Stirling W7531 LS-F (for Freddie)
The people of the local town of Middelfart used a huge granite boulder unearthed during the crash as a memorial stone for the lost crew. The stone had a plaque on it with the names of the eight crew who died, and in 1949 the Danish people held a ceremony to dedicate the stone and remember the crew (see image on the left). They still remember and since that day they have held a memorial in May every year, and still do so.
A local man, Niels Ebbe Lundholt was one of the first at the scene. His impressions of the crash serve as a chilling reminder of the horrors he saw there (I have removed parts of his account which would cause upset to the relatives of the crew):
Monday the 18th-May-42, I heard romours that a english bomber was crashed in the Hindsgavl forrest, and I took my bicycle and went to the area, in order to see if I could find some weapons, I could use against the germans. I brought a kodak box camera, in case that I could retrieve any usefull informations. At the crash site, a big part of the forrest was cut, it almost looked like a huge razor had cut through the trees. It look like there had been a huge explosion, since there were only small parts left from the bomber and there was a big hole in the ground. Since there were only small parts left, I could not recognise the bomber. There were a mixture of german soldiers and danish people at the site, so I was hiding my camera in a bag in a way so I could take some photos, without anybody noticed it. I did not find any weapons, but I found parts of the radio, a pressure vessel, parts of the attitude meter and the navigation system, which I brought with me. I was chocked over this terrible and barbaric act, but not surprised. (His own words from a personal written history).
The sole survivor of the crash was my father, Sgt Donald John Jeffs (known to the crew by his nickname of Duncan). He was thrown clear but suffered burns and broken bones. Miraculously he was found shortly after the crash by a local policeman who came to the crash scene, and who was a secret member of the Danish resistance. With the help of some local townspeople and a local doctor (Dr Sven Ulrich) he was kept in hiding until his injuries forced the Danish Resistance to hand him over to the Germans on the understanding they would treat his wounds. At that point in the war the Germans were still respectful of captured POW's, but this would change after the massive allied bombing raid over Dresden which targeted civilians for the first time.
My father's remarkable survival of the crash, the initial rescue and help from the Danish Resistance, his capture by the German army and incarceration in the Stalag VIIIB POW camp in Silesia, and his participation on the famous 'Long March of POW's to Germany, are all included in the book so forgive me if I don't give too many details away here, but it is an incredible story of survival against the odds.
Please visit the Facebook page below for an overview of the MacRobert's Reply story and my father's involvement.