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    Friesland wartime history     by Willem de Jong     <   page 9   > 

101 Squadron's Lancaster DV267 SR-K  &  Zwolle's   ' De Groene ' resistance group

Texel & Den Helder

 

 

D

Leeuwarden Airfield

Schiermonikoog

Harlingen & Harderwijk

Occupied Harlingen

German Radar

Ameland

Vlieland

Terschelling

St. Jacobparochie

Rottum Island

     12 Squadron Losses
      Hindeloopen
     Sink the Scharnhorst!
    Runnymede Memorial 

 

 

101 Squadron's DV267 SR-K

Lancaster DV267 was a Mk.111 and delivered ABC-equipped to 101 Sqdn 20th October 1943. It took part in the following Key Operations: Hannover 18/19 Oct43; Berlin 18/19 Nov43; Berlin 22/23 Nov43; Berlin 23/24 Nov43; Berlin 26/27 Nov43-aborted; Berlin 2/3 Dec43; Berlin 16/17 Dec43; Berlin 23/24 Dec43; Berlin 29/30 Dec43; Leipzig 19/20 Feb. 1944

P/O Laurens flew on seven of these Berlin operations as Captain. When lost this aircraft had a total of 209 hours. Airborne from Ludford Magna 23.38 on 19th of February 1944. 

The crew of eight included ABC (airborne cigar) operator Sgt J A Davies.

The crew of this plane, inclusive of that extra man, was named "the League of Nations crew".

 

P/O. John Laurens, DFM, Captain / Pilot, age 26, from Capetown - South Africa - KIA - buried Leek / Tolbert, Protestant Churchyard

F/Sgt. Leslie "Crash" Burton, Navigator, age 22, from Leeds,Yorkshire (UK)

Sgt. Ronald ("Ronnie") Norman Aitken, Bomb Aimer, from Oldham, Lancs. (UK) - successfully evaded / but captured / POW in Antwerp (Belgium), 10 Aug. 1944. He was with 550 Squadron before joining 101.

Sgt. William "Billie" Alexander George Kibble, Flt. Engineer, from Hatfield (UK) - evaded first / but captured / POW in Den Haag (the Hague, Holland), 3 May 1944

P/O. Cassian Henry Waight, Wireless Operator  aged 32, from Belize, Br.-Honduras, Central America - body found in Noordijk (broken neck) - buried  Tolbert.

Sgt. William Frederick Donald Bolt, A/G. mid-up, age 21 , from Plympton, Devon (UK) - buried Leek / Tolbert, Protestant Churchyard

Sgt. Albert Edward Royston, A/G. rear, from Darfield (UK)

Sgt. James Arthur "Jim" Davies, ABC (=AirBorne Cigar)-operator, born 12 January 1923, at Boncath,in Pembrokeshire, South Wales successfully evaded / but captured / POW in Antwerp (Belgium), 10 Aug. 1944. Died 17 February 2007. This man was contacting, in German!, the Luftwaffe ground-controllers and the Nightfighter-pilot (thus causing disorder in the radio-contact between planes and ground)

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The aircraft crashed near Tolbert (Groningen), 17 km WSW of Groningen, Holland. Three of the crew were killed.

It is reported that Sgt Waight died from a broken neck, his body being found at Noordijk where he was buried in the Protestant Cemetery. He was last seen by Sgt Davies, who was leaving the aircraft, without his parachute and in flames, 'a terrifying sight!'  P/O Laurens, whose immediate DFM was Gazetted 25th January 1944, was a most resolute bomber pilot who had captained DV267 in seven consecutive raids on Berlin. He calmly stayed with the aircraft hoping that all his crewmates would get out safely.Together with Sgt Bolt, he is buried in Leek (Tolbert) Protestant Cemetery.

Sgt William Bolt was the son of William & Elsie Bolt of Plympton in Devon. This was his 23rd op' over Germany. He was unlucky that during the final moments before the aircraft crashed, and the crew were attempting to exit the aircraft, the rear escape door was jammed. He finally made it to the main exit and was one of the last to leave. Unfortunately he may have come in contact with the side of the falling aircraft or his parachute failed to open in time but he was killed.

It was not until early July that his parents received the dreaded telegram informing them their son was believed dead and had been buried at Tolbert. She received a letter on the 3rd of August from the minister of the church in Leek. He related how the local Mayor had asked him to officiate at the funerals of her son and Jack Laurens and how when he arrived at the church there were hundreds of local people at the cemetery to honour the two airmen. The German military ordered the Dutch police to disperse the crowd leaving only the Mayor, the minister and two others for the ceremony. He was not allowed to speak during the service. The following day the local villagers showed their respect by leaving their flowers at the gravesides.

Four of the five survivors fell into friendly Dutch hands and evaded capture for a considerable time.

The evaders F/Sgt. ' Les ' Burton and Sgt. 'Bill' Kibble (the Navigator and the Flight Engineer of Lancaster DV267) were sheltered by Zwolle's 'Green' group. These photos were taken, while in civilian dress, by photographer Pim Alink, who was a member of the Dutch resistance, for use on their false Dutch ID-passes. (Each adult Dutchman needed a ' Persoonsbewijs ' in those wartime days, which could be checked easily by the authorities and the occupiers at any time, during travelling etc.)

Sgt Ted Royston was taken POW the day after the crash. Sgt Ronnie Aitken successfully evaded until betrayed and captured in Antwerp 10th August 1944. He was interned in Camp L7. PoW No.690 with Sgt Jim Davies who was also captured at the same time in Antwerp.  PoW No.698. 

F/Sgt L. Burton was blown out of the aircraft and evaded until captured 3rd May 1944 and interned in Camps L6/357. PoW No.3843 with Sgt W.A.G.Kibble, also captured in The Hague 3rd May 1944, PoW No.3848. Sgt A.E. Royston in Camps L6/357, PoW No.1902. 

According to the five survivors, the pilot, South African P/O John Laurens, stayed at the controls of the Lancaster while it was in its death plunge to give the others time to get out.  

