ONE of Denmark's leading Second World War resistance figures, Ole Lippmann, has died. He was 86.

Lippman, who asked the RAF to bomb the Gestapo headquarters in an air raid that ended as the deadliest wartime operation in Denmark, died on Tuesday in Copenhagen.

After receiving intelligence that the Germans were planning to arrest the leadership of the banned Freedom Council, Lippmann, as liaison between the Danish resistance and the allies, requested that the RAF attack the Gestapo HQ in Copenhagen on March 21, 1945.

The raid, which thwarted the Gestapo's arrest plans, became the deadliest operation of the war in Denmark when British warplanes mistakenly bombed a school and killed 86 pupils and 13 adults.

Most hit their target but one accidentally crashed behind the school. The following wave of planes thought the billows of smoke from the crash indicated the target and dropped their cargo of bombs on the school.

In an interview with the Berlingske Tidende newspaper Lippman later said it ''was terrible to make'' the decision to have the Gestapo headquarters bombed because he knew civilian casualties were likely. The school bombing ''was extremely tragic'' but ordering the raid was the right decision, he was quoted as saying.

The Freedom Council was founded to lead the resistance groups that blew up factories which worked for Nazi Germany, and destroyed or damaged railways tracks, bridges, military facilities, and oil and gasoline tanks.

''He was second-to-none and an extremely modest man,'' Frank Zorn, a fellow resistance fighter, said.

In the last three months of the occupation, Lippmann became the Allied's highest-ranking official in the Special Operations Executive in Denmark. It was he who welcomed the British troops led by General Harry Dewing that arrived on May 5, 1945, a day after the Germans had surrendered.

In the first years of the occupation, Danes protested silently. King Christian X rode through Copenhagen, returning his people's salutes but looking away when he met German soldiers.

But by mid-1942, illegal press and sabotage actions against German troops began. The turning point came in August 1943, when people started staging strikes and riots across the nation.

The government resigned after Germans declared martial law.

Except for the freedom fighters' sorties and a brief fight between Danish troops and German soldiers in 1940, no major battles were fought in Denmark.

Lippman is survived by his wife.