Aale - 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 an unusually fine memorial stone erected in 1947 to the fallen airmen of the crew that crashed here on 10 April 1944. In the same night and also after minelaying operations other Lancasters crashed at  Jelling, in the Sejerø Bugt, near Torrild, Brande, Varde and Filskov - and 2 in the North Sea, so that night 63 airmen were lost over Danish territory. 44 of them were buried in Denmark, 9 have no known grave and 9 became Prisoners of War, but 1 managed to get from Filskov to Sweden assisted by the Danish Resistance Movement.

LAN ME663 caught fire about 03.30 over East Jutland, hit by a German night fighter at an altitude of 23,000 feet. "After an evasive manoeuvre down to 18,000 feet
Pilot Peter Crosby gave the order to abandon the plane. They all confirmed the order, but the plane turned over and went down to 6,000 feet before he regained control.
The pilot repeated the order and now it was urgent, as the plane dived again. Both wings were burning and flames were licking along the fuselage, when Rear Gunner Stanley Hodge managed to get out of the tower. He landed at a farm just north of Bjerregaard, while the plane went on and exploded 1 km north of the village of Aale." (From Jens Thomsen, Tørring)

"Debris was scattered over a couple of kilometres. A wing fell at the Aale-Mattrup road, and two engines fell on a field nearby, where also a couple of deceased airmen were found. The fuselage had ploughed itself into the southern part of Mattrup plantation, where another couple of crew members were found. Way into the plantation
about 8 a.m. the search party found the sixth airman nearly lifeless. It was Navigator F/O Charles Edward "Ted" Suffren. He had written on his water bag, "At 03.40 attacked by fighter, thrown out of the aircraft. Back broken. Love to my family, Ted - 05.10 pain unbearable."

Photographer Gregers Hansen from Horsens Folkeblad very soon reached the crash site, and he was in the ambulance which took Suffren to Horsens Hospital.
On their way to Horsens he got the water bag, so that it would not be taken by the Germans. After the war the bag sank into oblivion. In 1994 the photographer's son, reporter Lars Gregers Hansen, Kolding, told Ole Kraul in Horsens that his mother had the bag. Later Ted Suffren's sister has received the bag via the Australian

Suffren was taken to the hospital in Horsens, where an immediate operation was prepared. However, the Germans arrived shortly after and demanded that Suffren
be handed over at once. That caused loud protests from the doctors and nurses involved. But the severely suffering airman was ruthlessly placed on a truck body and transported to a German field hospital in Århus. Shortly after one of the doctors in Horsens was called to the German HQ in Horsens, where he received a highly
powerful rebuke for the protests and the abusive language to the team that fetched the airman. Soon rumours went around in Horsens that Suffren had died due to
the inhumant treatment. The rumour found its way to the BBC, which on 19 April mentioned it in the broadcast to Denmark. That caused the Germans to publish a
photo of Suffren alive in the German field hospital in the newspapers as a retraction. Suffren was transferred to Germany some weeks later. He died on 16 February
1945 at a Luftwaffe hospital in Bad Tölz, and today he rests at Durnbach Cemetery south of Munich."
(FT 90-104-24)

"As mentioned before Rear Gunner Stanley Hodge landed  with his parachute at a farm north of Bjerregaard. He crossed the stream Gudenåen at Åstedbro Inn (here)
and near Rask Forest (which is here) he got in touch with a school girl, who contacted a teacher, Mrs. Emilie Henriksen, Boring School. She could talk to the airman. He was not very communicative and wanted to go to Sweden. Considering his Australian background and the distances in his homeland it is easy to understand that
he considered the distance to Sweden to be very short. After a meal he went on in the evening. Next day he unfortunately got in touch with the wrong people. This
meant that he was taken prisoner." (From Jens Thomsen, Tørring)

After the war Mrs. Emilie Henriksen had a letter from Hodge and she made it her mission to contact relatives of the deceased airmen in the years after the war.
She became a connecting link and an incentive behind this memorial stone in Mattrup Forest. Her photo albums contain photos of parents, brothers and sisters
and wives of the airmen. The contact went on till her death, when Ole Kraul took over and carried on with at least the same energy as that shown by Mrs. Henriksen.
(See photo of and more about Ole Kraul. AS)

All of the correspondance between her and relatives of the airmen are in a number of boxes in The Museum of Danish Resistance 1940-45 in Copenhagen where I
have seen them, but a lot of other things from her were passed on to Ole Kraul and from him to Kristian Zouaoui who sent me a photo of the most remarkable item
she has made.

She made a big cross stitch embroidery in 1965 for herself with 47 names of airmen who lost their lives in the neighbourhood of Horsens.
In 1966 she made the same again for the church
St. Clement Danes in London, of course with some of the text in English.
In 1970 she made another embroidery with the 47 names. This she presented to the
Municipality of Horsens where it was placed in the the assembly hall in the
old city hall at Søndergade 26, here. Now the City Archives and Tourist Information are situated in the building. She died in 1972.

An outstanding work she made! I cannot do anything in cross stitch, but I can make something on the internet.

I now lay this wreath from the
Danish Home Guard to commemorate the airmen who lost their lives during the war, and to show that they are still remembered in 2011, many years later.