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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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Royal Air Force
19/20.11.1942 Operation ‘Freshman’, RAF Skitten, Telemark, Norway

Operation: Freshman, Norway

Date: 19th/20th November 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Operation Freshman was the codename given to the British airborne operation conducted on the 19th/20th November 1942. It was the first British airborne operation undertaken using gliders and its target was the Norsk Hydro chemical plant at Vermork in Norway, which was about 97 km due west of Oslo and 130 km from the coast. The plant produced Heavy Water for the German wartime atomic weapons programme.

Heavy Water: A form of water which contains an isotope of Hydrogen with twice its mass known as Deuterium. Heavy Water was a component used in early nuclear energy research and an essential component in some types of reactors, both those that generate power and those designed to produce isotopes for nuclear weapons.

The picture is taken from the Norwegian National Library's photo collection (Photographer: Unknown).

The aircraft:

A number of different sources has determined that the following aircraft and gliders were assigned to this operation:

Halifax II W7720 DH:? “A” was originally assigned to the Station Flight at RAF Netheravon on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire;

Halifax II W7801 ??:? “B” was originally assigned to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire;

Horsa DP349, Horsa HS114 and an unidentified spare glider were based at RAF Netheravon.

Both Halifax aircraft plus a third unidentified spare, together with the gliders came under control of No. 38 Wing also based at RAF Netheravon.

When the operation was sanctioned it was considered quite impossible to provide four-engine tugs from an operational unit with fully trained crews. In view of the extreme importance OC No. 38 Wing agreed to attempt it using Whitley crews drawn from the Wing. The two selected crews would be converted to the Halifaxes and trained in tugging in time to attempt the operation during the November moon period. Records show that crews were drawn from 296 Sqn and 297 Sqn.

Note: During training a Sgt. Watt was listed as a member of crew #2 but appears not to have been on the operation. Sgt. Falconer was listed as a member of crew #1 but was the Flight Engineer on crew #2. A Flight Engineer for Crew #1 has not been identified for the operation itself.

The Whitley had no requirement for the role of Flight Engineer and therefore, given the limitations on operational crews and aircraft, this role had to be fulfilled from other sources. Records show that 138 Sqn was being reequipped with the Halifax from October 1941. Reviewing the Sqn Operational Record Book (ORB) has identified two Flight Engineers, a Sgt. James Falconer 573120 and a Sgt. Alexander Clubb Watt 571759, had been posted onto the Sqn with effect the 12th October 1942.

Sgt. Falconer 573120 was the Flight Engineer that died aboard Halifax II W7801. Therefore it is probable that Sgt. Watt 571759 was the Flight Engineer originally listed on Crew #2.

Sgt. Watt was killed in an accident on the 17th December 1942 aboard 138 Sqn Halifax II DT542.

Halifax taking off towing a Horsa glider (Credit: IBCC Digital Archive)

Halifax II W7720 “A” - Crew #1

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Arthur Bernard Wilkinson 72532, RAFVR

Commended for Valuable Service in the Air as a Sqn Ldr on the 11th June 1942 and on the 1st January 1943.
Awarded the DFC as a Wg Cdr. which was promulgated in the London Gazette on the 18th January 1944.

2nd Pilot: Fg Off. Victor David Kemmis 403594, RAAF

Posted to 295 Sqn and 570 Sqn and was involved in the invasion of Sicily in June 1943. Known to have returned to Australia as a Sqn Ldr.

Navigator/Bomb Aimer: WO. Allan Richard Jones 401192, RAAF

Commissioned and promoted to Plt Off. on the 16th March 1943. As a Fg Off. with 575 Sqn he suffered injuries in a glider accident on the 29th February 1944. As a result he was categorised permanently medically unfit to fly and repatriated to Australia. He was discharged from the RAAF on the 6th September 1945 as a Flt Lt.

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. Charles Eric Duncan Otto 495059, RAAF

Commissioned and promoted to Plt Off. on the 16th March 1943. Returned to Australia on the 16th February 1945. Retired from the RAAF as a Flt Lt. on the 28th August 1945 and transferred to the Reserve.

Air Gunner (Rear): Flt Sgt. Thomas Conacher 968258, RAF

Gp Capt. Thomas Bruce Cooper DFC, OBE, 05180, RAF

Gp Capt. Cooper was the appointed Ground Controller for the operation but was also reported to be aboard this aircraft for the mission.

His DFC was awarded whilst with 502 Sqn, London Gazette 14th April 1942. Citation reads: “Wing Commander Thomas Bruce Cooper, while in command of 502 Squadron, displayed great powers of leadership and raised the squadron to a high state of efficiency. He insisted on taking his place on the roster of captains of aircraft and, as such, he carried out 38 operational sorties of which the average duration was of more than nine hours. He invariably took on the more difficult and hazardous tasks himself. In carrying out his flights against the enemy, far out over the Atlantic and in extremely bad weather both by day and night, Wing Commander Cooper has set a magnificent example of fortitude and skill.

Gp Capt. Cooper, as the A&AEE Superintendent of Flying, was killed on the 5th March 1949 when the Meteor F4 RA382, that he was flying crashed in a snowstorm at Heatherlea Farm, Figsbury Rings, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Halifax II W7801 “B” - Crew #2

Pilot: Flt Lt. Arthur Roland Parkinson J5470, RCAF. Age 26. Killed

2nd Pilot: Plt Off. Gerard Walter Sewell de Gency 116943, RAFVR. Age 20. Killed

Flight Engineer: Sgt. James Falconer 573120, RAF. Age 20. Killed

Navigator: Fg Off. Arnold Thomas Haward 115977, RAFVR. Age 26. Killed

2nd Navigator: Flt Lt. Arthur Edwin Thomas 101580, RAFVR. Age 32. Killed

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Flt Sgt. Albert Buckton 751516, RAFVR. Age 25. Killed

Air Gunner (Rear): Flt Sgt. George Mercier Edwards 1259259, RAFVR. Age 26. Killed

Horsa DP349 - Glider #1

Glider Pilot: Staff Serjeant (S/Sjt) Frederick Strathdee 320272, 1st Glider Pilot Regiment (Reg), Army Air Corps (AAC), Age 27. Killed.

