year-old Aage Astrup welcomed local historian Ib Walbum from Archives of Local History in Rudbjerg to his home in Terndrup. (Photo: Peter Gade)

In 2002 Earl Green’s grandson from the U.S.A. came to Nakskov and took a photo of the room where his grandfather had been a patient. Here together with the
now late nursing aide Ruth Engstrøm. To this day Aage Astrup remembers in which room Green was a patient. (Photo: Kim Løwenstein)

To their mutual joy, Aage Astrup and Ib Walbum, both interested in history, exchanged historical information about the time of the occupation. (Photo: Peter Gade)

Fooled the Germans with treatment of airmen
A story from Himmerland about the wounded Allied airmen and life as a surgeon during the occupation

TERNDRUP The house is a big monstrosity, the furniture is well worn over the years, the weeds pop up here and there in the big garden facing Hadsundvej, and the kitchen in the old house constructed by a master builder has not been replaced with a new state-of-the-art kitchen.

But the mind of the 102-year-old resident Aage Astrup is bright and clear. Ib Walbum of Langø sensed that immediately after he had pressed the door bell with an
uneasy look.

Walbum had promised to call in advance to tell more about when he would arrive, but the telephone was reported out of order, so he just had to press the door bell
and hope for the best.

Shortly after a man, about 190 cm tall and with a stick, opened the door. The 102-year-old Aage Astrup welcomed him with a ”How typical that the rotten telephones
do not work. Never mind. Come on in.”

The tall man in a woollen jacket agilely leads us to the dining room where he has his memoirs in 200 closely written pages ready and says, ”We are to talk about Nakskov.”

The now 102-year-old had worked as a young assistant surgeon at Nakskov Hospital in the years 1944-46 but he had kept up his connection with West Lolland, as in 1974 as a 64-year-old he had worked as a substitute at Nakskov Hospital after he had retired from his position as a chief surgeon at the hospital in Terndrup.

He is very pleased to hear that the ”disgustingly ugly” wing for the administration in front of the classic yellow facade of Nakskov Hospital has now been torn down.

Remembers the airmen clearly
Aage Astrup does not waste time on small talk but goes directly to the point and finds his papers about the wounded American pilots Green, Hopper and Barbour.
In 1944 he was responsible for treating their wounds and he also tried to protect them from curious representatives of the German Wehrmacht.

Astrup clearly remembers that one of them had a terrible wound on his arm and a splintered fracture of bones that chief surgeon McDougall managed to put together.
A couple of days later when the plaster felt tight he immediately knew the diagnosis, gas gangrene, and his arm was amputated. In that way he saved the pilot’s life.

The other airman had had a shell in his thigh that had to be removed. His leg was put in traction and his pelvis slid to its proper position and healed. It even healed so
well that he could walk to the window and wave to the nurses.

But we were not particularly zealous, because then he was to be handed over to the Germans and taken to a Prisoner of War camp. That is why we kept him in bed
for a long time as if his leg was still in traction.

A doctor and a German officer came to see him and asked for an explanation that his wound had not healed.

The third airman, Lynn Barbour, had fallen down near Rødbyhavn where the other airmen of the crew had perished. He had a small fracture of a leg and he was taken to Nakskov Hospital for treatment.

He told me that he had a wife in the U.S.A. and I got the address. Then I could send her a letter that he was alive, Astrup states. He had the letter taken to Sweden and from there it was sent to the U.S.A..

- His wife got my letter a fortnight before she received an official letter from the United States Army Air Forces that her husband had been shot down and might have perished.

When the Germans permitted Allied airmen to be treated at Nakskov Hospital it was because they had become very satified with chief surgeon McDougall who earlier
in the occupation had treated a German soldier who had been seriously injured in a car accident – so seriously that the Germans had given up saving his life. However, McDougall managed to put him together based on his extensive knowledge of field surgery. Prior to World War I McDougal had been posted to the Balkans by the Red Cross during the Balkan Wars in 1913 and there he had gained experience in that kind of surgery.

So once the Germans had accepted him, much could be done. The Germans insisted that there had to be an armed guard for a future Prisoner of War, but they
accepted that they could only be placed outside the room.

When residents of the area sent goodies to the Americans we saw to it that the Germans were bribed with some food.

Route to Sweden
Aage Astrup had also been a member of the resistance movement in Nakskov where he had joined a group that sent people wanted by the Germans to Sweden by
a sugar vessel from Nakskov to Bornholm. He did not know the similar group on Bornholm that assisted with the last leg of the route, and neither the rest of the
resistance movement in Nakskov.

It was just the point that you were not supposed to know more than absolutely necessary, Aage Astrup states.

He also remembers that ration coupons for sugar were not necessary in Nakskov. All residents fetched the sugar they needed from a certain person at the sugar factory.

The visit was a great experience to Ib Walbum with new and additional information about the history of the occupation of Denmark.