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Secret emergency landing at Nøtterøy

During my visit to the air show at Torp Airport near Sandefjord I was handed over one of the quarterlies of the Norwegian Dakota Association (Dakota Norway). It was number 1 of the year 2001. On page 14 it showed the picture of a DC-3 at Nøtterøy after an emergency landing. The article mentioned that after the landing Russian PoW were used to flatten out the land and to make a provisional runway. In the meantime the engine was fixed. After the work on the runway was finished the aircraft took off and disappeared to n unknown destination. The author of the article referred to an article written by Tore Dyrhaug and published in the yearbook “Njotarøy”. Mr Dyrhaug tries to trace back the roots of this particular aircraft, which was identified as D-ATJG, former PH-ASM Mees (Titmouse) of Royal Dutch Airlines KLM.

Pre-War history

Now, this aircraft had a pre-war Scandinavian history. KLM used it, among other routes, between Amsterdam and Stockholm. On September 26, 1939, while on its flight from Stockholm to Amsterdam, a German fighter attacked this particular aircraft. A Swedish passenger on board the KLM-machine was killed and the aircraft received 80 hits. KLM-Captain Jan Moll managed to get the aircraft to Amsterdam/Schiphol. After this incident KLM painted its aircraft orange and applied the letters HOLLAND on the fuselage and wings.

In German service

But on May 10, 1940 the aircraft was abandoned at Amsterdam/Schiphol and on May 16, 1940 seized by the Luftwaffe that registered it as NA+LE. On June 15, 1940 it was passed on to Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which used it on the Berlin – København (Copenhagen) – Oslo air service. It had its first landing at Oslo/Fornebo on Monday September 9, 1940. It was used on the air service until August 1941 and had its first registered emergency landing near Oslo on August 21, 1941. On board were two passengers and two crewmembers, together with 34 kg luggage and 126.79 kg freight and airmail. The aircraft was transported by train through neutral Sweden (!) to Germany and Switzerland, where it was repaired at the Zürich workshop of Swiss airline company Swissair. This company was responsible for the maintenance and overhaul of the Lufthansa Douglas-fleet throughout the War. In June 1942 it returned into service, but did not land at Oslo/Fornebo again until October 1942.

Again the aircraft returned to regular duty and it was therefore interesting to read about the emergency landing at Nøtterøy during the winter of 1943. According to my archive the aircraft had been in Oslo on February 22, but no return flight to København could be found. So we do not know the number of passengers on board at the time of the extra-ordinary landing. We know that the aircraft was flying in southern direction towards København. According to the article the aircraft must have been on the farmland until April 1943, but this is incorrect.

It may well have been there for some time, but already on March 8, 1943 the aircraft made a regular landing at Oslo/Fornebo with one passenger, 10 kg of luggage and 12.8 kg of freight and mail. It came from Berlin and København. The final fate of the aircraft is unknown. Its last departure from Oslo/Fornebo towards København and Berlin was on August 5, 1944. It has been in service until at least September 3, 1944. One thing is for sure: KLM never got its aircraft back at the end of the Second World War. But the people of the island of Nøtterøy had experienced a unique event.

Information on aircraft

Type: Douglas DC-3-194G, c/n 2142

Delivered to NV Nederlandsche Vliegtuigfabriek Fokker on July 7, 1939.

Delivered to KLM on July 21, 1939 and registered PH-ASM Mees (Titmouse).

Taken over by the Germans at Amsterdam/Schiphol on May 16, 1940 and to Luftwaffe as NA+LE.

Delivered to Deutsche Lufthansa AG on June 15, 1940 and registered as D-ATJG.

The aircraft was in service until at least September 3, 1944. Its fate is unknown.

© Rob Mulder, October 2003.

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