Diary - Ray
Sunday 25/03/1945 - Raid on Norangsfjord
Monday 26/03/1945 - Thursday 29/03/1945
Friday 30/03/1945 - raid on Porsgrunn
Saturday 31/03/1945 - Sunday 01/04/1945
Monday 02/04/1945 - raid on Sandefjord
Tuesday 03/04/1945 - Wednesday 04/04/1945
Thursday 05/04/1945 -Kattegat/ Skagerrak Patrols
Norangsfjord is inland of Alesund and close to Leknes. The Norangsfjord is a
branch of the Hjorundfjord, one of the most visually impressive fjords in
Norway. On the morning of the 25th, morning
reconnaissance patrols report the presence of 3 vessels in the Norangsfjord
1336 hours 12 Mosquitos from 235 squadron, together with 2 from 333 squadron
and the escorting Mustangs, take off. Wing Commander Simmonds is the strike
1545 hours 1 tanker and 3 merchantmen are sighted. The formation attacks,
line astern. Ray Harington, in Mosquito “J”, becomes slightly separated from
the force and performs a wingover and attacks a vessel near the shoreline in
a steep dive due to the size of the surrounding cliffs. Hits are observed,
but the vessel stays afloat. Some shells hit the surrounding rocks and
shower the vessel with fragments of rock. The tanker is also hit, and both
vessels are left damaged and smoking.
aircraft land back at base at 18.08
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26/03/1945 – Thursday 29/03/1945
engagements with enemy. 235 squadron released for training or weather deemed
unfit for flying.
30/03/1945 – raid on Porsgrunn
Since the 16th century Porsgrunn has been an important harbor
town in the Grenland area, becoming a thriving market town and has been home
to some of Norway's most influential families.
As WW2 drew to a close in 1945, due to it’s location it was also the primary
port for the German evacuation from Norway. With reports from the morning
reconnaissance sorties of targets in the area, the Banff wing was briefed
and at 1327 hours a large strike force was airborne, consisting of;
aircraft from 235 squadron, including Pilot Officer Harington and Flight
Sergeant Winwood, plus;
aircraft from 143 squadron
12 aircraft from 248 squadron
2 aircraft from 333 squadron
together with 12 escorting Mustangs. The wing is lead by Wing Commander
Simmonds in 235 Mosquito “N”. However, at 1425 hours Simmonds is forced to
return to base with a faulty drop tank and Flight Lieutenant Knowles in 235
Mosquito “T” assumes control.
2 333 squadron outriders approach Porsgrunn and advise the strike leader of
vessels in the vicinity, and at 1550 hours the force attacks the shipping.
Approaching at very low level, the attacks are highly successful, with the
shipping holed by 127 rockets. The German vessel Scharnhorn (2643 tons) is
sunk, together with the Norwegian vessels Qudrid Borgstad, Svanefjell,
Gudrid and Torafire. Buildings in use by the Germans to store chemicals are
also badly damaged. Flak was heavy, but much was silenced during the
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Harington remembers Porsgrunn as the first large raid he was involved in
during his time in Banff. Flight Lieutenant Knowles had made the strike
aware of high-tension electric cables in the area but, as Ray was forming on
Flight Lieutenant Mayhew’s Mosquito (which proceeds to engulf his aircraft
in smoke from rocket fire) and attacked, he saw a Mosquito crash into the
ground just beyond the harbour. Concentrating on his attack, he scored 8 wet
hits and strafed with cannon fire.
Knowles’ Mosquito had most probably hit the cables and spun out of control.
All remaining aircraft landed safely at 1851 hours.
picture taken below was used by the press at the time for reporting
purposes, and for propaganda purposes reports the smoking Mosquito “T” as a
hit on a factory.
31/03/1945 – Sunday 01/04/1945
engagements with enemy. 235 squadron released for training.
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Monday 02/04/1945 – raid on Sandefjord
Two peninsulas called Østerøya ("Eastern Island") and Vesterøya ("Western
Island") form the Sandefjordsfjord and Mefjord. The coastline is composed of
a variety of sandy beaches, skerries and islets. Sandefjord was formerly a
famous health resort, with various kinds of baths for health improvement.
Amongst these were salt water sea baths, mud and sulphur baths and royalty
were frequent visitors.
Towards the end of the 1920s, Sandefjord had a fleet of 15 factory ships and
more than 90 whalers but from the mid 1950s whaling was gradually reduced
and other shipping types were given priority. During 1945 intelligence
reports had noted Sandefjord as a major harbour and a dry dock, one of the
few left to the Germans after previous activity.
