Danish WW2 Pilots

Flt Lt Charles Peter Ernest Schalburg

(1921 - 1986)

Flt Lt Charles Peter Ernest Schalburg trained as RAF pilot in the United States during the Second World War. He is known to have served with 8 Squadron in the Middle East. He was born in England to a Danish father and a British born mother.

Charles Peter Ernest Schalburg was born on 3 March 1921 in Horley, Surrey, the son Ernst Schalburg and Marion Glover Schalburg (née Watson).[1] The couple married in 1921.[2] Born in the United Kingdom, he was a British national by birth, but being born by Danish parents abroad, he would be considered Danish under Danish nationality law.

Schalburg’s father was commissioned as Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force during the war, his brother Donald David Ian Schaumburg was commissioned as Lieutenant in the Devonshire Regiment, and his half-sister Annette A. Schalburg was commissioned as Section Officer in the RCAF, Women's Division.

Schalburg enlisted in the Royal Air Force in mid-1941 at RAF Cardington (1470252, RAFVR).[3] In the fall of 1941, he was stationed at St John’s Wood. This indicates that he was passing through 1 Aircrew Receiving Centre in London before being posted to an Initial Training Wing.[4]

Trained in the United States

He later proceeded overseas for flying training. In September 1942, Schalburg wrote a letter to his father from Lakeland, Florida, where he was training at the time. From this letter, we know that he was part of the thirteenth and last class of RAF cadets trained by the United States Army Air Corps under the so-called Arnold Scheme.[5]

Like the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) and the British Flying Training Schools in the United States, the Arnold Scheme was set up to meet the acute need for the training of RAF pilots outside Britain, which was deemed unsuited for the training of pilots in large scale due to among other factors enemy action, high operational use of airfields and bad weather. Even if very little information is available on Schalburg’s training in the United States, a general timeline can be established.

Schalburg arrived in the United States with the class SE-43-B for an acclimatization course at Turner Field starting on 8 July 1942. He proceeded to Lakeland, Florida, for the Primary Flying Course on 6 August 1942. Graduating on 10 October 1942, he continued to Basic Flying Training at either Gunter Field in Montgomery, Alabama, or at Cochran Field, Macon, Georgia. From 14 December 1942, he received Advanced Flying Training on multi-engined aircraft at either Turner Field, Montgomery, Alabama or Moody Field, Valdosta, Georgia. He graduated in February 1943.[6]

Operational Service

On 27 December 1943, Schalburg arrived at RAF Station RAF Khormaksar in Aden, Yemen, where he was posted to 8 Squadron with effect from 31 December 1943.[7] Since the fall of 1942, 8 Squadron carried out convoy patrols, and anti-submarine and shipping sweeps over the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Schalburg flew his first operational sortie as second pilot of Flying Officer Wallace Roy Herbert’s (120541) crew on 12 January 1945. Wellington XIII HZ703 took off from Aden at 1008 hrs and landed after an uneventful sortie at 1255 hrs at Riyan. The aircraft was airborne from Riyadh again at 0316 hrs the following night. They landed at Salalah at 0632 hrs. The crew remained here for a couple of days before carrying out another sortie—a convoy escort—from Salalah. Schalburg carried out a total of nineteen sorties at the squadron, even if the number varied over the monts. All but two sorties were as part of Herbert’s crew.

On 6 July 1944, Schalburg was posted to 5 (Middle East) Aircrew Reception Centre in Heliopolis, Egypt.[8]

On 27 May 1944 he was promoted from Sergeant to Pilot Officer on probation (182128, RAFVR). This may correspond with the end of his training.[9] On 27 November 1944 he was confirmed in the appointment and further promoted to Flying Officer.[10] He is promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 27 May 1946.[11]

Schalburg lived in Denmark for a while after the war, but returned to live en United Kingdom.[12]


[1] Ancestry: England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007.

[2] Ancestry: England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1915.

[3] Based on the fact that his service number (1470252) corresponds with a block of service numbers (1425001 to 1474999) allotted to RAF Cardington in April 1941. Next block was allotted to this centre in October 1941.

[4] NA: KV 2/1307.

[5] NA: KV 2/1307.

[6] Guinn, G. S. (2007). The Arnold Scheme: British Pilots American South and the Allies’ Daring Plan.

[7] NA: AIR 27/117.

[8] NA: AIR 27/118.

[9] London Gazette, issue 36705, 15 September 1944, p. 4314, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36705/supplement/4314.

[10] London Gazette, issue 36852, 19 December 1944, p. 5873, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36852/supplement/5873.

[11] London Gazette, issue 36852, 19 December 1944, p. 5873, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36852/supplement/5873.

[12] Parish register, Lysabild sogn.