Danish WW2 Pilots

Leif Thygesen Graae

(1913 - 1981)

Leif Thygesen Graae lived in Columbia when the war broke out. He volunteered for the US Army Air Force following the German occupation of Denmark.

Leif Thygesen Graae was born on 26 January 1913 in Lyngby. He was the son of Thyge Graae and Ellen Graae (née Petersen).[1]

Graae graduated from Copenhagen Business School in 1935, and on 24 June 1935 he left Denmark for South America. He arrived in Barranquilla six weeks later from where he travelled to the Columbian capital on mule through the mountains and jungle. He was employed at the Danish consulate in Bogota until the outbreak of the Second World War.[2]

United States Army Air Force

Following the German occupation of Denmark on 9. April 1940, Graae travelled to New York to volunteer for the United States Army Air Force.[3]

He enlisted in Camp Upton Yaphank, New York, on 18 February 1942.[4]

Graae served as wireless operator and air gunner in the 8th Air Force, and participated in mission over Normandy and strategic targets in Europe as the Allies advanced though Europe towards Berlin.

He was married to Eva Simpson on 29 September 1944.[5]

After the War

Following the German capitulation, Graae was stationed in Munich, Germany, for some time. He retired from the Air Force and worked for the US Government in France for about a year before returning to the United States. He settled in Portland, Oregon.[6]


[1] DNA: Parish register, Lyngby Parish.

[2] Slægtsfortegnelse vedrørende Anders Petersen og Marie Petersen, deres forældre og efterkommere (unpublished)

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ancestry: U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.