evening 21st. April 1945 a B-24 Liberator took off from Harrington
Airfield Northamptonshire in England. Its mission, supplying MILORG the
Norwegian resistance movement base "Hansesprangsæter", northwest of Oslo. Approaching from
the North Sea, they were attacked by a German Messerschmitt fighter
over Risør / Søndeled,
which in the words of the pilots of the B-24 “did a good job”, two fuel
tanks caught fire and one engine was out. One containers with four radios
and a part of the aircraft fell to the ground. The damage was too extensive for
a safe return to England or neutral Sweden. Soon after the
Messerschmitt broke off its attack Captain Keeney ordered his men to
evacuate, they were by then over in Brunlanes south Norway. The burning B-24 flew
over the town of Stavern on a northwest course. Captain Keeney jumped out
last, at an altitude of 1000 feet. The B-24 on its own made a nearly 360
degree turn near to Nevlunghavn, crashing some 400 yards from where
Captain Keeney had landed, close to the Eklund farm. So close to the farm
building that one wing of the B-24 tore of 3 roof tiles. On impact the
B-24 went up in flames and ammunition exploded, reducing the B-24 to a
chard wreck. The night of the accident was clear and calm, apart from
Captain Keeney, one other witnessed the last minutes of the flight and the
Captain Keeney awoke the people of the farm of Severin Sandene, no one at
the farm spoke English. Keeney was escorted some kilometres to meet an
English speaking student, explaining to him the horrific story of the
nights happening. The young student, who also was a member of local
Norwegian resistance MILORG realized soon the seriousness of the affair
rushed to inform his platoon leader, it was then 05:00 Hrs. The leader and
student joined up with Captain Keeney at the farm and escorted him by
cover, passing Manvik and Berven to Aske Free Church for safety.
At Aske church he was placed in the attic. Keeney was given food, telling
his rescuers the nights happening and that the B-24 had a crew of 10 men.
Two MILORG men were present with Captain Keeney the remainder of his stay
at Aske church for safety. The platoon leader left to inform the MILORG
area leader of happenings preparations for search of the B-24’s missing
crew, it was 07:00 Hrs. It was expected that the German troops would start
a big operation and therefore it was vital to locate and bring to safety
the missing crew of the B-24. German soldiers based at Oddane Fort arrived
some 11/2 hours later at the farm owned by Sandene; requisition a room,
remaining at the farm for a week The MILORG organisation went in to
action, established a temporary headquarter at the Tanum vicarage, 40
young men went in to action rounding up 7 of the missing aircrew .Further
they organised a boat for safe passage to Sweden. Passes was needed for
safe journey,”false” documents was produced. Captain Keeney had no picture,
therefore one of the MILORG men brother’s photos would have to do.
German engaged a big search party of between 300 to 400 men divided into
teems of 8 to 10 men. They combed the area
stopping all people, MILORG men as well, that travelling on the roads. The
German soldiers mostly stayed on the roads, seldom went out into the woods
After hours of hiding and running seven of the airmen were transported
to the neutral Sweden on Sunday evening.
Josef Anker Løvdal and Anders Ahlgren
across the Oslo fjord
to the Bohuslän area in
Returning from the
last trip the boat disappeared due to bad weather and the crew has never
been seen again. They
had on board
400 kg guns and ammunition to MILORG.
opened their escape route in 1943. The first person they took over to
Sweden was an escaped Russian POW. During these years they saved the
lives of probably hundreds of people. By 10:00 Hrs. AM on Monday the 23. of April all seven
airmen had arrived
safely in Strømstad. They were back in England at 16:00 Hrs that same day!
Two airmen with broken legs were caught by the Germans and held
prisoners until the end of the war on 8 May, 1945. One airman was killed while
jumping from the plane.
“The crew” page you can read the happening of each of the B-24’s crew.
codename: "Crupper 8"