Glider Pilot: Sgt. Peter Doig 350420, 1st Glider Pilot Reg, AAC. Age 25. Killed.

Second Lieutenant (2nd Lt) David Alexander Methven GM 10866, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 20. Killed.

Lance Serjeant (L/Sjt) Frederick Healey 4385760, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 29. Killed

Corporal (Cpl) James Dobson Cairncross 2110313, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 22. Survived/Murdered (1 & 3)

Lance Cpl (L/Cpl) Wallis Mahlon Jackson 4537415, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 21. Survived/Murdered (1 & 2)

L/Cpl. Trevor Louis Masters 1872832, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 25. Survived/Murdered (1 & 3)

Sapper (Spr). James Frank Blackburn 1900803, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 27. Survived/Murdered (1 & 2)

Spr. Frank Bonner 1906932, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 24. Survived/Murdered (1 & 2)

Spr. John Glen Vernon Hunter 2110332, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 22. Killed

Spr. William Jacques 2114930, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE, Age 30. Killed

Spr. Robert Norman 2110268, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 22. Killed

Spr. Eric John Smith 1892979, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 24. Survived/Murdered (1 & 3)

Spr. John Wilfred Walsh 2073797, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 20. Survived/Murdered (1 & 2)

Spr. Thomas William White 1875806, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 22. Survived/Murdered (1 & 2)

Driver (Dvr). Peter Paul Farrell 2010213, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 26. Survived/Murdered (1 & 3)

Dvr. George Simkins 1884423, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 30. Killed

Horsa HS114 - Glider #2

Glider Pilot: Plt Off. Norman Arthur Davies 401422, RAAF. Age 30. Killed

Glider Pilot: Plt Off. Herbert John Fraser 401601, RAAF. Age 30. Killed

Lt. Alex Charles Allen 137173, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 24. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

L/Sjt. George Knowles 1871585, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 28. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Cpl. John George Llewellyn Thomas 2076750, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 23. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

L/Cpl. Frederick William Bray 1884418, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 29. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

L/Cpl. Alexander Campbell 1923037, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 24. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Spr. Ernest William Bailey 1869293, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 31. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Spr. Howell Bevan 2074196, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 22. Survived/Murdered ((1 & 4)

Spr. Thomas William Faulkner 2115238, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 22. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Spr. Charles Henry Grundy 1886725, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 22. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Spr. Herbert James Legate 1922713, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 18. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Spr. Leslie Smallman 2068169, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age? Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Spr. James May Stephen 2010697, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 27. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Spr. Gerald Stanley Williams 1948916, 9th (Airborne) Field Coy RE. Age 18. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Dvr. John Thomas Vernon Belfield 2106305, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 26. Survived/Murdered (1 & 4)

Dvr. Ernest Pendlebury 2000197, 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy RE. Age 25. Killed

The Mission:

The thirty airborne troops for this mission were all volunteers from the 9th (Airborne) Field Company (Coy) Royal Engineers (RE) and the 261st (Airborne) Field Coy, RE. On completion of their task they would attempt to escape across the border into Sweden.

On the 19th November 1942 at 17:50 hrs Halifax W7720 towing glider #1, Horsa DP349, took off from RAF Skitten. Halifax W7801 towing glider #2, Horsa HS114, took off 20 minutes later at 18:00 hrs. RAF Skitten was about 5 miles NE of Watten and about 4½ miles NW of Wick in Caithness, Scotland.

In an after mission report for Operation Freshman by Gp Capt. Sir Nigel Norman, OC 38 Wing, the following statement describes the mission of Halifax II W7720 “A”.

The flight across the North Sea was uneventful except that the Rebecca generator failed. This undoubtedly prevented the operation from being successful. The cloud cover stopped at approximately 8 Degrees West, at which time the aircraft was crossing the southern coast of Norway into the Skagerrak. After a few minutes the position was accurately pin-pointed and course set approximately to the NW to follow a line of lakes towards the target.

Map reading was found to be extremely difficult but the aircraft’s position was accurately known for about half-way from the coast to the target, After this, although there was bright moon-light, no fog in the valleys and only 1/10th to 2/10ths cloud, map reading was found to be impossible. A turn was made towards the east on and estimated time of arrival (ETA) over the target in the hopes of finding one of the other large lakes lying somewhat to the east. These were not seen and a course was then set SE to another line of lakes. These were found but owing to inaccurate shapes shown on the map, were not immediately recognised until the coast came in sight about 20 miles ahead.

The aircraft position was then again accurately pin-pointed and turned back towards the target following a line of lakes. As the aircraft was now flying away from the moon, map reading was much more difficult, but the aircraft’s position was again accurately known to within 20 to 30 miles of the target where map reading once more became impossible. By this time the cloud had increased to about 3/l0ths.

The target could not be found and as it was then extremely doubtful if there was sufficient petrol to tow back to Scotland, however a course was set for Peterhead. The aircraft altitude was at that time approximately 9,000 ft, some height having been lost when the second pilot took over. The clouds ahead were found to extend to above 10,000 ft but it was found extremely difficult to climb the aircraft without going into take-off revs and full boost. The aircraft was gradually climbed to approximately 12,000 ft and during the course of this climb went through the tops of some thin cloud. At about 23:00 hrs the aircraft was able to get over the tops of most of the clouds but collected some ice when passing though some cloud.

