Jespersen Condolence Letter


From an unknown official to Jespersen’s father:

25 June 1945

Mr. Dr. Engineer Per M. Jespersen, Voksenlia, West Aker *

The Air Force refers to your visit some time back and it is with sorrow that we have to confirm that your son, Lt. Finn Varde Jespersen, was shot down during the night of 5th and 6th June 1944. When the accident occurred, your son was serving as leader and captain (Pilot) of a Lancaster four-engined night-bomber that belonged to No. 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron. Their purpose was to bomb targets in the area of Cherbourg on the invasion night. Unfortunately, the plane never returned, and precisely what happened is unknown.

Enemy fighters were reported over and around the target, so it is likely that his aircraft was shot down by one of them. Sometime later the remains of one of your son’s crew members was found near Bayeux in Normandy. Unfortunately, your son was not found.

We take the liberty of attaching a copy of a report received from your son’s commander in connection with his death. Your son was considered above average as a bomber pilot. In that connection we allow ourselves to refer to the following statements from the instructors on the last two fighting air training courses your son and his crew went through before they qualified for operative duty:

“An above average pilot and captain. Will do anything to get on with the job. His crew are as keen as he is.”

“The captain of this above average crew is the keenest I have ever seen – should be outstanding on operations”.

Your son enlisted in the Royal Norwegian Air Force in Little Norway in Toronto on 29th December 1940. After graduating from basic training, he was on the 12th January 1941 accepted at the flying school. On 9 July 1941 he passed his basic flying training and was promoted to sergeant and given his ‘Wing’. After taking a course to qualify as a flight instructor, he served from 1st January 1942 to 10th July 1942 as an instructor at the flight school at Little Norway.

From 11th July 1942 until 9 October 1943 he served with the 45th group of RAF Transport Command with the main purpose of transporting new aircraft across the Atlantic. After this he transferred to RAF Bomber Command and completed training for ‘air battle’, and on 25 April 1944 was transferred to 97 Squadron in which he served until shot down.

Lt Jespersen was given the rank of ‘Fenrik’ [Second Lieutenant] on 15 September 1942 and on 1 February 1944 became a Lieutenant. On 5 April 1943 he was given the Haakon VII 70-year Commemorative Medal**.

His personal effects have been stored in London. The estate will be settled sometime this autumn and transferred to his home.

Your son was a first-class Norwegian, who represented his country in an outstanding way.

In conclusion, I would like to express my personal deepest sympathy.


No signature present as this appears to be a copy of the original


* Voksenlia is just below the famous ski-jumping hill in Oslo, known as  ‘Holmenkollen’

** The Haakon VII 70-year Commemorative Medal was awarded in recognition of military personnel who were serving in the Norwegian armed forces in Britain on the 70th birthday of Norwegian King Haakon VII. Haakon went into exile after the Nazi occupation of Norway.

Jespersen condolence letter small

With many thanks to David Wold for this document. Translation David Wold and Jennie Mack Gray. 

The photograph at the top of the page is of the memorial at the Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on which Finn Varde Jespersen is remembered. Jespersen is remembered on three separate memorials, which can be found on our sister site: Missing Research, War Graves and Remembrance. With thanks once again to David Wold.