WWII Memorial on a Danish Field

On our trips around in Denmark, my husband and I always try to include a memorial for something historical in that same area. This time, a few weeks ago, it meant many extra kilometers as we primarily wanted to see the North Sea in high autumn sunshine.

The War Memorial at the crash site in South West Jutland

This memorial is at a farmer’s field where the Allied bomber tragically crashed on December 1, 1943. (From the information tablet on the spot)

The seven-man crew was on their way back from their first mission: to lay mines in the Skagerak. Short Stirling EF191 exploded over Houm Meadows, forming a large hole, which quickly filled with water. All seven crewmen died. They were buried in the memorial grove in Esbjerg. 

Warrent Officer Dennis John Nixon, Pilot, RAF
Sergeant James Lawson Blackwood, Flight engineer, RAF
Sergeant Ronald Gordon Withmarch, gunner, RAF
Sergeant John Herbert Flach, radio operator RAF
Sergeant Harry Earnest Steel, navigator RAF
Sergeant Edwin Draper, gunner, RAF
Sergeant Clarke Edward Quickfall, bomber, RCAF

I won’t emphasize the words about the German sniper who shot down the Short Sterling because I find it appalling that he gets so much attention even on the old planche near the crash site. Christmas Eve 1943, two locals erected a wooden cross with the inscription: GOD BLESS YOU. The cross is still there.

It reminds me of a visit a few years ago to a German Bunker Tirpitz a bit south of this memorial, which recently was turned into a modern museum. The main focus at that place as a part of the big Atlantic Wall was on an ordinary German soldier and his love story with a Danish girl working in the canteen. I felt that it was all about pleasing the many German tourists coming to Southern Denmark at all times of the year. For the same reason, I never made a post about that. Having grown up in the shadows of WWII, I see history differently than modern day’s people. We didn’t ask for an ugly concrete wall of bunkers on our beautiful white beaches along our West Coast and further down along the coast of the Netherlands and France.

11 Comments »

  1. Always so interesting to hear the different perspectives. It would never have occurred to me that your local history would be adjusted to current tourism. I think I’ve mentioned before than when we were in Copenhagen in the early 90s (!) we spent most of the day in the Resistance Museum there. So much to learn.
    Have you ever read The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (or seen the film?). If you look beyond the erotic coming-of-age story, it is a treatise on the generation after the war coming to terms with the moral legacy they inherited.

    Like

    • I can only say Wow, thank you. My posts get some attraction on Twitter. Shortly after the release this morning, local time at Tweeter told me that his grandmother used to house pilots on the missions, and she would never forget those who never came back and that my post brought tears in his eyes. I am so thankful even though I can write too much text anymore due to the complicated block system. I am trying to use it as it is

      Liked by 2 people

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