The Glider Crews

This pages lists the Glider and Tug crews which took part in Operation Freshman.

Due to their being no survivors from either glider, it was extremely difficult for the authorities at the time to construct a picture of what exactly happened. Most of the information only emerged after the war finished in 1945, and War Crime investigations were carried out.

Glider Number One (a Horsa DP349), and its tug (a Halifax ‘A’ Apple), took off at 17:45 from Wick. The tug was piloted by Squadron Leader A.B. Wilkinson. This plane released its glider and returned to Wick, landing at 03:00 the following morning. The crew of this Halifax were the only people to return from Operation Freshman.

After the glider crashed at Fylgjesdal near Lysefjord, two of the survivors reached the Hovland Family’s farm in Helleland. They told the Thedor and his son Trond Hovland that after being released by the tug, the glider apparently lost control and crashed somewhere into the mountains between Helleland and Bjerkreim. A later report stated that this glider had crashed east of Egersund, not far from Helleland Railway Station.

This glider was flown by Staff Sergeant M.F. Strathdee, with his co-pilot Sergeant P. Doig. Both glider pilots were killed in the crash.

Staff Sergeant Strathdee was born in Croydon, before moving to Southampton. At the outbreak of war, he was a member of Royal Armoured Corps before transferring to the Glider Pilot Regiment (Army Air Corps). Sergenat Doig was born and resided in Glasgow.

The Glider’s troops are shown in the following table.

LtMethven DAKilled CrashCrash Site19/11/42
L/SjtHealey FKilled CrashCrash Site19/11/42
CplCairncross JDExecutedStavanger19/11/42
L/CplJackson WMExecutedTradum19/11/42
L/CplMasters TLExecutedStavanger19/11/42
SprBlackburn JFExecutedTradum19/11/42
SprBonner FExecutedTradum19/11/42
SprWalsh JWExecutedTradum19/11/42
SprWhite TWExecutedTradum19/11/42
SprHunter JGVKilled CrashCrash Site19/11/42
SprJacques WKilled CrashCrash Site19/11/42
SprNorman RKilled CrashCrash Site19/11/42
SprSmith EJExecutedStavanger19/11/42
DvrSimkinsKilled CrashCrash Site19/11/42
DvrFarrell PPExecutedStavanger19/11/42
Occupants of Glider Number One.

Glider Number Two (a Horsa HS114), and its tug (a Halifax W7801 ‘B’ Baker), took off at 18:00 from Wick.

The tug waspiloted by Flight Lieutenant A.R. Parkinson (Royal Canadian Air Force) and Pilot Officer G.W. Sewell de Gency RAF(VR) as co-pilot. The other crew members were Flying Officer A.T.H. Haward RAF(VR), Flight Lieutenant A.E. Thomas RAF(VR), Sergeant J. Falconer RAF, Flight Sergeant A. Buckton RAF(VR) and Flight Sergeant G.M. Edwards RAF(VR). This plane crashed at Helleland, Rogaland. All the crew were killed in the crash.

They were buried in the snow until Spring 1943, when their remains were recovered by local people and buried in herring boxes. In December 1945 their remains were reburied in Helleland Churchyard.

The glider was flown by Pilot Officer N.A. Davies and his co-pilot was Pilot Officer H.J. Fraser. Both were officers in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Norman Arthur Davies was born in Melborne, the son of Herbert Arthur and Sophie Davies. Prior to the outbreak of war, Norman Davies was a farmer and graduate of Dookie Agricultural College, residing in Queen Street, Melbourne. His stated next-of-kin was his Father.

Herbet John Fraser was born in Bendigo; a town in Victoria approximately 75 miles north of Melbourne. His parents were Herbet John and Ida Marion Fraser. Prior to the outbreak of war, Herbert Fraser was a Carrier and lived in Bramble Street, Bendigo with his wife Elyn Avery Fraser.

This glider crashed approximately 2.5 kilometres north-east of Lensmannsgard, 400-500 metres north-west of Gasetjern, some four kilometres north from where the towing Halifax crashed. Both pilots and Driver Pendlebury were killed in the crash.

The remaining soldiers were captured and shot near Egersund on the same day.

The glider pilots and the servicemen are buried in Eiganes Churchyard, Stavanger.

LtAllen ACExecutedEgersund19/11/42
L/SjtKnowles GExecutedEgersund19/11/42
CplThomas JGExecutedEgersund19/11/42
L/CplBray FWExecutedEgersund19/11/42
L/CplCampbell AExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprWilliams GSExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprBailey EWExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprGrunday CHExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprLegate HJExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprFaulkner TWExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprBevan HExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprSmallman LExecutedEgersund19/11/42
SprStephen JMExecutedEgersund19/11/42
DvrBellfield JTVExecutedEgersund19/11/42
DvrPendlebury EKilled CrashCrash Site19/11/42
Occupants of Glider Number Two.