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70th Crew Families

In addition to the 12 March 2015 Ceremony at Englændegraven and Reception at Bechs Hotel to commemorate the shooting down of Lancaster ME-449, two private events were held for the family members of the crew of ME449.

On 12 March 2015 in advance of the Ceremony, a luncheon for crew families and dignitaries was hosted by the Tarm Menighedsrådet (Tarm Parish Council) at Menighedshuset (Parish council house) in Tarm.

The next day, 13 March 2015, family members of the ME449 crew posed for photographs at the Englændergraven grave site.

Additionally, as part of a bus tour, crew families and Danish eye witnesses visited locations connected to the crash of ME449 and the evasion of survivors; sites included where the escape hatch landed, the crash site, two of the safe houses, and the exhibition “Flyvere i Natten” (Airmen in the Night) at the Ringkøbing-Skjern Museum. 13 March is the birth date of Dorthea Madsen (nee Kristensen), who gave assistance to Merv Berie and Stoney Mitchell on her 21st birthday in 1945; as part of the bus tour, Dothea’s 91st birthday was celebrated with the gift of a miniature replica of the plaque unveiled at Englændergraven the previous day.



table setting by Tarm Parish Council for the luncheon
Photo by Birthe Holme Kasch

Kirsten Kolby Chair, Tarm Parish Council
welcoming guests
Photo by Birthe Holme Kasch

Tarm Parish House 
Photo by Gail Michener

Ray Morris, brother of Donald Morris,
with his wife Jane and grandaughter Emily Marsden
Photo by Birthe Holme Kasch

Photos by Dan Michener

Family of Mid-Upper Gunner Harvey Porter, who died 12 March 1945 and is buried at Englændergraven
Jarred Rice and Mitchell Rice (first cousins, twice removed), Karen Rice (first cousin, once removed), Ken Rice (husband of Karen)
Harvey Porter had just celebrated his 20th birthday when he died (see In Memoriam).  He left no direct descendants.

Family of Rear Gunner Donald Morris, who died 12 March 1945 and is buried at Englændergraven
Front row:  Ray Morris (brother) and Jane Morris (sister-in-law)
Back row: Emily Marsden (grand niece), Kevin Marsden (nephew-in-law), Lynne Marsden (niece)
Donald Morris was only 20 years old when he died.  He left no direct descendants.

Family of Pilot Stan Slater, who survived and evaded
John Haddon (son-in-law), Trish Haddon (daughter), Peter Slater (son), Tessa Slater (daughter-in-law)

Family of Navigator Stoney Mitchell, who survived and evaded
Gail Michener (daughter) and Dan Michener (son-in-law)

Family of Bomb Aimer Mervyn Bertie, who survived and evaded
Warren Westcott (son-in-law) and Sue Westcott (daughter)

 Family of Wireless Operator Thomas Fairclough, who survived and evaded
Front row:  Charlie Grayshon (great grandson) and Diane Fairclough (daughter-in-law)
Middle row: Brian Fairclough (brother), Alan Haines (son-in-law), Carolyn Fairclough (daughter), Nina Fairclough (daughter-in-law), Jacqui Fairclough (niece), Sharon Grayshon (granddaughter), Lisa Shepherd (granddaughter)
Back row: Malcolm Fairclough (son), Adam Haines (grandson), Nigel Fairclough (son), Brian Fairclough (nephew)
Note that 4 generations of Thomas’s family attended, from brother to great grandson. Thomas Fairclough was the only crew member who was married, and also a father, at the time of the shooting down of ME449.

family members of the Flight Engineer Ken Foster, who survived and evaded, were unable to attend the 70th anniversary events.

Read the Speeches given by a representative of each crewman’s family.


Crew family members and Danish eyewitnesses on the bus tour 13 March 2015

Laurids Bundgaard, finder of ME449 escape hatch, with Gail Michener
Laurids found the hatch in his father’s field near the barrow in the distance
Photo by Trish Haddon

Escape hatch from ME449 on display in the exhibition “Flyvere i Natten”
Ringkøbing-Skjern Museum
Photo by Gail Michener

 Trish Haddon and Peter Slater at Baunhøj
the house where Stan Slater was hidden with Thomas Fairclough
by Frederik Kørvel and his wife Kathrine and daughter Anna
Ken Foster was also hidden in this house several days later

Allied airmen were hidden upstairs, the Kørvel family stayed on the main floor, and
German soldiers were billeted in the basement

Photo by Gail Michener

 Kristensen home
Dothea Kristensen led Merv Bertie and Stoney Mitchell to her family home on her 21st birthday on 13 March 1945

Bertie and Mitchell were hidden by Peder and Maria Kristensen in the attic

Photo by Gail Michener


Dorthea Madsen (nee Kristensen)
with miniature replica of the plaque at Englændergraven
a gift from Sue Westcott and Gail Michener
Photo by Trish Haddon

Sue Westcott, Dorthea Madsen, Gail Michener
on Dothea’s 91st birthday 13 March 2015
Photo by Dan Michener

 Plaque unveiled at Englændergraven on 12 March 2015.
Designed by Gail R. Michener, daughter of Navigator Stoney Mitchell, and Al Stirling of Southern California Bronze
with translation assistance by Anni Guldberg Madsen