18 August 2011

Last Mission

UPDATE January 19, 2014: In July 2013 my grandchild Viktor and I visited the Easy Elsie landing site in Lapland. Viktor, now 6 years old, has almost completed building a Lancaster bomber model.




In 1944 the huge German battleship Tirpitz in Norwegian waters was a serous threat to allies convoys to Russian harbours in Barents Sea. The English had tried to sink her several times, both with submarines and planes, but without success.

On October 29 36 Lancaster bombers took off from Scotland. Weather was bad and when arrived above Tromsfjord in Tromsö, Norway, fog suddenly made Tirpitz unvisible. Heavy 5.4 tonnes bombs called Tallboy were dropped where they thought the ship was. No bombs did hit Tirpitz. The Lancaster bomber Easy Elsie was struck by anti-aircraft fire. The right outer engine stopped and one fuel tank was punctured. One hit knocked out the left inner engine and another fuel tank was punctured. The bomb shutters did open, which caused very strong air resistance. Flying Officer D.W. Carey then decided to take Easy Elsie to neutral Sweden. They landed near Porjus village in Lapland in northern Sweden. The landing was violent. The plane stood up on its nose but fell back. Carey hurt his left knee, but the rest of the crew were okey. Tirpitz was sunk on November 12 by another heavy bomber attack.

Source: Information material provided by Porjus Arkivkommitté on walls in a hut near the landing site.

Some days ago I did visit the landing site. I brought my QRP radio with me. I had a few CW contacts on 7 MHz with other portable ham radio stations in Sweden. More photos and info can be seen here.




Several other planes, from both allies and axis powers, performed emergency landings etc. in northern Sweden at that time. Below is material showing this. It is photographed this year at the Swedish Air Force Museum F21 in Kallax/Luleå.




.