Arnold George Christensen 8 April 1922 - 29 March 1944 Key details Contribute › Service numberNZ413380 AWMM Also known as ForceAir Force AWMM Rank and unit at dischargeFlight Lieutenant AWMMRoyal New Zealand Air Force, 26 Squadron, RAF AWMM WarWorld War II, 1939-1945 AWMM Report Play your part Contribute what you know about their war service and life. Lay a poppy Leave a note PDF Print Share Portrait Arnold George Christensen (NZ413380), (kindly provi … Read more View gallery Hide sources Show empty fields Identity About Contribute › Title ForenamesArnold George AWMM SurnameChristensen AWMM Ingoa Also known as Service numberNZ413380 AWMM GenderMale AWMM Iwi Hapū Waka Rohe Religion Report Images and documents Images Contribute › Documents Contribute › Civilian life About birth Contribute › Date of birth8 April 1922 AWMM Place of birthHastingsHawkes BayNew Zealand AWMM Birth notesHastingsHawke's BayNew Zealand AWMM Report Occupations Contribute › Occupation before enlistment Post war occupation Report Next of kin Contribute › Address before enlistmentUnknown AWMMHastingsHawkes BayNew Zealand AWMM Next of kin on embarkationMrs L. Christensen (mother)813 Dufferin StreetHastingsNew Zealand AWMM Relationship statusUnknown AWMMSingle AWMM Report Service Wars and conflicts Contribute › WarWorld War II, 1939-1945 AWMM Campaigns ForceAir Force AWMM Service numberNZ413380 AWMM Military unitsRoyal New Zealand Air Force, attached Royal Air Force AWMM Military serviceRoyal New Zealand Air Force, attached Royal Air Force AWMM Report Miilitary decorations Contribute › Medals and Awards1939-1945 Star AWMMMiD citation: In recognition of distinguished service and devotion to duty. Awarded posthumously for his escape from Stalag Luft III POW camp on 24/25 March 1944. AWMMDefence Medal AWMMWar Medal 1939-1945 with oak leaf AWMMNew Zealand War Service Medal AWMM Report Training and Enlistment Contribute › Military training Enlistment Age on enlistment Report Embarkations Contribute › Embarkation details Embarkation body Report Prisoner of war Contribute › Capture detailsWW2 AWMMPOW - Stalag Luft III, Sagan, Germany AWMMGermany AWMMPilot in support of Operation Jubilee, Dieppe, France (the Dieppe Raid), shot down. AWMM Days interned19 August 1942 AWMM Liberation date POW liberation details POW serial number Report Medical history Contribute › Medical notesKilled or died while a Prisoner of WarCause of Death AWMMShot by the Gestapo after escaping from Stalag Luft III POW Camp AWMM Report Last known rank Contribute › Last rankFlight Lieutenant AWMMRoyal New Zealand Air Force, 26 Squadron, RAF AWMM Report Biographical information Biographical information Contribute › On the night of 24 March 1944 he escaped from Stalag Luft III in the Great Escape. Using a tunnel named Harry (it was the third attempt - the Germans had discovered Tom and Dick), 220 men attempted to escape, but the tunnel had come up short of the trees they were heading for, and only 76 men got clear.He was one of the 50 recaptured airmen shot by the Gestapo on the orders of Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer of Nazi Germany. Three of those executed were from New Zealand: Flight Lieutenant Christensen (NZ413380), Flying Officer Porokoru Pohe (NZ402894) and New Zealand born Squadron Leader John Williams (40652), an Australian citizen serving with the Royal Air Force. Of the other 23 men recaptured, 15 were returned to Stalag Luft III and 8 were held in concentration camps. Only three of the original 76 escaped POWs got completely away to England.Flight Lieutenant Christensen's escape attempt almost succeeded. After travelling several hundred kilometres across hostile enemy territory, whose citizens were on the alert for the escaped airmen, he was recaptured and shot with three companions close to the border of Germany and neutral Denmark.When news of the executions reached England the British Government resolved to bring the culprits to justice once the war had ended. However by the time the hunt for those responsible started, Hitler and most of the other high ranking Nazi officials were dead. Ultimately several Gestapo officers were executed or imprisoned for this war crime.An article in the Herald on 22 May 1944 reads as follows: THREE NEW ZEALANDERS - TRIBUTE TO BRAVE MEN Wellington, Saturday"The acting Prime Minister, the Hon. D.G. Sullivan, stated today that the Government had been advised that among the air officers who had