Ejnar Thorup is one of six Danish officers in service as pilots in Luftwaffe during the Second World War. He is also one of the pilots in active duty during the German attack on Værløse air station on 9 April 1940 leading to the death of two of his pilot colleagues.
Ejnar Thorup is born on 7 December 1923 in Skanderup, Denmark. He joins the army as Rekrut (Recruit) at the 1st Battallion of the Royal Guard. On 7 May 1931, he is appointed Kornet (Lance corporal). On 12 April 1932, he is appointed to Sekondløjtnant (2nd lieutenant) at the 2nd Battallion of the Royal Guards and Løjtnant af reserven (lieutenant of the reserve) at the 1st Battallion of the Royal Guards on 1 November 1932. On 10 August 1932, he is accepted at the Army's Officers' Academy Boeck, 1934).
Pilot in the Army Air Corps and in Finland
On 27 November 1935, he is appointed Premierløjtnant (1st lieutenant) and 1 April 1936 he commences pilot training. He receives his wings (pilot’s certificate 187/36) and is posted to Hærens Flyvertropper (the Army Air Corps) on 9 October 1937. On 16 December 1939, he is appointed kaptajnløjtnant (lieutenant captain).
Ejnar Thorup volunteers for service during the Winter War. According to Ritaranta (1996), he is on contract from 27 February to 27 March 1940, and serves with LeR 3, T-LeR 2, and LeR 2 and is later trained in LLv 32. According to Ancker (2001) he is in Finland until 13 March 1940. Neulen (2000) states that Ejnar Thorup returns to Finland to follow an advanced instructional course from 4 August to 24 October 1940.
He is posted at Sjællandske Flyverafdeling (Army Air Corps, Sealand Section) at the outbreak of war. On 9 April 1940, following the German attack on Værløse air station, he is ordered to take command of 3rd Squadron. The order is cancelled later that same day, though. On 22 May 1940, he is appointed adjutant to the inspector general of the Army Air Corps colonel Førslev (Holm, 1995).
Joining the Luftwaffe
On 8 July 1941, an announcement from the Ministry of War permits commissioned officers of the Danish armed forces to volunteer for Frikorps Denmark (Free Corps Denmark). A number of Danish officers enlist; on of these being Ejnar Thorup who volunteers for Luftwaffe service. He is on leave without pay from 15 August 1941 onwards.
On 13 August 1941, he arrives in Berlin on his way to Fliegerhorst Prenzlau (Reichüberprufungsstelle Prenzlau). Here he joins other Danish pilots in Luftwaffe training. We know this because he is mentioned in Knud Erik Ravnskovs letters to his family (Ravnskov, 2002).
On 11 September 1941, he is transferred from Fliegerforschule A/B 120 in Prenzlau to Jagdfliegerschule 5 in Villacoublay, France.
He is transferred to operational service at 5./JG54. Another Danish pilot that serves in Jagdgeschwader 54 is Ove C. Terp.
On 5 June 1942, Ejnar Thorup is hit by flak near the city of Bol. Obschivalowo, 12 km. south of Chudowo, Russia. He is killed in the following emergency landing. Neulen (2000) cites a description of the accident in Wehrmachtauskunftstelle:
During an operational flight, Hptm. Thorup was fired on from the ground. His engine began to smoke, and Hptm. Thorup attempted to make an emergency landing behind his own lines. While doing so the aircraft broke up, Hptm. Thorup was thrown from the aircraft together with his seat, and was recovered dead.
Ejnar Thorup is killed flying Bf 109 F-2 ‘Gelbe 5’ (Wk. Nr. 9663) that is totally destroyed.