 

 

Picture shows L to R, Sgt Ted Royston, Sgt Jim Davies, P/O Jack Laurens & P/O Cass Waight

 

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The League Of Nations: P/O LAURENS (Pilot). Sgt Davies (Spec Op). P/O Cass Waight (W/Op). Flt Sgt Les Burton (Nav). Sgt Wag Kibble (Flt Eng). Sgt Don Bolt (MUG). Sgt Ted Royston (Rear Gun). Sgt Chris Aitkin (Bomb-Aimer) 

 

 

 

** Airborne Cigar (A.B.C.) – ARI TR3549 jamming transmitter, a system developed by B.T.R.E at Malvern and carried by 101 Squadron Lancasters based at Ludford Magna. It used an 8th crew member to monitor and then jam German night fighters utilising Lichtenstein radar. 

"Upon arrival at Ludford Manor the first thing was a few day's introduction to the equipment we were to operate. It went under the codename 'ABC', which stood for Airborne Cigar; I have no idea why they named it that. It consisted of three enormous powerful transmitters covering the radio voice bands used by the Luftwaffe.  

To help identify the place to jam there was a panoramic receiver covering the same bands. The receiver scanned up and down the bands at high speed and the result of its travel was shown on a timebase calibrated across a cathode ray tube in front of the operator. If there was any traffic on the band it showed as a blip at the appropriate frequency along the line of light that was the timebase.  

When a 'blip' appeared, one could immediately spot tune the receiver to it and listen to the transmission. If the language was German then it only took a moment to swing the first of the transmitters to the same frequency, press a switch and leave a powerful jamming warble there to prevent the underlying voice being heard. The other two transmitters could then be brought in on other 'blips'. If 24 aircraft were flying, spread through the Bomber stream, then there were a potential 72 loud jamming transmissions blotting out the night fighters' directions.

The Germans tried all manner of devices to overcome the jamming, including having their instructions sung by Wagnerian sopranos. This was to fool our operators into thinking it was just a civilian channel and not worth jamming. I think ABC probably did a useful job, but who can say what difference it made?"  Sam Brookes  101 Sqdn

* The picture above shows the distinctive added antennae on 101 Squadron aircraft.

 

 

The introduction in 1943 of the ‘Monica’ tail radar warning device to 110 Squadron and how it resulted in making things worse.... by Willem

 

101 Squadron was more or less an ‘elite unit‘ of RAF Bomber Command, after it changed to the heavy Avro Lancaster bomber in 1942. Soon all their planes were equipped with a top secret radio jamming system, the so called ‘Air Born Cigar‘ (ABC).

A very dangerous situation, because the enemy fighters could trace and now attack them easily, and anyway, those planes with the jamming and misleading SO’s in it, were a real ‘pain in the arse’ for them, an extra stimulus to eliminate. For that reason, I think no one higher up in the air force ranks would be really surprised about that - it resulted soon in them having the highest casualty rate of any RAF squadron.

So what to do next, to restrict the numbers of losses ? To stop the jamming etc. was not an option, as long as most of the experts still had the idea that those SO’s of 101 Squadron were doing an excellent job, reaping benefits for all the other bombers operating in the same streams en route to the targets and back home.

What the 101 Squadron Lancs needed was better self defence and extra protection against night-fighters in particular. That was simply the first conclusion, and for that reason, for a while, only the most alert and best qualified Air Gunners of the RAF were moved to 101.

Heavier armaments possibly? Not so easy of course; the weight of those extra operators in the aircraft was already reducing the total bomb load of the squadron. Perhaps more ‘electronics’, not to heavy in weight, like a new radar warning system ?

The British electronics industry had recently developed 'Monica' - by insiders known as ARI 5664 - a tail warning radar, based on the same principal as the successful H2S (ground-ward) radar, and fixed pointing rearwards in the fuselage of the plane. It provided audible bleeps as a warning of any aircraft approaching from the rear therefore detecting enemy fighters and also warning when their own aircraft came too close.

In early 1943, 101 Squadron was one of the first units equipped with this new radar system.

And it worked, at least….. in the beginning becoming another item of secret equipment in the Lancasters of 101 Squadron.

But then, the harsh rules of warfare, the reality! More and more Halifaxes and Lancasters from other squadrons were then equipped with the same ‘electronic toys’, for the added safety of their crews.

A number of them were soon downed in Germany and occupied Europe, and the Germans, who stripped almost every wreck for the useful recyclable raw materials, soon found this new equipment and in that way captured the secrets of the new RAF warning radar……

Technicians working for the Luftwaffe soon developed a ‘passive homing receiver system’, the ‘Flensburg gerät’ (FuG 227), which from early 1944 was fitted in Junkers and Messerschmitt night-fighters specifically to home in on those RAF bombers using 'Monica'.

From that time the Lancasters of 101 Squadron were even more easily traceable by enemy fighters than before, because, those 'Monicas' were switched on before take off, working all through the flight, and only turned off after landing. While the original danger had come from the enemy tracking the ‘ABC jamming equipment’ which was only on for short intervals!

Another problem with Monica was that it was unable to differentiate between friendly and hostile aircraft and the continuous clicking over the earphones proved to be more of an irritant than a help. The Monica bleaps were therefore regularly ignored, or more often, the device was switched off.

On the morning of 13 July 1944, a Junkers Ju 88G-1 night-fighter equipped with Flensburg mistakenly landed at RAF Woodbridge. After examining its Flensburg equipment, the RAF ordered Monica withdrawn from all Bomber Command aircraft.

According to Bill Gunston: ‘Monica‘ was responsible for more bomber losses than any other single device in the war, because the Luftwaffe night-fighters were equipped to track ‘Monica’ emissions.

