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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 192769
Last updated: 20 October 2020
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Date:12-JAN-1943
Time:14:24
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk IV
Owner/operator:541 Squadron Royal Air Force (541 Sqn RAF)
Registration: R7041
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Lake Isefjaer -   Norway
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland
Destination airport:
Narrative:
In January 1943 F/O Alex B Anderson, a member of 541 Sqn RAF, a photo reconnaissance unit based in Benson, volunteered to go to RAF Leuchars in the hope that he would be able to go home to Ayr to see his fiancée, Joyce. But four days later, on 12 January, he was briefed to fly to Norway to search the German battleship Scharnhorst which had disappeared from the port of Kiel.

The pilot flew down the coast of Norway until he reached Kristiansand checking the fjords and harbours with no sight of the Scharnhorst. As he flew round Kristiansand for a second time to take the final photographs he was attacked by two Focke Wulf 190 fighters. His Spitfire PR.IV R7041 was hit, caught fire, and lost altitude.

At 14:12 hrs, Uffz. Alois Job and Fw. Egon Reichstein of 8./JG 1 had been scrambled from Kjevik airfield and flew towards Oslo. They soon see in the haze an aircraft coming the other way and first identified it as a Bf 109. But as it tried to pass between them they recongnized a Spitfire and turned to chase it. Uffz Job shot it down without even using his Revi gunsight. It was his first victory, claimed at 1424 hrs at 100-150 m near Hövaag, northwest of Kristiansand, and also the first victory of the year for JG 1.

At around 600 feet Anderson inverted the plane to drop out, but the microphone cord and his foot jammed for a moment. Managing to get free, he openend his parachute at about 300 feet and landed 10 feet up in a tree. He then evaved capture for four days and nights, spleeping where he could and having very little food or water. Anderson was also struggling with a bullet wound in his left foot and shrapnel wounds to his right foot and left arm, four pieces of which remained in his arm his whole life. Some Norwegians helped him as best they could, but one in particular, Harald Johnsen, took many risks. Still the RAF pilot was eventually captured, ending up in the infamous Stalag Luft III.

He survived the war and the "Long March", the evacuation of his camp in appalling weather with temperatures of -25° c. He was finally released by the Russians and flown back to Britain in late spring 1945, and married Joyce on 24 August 1945.

His Spitfire had crashed into Lake Isefjaer in southern Norway and vanished beneath the ice. In 1963 divers from the British Army camp at Isefjaer found his Spitfire at the bottom of the fjord. Anderson was traced from the plane's identification plate and the RAF flew him back to Norway later that year. There he was reunited with Harald Johnsen, whom he thought had been killed by the Germans for helping him back in 1943. Alex then received his Spitfire's manufacturer's identification plate and a piece of the fuel tank mounted on a wooden plinth. He has also been given back the RAF wings he took off his uniform in Norway to shield his identity.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-11168230
http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/p010.html
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=25092
"JG 1. L'histoire de la Jagdgeschwader 1 'Oesau'", by Eric Mombeek. ISBN 2-9509485-2-9
Luftwaffe claim lists by Tony Wood and Jim Perry (http://lesbutler.co.uk/claims/tonywood.htm)
http://www.getamap.net/maps/norway/aust-agder/_isefjaer/


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
12-Jan-2017 13:44 Laurent Rizzotti Added
05-Mar-2020 20:54 Iwosh Updated [Aircraft type, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Narrative, Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description