- Contributed by
- People in story:
- RHODA EMILY KEBBY, CECIL CAESAR
- Location of story:
- BRISTOL AND NORWAY
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 30 September 2005
Black Friday in Norway Feb 9th 1945 Rhoda, Emily Kebby and Cecil Claude Caesar/ Bristol and Norway
My husband Cecil Claude Caesar served in the Second World War from 1939-1945, he eventually became a pilot and during the war we got married, I had two babies, he went through lots of fighting, but I thought he would come home to me at the end of the war. On February 9th 1945 I had a telegram to say that he was missing believed killed. He was shot down over the ford fjord Norway, and that’s all I knew. A year later they said his body was found in Norway and he was buried in a military cemetery in Haugsean. I was allowed fourteen words to put on his tombstone. The words I put were ‘in loving memory of my darling husband and daddy of John and Pat. God Bless’. That was it I was a war widow with a pension.
I couldn’t find out how he died but in 1985 my daughter had a letter from a man in Norway. He said that he had found her name in a telephone directory, Patricia Caesar he said that he had seen my husband’s gravestone and he wondered if she was the daughter Pat. He said he was a boy of nine years old when the air battle started on February 9th 1945, they were just coming out of school at 4.0pm when they saw a large formation of thirty or more planes fly over the mountain near the school, apparently they had come from England to bomb the German ships, they were informed were in the fiords. When they got there they found the ships had moved, they went around the mountain to look for them. Just as they were coming around the boys saw a flight of about thirty fockawolkes came the other way to attack our planes. Apparently our planes consisted of Bristol Beaufighters, Wellington bombers and ten Mustangs. My husband was one of the Mustang (fighter bomber) pilots.
Egil that was the boys name said that they saw Cecil my husband go to the aid of a Beaufighter that was being attacked by the Fockawoles . In the process Cecil’s plane was hit and the boys thought Cecil would bale out. He didn’t he came back round the mountain and chased the German plane and although another German was after Cecil as well , Cecil managed to shoot the German plane down, the German baled out and is still alive today. The boys then saw Cecil’s plane crash. Two brothers aged 15 and 16 years old decided to climb the mountain hoping that if he were alive then they would hide him from the Germans as Norway was occupied by the Germans. When they found him he was still in his cockpit, his plane was crashed all around him, his hand still warm but they couldn’t revive him. Whilst they were there the German soldiers arrived and they made the boys put his body in a sleigh and pull him down the mountain.
There were ten of our airmen killed in the Battle. Six Canadians, two Australians, two English. My husband was the only Mustang lost that day.
My daughter Pat and her two daughters went to Norway in 1985 to attend the unveiling of a huge memorial in the name of boys who lost there lives on Black Friday 9th February 1945. It was a very big occasion in Norway, I couldn’t go as I had married again, and my second husband was jealous.
In 2000 my daughter had another invitation to go to Norway as someone there had a huge barn, which had been made into a museum to the memory of Black Friday.
My second husband was very ill at the time so I didn’t go again. In 2001, my husband died, so then I told the people in Norway that I would go over to see all the things they had done.
They made me very welcome and had a service at the memorial with a fly past, it was very special. I met the man who was one of the brothers who climbed the mountain to find the body. He took a photo of the crashed plane and presented me with it. We both cried in the museum, they have pictures of our wedding and of us when we were engaged. A book has been written about the air raid and is called Black Friday February 9th 1945. There is also another book about the people that lost their lives and families, there were photos of Cecil and the pilot who shot him down.
They also took me to see the place where the Norwegians buried their heroes. The ten men that lost their lives apparently the Germans would not give Christian burials. The Norwegians buried them in a little churchyard in the fiord. They had one little girl in Norwegian dress carrying a posy of flowers at each of the ten graves. I have a photo of that . Every year they have a memorial ceremony on February 9th. They have now made another memorial on the mountain where Cecil’s plane crashed. Cecil is there special hero because they say he gave his life for them.
I am very lucky and I owe so much to the Norwegians for keeping Cecil’s memory alive. I have also been told what really did happen to him. Every school in Norway has the book about Black Friday and the book of the Battle in Norway.
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