Danish WW2 Pilots

Hptm. Ejnar Thorup

(1912 - 1942)

Ejnar Thorup was one of six Danish officers in service as pilots in Luftwaffe during the Second World War. He was also one of the pilots in active duty during the German attack on Værløse air station on 9 April 1940 leading to the death of two of his pilot colleagues.

Ejnar Thorup was born on 7 December 1923 in Lunderskov, Skanderup parish, Denmark, the son of Felix Thorvald Georg Thorup and Ane Johanne Mari Thorup (née Mortensen).[1]

He joined the army as Rekrut (Recruit) at the 1st Battallion of the Royal Guard. On 7 May 1931, he was appointed Kornet (Lance corporal). On 12 April 1932, he was appointed to Sekondløjtnant (2nd lieutenant) at the 2nd Battallion of the Royal Guards and Løjtnant af reserven (lieutenant of the reserve) at the 1st Battallion of the Royal Guards on 1 November 1932. On 10 August 1932, he was accepted at the Army's Officers' Academy.[2]

Pilot in the Army Air Corps and in Finland

On 27 November 1935, Thorup was appointed Premierløjtnant (1st lieutenant) and 1 April 1936 he commenced pilot training. He received his wings (pilot’s certificate 187/36) and was posted to Hærens Flyvertropper (the Army Air Corps) on 9 October 1937. On 16 December 1939, he was appointed kaptajnløjtnant (lieutenant captain).

Ejnar Thorup volunteered for service during the Winter War. One source, states that he was on contract from 27 February to 27 March 1940, and served with LeR 3, T-LeR 2, and LeR 2 and is later trained in LLv 32.[3] Another source states that he was in Finland until 13 March 1940.[4] He is believed to have returned to Finaland to follow an advanced instructional course from 4 August to 24 October 1940.[5]

Thorup was posted at Sjællandske Flyverafdeling (Army Air Corps, Sealand Section) at the outbreak of war in Denmark. On 9 April 1940, following the German attack on Værløse air station, he was ordered to take command of 3rd Squadron. The order was cancelled later that same day, though. On 22 May 1940, he was appointed adjutant to the inspector general of the Army Air Corps Colonel Førslev.[6]

Joining the Luftwaffe

On 8 July 1941, an announcement from the Ministry of War permitted commissioned officers of the Danish armed forces to volunteer for Frikorps Denmark (Free Corps Denmark). A number of Danish officers enlist; one of these being Ejnar Thorup who volunteered for Luftwaffe service. He was on leave without pay from 15 August 1941 onwards.

On 13 August 1941, Thorup arrives in Berlin on his way to Fliegerhorst Prenzlau (Reichüberprufungsstelle Prenzlau). Here he joined other Danish pilots in Luftwaffe training. We know this because he is mentioned in Knud Erik Ravnskovs letters to his family.[7] On 11 September 1941, he was transferred from Fliegerforschule A/B 120 in Prenzlau to Jagdfliegerschule 5 in Villacoublay, France.

Thorup was transferred to operational service at 5./JG54. Another Danish pilot that serves in Jagdgeschwader 54 was Ove C. Terp.

On 5 June 1942, Ejnar Thorup was hit by flak near the city of Bol. Obschivalowo, 12 km. south of Chudowo, Russia. He was killed in the following emergency landing. The incident is described as follows:

During an operational flight, Hptm. Thorup was fired on from the ground. His engine began to smoke, and Hptm. Thorup attempted to make an emergency landing behind his own lines. While doing so the aircraft broke up, Hptm. Thorup was thrown from the aircraft together with his seat, and was recovered dead.[8]

Ejnar Thorup was killed flying Bf 109 F-2 ‘Gelbe 5’ (Wk. Nr. 9663) that is totally destroyed.


[1] DNA: Parish register, Skanderup sogn.

[2] Boeck, H. (1934). Danmarks Hær.

[3] Ritaranta, Eino (1996). Vapaa-ehtoisia vaivaksi asti, Suomen Ilmailuhistoriallinen Lehti, No. 1, January/February 1996.

[4] Ancker, P. E. (1997). De danske militære flyverstyrkers udvikling 1910-1940 : Bind 1.

[5] Neulen, H. W. (2000). In the skies of Europe : air forces allied to the Luftwaffe 1939-1945.

[6] Schrøder, H. A.(2002). Angrebet på Værløse Flyveplads den 9. april 1940.

[7] Ravnskov, M. (2000). Den korte rejse, den lange skygge.

[8] Wehrmachtauskunftstelle cited from Neulen, H. W. (2000). In the skies of Europe : air forces allied to the Luftwaffe 1939-1945.