The second 97 Squadron crew lost on D-Day (the first being Wing Commander Carter’s) was captained by a Norwegian, Lieutenant Jespersen. Five of the crew, like Jespersen, belonged to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, which is why they were eventually re-interred in Norway. We have not yet managed to trace where they are buried and we do not have any photos of them, so any information would be most welcome.
16 June 2019: Update on Finn Varde Jespersen, end of this page.
From Bomber Command War Losses
Lancaster III ND815 OF – G. Op St Pierre-du-Mont. T/O 0308 Coningsby. Crashed at Osmanville in the Department of Calvados, 2km NE of Isigny-sur-Mer. It is likely burials took place at Osmanville (St-Clement) Churchyard, where Sgt Ashpole lies. P/O McCutcheon RCAF has been taken to Bayeux War Cemetery while the RNAF crew members lie in their home country.
Lt F.V.Jespersen RNAF(+), Sgt G.J.J.Ashpole(+), Sgt C.A.Munster RNAF(+), Sgt K.B.Magnus RNAF(+), Sgt K.Pedersen RNAF(+), P/O W.R.McCutcheon RCAF(+), Sgt J.E.H.Evensen RNAF(+).
The Royal Norwegian Air Force
Soon after the evacuation of Norway, the handful of Norwegian airmen who escaped to Britain – 120 by August 1940 – established a training centre in Toronto, in Canada, for the newly formed Royal Norwegian Air Force. The base became famous as ‘Little Norway’ and Norwegian recruits flocked to it from all over the world.
Photograph: the Archives of Ontario, reference code C 109-2-0-18
When the two Norwegian fighter squadrons were transferred to ‘a busy southern station’ in 1942, they quickly became two of the top scoring squadrons of Fighter Command in Britain.
By 1944 the Royal Norwegian Air Force had become the second largest of the European Allies.
Information from Before We Go Back: Norway’s Fight Since April 1940, printed by HMSO on behalf of the Royal Norwegian Government Information Office, London, 1944. Image at top of page is of Norwegian fighter aircraft.
16 June 2019 – Update on Finn Varde Jespersen
We have received this photograph of Jespersen and other members of the Royal Norwegian Air Force who were in training in Canada. It was originally printed in The Gazette, a Canadian newspaper, on 11 February 1941. Jespersen is on the far left, back row.
For anyone looking at this on a very small screen like a mobile, the text reads:
The Norwegian Air Force, at present in training in Toronto, was represented at the recent Dartmouth winter carnival in Hanover, N.H., by these young men.
Left to right, they are (back row) Finn Jespersen, Hans Platou, Eirik Malm, Ottar Malm,
Front row : Tim Heiberg, Mariius Eriksen, Ulf Wormdal, Bjorn Bjornstad.
Eriksen is Scandinavian slalom champion, Ottar Malm is Laurentian slalom champion. The party was in charge of Heiberg.
There is a Wikipedia entry for Jespersen, which can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finn_Varde_Jespersen
With thanks to David Wold, and also for the 2019 75th Anniversary commemorations photograph, below: