Danish WW2 Pilots

Carl Rasmus Thusgaard

(1904 - 1943)

Carl Rasmus Thusgaard is a Danish born photojournalist who is killed in the Pacific during the Second World War. A Liberty ship is named after him only a few months after his death.

Carl Rasmus Thusgaard is born on 29 January 1904 in Grødde, Denmark. He is the son of blacksmith Jacob Thusgaard and Sørine Kristine Thusgaard (née Jensen). He is named Karl, but after emigrating to the United States known as Carl.

On 26 October 1926 he arrives in New York from Copenhagen on-board the SS UNITED STATES. According to the passenger list he is to visit a cousin in New Jersey. It is not possible to tell from the records if he actually stays in United States from this point in time.

In 1930 he is married and lives in Brooklyn with his wife. He works as a telegrapher. He is naturalized as U.S. Citizen on 11 May 1937 in Brooklyn, New York.

Killed as Photojournalist

At some point he is employed by Acme Newspictures as photojournalist. On 20 July 1943 he is on-board a B-24 from No 320th Bomb Squadron (90th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force) flown by Group Operations Officer 1st Lt John B. Willcoxon flying in the Madang Area, New Guinea. At about 1000 hrs the aircraft is attacked by a number of Japanese aircraft and is shot dawn. All on-board except the nose gunner, M. D. Turrentine, were killed. The victory is credited to Captain Shogo Takeuchi.


In October 1943 the U.S. Maritime Commission announces that Carl Thusgaard is one of 10 U.S. correspondents listed as killed during the war that are to have a Liberty shipped named after them. Hence, later that year a Liberty ship built in Maryland, Baltimore, is named SS CARL THUSGAARD. In 1944 it is renamed SS SAMKEY.

(www.newseum.org; www.plimsoll.org; www.theusgenweb.org; www.time.org; Finn Buch)