 

 

Map of nearby Luftwaffe radar-station ' Löwe ' (Marum - Triment) - Thankyou  Idse

 

 

 

 

 

 

1  Pilot Officer P/O. John Laurens, DFM,  Pilot, age 26, from Capetown - South Africa 

2 Sergeant William Frederick Donald (Don) Bolt, A/G. mid-upper, from Plympton, Devon  (UK)

3 Pilot Officer Cassian Henry Waight,  from Belize, British Honduras, Central America.

 

 

John Laurens is remembered in the Remembrance Book at the library in Ferryhill, Co. Durham which is situated opposite the Town Hall and War Memorial (pictured above)

 

 

John Laurens (Jack Lourens), the son of Jan Gerhardus Laurens and Maria Elizabeth Laurens of South Africa and husband of Margaret Johnson Laurens, from Ferryhill, Co. Durham, was born at Wolseley, Cape Province in January 1918. He was educated at Observatory Boy's High School, Cape Town, and during 1933-34 became a cadet on the South African Training Ship 'General Botha'. He came to the UK and enlisted in the Grenadier Guards. John married Margaret J Cooke at Westminster, London in early 1939. John & Margaret had one son, John F Laurens, whose birth was registered at Co. Durham in late 1939.

The Grenadier Guards' first involvement in the war came in the early stages of the fighting when all three regular battalions were sent to France in late 1939 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. As the BEF was pushed back by the German blitzkrieg, these battalions played a considerable role in maintaining the British Army's reputation during the withdrawal phase of the campaign before being themselves evacuated from Dunkirk.

John Laurens served in the British Army with distinction and was 'mentioned in despatches' at Dunkirk. He later transfered to the RAF where he became a bomber pilot and was awarded the DFM for his bravery in January 1944.

His outstanding courage and sacrifice, in staying at the controls of Lancaster DV267 while his crewmates bailed out, is gratefully remembered by the families of the five survivors.

 

 

 

The South African Training Ship 'General Botha' and its Roll of Honour remembering John Laurens DFM

 

 

 

 

A plaque in the White Hart pub at Ludford Magna.

101 Squadron suffered the greatest number of casualties of any RAF Bomber Command squadron

 

 

 

 

 

Near the tombstone of Don Bolt, I found a small photo, laying in the mud and the rainwater; it seems to be part of the greater photo of the whole crew ; nevertheless,  trying to take a photo of that picture (wasn't so easy about the mud on it and with the wind blowing it away in all directions......) and at the end (?), I brought it to may home, in my cigar-box ! Over here I can scan that photo, that's why......and later on, in springtime / better weather conditions, I'll return the original one to the cemetery !

Why they didn't they bury P/O Waight beside the other 2 airmen, of the same a/c., in the cemetery in Tolbert ?     I don't know at this time.    Willem

By the way: the complete address of that churchyard is (easy for people using a navigation-system)  

Protestand Churchyard,  Woldweg 115 (no. on the tower) Kropswolde (Gr.)     (Gem. Hoogezand - Sappemeer) 

Willem's Visit to Tolbert -February 22nd 2014

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This afternoon I was visiting the Van der Donk family in Tolbert, confirming the appointment we made. I got a warm welcome in their home, situated not far from the local cemetery, in which are buried Sgt. Bolt and P/O. Laurens, both from the crew of Lancaster DV267 (SR-'K' for King) . After all our mail exchanges over recent times, this was the first time we ever met, and believe me, Idse is a friendly and fair man. In the beginning we were talking a lot, about the crash of course, about the 2 killed crew of the plane, whoes bodies were found / recovered near his parents farmhouse, and about the evaders, like Sgt. 'Jim' Davies in particular. Idse has done also a lot of research work over the years, regarding this and another Tolbert crash (No.110 Sqdn. Blenheim Mk.IV - serial no. T2278 - 13 March 1941) which is stored in a nice 'show binder'. In that same album he has many pictures too, taken during the revisit of 'Jim' Davies in Tolbert (crash site, cemetery, hiding places, parents home etc. etc.). And we were both watching and reading pictures and texts in that beautiful book of Special Operator 'Jim' : ' A Leap in the Dark ' (Jim sent a copy to the family, almost directly after publishing).

 

Willem revisits the graves of Jack Laurens and Don Bolt

 

Around 3 o'clock we both walked to the nearby cemetery - the sun was shining for a while - and we were visiting those war graves  (I had also brought back that Don Bolt picture, as promised!).

Then, 70 years and 2 days after that horrible crash, in the ' Night of the falling stars ', we gave a small ' flower-salute ' at the graves, to those brave airmen buried there. And while taking some pictures, we discovered something, a couple of graves further on: a ' Poppy-cross ', laying there, delivered by the wind to the wrong grave....... It was a family greeting / ' in remembrance ' for Pilot / Skipper John Laurens, ever a ' Bothie Boy ' in South Africa, from his own daughter Shirley, as we soon learned. Of course we pictured that cross too and the greeting card fixed on it.

Back home in the ' Schoollaantje ', we had longer talks and Idse was showing me more books etc., and also some ' souvenirs ' of the crash (see the photos).

 

From Shirley the daughter of Jack Laurens

 

During his revisit in Tolbert / the crash site, some ' stuff ' was given back to 'Jim' Davies too, like a 2nd muskaton hook, as Idse told me now. For that airmen a valuable part of one of the most important happenings in his life. And at the end Idse was giving me a copy of a DVD, on which was a filmed summary of the ' Dodenherdenking ' (Remembrance Day service) of 4 May 2007, in the local Protestant Church and in the cemetery, and also views from nearby Noordwijk village, of the grave of ' Central American ' Cassian Henry Waight, the 3rd victim of the crash and interred there. It was a successful and good visit for both of us; and later on Idse is coming to Dronryp.

 

 

Some chaff or windows -foil dropped by bombers to confuse radar, part of an incendary device & a parachute hook

Cass Waight

 

 

 

 

In July / Aug. 2004 some Dutch people were contacting, for the first time, the family of Cass Waight in Central America's Belize. Seeking any answer or reaction from his grandson Wilhelm Henry Waight.

He was surprised and very happy after all these years, because he was searching for more details since his 14th birthday.

A Dutch woman, named Patrice.....(?)... was visiting the Noordwijk Churchyard in Aug. 2004. She brought a beautiful flower bouquet to the grave, a Belizean flag and some "mucuna" (= cowitch / "an old Indian (?) and popular stimulating medicine"), in the name of his grandchildren.

Photos of this visit were sent to the family afterwards. For them it was the first time to see their grandfather’s grave, in that "other land", far from home, across the Atlantic Ocean.    Willem

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Here are photos of former "Radarpeilstation" Löwe (Lion) today, situated along the A7 / E22 Highway from Amsterdam (via Afsluitdijk), to Groningen and the German bord

It isn't so easy to take some pictures there, because of the intensity of international traffic (trucks etc. are passing all the time, and the cars are "racing" 130 km/hrs. on that route.

