Cpl Dagny Andersen was one thirty-two Danish women serving in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War. In many cases, I have had difficulties tracing these women, but an interview in a local newspaper from December 1945 gave a bit more information on Dagny's service.
Danes in the Royal Air Force served as did any other member of the service. This included wearing a RAF uniform. Many volunteers wanted to be able to distinguish themselves as Danes. In October 1941, the Recruiting Office, Danish Nationals, asked for permission to be granted to wear a nationality shoulder title. It was not until August 1944 that such a permission was granted.
On 5 May 1945, in the afternoon, a group of Dakotas appeared in the sky over Copenhagen. The German surrender in Denmark had been effective as of 8 a.m. that very morning. The aircraft carried the advance party of the SHAEF Mission to Denmark - and one of the Danish pilots in RAF service.
2nd Lt Quistgaard was one of the Danes who enlisted in the Norwegian Air Force during the war. In early 1941, he was ordered from Canada to the Norwegian Air Force HQ in London. However, he was killed while crossing the Atlantic, when U-552 torpeded SS Nerissa on the night of 30 April/1 May 1941.
Plt Off. A. A. Svendsen was one of the Danish fighter pilots flying in 234 (Madras Presidency) Squadron during the Second World War. He was killed in action on 24 April 1942 over Northern France.
FS Sten Lindhard was one of twenty-four Danes serving in Bomber Command during the Second World War. Lindhard and the rest of his crew was killed as their Stirling was shot down by a German night fighter on the night of 9-10 April 1944. Lindhard's story is covered in Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom and in the newly updated profile on www.danishww2pilots.dk.
A group of proud Danes about to meet the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street on 9 April 1942. On the far left Plt Off. Thalbitzer representing the Danes in the Royal Air Force.
On 5 April 1945, Sgt Jørgen Ryhl Bineau and the rest of the crew were killed, when Sunderland V/330 crashed into the sea. Bineau served on-board several merchant ships from the outbreak of war and until enlisting in 'Little Norway' in 1941. He was posted to 330 (Norwegian) Sqn, Coastal Command in July 1944.
75 years ago today, on the night of 28-29 March 1943, Plt Off. J. Thalbitzer, RAFVR, and Lt Cdr ‘Jimmy’ Buckley, FAA, disappeared while trying to cross the Sound—the narrow waters between Denmark and Sweden—in a canoe. They had escaped the German PoW-camp Oflag XXXI-B at Schubin in Poland earlier that month. A body washed ashore at Vejby Strand on 2 July 1943. The body was identified as Thalbitzer from his signet ring towards the end of the month. Buckley’s body was never found.
Last night, I gave a lecture at the National Museum of Denmark about the Danish men and women, who joined the Allied air forces during the Second World War. I always enjoy presenting the story live in front of an active and interested audience. Yesterday was no exception.
Wg Cdr Kaj Birksted was appointed Wing Leader of the ‘B’ Wing at RAF Station Bentwaters on 16 March 1945. Five days later, he took off on his first operation. The ‘B’ Wing and the remainder of 234 Sqn, led by Birksted, provided escort and cover to 200 Lancasters bombing an oil refinery in Bremen (Ramrod 1508). Meanwhile, 64 and 126 Sqns (augmented by some aircraft of 234 Sqn) provided the escort to the Mosquitos attacking the Gestapo HQ in Copenhagen - the Shell House - in Operation Carthage. The Gestapo HQ was successfully hit in the raid but, tragically, a number of civilians including eighty pupils at a Roman Catholic girls school were killed following the crash of one of the Mosquitoes. The photo presumably shows Birksted's Mustang III as he visited Copenhagen shortly after VE-Day. (Source: Museum of Danish Resistance)
Plt Off. John Norgaard (or Johannes Nørgaard) served as an air gunner in the RCAF during the Second World War. Norgaard and other members of his crew were killed in action when Halifax V LK667/KM-A crashed 500 meters north of Longueau on 15 March 1944. The target of the night was Amiens.
The discovery of her middle name in a document in the National Archives opened several new paths in the research for more information on the service of this volunteer. Emma Cathrine Mortensen served as a nurse in Scotland during the war.
Fg Off. N. P. W. Pedersen was one of more than twenty Danes serving in Bomber Command. He was killed 73 years ago today, when his aircraft failed to return. His story iis covered in Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom as well as in an updated article on my website www.danishww2pilots.dk.
In the preface of Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom I mention that my research continues. Much information still out there to be to be collated and communicated on the Danish air force volunteers. Only two days ago, a friend pointed me in the direction of a newspaper clipping from August 1945 mentioning the death of Sgt Jens J. Scott, who died serving in VMF-451 on 11 May 1945. I have written a brief profile for my website from the preliminary research on him.