Although the engines were put to take-off revs and full throttle, the aircraft sank into the tops of the clouds where more ice was formed. It was now absolutely essential to get down to below the freezing level and there was no possible alternative but to attempt to do so through clouds. All lights were put full on and the glider followed steadily down to approximately 7,000 ft. At this height conditions became extremely bumpy with cloud much thicker and at 23:11 hrs, after two or three very violent surges, the tow rope broke or the glider cast off. An SOS and request for position was immediately transmitted, followed by a SYKO message stating "Released in Sea" which, it was hoped would be sufficiently non-committal to puzzle the enemy for at least 24 hours. Unfortunately however, the Wireless Operator subsequently transmitted "Glider in sea" in plain language, owing to a combination of poor crew procedure and misunderstanding.

SYKO was a cipher device used as a quick method for low-level encoding of radio traffic, particularly from aircraft. Code breaking took considerable time plus a sufficient sample of messages, and for certain classes of radio traffic (such as an aircraft's position) decoded information that became available many hours later was of little value.

A subsequent check by the Navigator showed that in fact the glider would have landed well inland in Norway and not in the sea. After the glider had released, the aircraft was able to climb out of the clouds with ease as the icing was only very slight. A course was set for Wick and the return was uneventful albeit on three engines and arriving with minimum fuel. Subsequent analysis of the petrol consumption revealed that it might just have been possible to tow back to Peterhead. It was the intention, in any case, to tow as far as possible so that it could be certain that the glider would not be ditched more than about 30 miles from the coast.

Halifax II W7720 “A” landed safely at 03:00 hrs on the 20th November 1942.

The fate of the crews and troopers from Halifax W7801, glider #1, and glider #2 was not known at the time. However, a German communique issued during the following 48 hours declared that an aircraft and two gliders were forced to land and “the sabotage troops were engaged and annihilated”.

From subsequent reports provided by sources from within Norway it was established that both combinations of aircraft had reached the Norwegian coast but failed to reach the landing zone (LZ), which was some 5 hours marching distance from the objective, because of a failed Rebecca transceiver.

Rebecca/Eureka was a short-range navigation system used to accurately locate a position to insert airborne forces and supplies. The system comprises two parts, the Rebecca transceiver aboard the aircraft and the Eureka ground based transponder.

Glider #1 DP349 crash-landed in an area named Fylgjesdal overlooking Lysefjorden east of Stavanger. The two pilots and six troopers were killed and were buried at the site of the crash.

On the 18th August 1945 the bodies were exhumed by personnel from 2 Troop, 1st Airborne Sqn, Royal Engineers (RE) and reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard.

Of the nine survivors, some were severely wounded and attended by a Norwegian doctor, who as soon as he heard of the crash went to the scene of the accident. The doctor was of the opinion that there was no doubt of the nine that were alive eight would have recovered from their injuries, of the ninth he was not sure.

On the 21st November five of the troopers, at the request of the Gestapo, were transferred to Stavanger. The remaining four were held in a Norwegian farmhouse by the Gestapo until the 23rd November when they were also taken to Stavanger. Five of the troopers were then taken to the Grini prison camp, which was a Nazi concentration camp in the municipality of Bærum in Akershus county, and four taken to Prison ‘A’ at Ladergaardsveien, Stavanger.

Halifax W7801 and glider #2 HS114 had crossed the Norwegian coast near Egersund and both crashed in the mountains near Hellaland. Little is known of the reason for the crashes. Halifax W7801 came down on the Jonsokknuten mountain near Helleland killing all aboard. Glider #2 crashed-landed at Benkjafjellet some 3¼ km due north of Helleland and some 6 km NW from the Halifax. Three personnel from the glider, the two pilots and one trooper, were killed and the fourteen surviving troopers were captured and taken to the Barracks at Slettebø near Egersund.

(1) The former Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Norwegen (Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in Norway), Generaloberst (4-Star Gen) Paul Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, was brought before a Military Court convened at Brunswick between the 29th July 1946 and the 2nd August 1946.

The accused was charged on nine counts:

1st Count - Issuing orders on or about 25th October 1942 to forces under his command not to accept quarter or to give quarter to Allied forces taking part in commando operations, and further, in the event of any members of Allied forces being captured, to kill them after capture;

This count is related to the Kommandobefehl and the supplementary order issued by von Falkenhorst on the 26th October that any captured prisoners should in effect be killed within 24 hrs.

On the 18th October 1942, Adolf Hitler signed a decree known as the Kommandobefehl (Commando Order). Only 12 copies of the top-secret order were issued. It was a ‘no quarter’ order directed against Commando Raiders operating in any theatre of war:

“From now on, all opponents brought to battle by German troops in so-called commando operations in Europe or in Africa, even when it is outwardly a matter of soldiers in uniform or demolition parties with or without weapons, are to be exterminated to the last man in battle or while in flight. In these cases it is immaterial whether they are landed for their operations by ship or aeroplane or descend by parachute. Even should these individuals, on their being discovered, make as if to surrender, all quarter is to be denied them on principle. A detailed report is to be sent to the OKW (German High Command) on each separate case for publication in the Wehrmacht Communique”.

“If individual members of such commandos working as agents, saboteurs, etc, fall in to the hands of the Wehrmacht by other means – e.g. through the police in any of the Countries occupied by us – they are to be handed over to the SD immediately. It is strictly forbidden to hold them in military custody e.g. in PW camps, etc, even as a temporary measure”.

SD - Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service), full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS (Security Service of the Reichsführer), was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party.

2nd Count - That during October 1942 he was responsible for the handing over by forces under his command to the SD of two British officers and six British other ranks, all PoWs who had taken part in commando operations, with the result that the prisoners were killed;

This charge relates to the officers and other ranks captured during Operation ’Musketoon’ on the 20th/21st September 1942. Of the eight members of No. 2 Commando one died of wounds sustained and the other seven were sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where they were executed on the 23rd October 1942.

Capt. Graeme Delamere Black DSO, MC, 106240, Capt. Joseph Blundell J. Houghton MC, 130206, CSM Miller Smith 2657063, L/Sgt. William Henry Albert Chudley 882221, Rflm. Cyril Henry Abram 6922005, Pte. Eric Gordon Curtis 6349613 and Pte. Reginald Henry Makeham 841059.