 

About the ' Stellung Löwe ' (radar station Lion) near Marum-Trimunt (in the Groningen provence). It was  near the crash site of Lancaster DV267 as we know already.

Luftwaffe radar station ' Lion ', related to nightfighter ' Fliegerhorst ' Leeuwarden and part of the so called ' Kammhuberlinie ' (German air defence line of General Josef Kammhuber), was equipped with 1 Freya LZ A gerät (FuMG 401) and also with 3 ' dishes ' from the Telefunken factories, thus with 3 ' Würzburg Riese ' geräte (FuSE 65 in Luftwaffe code), each with a diameter of appr. 7.4 meters, for ' Flugzielsuche ' (Flying Objects Search).

In the heart of the station was, as at Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog,, a command bunker too, in which a  'Seeburgtisch ', a visual help for the controllers who were wirelessly guiding the nightfighter pilots / crews in the air. In total, including self defence ' Man-schaft ' (guards etc.), technicians, personnel for living etc. etc., and also some FLAK-men. There were some anti aircraft guns  and 300 - 400 men stationed there, including also a group of women, ' Luftwaffe-helferinnen '. As we can see on our page 3 / Leeuwarden (photos etc.) men like ' Jagdleitoffizier ' Heinz Lübke were operating there, from early 1941.

Lancaster DV267 was flying almost straight over it and came down not so far from the radarstation, but I think it was accidental; in those last minutes of the flight there was no time for jamming anymore...... the crew had to bail out to safe their own lives.

Löwe's Wartime Resistance - The Green Group

 

Hendrikus ' Henk ' Dirk Jan Beernink, born in 1910, was a Dutch railway employee (in the department of infrastructures). From June 1942, he was an important member of the local resistance group ' De Groene ' (the Green One), operating in Zwolle city etc. They were helping Allied airmen to hide and escape, crewmen like Les Burton and Bill Kibble, while on their way via the escape-lines to Gibraltar, Switzerland etc.

Described as a "man of action" he led the Green resistance group from June 1942 dealing with all sorts of activities during the Occupation,' including sabotage and espionage, housing and hiding Allied aircrews, and collecting distribution papers, identity cards and finance.

Due to the betrayal of Peter Richard Cieraad, agent of the Sicherheitsdienst, Henk Beernink was shot dead by a German soldier on February 8, 1945 during a raid at the Catholic hospital on Bleeker Street.

After the war he was awarded by a Royal Decree of 25 July 1952, the Resistance Cross. He also received from the United States the Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm, and on 21 November 1946 Henry and his wife posthumously received a Beernink the Yad Vashem medal, for harboring Jews in hiding, which was received by their daughter.

In his memory, by a resolution on December 10, 1945, the road name Harculostraat where he lived, was changed to Beernink Street.

Corrie Kieft from Zwolle worked as a courier for the Green resistance group. Around February 15, 1945 she was arrested and imprisoned by the SD in Zwolle remand. In early April Corrie was transferred to Westerbork along with other prisoners. This camp was evacuated on 11 April, and she was among more than a hundred female prisoners released from the Germans. After three days she made it to  Groningen and freedom.

 

Sgt. ‘Jim‘ Davies, the A-B-C Special operator. His first hours in hiding, the secret routes in occupied Northern Holland, and later together with his crewmate Sgt. ‘Ronnie’ Aitken, the Bomb Aimer of DV267. Also about the brave Dutch helpers, hiding and assisting them, before the ‘real resistance’ sent them on the escape route into the South.

After his safe landing without injury by parachute near to Niebert village, situated between Marum and Tolbert in the Province of Groningen, Jim simply knocked on the door of the nearest house. Some older people were living there. Unfortunately they could not speak or understand his language but quickly took him to Mr. Jan Veen, a neighbouring farmer, living there with his family, at the ‘Idsings Ree’.

This man took action straight away, there would be no sleep for him that night. He had to move Jim to a safer place on the borderline of Friesland, far from the crash site of the plane and the landing places of the surviving crew and….. all those German searchers!

He gave him civilian clothes and his wife’s bicycle and soon both were peddling through the cold night via small country roads in the direction of Siegers-woude - De Wilp. First to the house of his brother in law, carpenter Johannes ‘Hanje’ de Jong and his wife Roelfke.

For Jim Davies it was an uncertain and exciting journey and he had a lot of questions for Jan, like: ‘Are they good friends ?‘, ‘Is it safe, for yourself and for them ?’ Things like that he was asking over and over again, till the moment Jan asked him to stop talking so much in English!

After arriving at the De Jong family house, the couple gave him some extra clothing against the cold, something to eat and drink, and some guidance and ‘safety instructions’ for the rest of the journey.

Then they were on the road again, this time in the direction of the farmhouse of Mr. Sietse Wijkstra, living in Heineburen hamlet. They were going back into Groningen Province about halfway between De Wilp and Zevenhuizen village.

Arriving there without ‘any trouble‘, Jim was still on Mrs. Veen's bike. This was the first safe hiding place for Sgt. Davies. There he could rest and try to sleep. It was now around 6am on Sunday morning.

For Jan Veen it was time to hurry home, otherwise he couldn’t be at his local church in time. He absolutely couldn’t miss the next service; not just for his religious life, but -as there were rumours enough in those days - he had to show his face there, so that no one would link him to an airman ‘still on the run’ !

Also, he could listen carefully in church about what others were saying about the crash, and if there were any other surviving crew from the plane, and also how the Germans were reacting at the moment.

It turned out to be the wise and right thing to do, because another churchgoer well known to him, a Mr. Bijzitter, approached him, saying that there was a ‘pilot’ in his house, and he had no idea how to handle this!

Meanwhile after Johannes de Jong, his brother in law from Siegerswoude - De Wilp, had brought back his wife's bike to Niebert, Jan Veen himself came into action again to help the second airman.

