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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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118 Squadron Spitfire Vb EP126 Sgt. Søren Kjell Liby

Operation: Ramrod

Date: 16th August 1943 (Monday)

Unit: No. 118 Squadron (motto: Occido redeoque - 'I kill and return')

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: EP126

Code: NK-M

Base: RAF Westhampnet, West Sussex

Location: Falaise, France

Pilot: Sgt. Søren Kjell Liby 12024 RNoAF Age 24. Evaded


Burial details:

Whilst with 332 squadron flying SpitfireVb AB269 AH-Dn the 29th April 1942 he was hit and wounded during an interception patrol off Whitby. Sgt. Liby survived, the aircraft which had been attacked by a Ju88 was damaged but repaired. The aircraft was lost on the 19th August 1942 whilst being flown by Sgt. Per Bergsland who was taken Pow. (One of the three that escaped successfully during the 'Great Escape' from Stalag Luft 3)

On the 06th July 1943 flying Spitfire Vb EP124 out of RAF Coltishall the engine cut out shortly after take off, the aircraft was written off but the pilot Sgt. Liby escaped with no injuries.

Left. Sgt. Søren Liby.

With 611 Squadron, 118 Squadron formed the escort to the second box of Marauders bombing Beaumont-le-Roger airfield. Rendezvous was at Beachy Head, French coast crossed at 1300 feet. Target bombed from Northeast to Southwest at 17:00 hrs.

His aircraft was hit by ground fire and he was forced to bale out at 12,000 ft. at about 17:00 hrs.

The Germans had promised a reward of approx. 200,000 Franks to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of Lieutenant Liby, who had been shot down. They had found his parachute with his name and information on rank etc.

He managed to evade capture and teamed up with two other pilots, F/O. Terence Stephen Franklin Kearins NZ/404877 RNZAF (shot down on the 15th July 1943) Sq/Ldr. John Milne Checketts DFC. NZ/403602 RNZAF (shot down on the 06th September 1943). With the help of many locals and the French resistance sailed on the 10 metre lobster boat 'Suzette' with 13 others. They arrived on the 25th October and all rejoined their units after after a short recuperation period.

Above L-R: Evaders, F/O. Terence Kearins, Sq/Ldr. John Checketts and Sgt. Søren Liby.

Sgt. Søren Kjell Liby - born on the 17th January 1920 in Hop, Fana, Hordaland, Norway. The son of Leif Liby and Olga Elfrida Liby (née Klunderud). Husband of Gunvor Elisabeth Liby, father of three children. Escaped from Norway on the 05th June 1940 and arrived at Bressay, Shetland in the morning of the 07th June. In the spring of 1944, he was sent to Canada accompanied by his new wife, and worked there until the war was over.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the National Archives Kew.

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 27-05-2023

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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