Hampden IL4087 Ditching in Tannis Bay off Kandestederne 20 July 1940

A friend of Peer Petersen visited Skagen churchyard and discovered the headstones of crew members of a 44 Squadron Hampden. Peer kindly sent the following remarkably detailed account of what had happened to them.

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The wreckage of the Hampden on the shoreline.

The Hampden belonged to 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron and wore the code letters KM-C. It took off from RAF Waddington tasked with a minelaying mission off Frederikshaven.

At 0050 hours the aircraft was hit by flak from the air defence unit 4 Res Flakabt 615, near Frederikshaven and ditched five minutes later in Tannis Bay, between 300 and 400 meters off Kandestederne.

At eight o`clock in the morning it was reported to Skagen police, from a peat bog in Hulsig, that a British flyer had been found there by the peat cutters. It was Rear gunner Plt Off B Green MC, who told the police that he had crashed into the sea a few hundred meters off the west coast and had swum to the shore. He had then walked in the direction of the smoke coming from the machinery used in the bog. The German Wehrmacht in Skagen had Later on it was reported to the police that the Pilot, Sgt Edward Littleton Farrands, had been found in a summer cottage in Kandestederne, belonging to wholesaler Carlo Gram. Farrands was soon collected by the German Wehrmacht.

On 21st of July the dead body of WOP/Air Gunner Sgt Reginald T Miller was found on the beach near Spirbakken and taken to Skagen mortuary. On the 24th of July he was laid to rest in Skagen cemetery. On that same day the body of Observer Sgt Percy D Nixon was found on Skagen northern beach. He too was laid to rest in Skagen cemetery the following day.

Green and Farrands were sent to Dulag Luft at Oberursel, near Frankfurt in Germany, arriving at the camp on 21st July 1940.

After interrogation, Farrands was sent to Stalag Luft I Barth, and in March 1942 to Stalag Luft III Sagan ,where he stayed until October 1942. He was then sent back to Stalag Luft I Barth, where he remained until October 1943. He was then moved to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug. In July 1944 he was transferred to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow, where he stayed until February 1945. The POWs were then sent on a long and cold march, during which several of them managed to slip away. It is not known from where or when Farrands was released before returning to England. However, he signed his General Questionnaire for British Ex-Prisoners of War back in England on 8th May 1945.

Green was sent to Stalag Luft I Barth, arriving there on 25th July. He remained there until April 1942, after
which his next camp was Stalag Luft III Sagan, where he stayed until September 1942. He was then held in Oflag XXIB Schubin until April 1943. His next move was to Stalag Luft III Sagan, where he, along with 75 others, took part in the tunnel escape known as ‘The Great Escape’ on 24th March 1944. Green was recaptured in Oberöhrsdorf on the 25th of March by German privates and returned to the camp.

He stayed in Stalag Luft III until 28th January 1945, when he and about 2500 other British soldiers were marched off to the local railway station and sent by train to Marlag and Milag near Westertimke, arriving on 3rd February 1945. Green stayed at Marlag until the camp was closed down on 10th April thanks to the British advance in Northern Germany. He and his fellow POWs were sent on a march to the Lübeck area, where he was finally liberated in late April 1945. He returned to England where he signed his General Questionnaire for British Ex-Prisoners of War on 3rd May 1945.

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Plt Off Bernard Green MC at RAF Aldergrove

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Kriegsmarine investigating the wreckage

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Pilot Officer Bernard Green MC and major John Dodge to the left in Stalag Luft III

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