My ex-RAF Dad once told me of a ‘funny incident’ that happened to him during WWII. His air crew had flown into one of the Scandinavian countries, not realising that the Allies hadn’t reached there yet. They thought they were in huge trouble when German soldiers came out to the aircraft but were bemused when the commanding officer handed over his weapons and surrendered. Some convincing acting on all their parts was called for in order to appear as confident victors in the conflict, instead of a bunch of blokes wondering what the hell kind of hot water they’d gotten themselves into.
This article about war hero Eric Brown (pictured left) appeared in today’s Daily Mail newspaper in which an eerily similar incident in Denmark is mentioned. In fact, I’d say it has to be the same incident and so I’m guessing my Dad was one of the crew standing beside this gentleman, putting on a convincing act of being cool, calm and collected. (Sadly my Dad is no longer around to ask).
I checked Dad’s flying log today and yes, in 1945 there is a sortie listed, to Denmark, with the initials S.O.E. beside it (one of two S.O.E. missions in which he participated that month). Although I’ve read right through his flying log and extracted lots of information for my genealogy research, I hadn’t realised the significance of those S.O.E. initials. I only found out today that they stand for Special Operations Executive which my in-house expert here described as basically the forerunner to MI6. (Wikipedia says: formed in 1940 “to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements).”
Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.
I thought I couldn’t be any more proud of my Dad …
This gentleman’s story in the paper today has prompted me to start looking at specific missions mentioned in this precious flying log (like Operation ‘Varsity’) and to appreciate all over again the bravery of my Dad and all his young friends.