been shot in Germany were two members of the RNZAF, Flying Officer Porokoru Patapu (John) Pohe, of Taihape, and Flight-Lieutenant Arnold George Christensen, of Hastings, as well as one other New Zealander, Acting-Squadron-Leader J.E.A. Williams, whose next-of-kin is in Australia, and who was serving with the RAF. In every case the next-of-kin had been informed of the position.""The Government is deeply shocked at the incident" said Mr Sullivan, "and I join with all citizens of New Zealand in expressing sympathy to the next-of-kin of these brave men who, served by a strong sense of duty, were making every effort to escape and rejoin their colleagues in the fight against Nazi tyranny."Because of the number of POWs involved and the tragic aftermath, the Stalag Luft III escape is a well documented part of World War 2 history. Popularly known as "The Great Escape" it has been the subject of books and a 1963 Hollywood movie.The men were shot, then cremated and later their ashes reburied at Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery, Poland.Next of kin details compiled from information in the Casualty lists published in the newspapers. The information on the display relating to the Great Escape at the Museum of Allied Prisoners of War, Zagan, Poland in 1996 contained errors for Christensen - both his name and nationality did not conform with details supplied by the New Zealander who returned nor with the information in the New Zealand Herald of 22 May 1944. Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery was originally called Schneidemuhl Prisoners of War Cemetery. Mrs Florence, daughter of Neil Hyland Svendsen (RAF 40327) a POW in Stalag Luft III, visited Poland in 1996 with her family. Her photographs on this Cenotaph record, relate to the experience and remembrance of the POWs imprisoned there. AWMM Read more Report Death About death Contribute › Age at death21 AWMM Date of death29 March 1944 AWMM Cause of deathKilled or died while a Prisoner of War AWMM Place of deathGermany AWMM Death notesGermany AWMM Report Cemetery Contribute › Cemetery namePoznan Old Garrison CemeteryPoland AWMM Grave referenceCollective grave No. 9, A. AWMM Report Memorial Contribute › Memorial name Memorial reference Obituary Report Roll of Honour Remember Arnold George Christensen by laying a poppy. Andrew Christensen Archibald Christensen Arnold George Christensen Arthur Orlando Christensen Arthur Ring Christensen Lay a poppy for 2015 Leave a note Leave a tribute or memory of Arnold George Christensen Leave a note Contribute › Processing Sources Sources Contribute › External linksCommonwealth War Graves Commission.http://www.cwgc.orgSources UsedPapers Past. Digital New Zealand Newspapers.http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspastSources UsedLincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, East Kirkby Airfield, East Kirkby, Near Splisby, Lincolnshire, Englandhttp://www.lincsaviation.co.uk/Further ReferenceHall, D.O.W. (1950). Escapes. In New Zealand in the Second World War, 1939-1945 : episodes & studies Vol. 2. Wellington: Historical Publications Branch.http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2-2Epi-c11-WH2-2Epi-l.htmlFurther ReferenceRoll of Honour. Evening Post, Volume CXXXVII, Issue 116, 18 May 1944, Page 6http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=EP19440518.2.101&srposFurther Reference DocumentsMartyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMMHanson, C. (2001). By such deeds: honours and awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999. Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMMThe Weekly News AWMMWeekly News, 1944 AWMMBanks, Sylvia. Papers relating to World War II Pilot Officer Alan Edward Woodford ('Peter') Day. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2005/33. AWMMThere is a reference to Arnold in the letters (8 August 1942) file AWMMMartyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMMVol. 1 p. 238, vol. 2 p. 204, vol. 3 p. 128 AWMMHanson, C. (2001). By such deeds: honours and awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999. Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMMHanson, C. (2001). p. 123 AWMMThe New Zealand Herald AWMMRoll of Honour, Died while Prisoner. New Zealand Herald, 19 May 1944 AWMMThe New Zealand Herald AWMMThree New Zealanders: tribute to brave men. New Zealand Herald, 22 May 1944 p. 4 AWMM Report Seen an error on this page? Tell us about it.