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Friis, Graham H

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rank: W/O
status: survived
airforce: RNZAF    (no: NZ421137 )
born: New Zealand

added by: Kevin Charles
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Graham Harwood FRIIS

From the National Archives AIR/27/2072

19-Mar-45 W/O Friis hit by flak crash landed near Piove de Sacco and failed to return

19-Mar-45 W/O Friis hit by flak and crash landed (PL351)

A New Zealander NZ421137 W/O Friis, G.H. flying in Spitfire IX L.F. PL351 was hit by flak, and crash landed in a field 2 miles South of PIOVE de SACCO. The incident occurred whilst they were operating against a target at MR. (E) 2738, sheet 13, Venice, Italy 1:250,000.

Almost immediately after W/O. Friis had completed his bombing run, he called up on his R/T and reported that he had been hit in his elevator controls, he stated however that he could manage to retain control of the aircraft.

When he was told by No. 5 that his a/c was emitting white smoke, W/O. Friis decided to make for base. This he started to do, with No.5 flying as escort. The white smoke soon changed to a brownish colour and W/O. Friis reported that his temperature was rising. He was then flying at 7500 ft.

He was asked if he could remain at that height, and he replied 'No' and that he intended to crash land. He was then instructed to attempt and reach the marshes around the Gulf of Venice as it would be possible to get a Walrus to pick him up. Soon, it became apparent that it would be impossible for him to make the area, and as a result he commenced to crash land.

He made a good approach, but undershot touching down approximately ten feet short of the field and landing on a road that ran alongside the field. The aircraft was seen to slide off the road turn over onto its back and the starboard wing detached itself.

About 12 people were seen to run to the scene of the accident, but it is believed they were civilian owing to the lack of uniform seen.
On return of the escort to base, and having no further information regarding either W/O. Friis or his aircraft the were categorised as Pilot Missing Particulars Unknown and the Spitfire as Cat. E.2.4.(Missing).


Graham Harwood Friis survived the war. He was a PoW for a short while.

He died on 10 June 1986 and is buried in the Magaroa Cemetery

Squadrons:

Squadrons add
AirforceSqdrnDate
RAF 601 1945-03-19

Aircraft:

Aircraft Flownadd
SerialNoteDate
PL351 1945-03-19
MH540 1945-02-17
MJ909 1945-02-04
MK137 1945-02-26
PT376 1945-01-19
PT489 1945-03-06
PT584 1945-02-21
PT641 1945-02-08
PT761 1945-03-05
PV300 1945-02-24
PV321 1945-03-09
TA862 1945-02-22
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by: kurtis POW 2016-12-10 23:23:52

Spitfire ASSOCIATION site in Aus has a mention of Graham Friis in POW camp at end of war ... see this quote ...

Our moral held up reasonably well but there were some who had been “in” since 1939, who could be excused for acting “somewhat strange”. On the morning the American tanks came through the wire of Stalag V11A at Moosburg (near Munich, with Dachau just down the road) Graham Friis, a Kiwi from a neighboring DAF squadron and I lit a fire of twigs to celebrate. We were immediately berated by an English Captain in spotless walking out dress and gleaming pips, for wasting fuel. He’d been in since Dunkirk.

from http://www.spitfireassociation.com.au/ulm-john-2/
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