Cpl Erling Djupdraet of the Norwegian Independent Company No.1 died of his wounds on the 23rd September 1942.

Four of the raiding party escaped to Sweden, one being the 2nd member of the Norwegian Independent Company No.1.

3rd Count - That during November 1942 he was concerned in the killing of fourteen British PoWs (see Serial 4);

4th Count - That during November 1942 he was responsible for the handing over by forces under his command to the SD of nine British PoWs who had taken part in commando operations, with the result that the prisoners were killed (see Serial 2 & 3);

5th Count - That during January 1943 he was responsible for handing over by forces under his command to the SD of Able Seaman Robert Evans, a British Royal Navy (RN) PoW who had taken part in Operation ‘Title’ with the result that Seaman Robert Evans was killed (see Serial 2);

6th Count - That during May 1943 he was responsible for the handing over by forces under his command to the SD of one officer, one NCO and five naval ratings, all British PoWs, who had taken part in commando operations, with the result that the prisoners were killed;

This charge relates to the officers and other ranks captured during Operation ‘Checkmate’ in March 1943. Seven members of 14 (Arctic) Commando were sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Sub Lt. John Goodwin MiD, Petty Officer (PO) Harold ’Shorty’ Hiscock LT/JX 217862, Sgt. Victor John 'Jack' Cox 5671612, Able Seaman (AB) Neville Arthur Burgess C/JX 354547 and AB Andrew Anthony West D/JX 363264 were murdered on the 2nd February 1945.

PO Alfred John ’Trilby’ Roe P/MX 98752 and AB Keith Mayor MiD D/JX 363471 were sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where PO Roe died of Typhus on the 9th April 1945 and AB Mayor was murdered on the 7th April 1945.

7th Count - Issuing orders dated 15th June 1943 to forces under his command not to accept quarter or to give quarter to Allied forces taking part in commando operations, and further, in the event of any members of Allied forces being captured, to kill them after capture. This was a reminder of the orders cited in the 1st count;

8th Count - That during July 1943 he was responsible for the handing over by forces under his command to the SD of one Norwegian naval officer, five Norwegian naval ratings, and one British RN rating, all PoWs, with the result that the prisoners were killed;

This charge relates to the the capture of the crew of Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) 345 in July 1943. Six of the crew were from the Den Kongelige Norske Marine (Royal Norwegian Navy) under British command, the seventh member was from the British Royal Navy (RN).

Løytnant (Lt) Alv Haldor Andresen, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Bernhard Kleppe, CPO HansThorvald Bærevahr Hansen, Leading Stoker Agnar Ingolf Bigseth, Able Seaman (AB) Jens Klipper, AB Kjell Øystein Hals and Leading Telegraphist Rennie Hull P/JX 155686 MiD were transferred from Bergenhus prison to Ulven KZ-camp and stripped of all rights as PoWs, tortured and interrogated, and then executed on the 30th July 1943.

9th Count - Issuing a document dated 19th July 1944 that ordered troops under his command to deprive certain Allied PoWs of their rights as PoW, under the Geneva Convention.

The court found von Falkenhorst not guilty of the 2nd and the 5th count of the charge. He was found guilty of the remaining seven counts of the charge and was sentenced to suffer death by being shot.

The sentence was later commuted to 20 year imprisonment, however, after a successful appeal von Falkenhorst was released from Werl prison on 23rd July 1953, due to bad health. In 1968, following a heart attack, he died at Holzminden, West Germany, where his family had settled after fleeing from Lower Silesia. He is buried in the Holzminden Cemetery.

(2) The events leading up to deaths of L/Cpl. Jackson and Sprs. Bonner, White, Blackburn and Walsh were unknown until two Military Courts were convened. In the first trial held in Hamburg, Germany during the period 6th to the 26th August 1946, thirteen German nationals were before the court and in the second, held at Curio Haus, Hamburg on 18th,19th and 23rd to the 25th August 1948 one German national was before the court.

The accused were charged in that they at Trandum, Norway, on or about the 19th January 1943, were concerned in the killing of 4537417 L/Cpl. Jackson; 1906932 Sapper F. Bonner; 1900803 Sapper J.N. Blackburn; 2073797 Sapper J. Walsh; 1875800 Sapper T.W. White and FX 88494 [sic] Able Seaman Robert Paul Evans, Royal Navy (RN).

Able Seaman (AB) Robert Paul Evans MiD, D/JX 283626 RN, was involved in Operation ‘Title’, one of the bravest operations undertaken by the Norwegian Naval Independent Unit under British Command, when the 19 metre fishing boat ‘Arthur’, armed with two two-man torpedoes (Chariots), sailed against the might of the German battleship Tirpitz.

After a voyage fraught with danger, and the ‘Arthur’ only a few miles from the Tirpitz, a severe storm blew up causing the Chariots to break loose and the mission was aborted. The crew of the ‘Arthur’ scuttled their boat before the six British and four Norwegian naval personnel attempted to escape across the border into Sweden.

During their escape run AB Evans was wounded in the upper thigh during a short gun battle. His comrades successfully made their way to Sweden. AB Evans was captured by the frontier police and despite his wounds and a period in hospital he survived. He was finally transferred to the Grini Concentration camp in Oslo.

Those charged in the first trial were:

Peter Göttling who was a former SS-Oberscharführer (Sgt);

Herbert Peuker who was a former SS-Oberscharführer and a former police warden;

Werner Paul Hermann Möller who was a former SS-Hauptscharführer (T/Sgt);

Erich Penning who was a former SS-Hauptscharführer;

Alexander Otto Gustav Etling who was a former SS-Hauptscharführer;

Josef Nikolaus Schneider who was a former SS-Hauptscharführer;

Hermann Bölck who was a former SS-Hauptscharführer;

Siegfried Bahlinger who was a former SS-Rottenführer (L/Cpl);

Otto Bauldauf (Baldauf) who was a former SS-Oberscharführer;

Friedrich Wilhelm Engel who was a former SS-Oberscharführer;

Ludwig Bieber who was a former SS-Sturmscharführer (M/Sgt) ;

Willy Kornefel (Korneffel) who was a former SS-Oberscharführer;

Karl Heinz Rönnfeldt who was a former SS-Oberscharführer.

All were former members of the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD - Security Service) based at the HQ of the SiPo and SD at Viktoria Terasse in Oslo, and were also members of a SS-Sonderkommando.

SS-Sonderkommando - The SS enacted a procedure where offices and units of the SS could form smaller sub-units, known as SS-Sonderkommandos, to carry out special tasks, including large-scale murder operations. Not even the SS leadership knew how many SS-Sonderkommandos were constantly being formed, disbanded, and reformed for various tasks.

The individual named Oskar Hans was charged in the second trial. From the 25th April 1940 he was employed in Abteilung IV (Department 4) of the Sipo and SD in Oslo, and also was the head of the SS-Sonderkommando holding the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt). One of the functions of this unit was to carry out executions.

Oskar Hans had previously been brought before Eidsivating Lagmannsrett (Court of Appeal) in January 1947 on six counts for executing Norwegian citizens. He was reputed to be responsible for executing at least 312 Norwegian citizens, 68 of whom were executed without a trial, between the period of the 30th April 1942 and the 31st October 1944. He was found guilty on five of the six charges and sentenced to death by shooting. However, the Supreme Court of Norway quashed the death sentence in August 1947 and Hans was expelled from Norway.

Hans ordered several members of the SS-Sonderkommando to report to Victoria Terrasse, the HQ of SiPo and SD in Norway. They were given certain instructions by a man named Esser, who in turn was ordered by a man named Fehlis who was the then head of the SiPo and SD in Oslo.

Wilhelm Karl Johann Esser was a former Kriminalkommissar (Detective Superintendent) in Abteilung IV of the SiPo and SD and also a SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt) in the SD. Esser was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for other war crimes;

Heinrich Fehlis impersonated a Leutnant (2nd Lt) in the Gebirgstruppe (German Alpine Corps) after Germany surrendered but was ordered by his superior to surrender himself. He requested an hour to prepare during which he committed suicide by first poisoning and then shooting himself.

The orders given, which Hans assisted in carrying out, was for the SS-Sonderkommando to go to Grini, on the 18th January 1943 and take the six named men to a place called Trandum, and there shoot them. Hans was instructed not to inform the six men that they were about to be executed but to tell them that they needed to be blindfolded because they were to pass through secret military areas en route to a fictitious destination.

They left Grini at 03:00 hrs on the 19th January and arrived at the execution site at about 06:00 hours where a grave had already been prepared. The six were placed, still blindfolded, at the edge of the grave facing the firing party. Three rifles were aimed at each of the six and as result of the salvo of bullets all six died instantaneously. The execution squad left and another squad took over to fill in the grave. The execution squad were sworn to secrecy and made to sign a declaration to that effect.

The roll of each individual of the thirteen accused in the first trial has not been established to date. However, Göttling, Etling, Bieber and Körnefel were found not guilty of the charge. The remaining nine accused were each sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. The final disposition of their sentences are unknown although it has been reported that they were in Wehl prison in July 1951.

Oskar Hans was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to death by hanging. However, his sentence was commuted to 15 years imprisonment. He was released in April 1954.

At the end of hostilities the Norwegian police exhumed all the bodies from Trandum, including a number of Norwegians and identified them. The remains were cremated and the ashes of the troopers were held in the Oslo Crematorium before being reinterred at the Oslo Western Civil Cemetery with full military honours on the 30th August 1945 by the 261st (Airborne) Field Park Coy, Royal Engineers (RE).

(3) The fates of Cpl. Cairncross, L/Cpl. Masters, Spr. Smith and Dvr. Farrell from glider #1 were unknown until a Military Court was convened in Oslo, Norway during the period 10th to the 13th December 1945.

Five German nationals were charged in that they at Stavanger, on days unknown in or about the month of November 1942, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned with the killing of four unidentified British PoWs.

Those charged were:

Dr. Werner Fritz Seeling who was a former Stabsarzt (Staff Surgeon) with the rank of Hauptmann (Capt) in the Luftwaffe;

Erich Hoffmann who was a former SS-Hauptscharführer (equates to the rank of M/Sgt. in the SS (Schutzstaffel)). He was a driver for the Gestapo;

Fritz Feuerlein who was a former SS-Unterscharführer (equates to the rank of Cpl in the SS).

Two other accused, Max Sachse a former SS-Unterscharführer and prison guard, and Luitpold Kuhn a former Kriminalkommissar with the rank of SS-Untersturmführer (2nd Lt) in the Gestapo, were not in custody.

The court heard that Cpl. Cairncross, L/Cpl. Masters, Spr. Smith and Dvr. Farrell were taken to Gestapo Headquarters where they were attended to by Seeling, one was severely injured and two of the other three had broken limbs with the third suspected of having broken bones. Some of the injured had suspected broken ribs. Seeling suggested to Kuhn that they required hospital treatment but Kuhn refused telling him that they were to be interrogated.

He next saw the troopers when he was summoned by Wilkens, the Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo) in Oslo, who informed him that the troopers could not delivered to hospital because they were saboteurs. He told Seeling that they were to be shot to which he claimed to have protested. Wilkens told him that he would contact higher authorities.

Friedrich Wilkens was an SS-Sturmbannführer (Maj) and was reported to have been KiA during fighting with Norwegian partisans.

Seeling did nothing about the situation and he made no provision for their reception in hospital. Some 24hrs later he was summoned by Wilkens and who told that his protest had been rejected and that the men were to be shot.

Statements made by Hoffmann and Feuerlein accused each other and Seeling of killing three of the troopers by injecting one with a syringe of air, strangling one and shooting the third in the head.

In his statement Seeling claimed that he had injected the four with morphia to relieve the pain of their injuries suffered in the crash. He regretted that he unable to save the four wounded men.

