Danish WW2 Pilots

SSgt Ebbe Bergishagen

(1918 - 2005)

SSgt Ebbe Bergishagen was one of the young Danes serving in the US Army Air Force during the Second World War. Arriving in the United States just after the outbreak of war in Europe, he enlisted in 1941 an served as an Air Force bookkeeper.

Ebbe Bergishagen was born on 27 October 1918 in Copenhagen, the son of merchant Erik Bergishagen Dons and Ragna Dons (née Larsen).[1] His father ran a business selling cycles and parts for cycles. However, apparently business was not good. In late 1920, his father was arrested and convicted for reselling stolen bicycles.[2] He was sentenced to two years in prison.[3]

The parents were divorced but both married again. His mother married Mogens Otto Henningsen in April 1923, and Bergishagen and his sister lived with them.[4] His name was changed to Ebbe Henningsen in October 1923.[5]

His father remarried as well and changed his family name to Bergishagen. He and his new wife—Sønnicka F. Jacobsen—emigrated to Canada and then the United States, settling in Troy, Michigan.

He changed his name back to Ebbe Bergishagen in August 1939, shortly before he left Denmark for the United States. He boarded the SS Drottningholm in Gothenburg on 12 September and arrived in New York on 22 September 1939. According to the passenger lists, he was to join his father in Birmingham, Michigan. He was an assistant by profession.[6]

At the time of his US Army draft, in October 1940, he worked as a bookkeeper or cashiers at The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P),[7] the largest grocery retailer in the United States at the time.[8]

Bergishagen entered the US Army on 21 July 1941 (36123564) in Detroit, Michigan.[9]

At the time of his marriage to Grace Elvena Street in June 1942, he served as Sergeant in the finance department at Florence Army Airfield, South Carolina.[10] In January 1943, Bergishagen was naturalized as US Citizen in January 1943. He served Staff Sergeant at 407th Base HQ and Air Base Squadron, Florence, South Carolina at the time.[11]

He was discharged from the USAAF on 5 November 1945.[12]

Later in life, he became known as Ebbe Henningsen once again. He died in Florence, South Carolina on 21 February 2005.[13]


[1] DNA: Parish register, Christians Sogn.

[2] Politiets efterretninger, #263, 10 November 1920. Retrieved from https://kbharkiv.dk/permalink/post/19-11790 (18 July 2022).

[3] 1892-08-19, Dons, Erik Bergishagen, dons.dk. Retrieved from https://dons.dk/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/1892-08-19-Dons-Erik-Bergishagen-¤.pdf (18 Jurly 2022).

[4] DNA: 1925 Census of Denmark.

[5] DNA: Paris register, Christians Sogn.

[6] Ancestry: New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957.

[7] Ancestry: U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947.

[8] A&P, Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A%26P (18 July 2022).

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

[10] Street-Bergishagen, The State, 28 Jun 1942, p. 17.

[11] Ancestry: South Carolina, Naturalization Records, 1868-1991.

[12] Ancestry: U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010.

[13] Ancestry: U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.