Letter to: Mr. Ken Frair, Ontario, Canada
The following story will tell you, why I write this letter to you:
Some time ago I had to ask forester Erik B. Nielsen, Aabenraa, some questions about the graves of allied airmen from WWII in the cemetery of Aabenraa. At this occasion he told me an experience from his childhood. He was 10 years old when an evening in January 1945 an English airman came to his home, a farm on the island Als. His parents hid the airman on the loft of the stable. He do not remember how long the airman stayed at his home, but he is sure the Germans did not get him. When the airman left, Erik’s father told Erik not to tell a word about this event. If the Germans got to know anything about this, they would burn off the farm and arrest his parents.
Some months later his father cleaned up on the loft. Suddenly something rattled on the floor. His father found some English coins. He gave them to Erik. All his life Erik kept the coins in his purse. They have followed him as his lucky pennies.
He has tried through the English embassy in Copenhagen to come in touch with this airman but did not succeed.
Now in an article by Soren Flensted I read about the crash of Halifax NR173 No. 429 RCAF Sqn. I see that all the crew baled out. 6 airmen were taken in custody by the Germans the same day and met up on a German airbase. At the POW camp the navigator F/O Ken Frair joined them. As NR173 is the only bomber from which airman baled out near Erik’s home, it could be possible that you are the airman, Erik all his life has wanted to get in touch with. I got the address from Soren Flensted.
If you are this airman, I hope you will give me an answer, and I really would like to surprise Erik with the address of the airman his parents gave shelter in January 1945.
My address is Jorgen Jorgensen, Sundgade 41, DK 6320 Egernsund, Denmark.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope to hear from you or your relatives - also if you are not the airman mentioned by Erik B. Nielsen.
Egernsund, the 3rd of March 2005.
Mrs. Veronica Frair, Toronto, Canada, writes the 12th of Marts 2005:
Dear Mr. Jorgensen.
My name is Veronica Frair. And Ken was my husband. He passed away July 5 1999. He was 76.
From the events you have described I strongly feel that it was Ken. He was a quiet man and did not often talk of the war, only when asked about it. It affected him as it did all who served.
He was 21 at the time, was 6´ tall, black hair brown eyes and a large, trained body. Not heavy but played all sports and was a good athlete at school.
His older brother Ted, 23-24, had been shot down months earlier with his crew over the English Channel. No bodies were recovered.
My husband said all crewmembers survived the crash, but they split up giving each one a better chance of survival.
Ken hurt one ankle badly and had trouble walking, but they were taught survival tactic and given survival gear to keep them alive. They were told to travel at night and hide during the day.
He fashioned a tree branch for a crutch to walk. He said he looked for farmers’ barns to hide in. How many nights he stayed in anyone I don’t know. Maybe because of his ankle he was in one until it healed somewhat. I don’t know.
I have read the letter for my sons and they both feel strongly that Ken is the one you are looking for.
He was free for four or five days before he was captured along with other airmen, and because of the war expected to be over soon, he said he and others were held in a railway station of a small town. *)
The German soldiers protected them as the local town-folk stormed the station intent on killing them over the recent bombings of their village.
I hope this has been helpful to you and to Mr. Nielsen.
Must have been a railway station in Germany. Such never happened in Denmark. No place in DK was bombed in a similar way as in Germany, and most Danes looked upon the allied airmen as friends.