Feuerlein in his statement admitted that when he moved two of the men to a room where they we ultimately killed he knew that he was taking them to their deaths, and although he knew that it was wrong he made no protest.

Statements made by Hoffmann and Feuerlein blamed each other and Seeling of killing three of the troopers by injecting one with a syringe of air, strangling one and shooting the third in the head. It was claimed by Hoffmann that the fourth trooper was shot by SS-Untersturmführer (2nd Lt) Kriminalobersekretär (Chief detective) Otto Petersen (see serial 4)

The bodies were then taken out in a boat, 1 hrs sailing from Stavanger and cast overboard at an undetermined spot in the Fjord. The bodies were weighted with stones and rope and as a consequence there was not the slightest chance of recovering their bodies.

The court found Seeling and Hoffmann guilty of the charge and sentenced them to death by hanging. Feuerlein was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment but was released from Werl prison on the 13th July 1953.

Hoffmann was hanged at Hameln (Hamelin) on the 15th May 1946 at 15:20 hrs by Albert Pierrepoint and Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) O'Neill. As Seeling was convicted by an Allied war tribunal it is not known why he was executed at 09:05 hrs by firing-squad at the Akershus Fortress in Oslo on the 10th January 1946. However, it is suspected that this may have been because he was in the military and not a member of the Gestapo.

(4) Three of the seventeen occupants of glider #2 were killed, three seriously injured and several others suffered minor injuries. Two of the uninjured made their way to the nearest farmhouse, about 3½ km to the south of where the glider crashed, where Lensmann (likened to a mayor) Hovland and his family lived. They knocked on the door at about 02:15 hrs and requested medical help for their injured comrades.

The only way of getting assistance for the injured was to contact the authorities so a telephone call was made to the police at Egersund. A doctor and an armed patrol was despatched to the farmhouse. On hearing the approach of the Germans it was evident from eye-witnesses that the troopers made no attempt to resist their capture, which tends to show that they considered they would be treated as PoWs.

When it became light the injured troopers along with the prisoners were brought down to the farm by German forces, arriving at about 10:30 hrs. From here they were transported to the German camp at Slettebø. They were brought before a Hauptmann (Capt) Schrotberger and were subsequently interrogated by a Gestapo man, named Petersen.

Hauptmann (Capt) Walther Schrotberger was the deputy Battalion Commander of Infanterie-Regiment 355, 214.Infanterie-Division. The last known information about Schrotberger was that he had left Norway.

SS-Untersturmführer (2nd Lt) Kriminalobersekretär (Chief detective) Otto Petersen was the Commander of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security police = SiPo) in Stavanger. Records show that Petersen had been detained in Hamburg. Maj. John S.A. Humphries of the British Army Intelligence Corps informed the court that Petersen had committed suicide in Akershus Prison in Oslo on the 2nd November 1945.

The troopers were locked up in the barracks and three, who most probably were the officer and two NCOs, were locked up in a garage. A few days later all of the troopers were shot and killed at the Slettebø camp by a firing squad. Their uniforms were removed and they were buried within boundary of the camp. The bodies were then taken by truck to Brusand, about 25km from Egersund, where they were buried in a trench in a minefield approximately 10 to 12 metres from the sea.

From the interrogation of German officers and other ranks at Slettebø, Romlager and Lyngdal camps it was determined that the firing squad was under the command of an Unteroffizier (L/Cpl) Wagner from the 12. Maschinengewehr-Kompanie, Infanterie-Regiment 355, 214.Infanterie-Division. The doctor who examined the injured soldiers was a Stabsarzt (Staff Surgeon equates to Capt) Günther from the Infanterie-Regiment 355.

Wagner and Günther were never found.

A Generalleutnant (Maj Gen) Karl Maria von Behrens, the Kommandantur (CO) of the 280.Infanterie-Division at Stavanger, who was a witness at the trial of Generaloberst Paul Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, testified that it was Hauptmann Schrotberger who gave the order to shoot the prisoners.

Furthermore, he testified that Oberst (Col) Erwin Werner Probst informed him that he had given orders that action should be taken in accordance with the Kommandobefehl i.e. to hand over the captured prisoners to the SD.

Oberst Probst was the deputy commander under Generalleutnant von Behrens and was the sole suspect detained. Probst died of heart failure on 14th May 1946 in Hamburg-Neuengamme as a result of cancer.

The evidence relating to the capture and execution of the fourteen troopers is reasonably well understood and complete. Although a number of suspects had been identified as having ordered or carried out the executions these individuals were not found or had died or, in one known case, committed suicide. Consequently no one was brought before a court to answer for their actions in the execution of the fourteen troopers.

The bodies were exhumed by the 1st Parachute Sqn, Royal Engineers (RE) and reinterred with Full Military Honours in the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard.

Burial Details:

Halifax II W7720 “A”

None. The aircraft and crew returned to RAF Skitten.

Above: Helleland Churchyard (Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Halifax II W7801 “B”

Flt Lt. Arthur Roland Parkinson. Reinterred in the Helleland Churchyard, Grave 4. Grave inscription: “REST IN PEACE”. Born on the 9th March 1916 in Lachine, Quebec. Son of Arthur Hugh and Ethel (née Rayer) Parkinson, of Lachine, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Plt Off. Gerard Walter Sewell de Gency. Reinterred in the Helleland Churchyard, Grave 7. Grave inscription: “RESURGAM”. Born in 1922. Son of Rene Arnold and Suzanne Celine Lucie Sewell, of Bushey, Hertfordshire, England.

Sgt. James Falconer. Reinterred in the Helleland Churchyard, Grave 5. Grave inscription: "TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE HE LEFT BEHIND IS NOT TO DIE". Born on the 20th April 1922. Son of Edward Smith and Jessie Falconer, of Edzell, Angus, Scotland.

