Danish WW2 Pilots

Preben August Møller

(1915 - 1988)

Preben August Møller was one the the Danish volunteers in the Royal Air Force during the war, even if he only served in the air force for a short while. He also served in the Norwegian Navy and in the US Army.

Preben August Møller was born in Copenhagen on 4 August 1915, to August Emanuel Møller and Signe Christiane Laurine Møller (née Rasmussen).[1] The parents divorced and, in 1923, his mother married Hans Emanuel Hansen Lehrmann.[2]

The first years at school was a bit turbulent. Møller was admitted to the local school—Øster Farimagsgades Skole—in 1921, but returned home after little more than a month. The following your, he returned for Grade 1 at the school once again, but a few months later, in October 1922, he was moved to a school in Gentofte, north of Copenhagen.[3] The family moved to the suburb of Vanløse, where he was admitted to the local school in September 1923 and, in April 1924, they moved to Vedbæk north of Copenhagen.[4]

Møller was educated as an engineer and seems to have specialized in motors. Hans Lehrmann, his stepfather was the sales director for Opel in Copenhagen before setting up his own business before the war.[5] It seems likely that Møller could have been inspired by him in his choice of profession.

Møller served in the Danish Army before the war and in Finland during the Winter War. Møller escaped to England in early 1943. The circumstances are not clear. Both Møller’s stepfather and his stepbrother were part of the resistance movement in Denmark during the war. Hans Lehrmann was arrested by the Germans and sentences to 8 years in prison in April 1945.[6]

Royal Air Force

In May 1943, Captain Iversen of the Recruiting Office Danish Nationals wrote a letter the his counterpart in the Air Ministry, Squadron Leader Shone, in order to introduce Preben August Møller to the Air Ministry as a potential recruit to the Royal Air Force. Møller had just arrived to London at this point, having escaped from Denmark in order to join up. He was introduced as a technical civil engineer, with motors as a speciality.[7]

There is no information available on Møllers service in the RAF, but it is certain that he enlisted and was allotted the service number 1896646. This indicate that he enlisted in May 1943 at the Aviation Candidate Selection Board at Euston House in London.[8] Møller left the RAF for unknown reasons after only a few months in late 1943.

The Norwegian Navy

Møller enlisted in the Royal Norwegian Navy in the United Kingdom as an ordinary seaman (utskrevet dekksmann) on 14 December 1943. He served in the Navy for about eight months including on the HNoMS MTB 722 ‘Hevneren’ from 4-15 February 1944 and on HNoMS MTB 715 ‘Den Norske Løve’ from 15 February to 11 July 1944. He was discharged on 23 August 1944.[9]

US Army

Møller enlisted in the US Army and seems to have been trained as a paratrooper. A Preben A. Moller enlisted in the US Army on 23 March 1945.[10] As the enlistment date is later than the discharge from the Norwegian Navy, this could be the same man, but as mentioned below, Møller later told of several operations that he was part of, which seems impossible if he enlisted in the US Army as late as in March 1945.

Møller returned to Denmark in April 1946 to marry Lisa Lawaetz, his pre-war sweetheart as it was reported in the newspapers.[11] He was in the uniform of a 101th Airborne Division paratrooper flashing the famous screaming eagle patch on the shoulder. According to the newspaper interviews, Møller had operated as an agent befind enemy lines in Germany during the war, for instance near Paderborn and in Cologne. He arrived in Denmark from Munich, where he was discharged.

Møller emigrated to South Africa after the war, but returned to Denmark at some point, where he died in 1988.


[1] DNA: Parish register, Frihavns Sogn.

[2] DNA: Parish register, Frederiksborg Slotssogn.

[3] Danish Family Search: Øster Farimagsgades Skole, Skoleprotokol, 1921-1923.

[4] Danish Family Search: Vanløse Skole, Skoleprotokol, 1924.

[5] 80 år, Hans Lehrmann, Politiken, 9 September 1973.

[6] Frihedsmuseets Modstandsdatabase, http://modstand.natmus.dk/Person.aspx?16969 and http://modstand.natmus.dk/Person.aspx?71962.

[7] DNA: 10194, Danske Råd i London, Rekrutteringskontoret.

[8] NA: AIR 78/112.

[9] Marinemuseet i Horten: Sjøforsvarets londonarkiv, P.28. kort 125-126.

[10] NARA: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records).

[11] Romantisk udgang paa Faldskærms-Bedrifterne, Politiken, 11 April 1946.