Danish WW2 Pilots

Svend Aage Rasmussen

(1920 - 1943)

Svend Aage Rasmussen volunteered for the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. He was killed on active service on 17 August 1943, when his aircraft crashed during a training flight.

Svend Aage Rasmussen was born in Kelleklint, Denmark, on 7 August 1920. He was the son of merchant Bartholin Kjøbelev Rasmussen and Ane Rasmine Kirstine Rasmussen (née Jensen).[1] The family moved to Værslev not far from Kellelint in 1922-23.[2]

Four years later, in 1927, the family emigrated to Canada. Rasmussen’s father arrived in Quebec in June[3] and the rest of the family followed in October. They settled in Thamesford, Ontario, initially.[4] The family moved to Stanstead, Quebec, where Rasmussen attended the Holmes Model school in 1929-31. They moved to Brigham in 1931, where he attended the local primary school and, in 1940, he graduated from Cowansville High School. He returned to Stanstead in September 1941 for Grade 12 at Stanstead College, and in 1941-42, he was a corporal in the Stanstead Cadet Corps.[5]

Royal Canadian Air Force

Rasmussen volunteered for the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1942. His service record suggests that Rasmussen’s father did not support his son’s wish to serve in the RCAF and become a Canadian citizen. However, this did not prevent him in joining the air force.

He was taken on strength at 5 Manning Depot, Lachine, on 17 July 1942 and proceeded to 9 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mont Joli on 13 September 1942. He was posted to 5 Initial Training School at Belleville attending course 66 from 8 November 1942 to 6 February 1943. He was promoted to LAC on 23 January 1943, The Commanding officer at 5 ITS described him as follows:

Danish boy. Has plenty of initiative. Intends to join permanent force after cessation of hostilities. Highly co-operative and very anxious to succeed. Considered good aircrew material.[6]

He was then posted to 13 Elementary Flying Training School at St. Eugene, Ontario, attending course 75 from 21 February to 14 May 1943. He recorded nearly 66 hours flying in the Fleet Finch II trainer and flew his firs solo after 10.10 hours of dual flying.

Killed on Active Service

On 16 May 1943, he was posted to 13 Service Flying Training School at St Huberts, Quebec. Rasmussen trained on the Harvard IIB training aircraft. His flying mounted to 119 hours on the Harvard at this unit, including 44.55 hours of solo flying on the Harvard.

He was killed in a flying accident on 17 August 1943, 14.00/14.15 hours. The accident took place at the Camera and Gun Range at La Prairie 4 1/2 miles south-south-west from St. Hubert, at the time. The aircraft—Harward II B (FS662)—was totally damaged. Rasmussen was carrying out "air to ground camera gun exercise" solo on the target, when the accident happened. He had completed his dual on the same exercise five days previously.

He carried out three flights on this sequence between 1140-1220 hours. During the lunch break he told his best friend, another pupil pilot, that he had blacked out during his last dive in the morning. After lunch he was to carry out the last three dives. He took off at 1310 hours, but on his sixth and final dive something went wrong. His aircraft was observed

to bank and turn steeply to the right, fail to rise but with engine full on, go into a fast gliding turn to the right and strike a high tension power line which was 550 yds. about due west of the target. [...] After striking the wires the aircraft nosed onto the pavement, the propellor gouging out holes, then the aircraft crossed the ditch and it left a burned path through the field. The aircraft was totally destroyed and the pilot killed on impact; his clothing and body burned from the fire which broke out after impact.[7]

Rasmussen was believed to have blacked out during as he pulled out from the last dive. Only few days before Rasmussen had been hospitalised with a bad cold. His weakened condition was believed to have contributed to the accident.[8]

He is buried at Brigham United Church Cemetery in Quebec.[9]


[1] DNA: Parish register, Ubby sogn.

[2] DNA: 1925 Census, Værslev.

[3] Ancestry: Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935.

[4] Ibid

[5] LAC: RG 24/28482.

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2687639/ (accessed on 30.09.2019)