Fg Off. Arnold Thomas Haward. Reinterred in the Helleland Churchyard, Grave 1. Grave inscription: "THEY DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE". Born on the 6th June 1914. Son of Henry Horace and Lilian Mary Haward, of Cuddington, Cheshire, England.

Flt Lt. Arthur Edwin Thomas. Reinterred in the Helleland Churchyard, Grave 6. Grave inscription: "VITAE SUMMA BREVIS SPEM NOS VETAT INCHOARE LONGAM". Born in September 1910. Son of Edwin and Ethel Florence Maria Thomas; husband of Joan Cicely Thomas, of Bexhill, Sussex, England.

Flt Sgt. Albert Buckton. Reinterred in the Helleland Churchyard, Grave 2. Grave inscription: "ETERNAL REST GIVE UNTO HIM, O LORD; AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM". Born in 1919. Son of Charles Gregory and Elizabeth Buckton, of West Hartlepool, Co. Durham, England.

Flt Sgt. George Mercier Edwards. Reinterred in the Helleland Churchyard, Grave 3. Grave inscription: "TO WORSHIP RIGHTLY IS TO LOVE EACH OTHER EACH SMILE A HYMM EACH KINDLY DEED A PRAYER". Born on the 21st December 1918. Son of George Henry and Sidona G. (née Balfour) Edwards of St. Andrews, Kencot, Oxfordshire, England.

Above: Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard (Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Above: memorial at Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard (Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Horsa DP349 - Glider #1

S/Sjt. Malcolm Frederick Strathdee. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway. Row Z Grave 11. Born on the 24th March 1915. Son to Alexander Dunlop and Alice Caroline (née Miles) Strathdee of Southampton, Hampshire, England.

Sgt. Peter Doig. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway. Row Z Grave 12. Grave inscription: "LOVED AND REMEMBERED ALWAYS BY MOTHER, BROTHERS AND SISTERS". Born on the 25th July 1917. Son of Alexander and Jean Lindsay C. Doig, of Glasgow, Scotland.

2nd Lt. David Alexander Methven GM. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 21. Born during April 1922 in Hampstead, Greater London. Son of Arthur Maxwell and Winifred Mary Pitcairn (née Cox) Jenkin. His mother remarried after her divorce and David became known as David Alexander Methven. He was the stepson of Maj. David Montague Methven.

His father Capt. Methven of the Royal Scots Greys cavalry regiment retired from the Army on the 20th Sep 1922 and was granted the rank of Maj. with seniority 14th December 1921.

2nd Lt. Methven was awarded the George Medal (GM) in recognition of conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a brave manner. Promulgated in the London Gazette on 10th July 1942.

L/Sjt. Frederick Healey. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 22. Grave inscription: "SWEET MEMORIES OF YOU WILL LIVE FOR EVER. WIFE THURZA AND SON PETER, DAD AND MAM". Born in 1913. Son of Frederick and Rhoda Alice Healey; husband of Thurza Healey, of Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, England.

Above: Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial (Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Above: Oslo Western Civil Cemetery (Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Cpl. James Dobson Cairncross. Remembered on the Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial, Panel 5, Column 1. Born on the 12 April 1920. Son of Robert and Elizabeth (née Laidlaw) Cairncross, of Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland.

L/Cpl. Wallis Mahlon Jackson. Buried at the Oslo Western Civil Cemetery 2.B.9. Grave inscription: "TO THOSE WHO LOVED HIM DEARLY HIS MEMORY NEVER GROWS OLD". Son of Albert Edgar and Sarah Adelaide Jackson, of Meanwood, Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

L/Cpl. Trevor Louis Masters. Remembered on the Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial, Panel 5, Column 2, Born in September 1918. Son of Harry and Lucinda Masters; husband of Teresa Jane (née Kehoe) Masters, of Cobh, Co. Cork, Irish Republic.

Spr. Frank Bonner. Buried at the Oslo Western Civil Cemetery 2.B.8. Born in 1918. Born in Sunderland. He married Phoebe Granville who was from Hemel Hempstead. No further details.

Spr. James Frank Blackburn. Buried at the Oslo Western Civil Cemetery 1.B.8. Grave inscription: "FOR ENGLAND'S GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND". Born in 1915. Son of Frank George and Annie Jane Blackburn, of Isleworth, Middlesex; husband of Maisie Evelyn Blackburn. No further details.

Spr. John Glen Vernon Hunter. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 23. Grave inscription: "UNTIL THE DAY BREAK AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY". Born in 1920. Son of John G. V. and Margaret Hunter, of Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire; stepson of Janet Hunter, of Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

Spr. Robert Norman. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 25. Grave inscription: "TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND IS NOT TO DIE". Born in 1920. Son of Robert and Annie A. Norman, of Brechin, Angus, Scotland.

Spr. William Jacques. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 24. Grave inscription: "NO LENGTH OF TIME WILL EVER DIM THE BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES I HAVE OF HIM. R.I.P". Born in 1912. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Jacques; husband of Elizabeth Jacques, of Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England.

Spr. Eric John Smith. Remembered on the Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial, Panel 7, Column 1. Born in 1918. Son of Frank George and Daisy Amelia Smith; husband of Phyllis Smith, of Paddington, London, England.

Spr. John Wilfred Walsh. Buried at the Oslo Western Civil Cemetery 2.B.6. Grave inscription: "ETERNAL REST GIVE UNTO HIM, O LORD; AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM". Born in 1922. Son of John and Mary Walsh, of Stretford, Lancashire, England.

Spr. Thomas William White. Buried at the Oslo Western Civil Cemetery 1.B.9. Born 1920. Son of Thomas and Ruth White, of Gilfach, Goch, Glamorgan, Wales.

Dvr. Peter Paul Farrell. Remembered on the Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial, Panel 7, Column 3. Born in 1916. Son of Michael and Elizabeth Farrell; husband of Bridget Farrell, of Marylebone, London, England.

Dvr. George Simkins. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 26. Born in 1912. Son of George and Alice Simkins; husband of Bessie Simkins, of Romford, Essex, England.