He was Sgt. ‘Ronnie’ Aitken, the Bomb Aimer of DV267, who was still dressed in his uniform etc.. ‘He could easily take the next plane……’. Crazy of course, very dangerous, especially in daylight!

Next, as soon as was possible, and with the camouflage of a long coat etc., Jan took him to his own house, using deserted paths through the meadows, while watching carefully for ‘Moffen’ (Jerries) on the road!

When they arrived at the barn of his farmhouse, the first thing was to find clothing for the man and hide his RAF outfit.

Then they were on their bikes again, this time with Johannes, who was returning home at the same time. He would be their guide, traveling a short distance in front of them. This was for their safety, if Johannes was halted, maybe ‘Ron’ would have enough time to hide himself and Mrs Veen's bicycle.

Mr. De Jong took Ronnie to the same address in Heineburen, the farmhouse of the Wijkstra family, where Jim was already hiding. When those airmen saw each other again, it was of course a very emotional and happy moment for all, and with a lot of talking between the two crewmates.

Unfortunately the helpful family could not understand the conversation because their English was not very good. For that reason Hanje introduced his daughter Betsje ( Betsy) to the airmen. Mrs. Elizabeth Christina Visser - De Jong, was a qualified and well known local teacher after the war, and for many years - to the Wijkstra family. She had been educated at the U.L.O. school before the ‘German language wave’ was ever started at the schools in occupied Holland, so she could make translations and share the communications, to the advantage of everyone in the house till the moment the ‘real resistance’ came.

Both RAF flyers were transported to Friesland during the following night via the resistance group of Mr. Th. Lycklama à Nijeholt, teacher of the local Protestant Primary School in Leek village. They where sheltered in the house of Mr. Piet Dijkstra at Garijp village. He was an inspector of milk products in the local dairy factory  C.Z.  'De Eendracht ' Garijp (pictured above)

 

 

Pieter, Elisabeth and Hinke Dijkstra and their home in Garijp

 

 

Jim Davies revisits his helpers in 1946. Front row - Vrouw Postma, Rinse Posma, and Vrouw Dijkstra. Back row - Pieter Dijkstra, Jim's mother, Jim Davies, and Elizabeth Dijkstra. (2) Tolbert honours three of the crew in 1947.

 

The two airmen lived there for about 6 months, and in that time reading from the family bible, Jim learned some of the Dutch language. He was also able to stretch his legs at night by walking in the neighbouring fields.They received a new (civil) identity each, a false Dutch pass, and food distribution cards, before being launched on the escape-line. In August they were taken by the Witte Brigade to Antwerp in Belgium.  Unfortunately a trusted guide, "Anna" (Maria Verhulst-Oomes), a Dutch girl working for René van Muylem, betrayed them and they were  handed to the Gestapo on August 10, 1944. The two airmen were conducted to the Prison of Saint-Gilles and Jim Davies transferred to Stalag 7-Brankau Kreulberg. (Compiled from Willem's own translation from some Dutch books, like ‘Gevleugeld Verleden’ - page 368 - by Ab A. Jansen).

 

My instructions were these: I was to follow Anna until we came to a certain avenue where I would be handed over to the Head of the Witte Brigade. We met, Anna left us, and I followed the man to his office in a busy part of the city. He offered me a cigarette and chatted in English with a North-American accent. He told me that the Resistance was highly organized in Belgium and there would be no delay in getting me near to the Allied lines, as it would be much too dangerous to attempt to cross them at this stage. He said that he would provide me with a French passport and take me by car to a little French village near the front line, where I would wait for the Allied advance. This seemed to be an admirable plan.

He said, 'You come from Friesland and one of the Resistance problems in Europe is that one link works in complete ignorance of what is going on in the next. We are trying to centralize the various groups in Holland and Belgium with the Headquarters in Antwerp, and in this respect you may be able to assist us. The Witte Brigade and the Resistance movement in Holland are financially quite sound and after the war we hope to compensate all those good people who helped you, provided that they are genuine patriots. I am anxious to compile a list so that we can do this as soon as the war ends, but, if they are not sincere and cannot be trusted, I would rather not know about them. So if you would like us to help these people perhaps you would let me have their names now.' For some unknown reason I said that they had all given false names, but that I would be delighted to let him know after the war, as I was sure that they would get in touch with me. After this interrogation I was told that there was a car waiting for me outside and, if we were stopped, to let the driver do all the talking. We drove, not towards France, but in broad daylight and in considerable style, to Antwerp Jail!   Jim Davies

And what happened to their escaping crewmate Sgt Ted Royston? By a very unlucky coincidence, on that morning after landing safely, he simply knocked on the wrong Dutch door for assistance. The house belonged to a Nazi sympathizer, a member of Adriaan Anton Mussert's right wing N.S.B party - whoops!       

He was not an escapee for long! 

Other crewmembers, all of whom were subsequently captured. -

Sgt RN AITKEN, 1509571, Bomb Aimer, also arrested Aug. 10, 1944, prisoner No. 609 Camp 357 Copernicus. 

F/Sgt L.BURTON, 1451691,Navigator , arrested May 3, 1944, prisoner 3843 at Camp 357 Copernicus, died in 1992.

Sgt W.A.G KIBBLE, 1802466, Flight Engineer, detained in The Hague May 3, 1944, prisoner No 3848 at Camp 357 Copernicus. His parents were living in Chelsea, London when they received the Air Ministry telegram informing them that their son was 'missing in action'. A few days later their home was bombed during a German raid. Mr Kibble was buried and trapped in the debris. Two hours later he was rescued and forunately only suffered minor injuries.

 

Revisiting the crash site in 1994 - Andries van der Donk, Dr. Jim Davies, Betsy Visser de Jong and Jaap Boersma

 

I learned one important thing: this work assisting those RAF and USAAF men during the war, especially in the years 1943 and 1944, was very tricky and dangerous to do. Many of those Dutch, Belgium and French people who helped  were killed, and even some pilots were shot. Some of the local people did unbelievable work.

A farmer's family in Zuid-Limberg (in the Maastricht city area) were hiding about 70 airmen in total, in a local chicken run, and during that period one of the escape lines, the one they were using, was ' halted ' by German infiltrators! 

