A Second World War D.F.C. and A.F.C. group of seven to Wing Commander I.A.Kleboe, Royal Air Force,
Lot 152
A Second World War D.F.C. and A.F.C. group of seven to Wing Commander I.A.Kleboe, Royal Air Force,
Sold for £ 2,160 (US$ 3,015) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Second World War D.F.C. and A.F.C. group of seven to Wing Commander I.A.Kleboe, Royal Air Force,
A Second World War D.F.C. and A.F.C. group of seven to Wing Commander I.A.Kleboe, Royal Air Force,
Disitnguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., dated 1943; Air Force Cross, G.VI.R., dated 1942; 1939-1945 Star; Air Crew Europe Star with France and Germany bar; Defence Medal; War Medal; Air Efficiency Award, G.VI.R. (Sqn Ldr P A Kleboe RAFVR). all later official replacements and marked accordingly where appropriate. Very fine. (7)


  • D.S.O. London Gazette 16.1.1945.

    This officer continues to display the highest of skills and gallantry. He has completed a very large number of sorties, many of them against well defended targets important to the enemy's war effort. In October 1944, Wing Commander Kleboe took part in an attack on Essen. At the commencement of the bombing run heavy and concentrated anti-aircraft fire was encountered. The aircraft was hit. A large piece of shrapnel smashed through the pilot's windscreen. Wing Commander Kleboe sustained numerous small cuts about the face. This, together with the violent inrush of wind through the broken window screen, temporarily blinded him. Control was lost. Wing Commander Kleboe quickly levelled out however and, although in great pain, on to execute a steady and successful bombing run. He afterwards flew the aircraft safely back to his country. He set a fine example of tenacity and devotion to duty.

    D.F.C. London Gazette 10.9.1943.

    (General Citation);A Sq Ldr.,109 Sqn.The following was taken from an official source:

    Since the 1st January 1943, Squadron Leader Kleboe has made 37 operational flights using ARI.5513, 27 of which have been as a marker, most of them against target in the Ruhr. During these flghts he has on a number of occasions led the attack. Throughout his operations, his flying and initiative has been of the very highest order and his example of conscientiosness and accuracy has always been an inspration to his flight.

    A.F.C. London Gazette 11 June 1942.

    (General Citation) Flying officer, No 1501 B.A.T.Flight. The following was taken from an official source:

    This officer has performed most conscientous work as a member of this flight. During the past 6 months he has flown more than 400 hours much of which has been undertaken during unfavourable weather conditons. Flying Officer Kleboe has given confidence in this important form of training to a large number of senior officers who have been his pupils.

    Wing Commander Peter Andrew Kleboe, D.S.O., D.F.C., A.F.C. was born at Leatherhead, Surrey on 26 June 1916 and from the mid-thirties until the outbreak of war was employed as a flying intructor with the British Air Transport Company at Redhill. In July 1937 he joined the R.A.F.V.R. and was awarded his 'Wings' as a Sergeant Pilot in February 1939. Called to full time service eight months later, he attended the instructor course at the Central Flying School before being commissioned Pilot Officer in October 1940. Having gained the A.F.C. in June 1942, he was promoted Squadron Leader in January 1943 and served with 109 Suadron, the original Oboe equipped Mosquto Squadron of the Pathfinder Force. In September of the same year he received the D.F.C.. In October 1944 at the start of an attack on Essen he was wounded in the face when fragments from flak burst perforated his aircraft in several places and smashed a hole in his windscreen. Temporarily blinded and in considerable pain, he lost controll of his Mosquito but managed to with difficulty to level out and ultimately deliver a successful attack.

    Advanced to Wing Commander in June 1944 and awarded the D.S.O. in January 1945, he was next appointed in March 1945 to the command of 21 Squadron at 140 Wing's forward base at Rosieres-en-Santerre, France, following the losses of Wing Commander 'Daddy' Dale on 6 February and his successor Wing Commander V.R.Oates on 12 March. A year earlier 21 Squadron had participated in Group Captain
    'Pick' Pickard's epic low-level precision strike against Amiens Prison, by which large numbers of condemned French Resistance workers had been set at liberty, and in October 1944 it had also taken part in the celebrated daylight demolition of the Gestapo's Jutland headquarter at Aarhus. Several weeks before Kleboe assumed command of the squadron, selected crews had been summoned from their Thorney Island base to Fersfield, Suffolk for secret briefing on what was to be another of 2 Group's spectacular pinpoint raids. The target this time was the Gestapo's Copenhagen H.Q., the Shell House, wherein a vast archive of soon-to-be-acted-on information giving ruinous details of the 20,000-strong Danish Resistance Movement had been formulated by the ususal evil means. The Aarhus Raid caused the Copenhagen Gestapo to take preventive measure against a similar attack. Firstly, and with typcal German thoroughness, they camouflaged the Shell House with green and brown paint without realising that this in the midst of a city made it more obvious as their H.Q. Secondly, the local Gestapo supremo, Dr Karl Hoffman, let it be known that the attic accomodation had been converted into cells in which were placed important Resistance prisoners, a move swiftly negated by the prisoners themself who through friends still at liberty informed London that 'We would rather be killed by R.A.F. bombs than a German firing squad'.
    The attack was planned for 30 January, but bad weather precluded low flying over the target area that day, and following further postponements for the same reason on the 31 January and 1 February, the A.O.C.2 Group, A.V.M. Basil Embry, announced that he was not prepared to keep valuable Mosquitoes hanging around any longer when there was an important work to be done from Rosieres-an- Santerre. On 15 March, a day or two before Kleboe joined 21, the Danish Resistance, having heard that General Pancke was about to carry out mass arrests that would lead to the total collapse of the underground, sent a further dire message to London: 'Military leaders arrested and plans in Germanhands. Situation never before so desperate. Remaining leaders known by Hun. We are regroupng but need help. Bombing of S.D. Copenhagen will give us breathing space. If any importance is attacked at all to Danish resistance you must help us irrespective of cost. We will never forget R.A.F.'.

