On “operations” and the night Alan was shot down

October 8, 2009

Alan flew Stirling 1 W7514, belonging to 15 Squadron and was coded  LS-B.

Alan flew many missions as a pilot of Stirling Bombers,and had had three successive nights on operations, when on the 26 April 1942, after agreeing to fly that night as the officer on rota had broken his arm in a horse riding accident, he was shot down over South Denmark, with several members of the crew killed. The bomber left Wyton at 21;50 hrs, and was attacked over Jylland, falling to ground near Kravlund at 01;15 hrs.

A full account of what happened can be found at


His mission on that night had been to target the factory at Rostock where the Germans were making 4 engined bombers. (They never did make these bombers, due to the British raids on this factory). After baling out, having destroyed vital documents inside the plane, he tried to walk to North Denmark, where he had a contact who could arrange safe passage for him into Sweden, but gangrene set in in his toes, forcing him to hand himself over to German forces. I have the telegram and subsequent letter that was sent to Alan’s parents on the 27th April 1942, informing them that Alan had been shot down.
The list of POW camps that Alan was confined in, can be found on this blog, under the category “ex prisoner of war questionaire”, which Alan completed in May 1945.
Alan was transferred through several transit camps including Dulag Luft near Frankfurt, where he was interrogated,  kept in solitary confinement and had his gangrenous toe removed without anaesthetic, in order to extricate information from him about his plane and missions. After spending several months in Stadt Roda and Egendorf hospitals,  Alan eventually arrived in Stalagluft 3 later in 1942, a large POW camp near Sagan, in modern day Poland.

One of  the camps Alan was transferred through was Stalag IXC, Mulhausen, which can be read about here ;

I have many documents about Stalagluft 3, and much has been written and photgraphed about the camp, which was run by the Luftwaffe, the “least Nazi” of all German organisations, and whose commanders had a degree “respect” for the allied airmen they were in charge of. It does need pointing out, at this stage though, that this camp was not run along the lines of those run by the SS or the Gestapo, and conditions, although sparse and unpleasant, were not as brutal as others.

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