Danish WW2 Pilots

Pvt. Ester Fitzsimmons (née Detlefsen)

(1921 - 1967)

Pvt. Ester Fitzsimmons enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in 1944. She was attached to the Air Air Force and was one of twenty-nine Danish born WACs during the Second World War.

Ester Fitzsimmons (née Detlefsen) was born on 27 April 1921 in Copenhagen, to Christian Peter Detlefsen and Emmy Gronleff Detlefsen (née Rasmussen).[1]

Her father was born in Flensburg, Germany, in 1901. Flensburg had been part of Germany since 1864.[2]From the documents it seems likely that he was part of the Danish minority in Schleswig-Holstein.[3] Her mother was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1900.[4] The parents were married in Flensburg on 15 April 1922.[5]

Fitzsimmons’ family emigrated to the United States in 1923-24. Her father arrived in New York from Copenhagen on 13 November 1923. His final destination was his brother Hans Detlefsen in Bayonne, New Jersey. Fitzsimmons and her mother seem to have lived with her father in Oslo (then Christiania) for a while. They arrived in New York from Oslo on 16 February 1924 onboard the SS United States also headed for Bayonne, New Jersey.[6]

Fitzsimmons enlisted as Private (A-222847) in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) on 19 January 1945 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.[7] She served in Squadron D at 2523 AAF Base Unit at Hondo Army Airfield in Hondo, Texas. It is presumed that she served as clerk. She was discharged on 4 September 1945.[8]

She married Thomas N. Fitzsimmons in 1945, presumably before discharge.[9] They lived in New Jersey. She retired from a position as clerk in the Bridgewater County Road Department in on 1 November 1960.[10] She died on 22 February 1967.[11]


[1] DNA: Parish register, Rigshospitalets sogn.

[2] Ancestry: Flensburg, Germany, Birth Index Cards, 1874-1902.

[3] The term 'Germany' is used as it is easier to understand for the modern reader. More correctly, Flensburg was part of the Dutch of Schelwig, which came under Prussian rule after the Second War of Schleswig in 1964 (Peace of Prague in 1866). Flensburg became part of the German Reich in 1871. In the Schleswig plebiscites, Flensburg elected to remain German.

[4] DNA: 1901 Census of Denmark.

[5] Ancestry: Flensburg, Germany, Marriage Index Cards, 1874-1932.

[6] Ancestry: New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957.

[7] Ancestry: U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946.

[8] Ancestry: U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963.

[9] Ancestry: New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016.

[10] Legal Notices, The Courier-News, 14 Dec 1960, p. 49.

[11] Ancestry: U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963.