Between 1941 and 1944 (till September when the Southern part of Holland was liberated) about 360 airmen were leaving the Netherlands via those lines. Some through the Province of Zuid-Limburg, into Belgium etc., of which around 190 Americans, 126 British, 29 Canadians and 15 ' Aussies & Kiwis ' were helped on their way. Other lines were situated more West, via Noord-Brabant; all together approximately 600 airmen in total. While after the Battle of Arnhem (One Bridge Too Far) around 350 more men were hiding there, waiting for ' the front line to move again', and their eventual liberation. Alas, from that total  of 950 men,  many were caught later in Belgium and France, and in the Arnhem area.The escape line to neutral Switzerland was no success at all. The authorities there were imprisoning all the arrested airmen till May/June 1945.

84 year old Dr Jim Davies, who was Principal of Normal College, Bangor from 1969-85, died at Bangor, North Wales in 2007.

 

 

 

 

The secret cargo boat of the Green Resistance Group near Zwolle - transit address of Allied Escapees

 

 

Photo montage of seventeen crew members of allied aircraft who came down in occupied Holland and were sheltered by the Green Group. Henk Beernink is pictured in the centre with his wife and daughter. Those airmen named are: Ernest J. Bennet, Richard C.Dabney from the USA, Lieut E. Dell Bauer from Sidney, Ohio in the USA, Cecil W. Brown from the USA, Charles E. Zesch from St. Louis, USA, Raymond Francis from Kent in England, C. Oberdak from Poland, Dennis Sharpe from Peterborough in England, Leslie Burton from Leeds in England, William AG Kibble from London in England, Johnny Warren from Canada, Jimmy? from England, and Franklin D. Coslett.

 

 

 

 

This photo montage in connection with the ‘ De Groene ‘ resistance group in Zwolle / the Netherlands, is a magnificent piece of historical evidence, even a unique, valuable monument in fact, to all the people who are pictured on it.

As far as is known by us, the original collage is recorded in the local Overijssel archive, while copies of it are shown via the ‘Beeldbank’ to the people/visitors. And we have to be very thankful for those pictures, taken one by one by photographer Mr.‘Pim’ Alink,  for thoe other important reasons. Whether he made this collage after the war, isn’t known to us, but its maker did a very good job!

As we have known from the beginning, Henk Beernink is pictured in the centre, together with his wife and daughter. Around them - as if in an airforce defence line to protect them for the enemy, the montage is showing us 17 Allied flyers, 16 of whom came down in occupied Holland, and one in Germany. They all were sheltered for varying periods of time by the ‘ De Groene ‘ group.

After ‘heavy research work' we have traced most of them, at least from which crew they came from, except for one man…Jimmy ! (how many Jimmies were serving in those days in the RAF, USAAF etc.?). And then we found some of their stories too, some of them very tragic (like Czeslaw Oberdak).

It’s not important to say who was the greatest hero of all. They simply were brave people, each one doing their duty in the best way they could - helping other people to overcome occupation and terror. Through this wonderful photo montage, We will remember them and their stories forever.   Willem

From left-top to right-bottom:

1. Ernest ‘Ernie’ J. Bennett - Navigator of B-17 # 42-37766 ‘Princess Pat’ - Lageveen (Overijssel)

2. Richard Clark Dabney - W.O. / A.G. of B-17 # 42-37766 ‘Princess Pat’ - Lageveen (Overijssel)

3. Lieudell ‘Lefty’ Ernest Bauer - Bombardier of B-17 # 42-37867 ‘Berlin-Ambassador’- Berkum (Ov.)

4. Cecil William Brown - Reargunner of B-17 # 42-29987 (no name) - Duerswâld (Friesland)

5. Charles ‘Chas’ Emil Zesch - Waist Gunner Right of B-17 # 42-29987 (nameless) - Duerswâld (Frl.)

6. Charles Raymond ‘Joe’ Francis - W.O. / A.G. of Lancaster ME722 - Frankhuis / Zwolle (Overijssel)

7. Czeslaw Oberdak - Pilot of P-51 ‘Mustang’ FX979 - Dalmsholte / Dalfsen (Overijssel) - murdered !

Centre - Mr. and Mrs. Beernink and their daughter

8. Most likely also one of the crew of B-17 # 42-29987 (nameless) - Duerswâld (Friesland)

9. Alas unkown to us (anybody who knows more about this picture, please, give a sign !)

10. Peter ‘Dennis’ Sharp - Fl. Engineer of Lancaster ME722 - Frankhuis / Zwolle (Overijssel)

11. Leslie ‘Les’ Burton - Navigator of Lancaster DV267 - Tolbert (Groningen)

12. William ‘Billie’ Alexander George Kibble - Fl. Eng. of Lancaster DV267 - Tolbert (Groningen)

13. Unknown alas

14. Unknown alas

15. Jean Louis Nazaire ‘Johnny’ Warren - Reargunner of Halifax EB254 - Germany (Ruhrgebiet)

16. Jimmy ‘who’……

17. Franklin D. Coslett - Navigator of B-24 # 42-52506 - Uddel / Veluwe (Gelderland)

If there is someone who knows more about the ‘unknowns’ in this photo montage, or if there are perhaps more historical portrait photos still around in connection to the ‘De Groene’ group, please contact us.

 

The Zwolle Evasion Boat

During World War 2 an old inland cargo boat was moored in a secret hiding place near Zwolle city, in a

slipway ‘ of the ‘Zwarte Water’ (Blackwater), close to the ‘Genneger Zijl’ (ships lock of Genne).

The grounds and waters there formed a more or less wildlife area, over-grown with reed etc., where, most of the time, no German occupier ever came near.

The owners of that boat were ‘ Oude en Jonge ’Willem Slendebroek (Willem Jr. & Willem Sr.) They were members of a local family of hunters, fishermen and bridgekeepers, but in those wartime years it was in daily use by the ‘ De Groene ‘ resistance group of Mr. Henk Beernink (!).

One man lived on it secretly all the time. He was Mr. Piet ‘ Boat ‘ Stil (Silent), a fugitive teacher of English from Rotterdam who had Frisian origins.