Horsa HS114 - Glider #2

Plt Off. Norman Arthur Davies. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway. Row Z Grave 9. Grave inscription: "HIS DEATH HONOURED HIS WHOLE LIFE". Born on the 4th October 1914 in Malvern, Victoria, Australia. Son of Herbert Arthur and Hannah Sophie Davies, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

After attending the No. 1 Glider school he was posted to 102 Glider Operational Training Unit (GOTU) before being posted to 296 Sqn. 296 Sqn at RAF Netheravon was split into A and B Flights. B Flight remained at RAF Netheravon and was predesignated the Glider Pilot Exercise Unit (GPEU) on the 12th August 1942 where Plt Off. Davies remained until this mission.

He was commissioned and promoted to Plt Off. on the 11th August 1942 after being posted to 296 Sqn.

Plt Off. Herbert John Fraser. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway. Row Z Grave 10 . Born on the 18th March 1914 in Bendigo Victoria, Australia. Son of Herbert John and Ida Marion Fraser; husband of Elva Avery Fraser, of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

After attending the No. 1 Glider school he was posted to 102 Glider Operational Training Unit (GOTU) before being posted to 296 Sqn. 296 Sqn at RAF Netheravon was split into A and B Flights. “B” Flight remained at RAF Netheravon and was predesignated the Glider Pilot Exercise Unit (GPEU) on the 12th August 1942 where Plt Off. Fraser remained until this mission.

Lt. Alex Charles Allen. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 13. Grave inscription: "TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WE LOVE IS NOT TO DIE". Born in 1918. Son of Horace Charles and Edna Allen, of Hugglescote, Coalville, Leicestershire, England.

L/Sjt. George Knowles. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 14. Grave inscription: "TO LIVE IN HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND IS NOT TO DIE". Born in 1914. Husband of Lilian May Knowles, of Bromley, Kent, England.

Cpl. John George Llewellyn Thomas. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 15. Grave inscription: "COUNTING NOT THE COST HE DID HIS DUTY, NOW LULLED IN ETERNAL REST". Born in April 1919. Son of Stephen and Maud Elizabeth (née Heard) Thomas, of Bath, Somerset, England.

L/Cpl. Frederick William Bray. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 3. Grave inscription: "TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE THAT LOVED ME IS NOT TO DIE". Born in 1913. Son of George and Alice Bray; husband of Lily Beatrice Bray, of Edenbridge, Kent, England.

L/Cpl. Alexander Campbell. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 2. Grave inscription: "R.I.P". Born in 1918. Son of Alexander and Catherine E. Campbell, of Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

Spr. Ernest William Bailey. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 17. Grave inscription: "R.I.P". Born in 1911. Son of Walter and May Bailey; stepson of Mrs. L. E. Bailey, of Paulsgrove, Hampshire, England.

Spr. Howell Bevan. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 4. Born in 1920. Son of Lewis and Elizabeth Bevan; husband of Violet Irene Bevan, of Bermondsey, London, England.

Spr. Thomas William Faulkner. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 1. Grave inscription: "EACH NIGHT AND MORNING WE REMEMBER YOU WITH LOVE. MUM AND SISTER JOAN". Born in 1920. Son of Charles Henry and Florence Faulkner, of Hereford, England.

Spr. Charles Henry Grundy. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 18. Grave inscription: "IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY DEAR SON HARRY. R.I.P. O JESUS, OPEN WIDE THY HEART AND LET HIM REST THEREIN". Born in 1920. Son of Harold and Agnes Grundy, of Salford, Lancashire, England.

Spr. Herbert James Legate. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 19. Born on the 22nd October 1924. Son to William Charles (Deceased) and Ethel Rosina (née Townsend) Legate of Lewisham, London, England.

Spr. Leslie Smallman. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 6. Son of George and Alice Simkins; husband of Bessie Simkins, of Romford, Essex, England.

Spr. James May Stephen. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 8. Born in 1915. Son to William and Jane (née May) Stephen of Inverallochy, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Spr. Gerald Stanley Williams. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 16. Grave inscription: "HOW WE MISS YOUR SMILING FACE NO OTHER CAN TAKE YOUR PLACE. MOTHER, SISTERS, BROTHER". Born in 1924. Son of David Humphrey and Olive Williams, of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England.

Dvr. John Thomas Vernon Belfield. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 5. Grave inscription: "THE FLOWER OF OUR HEARTS HAS PASSED THE PORTALS IN NEVER WITHERING BLOOM". Born on the 20th June 1916. Son of Thomas Henry and Eliza (née Bassett) Belfield, of Longnor, Staffordshire, England.

Dvr. Ernest Pendlebury. Reinterred at the Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway Row, Z, Grave 7. Grave inscription: "TREASURED MEMORIES OF A DEAR HUSBAND, SON AND BROTHER. TILL WE MEET AGAIN".Born in 1917. Son of William and Polly Pendlebury; husband of Marjorie Pendlebury, of Batley, Yorkshire, England.


Above: Grave marker for Able Seaman Evans D/JX 283626 (Credit: TWGPP)

Able Seaman (AB) Robert Paul Evans MiD, D/JX 283626, HMS Titania, RN. Reinterred at Oslo Western Civil Cemetery 1.B.7. Grave inscription: "HOW STRANGELY HIGH ENDEAVOUR MAY BE BLEST WHEN PIETY AND VALOUR JOINTLY GO". Born on the 14th January 1922 in Camberwell, London. Son of Ralph George and Rose Catherine (née Smith) Evans, of Brixton, London, England.

AB Evans was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD). No reference for the award has been found.


RAF Skitten Memorial (Credit: Martin Briscoe (WMR-5932))


Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives the men who died during Operation Freshman (Feb 2022). Thanks also to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’. Thanks also to The War Graves Photographic Project (TWGPP).

Other sources as quoted below:

RS & TV 10.06.2022 - Correction to details for AB Evans

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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