Danish WW2 Pilots

Leif Kaare Pay

(1906 - 1966)

Leif Kaare Pay in one of the Danes attached to the RAF Ferry Command during the Second World War. He is - records indicate - an experienced pilot when joining in mid-1942, and is attached to this command until the end of the war.

Leif Kaare Pay is born on 24 May 1906 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the son of Carl Marius Pay (b. 1866), merchant and from 1913 the Norwegian consul-general in Copenhagen, and Ellen Pay (b. 1882). His father born in Kristiania (Oslo) in Norway.

Malayan Volunteer Air Force

In the the late 1920s he travels to Malaysia to work for United Plantations a Danish plantation corporation founded in Malaysia in 1906. In the early 1930s he takes up flying. During the weekends he motorcycles from the plantation at Ula Bernam to the Kuala Lumpur Flying Club to take flying lessons there. Having graduated he he buys a Tiger Moth in 1932. He inspires others to take up flying, and in the mid-1930s the Ipoh Flying Club is created.

A number of the employees at United Plantations obtain flying license before 1939. Several of these including L K Pay volunteer for the Malayan Volunteer Air Force as the Japanese thread to Malaysia becomes apparent. At this point I have no further information on the service.

Even though L K Pay seems to have been in Malaysia during the period, he acquires the country estate 'Gammelgaard' in Denmark in 1939. The estate is sold on 31 December 1941.

A Narrow Escape to America and RAF Transport Command

Following the Japanese attack he manages to get via Australia to United States and Canada, where he joins the RAF Transport Command. On 15 January 1942 he arrives in Sydney per aircraft (BOAC) and on 8 March 1942 he arrives in San Francisco, California from Sydney, Australia, on-board the M/S Parrakoola.

According to information obtained from Martin Gleeson and Dennis Burke, he receives his first flight check in the RAF Ferry Command on 8 June 1942. At this point he has logged 1,170 flying hours. He makes his first ferry flight in June 1942 bringing a Michell from Canada to the UK.

On 4 July 1942 he is co-pilot of a North American Mitchell II (FL214) making a force-landing in Roscommon, Riversdale in Ireland. He is then attached to 44 Group, Ferry Command. Later records show attachment to 45 Group, Ferry Command.

In total he flies 25 ferry trips from June 1942 to March 1945 holding the rank of First Officer. These trips are mirrored in the US Immigration records, recording a number of trips from Scotland and Morocco to New York in the same period.

(Trap, 1955; Krak, 1918; Martin, 2003; Shores et al, 1992 and 2000; Martin Gleeson; Dennis Burke; NAA; ancestry.co.uk)