The boat became the temporary home for many people including Jews, resistance workers on the run, draft evaders, and even striking railway personnel near the end of the war. It was also the short term home for Allied airmen waiting to travel via the escape lines.

Sometimes they slept between ‘dropped arms’, stored food supplies for the resistance, and illegal and forged paperwork. Meanwhile a neighbouring family brought food and drinks and other comforts. The big problem was the cold winter days when they were not allowed to make some fire for heating during daylight and clear nights! Any smoke plume coming up from the boat could be the end for everyone as German police vessels would sometimes pass by.

 

 

(1) Peter Dekkers, Piet Silent, and Herm Jan Snel, summer 1944 (2) Piet Silent and Willem Jan Christensen (3) Herm Jan Snel (left) with RAF airmen James Brandford & Harry Macfarlane in winter 1944/45.


Herm Snel. My father was Herm Snel. He took care of the boat and the people who were there. My father had a photo camera and the photo’s that were made around the boat were made with his camera and by himself. You see him on some photo’s. For example with James Bradford and Harry Mc Farlane. My father is the right one on the photo. In 2004 he met Harry Mc Farlane again.

The war had had a great impact on my father. After the war he had several contacts with people in England. (That story of the ring, and the boy who landed in the ground without a parachute. It just looked like he was sitting there.*) He made contact with those families.

After the war my father went to Amsterdam to work at the FIOD. He collected his own pictures and others. He asked a man with a Photoshop in Zwolle to make a collage of these photo’s. Later on he gave the collage and copies of his own pictures to other people who were connected to the people on the pictures.

For now I hope I have told enough. When you want to know more just ask.. With greeting, best regards, Willem Snel

Our thanks to Willem Snel who is director of the primary school at Meteren (near Geldermalsen, Gld.) the Openbare Daltonschool Meester Aafjes.

* Sgt. Dewi Lloyd PA986- 12 Squadron. (see our page 29)

For more about the courageous Herm Snel - see  The Memories of Herm Jan Snel


Novelist and Poet Trijntje 'Tiny' Mulder

Trijntje Tiny Mulder was 19 years old and living in Drachten, when she decided to work in the underground.
Her first job was as a courier, traveling by train to Rotterdam or Amsterdam to deliver maps with information for the Allies.
During her missions Mulder wore a green hat to identify herself. 'You never gave your name to anyone. What you don't know, you can't reveal,' she said.
In 1943, Mulder gained additional duties with the Resistance, taking on the job of rescuing Allied airmen shot down in the northern Netherlands.
"Young Tiny Mulder used her language skills, wits and a large dose of courage to keep Allied airmen shot down over Holland out of German hands."
In all, about 72 Allied Flyers were helped by Tiny Mulder.
In recognition for her service, Mulder received the Medal of Freedom with the Silver Palm from the United States. Despite her courageous work with the wartime Resistance, she apparently approached that ceremony with some trepidation. 'That was more nerve-wracking than helping the fliers during the war,' said Mulder. A short time later, the British government awarded her the King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom.
The novelist and poet Tiny Mulder passed away on November 4th, 2010 at the age of 89 .


Polish Pilot Czeslaw Oberdak, the 'De Groene' group and the massacre at Woeste Hoeve

 

Second Lieutenant Czeslaw Oberdak ( Krakow , July 20, 1921 - Woeste Hoeve , March 8 , 1945 ) was a Polish aviator. He was born at Krakow and had a younger brother Ramon and an older sister Ludmila. His childhood dream was to become a pilot.

In 1939 he went to the Air Force School in Poznan and during World War II became a pilot. He left Poland for France when his country was invaded by the Germans and joined the Polish Army.

After Dunkirk he was evacuated to England and assigned to RAF 306 Squadron based at Coolham in Sussex. Between January 14th and May 30th 1944 he flew on 26 missions. His last was on May 30th 1944 piloting one of the P-51 Mustangs FX979 (UZ-A) escorting American bombers on a daylight mission to Nordhausen and Halberstadt.

On their way back to base his aircraft was hit and damaged and he was forced to make an emergency landing on farm land in Dalmsholte between Ommen and Dalfsen. He sent a “Mayday” over the R/T and was heard to say that he was O.K.  After exiting the Mustang he set it on fire and hid in woods nearby.

A young Dutchman found him and contacted the local Resistance. Czeslaw Oberdak was later taken to Ommen where he met three Allied Airmen who had also found refuge there.

One of them was the American airman Frank Coslett, in whose company he remained for several months.

When it became too dangerous to remain at Ommen, they were transported to Dalfsen and later to the 'De Groene' resistance group at Zwolle. (both are pictured on the montage photograph)

In September 1944, Oberdak and Coslett travelled to Amsterdam by train where they moved by the Resistance to several addresses.

On their last night there, December 5th 1944, they both attended a traditional Sinterklaas (St Nicholas Eve) party. Three photographs taken during that celebration were, in later years, crucial in helping to identify Oberdak.

The next morning they were moved to a cave, far from civilisation, in the forest of Beekbergen, close to the Rhine. Everything went well until December 24th when a German truck, on a road nearby, broke down with a flat tyre. Four of the soldiers decided to walk around while the wheel was changed. They first saw smoke. It was coming from a stove near the cave. Five airmen present were soon located while shaving and singing loudly. Oberdak, Coslett and a Russian were arrested.

The pilots were thus 'Todeskandidat', a classification that was introduced by the chief of the Security Police Schöngarth Eberhard who had recently arrived from Nuremberg. Resorting to Niedermachungsbefehl, issued by Hitler in the summer of 1944, he determined that persons who had been convicted of sabotage and unauthorized possession of arms would receive the death penalty. In this order it was stated that arrested members of the Resistance no longer had the right of a trial: those who appeared to be armed at their arrest, were to be shot on site or transferred to the Sicherheitspolize.

 

 

Czeslaw Oberdak and (left) at the Sinterklaas party with Frank Coslett

 

 

 

 

The airmen were taken to the police station at Otterlo and then into the custody of the Security Police. They were then locked up in "De Kruisberg", a prison at Doetichem and charged with espionage.

