Danish WW2 Pilots

Pvt. Per Ankerstjerne Arenskov

(1921 - 2008)

Per Ankerstjerne Arenskov was one of the Danish nationals enlisting in the USAAF. There are little information about his service. He trained at Kirtland Field in early 1943.

Per Ankerstjerne Arenskov was born on 18 November 1921 in Hellerup north of Copenhagen, to civil engineer Lars Peter Jensen Arenskov and Karin Mathilde Ankerstjerne Arenskov (née Amstrup). [1] His parents divorced when he was about six. Both parents remarried.

Emigrating to the US

From 1927 and onwards Arenskov’s father seems to have been abroard. He arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 11 April 1927. [2] Two years later, he remarried Gerda Paula Jünger on 18 July 1929 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. [3] Jünger was born in Denmark, had trained as a nurse at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London in 1922-25.[4] She had visited the United States in 1926, but seems to have moved back to Denmark. It is not clear from the documents, when and where she met Arenskov’s father. They seemed to have lived in Positano, Italy, before emigrating to the United States in 1931.[5]

His mother remarried Aage Theodor Hartnack Hvidberg in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 14 October 1928. [6] Arenskov and his sister both lived with their mother and her husband in 1930. [7] Following the divorce of his mother in August 1934, Arenskov’s sister Kate remained in Denmark with her mother, while Arenskov moved to California to live with his father and his wife. He arrived in Los Angeles from Southampton onboard the SS Erria on 2 December 1934. [8] Arenskov’s father died on 29 January 1940.[9]

Arenskov was a graduate of Poly High School and attended the University of California at Los Angeles. [10] Prior to the war Arenskov worked an an assistant steward in Long Beach [11] but, in February 1942, at the time of the army draft, he attended school at Consolidated Steel Corporation in Wilmington. He was to work at the the naval shipyard of the corporation when he finished school.[12]

Air Force Service

Arenskov enlisted as a Private (19175701) in the US Army Air Corps in Los Angeles, California, on 2 November 1942.[13] There is little information on his military service at this point. He was posted to Kirtland Field, New Mexico, [14] known until February 1942 as Albuquerque Army Air Base.[15]

In March 1943, he was naturalized as a US citizen at the air base. [16] Army regulation stated that no foreign soldier can engage in foreign service without naturalization papers. As he had enlisted to fight the Nazis, he applied for naturalization.[17]

It is assumed from the available information that Arenskov served as aircrew, but there is no proof to this fact in the material.

Meanwhile his mother and sister lived in Hellerup, Copenhagen, during the German occupation of Denmark. His sister visited in the fall of 1946 [18] and, following his mother death on 22 June 1948, [19] she emigrated to the United States as well.[20]


[1] DNA: Parish register, Hellerup Sogn.

[2] LAC: Passenger Lists and Border Entries, 1925-1935 - Nominal Indexes.

[3] Ancestry: Manitoba, Marriage Index, 1881-1937.

[4] Ancestry: UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968.

[5] Ancestry: California, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1888-1991.

[6] Slægten før og nu: Aase Frischs slægt og slægtsforskning, https://foaa.dk/genf/getperson.php?personID=I8630&tree=friskliska.

[7] DNA: 1930 Census of Denmark.

[8] Ancestry: California, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959.

[9] Ancestry: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007.

[10] Nuptials Red in Las Vegas, The Long Beach Sun, 8 October 1942, p. 5.

[11] 1940 US Federal Census.

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

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

[14] Ancestry: New Mexico, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1881-1983.

[15] McCune, The Origins of Kirtland Air Force Base (5 April 2021), https://www.kirtland.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2561745/the-origins-of-kirtland-air-force-base/ (accessed on 3 March 2024).

[16] Ancestry: New Mexico, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1881-1983.

[17] Soldier Now Has Something to Fight For, The Albuquerque Tribune, 3 April 1943, p. 1.

[18] U.S., Virgin Islands, Arriving and Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1885-1962.

[19] DNA: Parish register, Kommunehospitalet.

[20] Obituary of Kate Ruud, https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/pressenterprise/name/kate-ruud-obituary?id=24751596 (accessed on 3 March 2024).