A large strike force of mixed Squadron Mosquitos, similar to the activities
witnessed on the 30th April, perform another successful strike. The flak is
again heavy, but 2 vessels are sunk; the Concordia (5154 tonnes) and the
German merchant vessel William Bulmer (3604 tonnes). A further 4 vessels are
damaged. Taking the first strikes is the Kattegat, attacked in a dry dock
and heavily damaged.
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03/04/1945 – Wednesday 04/04/1945
engagements with enemy. 235 squadron released for training. Training flights
Thursday 05/04/1945 –Kattegat/ Skagerrak Patrols
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Kattegat is a sea area bounded by Jutland (Denmark), and Scania, Halland and
Bohuslän (Sweden). The Baltic Sea drains into the Kattegat through the
Oresund and the Danish Straits. During 1945 this area witnessed heavy U-boat
activity, and on this date 39 Mosquitos with 12 Mustang escorts was led by
the outriders looking for enemy vessels.
1435 hours enemy vessels were spotted; at wave height the force attacks, led
by Wing Commander Simmonds, firing rockets and strafing with cannon.
Mosquito 235 “U” flown by Pilot Officers Arthurs and Richardson hit a mast
of one of the vessels and spins in, crashing just beyond the enemy vessel.
The Banff wing has experienced a few instances of hitting enemy shipping due
to the extreme low level operations, and this is bought home to the
witnesses who see colleagues crash with no hope of escape at such low
Whilst returning via the Danish coast, Ray Harington, flying 235 Mosquito
“F”, performs a sudden manoeuvre to avoid another Mosquito which is taking
evasive action due to flak over Mors. The left propeller is damaged,
possibly having clipped the ground.
such low altitude and struggling to control the aircraft, the crew elect to
belly land. Without flaps, the Mosquito crash lands, and to this day Ray
remembers the fear of such a low level rapid crash land. Popping the hatch,
both crew members escape unhurt.
Mosquito “F” (Freddie) had crashed in Northern Denmark at Tandrup. After
considering their position, they got in contact with some farm hands who did
not speak English. Soon the ammunition started exploding and they moved away
from the aircraft and met Mrs. Lutzhoft who spoke English. She advised them
to hide in a haystack a little distance away. This they did and in the
evening Mrs. Lutzhoft brought them food. Later they were contacted by
members of the resistance Richard Jensen and Ernfred Østergård who took the
flyers to the churchyard of Bedsted where they waited while civilian clothes
was brought for the flyers. In a cab driven by Peter Nielsen they were taken
to his home in Skjoldbjerg. After a most welcome meal the flyers were taken
to the house of Reverend Hans Dahl-Hansen where they slept until the next
Next they moved to the farm of Henry Christensen in Harring where they spent
most of the night on the loft of a piggery, as Christensen had visitors in
his house. Only when they had left could the flyers be brought into the
From the farm they were taken to Anna and Eigil Møller in Thisted where
false ID-cards with photos of look alike were provided, Peter Nielsen then
took them to “Markvardsens Hotel” in Nykøbing Mors. En route they were
stopped by German sentries by the “Vildsund broen” bridge, but the new
ID-cards got them through.
next day they were photographed and provided with new ID-cards with their
own pictures and moved to a garden house belonging to Niels Schmidt. In
Nykøbing they were able to walk around freely.
After about three days in Nykøbing Mors the journey continued to Aalborg by
train via Hvalpsund. At the railway station in Aalborg they were met by Knud
Nielsen who took them to the office of Svend Andersen and later to his home.
Here they stayed for about eight days before they were driven to Strandby
north of Frederikshavn by Carl Pedersen.
They were billeted for the night at the house of a teacher until they could
be transferred to the fishing boat “Henny” FN 3 with Skipper Herluf Aaen. In
mid Kattegat they transferred to a larger vessel with Skipper Andreas and
sailed to Göteborg where they arrived on 24th April 1945.
Many RAF and USAAF crews had used Sweden as an optional landing site and
were thus considered internees; Ray and Bert were European refugees and were
flown back to Scotland on the 2nd May 1945.
After almost a month on the run, Ray’s young wife Betty and family had no
idea as to his whereabouts, and were obviously much relieved to see them
safely home after weeks of no news.
then celebrated his 22nd birthday a few days later on the 6th
Mosquito "F" Freddie refuses to disappear despite the Germans quickly
removing the wreckage after the crash land.
235 Squadron picture in the website is taken with “F” Freddie in the
has kept in touch with the people who helped him avoid falling into German
hands, and on a visit to Denmark in 1960 was informed one of the cannons
from “F” was hidden in a farmhouse before the Germans arrived on the scene.
This was mysteriously delivered to Ray in 1996 and has been donated to the
Mk VI Mosquito reconstruction at the DeHavilland museum, Salisbury hall (see
links). Soon to be reinstalled into a Mk VI Mosquito.
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