Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom...
...Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War, from Fonthill Media
Title: Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom
Author: Mikkel Plannthin
Publisher: Fonthill Media
In the introduction, the author Mikkel Plannthin, who was born in Copenhagen in 1973, tells us how he built an Airfix kit of a Hawker Hurricane when he was 7 years old, and it inspired him to want to find out more about the war, and the stories of the aircraft and the men who took part. That interest has led to some 15 years researching the stories which have come together in this new book.
This is the story of Danish men and women who wouldn't accept that their country has been defeated and forced to surrender to the German army and who devoted themselves to contribute to the war effort which would lead to the liberation of their homeland. The book opens with some background as the author sets the scene of the situation when Germany overran Denmark facing relatively little resistance. The Danish Government chose to cooperate in order to minimise the extent/level of German control over their country, a decision which is apparently still subject to debate.
After an opening chapter which give some background to the situation where Danes found their homeland overrun and needed to escape, along with those already abroad, including outside of Europe. The next chapter looks at possibly the most 'romantic' notion of exiled pilots, flying Spitfires over the Channel and Northern Europe. Never enough pilots or aircraft to form a purely Danish squadron, they still played an active role within RAF squadrons. Then it moves on to those who served in the Bombers, with 25 Danes flying in Bomber Command, and at least one with the USAAF. Not all pilots, some were navigators, flight engineers, wireless operators and air gunners. Ten more Danes served with Coastal Command, and took part in the task of hunting U-Boats in the war of the Atlantic. A few more fought in North Africa and another nine in the Mediterranean war over Malta and Italy. Chapters 7 and 8 move to the other side of the world, defending the Empire over India, Burma and China then over Australia and the Pacific. Chapter 9 moves Out of the Front Line and looks at other support roles which also involved some Danish ladies. A Met officer in the South African Air Force, two in the Air Transport Auxiliary based out of White Waltham and others. The final chapter then looks at the Danes who returned home once victory had been won, though of course a number of them had not survived the war.
An Appendix rounds off the book with a table that lists all the Danes Serving in the Allied Air Forces 1939-45, giving the name and service number of those the author has identified, along with Birth/Death dates where known, the Air Force they served with and in what role. Some of the information is still listed as 'unknown', as the author points out at the start, this research has already gone on for 15 years and even though there are still gaps in the stories, it has got to a point where what is known is worth sharing even if there is still work to do. If you wait until you are sure you have everything, you will never get to share it, while doing so might also prompt someone new to get in touch with more information to fill in some of those gaps. A series of lesser known stories and I liked reading them.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for my copy.