Grave of the Lancaster Crew
"Let me tell you that your departed relatives could not be buried in a
warmer soil because I know that people of this parish will guard and
shelter it with a love of which the last two years have shown many
examples”. The words are those of Mr. Kokkenborg, former rector of the
parish of Skarrild., to the dead fliers’ bereaved relatives who were
present at the inauguration of the memorial on 27 August 1946, exactly two
years after the shooting down of Lancaster ME650 from East Kirkby in
England. The number of participants at the inauguration from the parish of
Skarrild and neighbouring parishes was very high, more than a thousand
In the Fliers Grave
Flt.Lieut Evelyn George William Bowers, England
W/O William John Carrier, Australia
Pilot Offr. Wilfred James Fingland, Canada
Sgt. Alan Ambrose Michael Langridge, England
Pilot Offr. Burton McLauchlin, Canada
Sgt. Guy Raymond Stott, England
Sgt. Leslie Thompson, England.
The seven fliers were buried on 29. August 1944 with large local
participation in spite of German opposition. The Germans had put a simple
wooden cross on the grave. In the course of the day and the following days
the grave was covered with flowers.
The grave in 1944
Relatives visiting the grave in 1946
The grave 2003
The people of Skarrild wanted to give the deceased fliers a memorial. On
30 April 1945 the Parish Council decided that it would pay the costs and
after the liberation on 5 May the plans for a special memorial were
finalized with expert assistance.
Assisted by Mr. Frederik Lausen, Director, Clasonsborg, Mr. Jensen,
cemetery gardener, Herning, Mr. Hansen Glem, Sculptor, Mr. Broeksted
Christensen, architect, and Mr. Holm, master builder, Skarrild a beautiful
and monumental memorial was built. The costs, amounting to Dkr. 3500, were
borne by the local authority of Skarrild.
In 1947 the Parish Council decided that the Parish Council of Skarrild
will maintain the Fliers Grave through the ages.
The local cemetery gardener in Skarrild has shown loving care of the grave
and since 1963 Captain E.V.H. Jensen (Ret), Karup Air Base, has tended the
grave and with great veneration renovated the memorial and the propeller.
The propeller is not as many people seem to think- from the crashed
Lancaster but was brought to Jutland in October 1945 from the RAF
Headquarters in Germany. It was kept at Clasonsborg until it was placed in
the cemetery. The propeller is four-bladed in contrast the Lancasters
three-bladed propeller. It is either from the specially built Lancaster
VII or one of the earliest prototypes of the Lincoln bomber which came
after the Lancaster and which was intended for the military effort against
In a ceremony in August 1991 the ashes of the twin brother of one of the
dead fliers, George Victor Carrier from Australia, were placed in the
fliers grave, close to the body of his dead brother, William John Carrier.
His nephew, John Carrier, had travelled the long way from Australia with
his fathers urn. A small granite stone with a brass plaque in the shape of
the Australian continent was placed on the grave in 2002 at the request of
Captain E.V.H. Jensen and Mr. Ole Kraul, Horsens.
Wreath-laying ceremony in Skarrild on 5 May 2004
In 2004 the beautiful tradition of laying a wreath on the RAF graves in
Skarrild will mark the 60th anniversary of the shooting down and the
burial in 1944 of four British, one Australian and two Canadian airmen
At first the grave only had a simple wooden cross made by the Germans but
since 1946 a beautiful monument has marked the fliers grave and since then
the local population has gathered proudly by the grave once a year, either
on the British Remembrance Day, 11 November, on the anniversary of the
shooting down of the plane, 27 August, or on the Danish Liberation Day, 5
Representatives of the Danish Liberation Movement laid down the wreath for
many years after the war, later wreaths were laid by the Home Guard which
also presented a guard of honour and since 1963 officers from Karup Air
Base have laid a wreath at the memorial every year on 5 May.
The ceremonies at the memorial have been particularly moving since 2002
when RAF veterans from the 57/630 Squadrons Association and officers from
the RAF have been present. Some are veterans of the same bombing raid on
the East Prussian city of Konigberg, now Kaliningrad, which proved fatal
to the Lancaster bomber that was shot down near Skarrild.
These memorial ceremonies, no matter how long ago the incidents took place,
are always intense and moving, and the entire world is reduced to a very
small point when you are together in this way, said Squadron Leader Mervyn
Davies, the President of the 57/630 Squadrons Association in 2002.
Hundreds of people from Skarrild and from abroad take part in the memorial
ceremonies and in the subsequent service in the church in Skarrild.
Afterwards the participants take refreshments in the village hall or in
the new community centre.
Because of the 60-year anniversary clubs and associations in Skarrild have
established a planning committee in collaboration with the parish council,
the Home Guard and representatives of Karup Air Base. Everyone is welcome
and British veterans have already announced that they will be there on 5
Within Skarrild-Karstoft Museum and Archives we have created a Remembrance
Room in memory of the gallant crew of a Lancaster from No. 630 Squadron
Royal Air Force who gave their lives for their countries and also so that
we, in Denmark, could eventually live our lives in freedom.
In this room we have several bits from the Lancaster (ME 650) including
part of a propeller ploughed up in 1974 from the field where it crashed
after being shot down by a German night-fighter in the early hours of 27th
August 1944. There are lots of books and pictures presented by the
veterans who have participated in the annual wreath-laying ceremonies at
the Flier-grave site in Skarrild Churchyard
Of the seven members of the Lancaster crew, four were RAF from Great
Britain, two were RCAF from Canada and one RAAF from Australia. Flags of
the Royal Air Force, Canada and Australia hang in this room where we also
have for sale different booklets, folders and CD´s containing pictures,
text and eye-witness stories about the aircraft crash.
In 1991 the twin brother of the Australian crew-member died and, in
accordance with his last wish, his ashes were brought from Australia by
his son and buried in this same grave to lie alongside the remains of his
Many visitors from Denmark and foreign countries come to see our Museum
Enquiries to email