    The complex operation, known as Carthage and which had consumed many hours of meticulous planning, was accordingley revived, and on or about 18 March sixteen crews from 21, 464 and 487 Squadrons, including Kleboe and his navigator Flying Officer R.J.W.Hall, R.C.A.F., were recalled from France. A final detalied briefing was held at Fersfield on the afternoon of the 20th, with the proceedings being opened by 140 Wing's commanding officer, the low-level specialist Group Captain Bob 'Pinpoint' Bateson, who with his navigator Squadron Leader 'Daisy' Sismore, D.S.O., D.F.C., would lead the attack. Amongst the assembled personnel sat the irrepressible Embry who, with his Navigator, Flight Lieutenant Peter Clapham, made up the full complement of eighteen attackng crews. An escort of twenty-eight long range Mustang fighters would be provided by 64 and 126 Squadrons, and two further Mossies were detailed to film the attack. (The latter's work together with the plaster cast model of the target as scrutinized by Kleboe and the rest are in the Imperal War Museum). The entire force took-off on the 700 mile round trip at 8.40 next morning in order that the attack might be delivered at the height of the Gestapo activity. Skimming the icy North Sea at fifty feet, the low-level approach completely foxed the German radar installation and thus provided for the maximum element of surprise. As they sped over the Danish countyside Kleboe, in the first wave and leading two 21 Squadrons Mosquitoes, occupied the number four position in which he was to bomb behind, Bateson, Embry and Squadron Leader Carlisle. 'We had now worked up to maximum cruising speed', Embry recalled,'and were flying just above the ground in perfect formation, preparing for our final run up to the target. At times we had to pull up to avoid high-tension cables, trees and obstructions, but our main height was below tree-top level'. Finally the fields gave way to the suburbs of the Danish Capital and the Shell House came rushing into view. Bateson's bombs hurtled between the first and second floors of the Nazi-occupied building, to be rapidly followed by Embry's and Carlisle's. Kleboe and Hall, meantime, dropped to deck level to begin their bomb run but as they roared on the target the tail of their aircraft clipped a 130 foot lighting pylon, causing the Mosquto to smash into nearby garages and its bombs to fall in Sonder Boulevard. Peter Kleboe and Reginald Hall perished instantly.

    Squadron Leader A.C.Henderson flying immedately behind took immediate evasive action but still managed to register strikes on the west wing of the Shell House. Flight Lieutenant Hetherington, the last pilot in the first wave, bombed at roof height to avoid flak now coming from cruiser 'Nurnberg' moored in the harbour. The second wave of six aircraft from 464 Squadron arrived to find a pall of dense smoke covering the Frederisberg district. Two Mosquitos made secondary circuits in order to firmly identify the target, one bombing successfully and the other returning home without attacking. But at least two of this wave mistook the fire from Kleboe's crash for that expected at the target and bombed Frederiksberg, as did at least four of the third wave led by Wing Commander Denton of 487 Squadron. As a result of this terrible mistake eighty-six children and seventeen staff of the Catholic Jeanne D'arc School were killed together with other members of the civilian population. A few months later, at the end of the war, Embry and a goup of his officers made a special journey to Copenhagen to visit the injuried children in hospital and to meet some of the thirty or so Danes who had managed to escape from the Shell House, which together with its infamous archive had been successfully destroyed, and in which some 100 Gestapo and Danish collaborators were thought to have died. Embry and his party were deeply touched by the 'lack of bitterness and the understanding and sympathy' with which they were received by the Danes.
    Though Kleboe was only briefly with his last command, his death in action on the most heroic, successful and tragic low level bombing raids of the entire war, was deeply felt, as Flight Lieutenant J.L."Les Bulmer, a 21 Squadron veteran of seventy-five ops, was later to confirm: 'It was with sadness that I heard of Peter Kleboe's death three days later.I'd only know him for a few days but I liked hm and reckoned he would be good for the squadron.With three C.O.s lost in just over six weeks, 21 Squadron was going through a bad patch.But such is war'.

    Sold with photocopied service papers, a memorial eulogy printed for the fiftieth anniversary commemmorations in Copenhagen, and photograph of Kleboe's grave.
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