View Full Version : Another hero passes

09-05-2008, 04:27 PM
Erik Nielsen, who is older brother of Leslie Nielsen of Naked Gun/Police Squad fame, passed away.

One of my childhood heroes (oddly because as I knew him only as a politician at the time) who was Deputy PM for Canada for a time.

Erik flew over 50 missions for the RCAF during the war in a Lanc and others.

Flight Sgt Leslie Temple recalls the mission where Erik was awarded the DFC:

(the) worst moment was over Kiel on 23 July 1944, a date that will live in my mind forever ... . We took off from Ludford just before midnight, at 2355, for the heavily defended German naval base at Kiel. The Lancaster was blown slightly off course over the North Sea, so the bomb aimer had to ask that they fly round for a second time over the target to ensure accuracy which was always extremely hazardous. As we did not jam over the actual target I could watch everything from the astrodome. There was a solid curtain of bursting, hellish flak, a wall of searchlights across the sky, other bombers all around waiting to release their bombs and predatory German night-fighters spitting cannon fire. Finally we dropped our bombs on target, but were suddenly nailed by a master searchlight on the way out. Immediately a dozen others "coned" us at 20,000 feet, extremely heavy German flak opened up and we were showered with shrapnel which simply passed through the airframe; our two port engines burst into flames ... . I feared the worst, as we could not bale out over the North Sea at night ... . Our quick-thinking Canadian skipper (Eric Nielsen, who was given the DFC for this operation) nosed the Lancaster down and pulled out of the beam at 5000 feet. The pilot and flight engineer managed to extinguish the flames over the North Sea, using the internal extinguishers, and despite no power for the directional equipment because of the two cut engines, our skilled navigator used his sextant and stars training to get us home on two engines. We crash landed at Woodbridge in Suffolk, a special crash-landing base, at about 4 am, with over 100 holes in our Lancaster. After debriefing I laid on my bed and could not stop shaking for twelve hours. The MO said the best cure was simply to get back up again soon and of course we did. No counselling in those days.'

A great, great Canadian...


09-07-2008, 02:17 PM

09-07-2008, 02:24 PM
S! Thank you sir and all your comrades.

09-07-2008, 04:13 PM
Great post and many thamks to those chaps http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

The Canadian contribution to RAF Bomber Command was huge and out of all proportion to the population of Canada.

And also the loss of life...

Best Regards,