Stirling IV LK279 - The long version            På dansk                         Updated:  05 AUG 2011

”On the night before 10 February, 1945, they were ready at 7 drop zones on Funen to signal to allied planes with weapons. However, at about 10 p.m. bad weather started, so none of the planes reached the waiting residents of Funen." (FAF) The other 6 planes returned, but STI LK279 failed to return.

Google Map p392r Stirling LK279 and this long version with details.

"That night the drop zone "Henriette" on Fønsskovodde was ready to receive weapons from the SOE. Noise from a plane with more than one engine made the leader
of the reception turn on some light - and it appeared to be a German night fighter. 5-10 minutes later at about 01.00 hours a sudden noise was heard. (As if a plane
had crashed into the water.) The team for the reception broke up and on their way home they fell into a German ambush at Udby. Two of the Germans were killed,
one was severely wounded and a number slightly wounded, while all of the Danes from the reception got away. (A book by Anders Bjørnvad has more - see the text
in Danish) The plane for "Henriette" had returned due to bad weather starting at about 22.00 hours (snow and sleet).

The plane for "Niels", a drop zone at Østerballe on North Funen, was reported missing. Over the radio the RAF requested a search from the resistance movement in
the region of Funen. The missing plane
(STI LK279) was observed in the Lillebælt south of Stenderup Hage and west of Fønsskovodde at Flækøjet. It had broken into
two parts and in the next days the cargo drifted ashore near Stenderup, where the resistance movement in Middelfart fetched the supplies. It is believed that the plane
was shot down by the German night fighter, and possibly the wreckage was salvaged by the German authorities, as there are no pieces of wreckage on that position today." (FT 86-67-43)

On 9 June 1945 the body of W. J. Carthew was found at Aalehoved (see Google Map p392r Stirling LK279). He was buried on 11 June 1945 in Middelfart.
On 2 January 1946 the body of R. Y. French was found in the Lillebælt near Brandsø. On 5 January 1946 he was buried in Fredericia. AOD has details.
R. J. Ball, W. M. Haragan, G. E. Mercer, G. C. Toes and L. S. Tucker have no known grave - but one of them might be the Unknown Airman in Fredericia!

Obviously the author of the article in (Danish) Aviation Historical Review (FT 86-67-43) did not know the salvage operation in 1951:
"In September-October 1951 the wreckage of the plane was salvaged from the
position 55º26’00” N and 09º41’40” E at a depth of 18 m. All 4 engines were salvaged together with the wings, fuselage and landing wheels. Four machine guns with ammunition and some items for sabotage actions were in containers.

Only some bones from a leg and a foot were found in a boot. On 10 October 1951 the newspaper Fredericia Dagblad reported that the human remains had been
taken to the chapel of rest in Fredericia: "It is believed that the perished airman has been wedged in the plane. He appears to have been a very big and strongly built
man, and possibly that will lead to an identification."

Two days later the same newspaper reported that the British Air Force Attache in Denmark, Wing Commander N.A.N. Bray, had examined the remains. It was Bray's
view that the human remains were from the pilot and that the current investigation would bring up his name. The newspaper reported that the pilot would be buried "in Skærbæk or in Fredericia".

An identification of the parts of the body as belonging to pilot
F/S Tucker does not appear to have been carried out, and even more remarkable: In the newspaper, the church register or other church records there is not any piece of information about the burial. Even if it may be believed that the headstone in Christians Kirkegård to
the Unknown British airman must be a memorial to the airman retrieved in 1951 it cannot be said with certainty. It also adds to the confusion that the text on the headstone reads: “An Airman of the 1939-1945 War. Royal Air Force February 1943”.
Begravede allierede flyvere på Christians Kirkegård, an article from Fredericiabogen 2004 by Jørgen Peder Clausager and Flemming Hansen)