Oberdak and Coslett were convicted on a charge of of espionage and terrorism. Frank Coslett was later to say - "It was not surprising, because in the cave were arms and ammunition. To them, we were just a bunch of terrorists."

The American airman recalled that one day, at the beginning of March 1945, the Germans took a large group of men out of the cells, one of whom was Czeslaw Oberdak.

On the 8th of March 23-year-old Oberdak and 24 other prisoners were taken to a site near the "Woeste Hoeve" inn , situated between Apeldoorn and Arnhem, and with 92 others they were executed. 

Altogether 117 prisoners of the Germans were shot there without any trial.

This was in retaliation for the attack on Hanns Rauter. Hundreds of prisoners from various jails were retrieved and executed at different locations. The victims were buried in a mass grave at the Heidehof municipal cemetery in Ugchelen .

When the war ended, the mass grave was opened. 115 victims were identified, but not Czeslaw Oberdak. He was buried as an unknown Dutchman at Loenen War Cemetery.

In 1982 and 1995 his tomb was opened to investigate the identity of the body, and then again in 2008. When eventually his DNA was compared with that of of his sister Ludmila, it was a match.

Czeslaw Oberdak was reburied in Poland with military honors on December 10, 2009. He found his final resting place in the family tomb at Krakow. Ludmila attended the funeral. As a memorial to her brother, she received his watch, which had been found in the grave.

 

''Track at Woeste Hoeve' is the title of a recent book by Dutch journalist Richard Schuurman. It tells the story of his 20 years long and arduous search for the Polish war pilot Czeslaw Oberdak and about his tragic execution on March 8, 1945 at Woeste Hoeve.

In 1991, while a journalist for the the Zwolse Courant, he received a letter from Oberdak's elderly sister, Ludmila Kaczmarska in Poland. She had been searching since 1946 for news of her brother.

Richard Schuurman was captivated by her cry for help and latched onto the case. The trail soon led to Woeste Hoeve, where 117 men were executed in revenge for the attack on the Nazi General to the Netherlands, Obergruppenführer Hanns Rauter, by the Resistance.

Schuurman suspected Oberdak may be one of the only two men in the mass grave who could not be identified.

Despite strong evidence "on paper", definitive proof was not delivered until late 2008. Only when asked, did the National Crime Squad and the Graves Registration Service of the Royal Army through DNA testing cross-matched with the elderly sister, who had never given up hope of finding him, prove that one of the unknowns was indeed Oberdak.

"'Track to Woeste Hoeve - The search for the pilot executed Czeslaw Oberdak ', by Richard Schuurman, Publisher Lost.  ISBN 978-90-9704-250-9.



The Shooting by the Resistance of General Hans Albin Rauter

 

Informed that the Germans were due to transport a large shipment of meat, on the evening of March 6th,1945, the Apeldoorn resistance's 'GG Groep, led by Geert Gosens, decided to steal the consignment and divert it to local families and evaders. They planned to turn up at the local slaughter house in an army truck wearing German uniforms. The group consisted of Geert Gosens, Henk de Weert, Charles Prussian, Wim Cook, and Austrians Sepp Köttinger and Herman Kempfer who had deserted from the Waffen-SS.

Except for Wim Cook who was dressed in his military police uniform, all wore the uniform of the SS. The armed group cycled to the Apeldoorn - Arnhem highway with the aim of ambushing a truck to transport the meat.

The group allowed a number of light vehicles to pass, but moved quickly into action around midnight when they heard a heavy vehicle approaching.

The armed men cycled away hurriedly, unaware that they had just shot Hans Albin Rauter, the Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer Nordwest, who was feared all over Holland for his tyrannical regime.

Rauter who, since being  appointed as the leader of the SS in the Netherlands in early 1940, was responsible for deporting over 100,000 Dutch Jews to concentration camps, and sending another 300,000 Dutch citizens to serve as forced labor.

Both the driver of the BMW and the General's aide, Oberleutnant Exner, had been killed, and Rauter, who had pretended to be dead, was seriously wounded. After the shot-up car was found early the next morning, the Sicherheitsdienst immediately launched an investigation.

As a reprisal the Germans executed 117 political prisoners at the location of the attack as well as 50 prisoners in Kamp Amersfoort and 40 prisoners each in The Hague and Rotterdam.

Who issued the order for that terrible revenge, is not exactly known. It is suspected that Rauter's deputy, Schöngarth, had this on his conscience. He, like Rauter, was captured by the Allies at the end of the war. Schöngarth was tried for only one of his many war crimes, the murder of an American pilot, by a British Military Court in Burgsteinfurt. He was found guilty on 11 February 1946 and sentenced to death by hanging. His execution was on 16 May 1946 at Hamelin Prison.

 

 

 

"As a result of a cowardly and vicious raid on the passengers of a German car committed by a group of terrorists on the night of 6 to 7 March 1945, several hundreds of terrorists and saboteurs were summary shot in public on the 8th of this month."

And a portrait of Hans Albin Rauter.

 

Rauter remained in hospital until after the war, when he was captured and put on trial. He was tried, by the Special Court at the Hague, for a wide range of offences committed against the Dutch civilian population during the occupation, and on 4th May, 1948, was sentenced to death.

The offences charged included persecutions of the Jews, deportations of inhabitants of occupied territory to Germany for slave labour, pillage and confiscation of property, illegal arrests and detentions, coIIective penalties imposed upon innocent inhabitants, and killings of innocent civilians as a reprisal for offences committed by unknown persons against the occupying authorities.

One witness, the head of the Netherlands Red Cross department entrusted with establishing the fate of the Jews in Holland, gave the following account - During the occupation, about 110,000 Jews were taken away from the Netherlands, of whom about 100,000 were of Dutch nationality. Of this total only about 6,000 returned after the war.

Rauter was executed by a firing squad on March 24th, 1949.

 

An unlucky American airman parachutes into an SS Vipers' nest, & the Execution of Schöngarth

 

In October 1939 Schöngarth became head of the SD and the Security Police in Dresden, and from January 1940  held the same position in Reichenberg. In March 1941 he was transferred to occupied Poland, where in June 1943 he held the position of commander of the Security Police and the Sicherheitsdienst in General Government and was responsible for the terror used against Polish and Jewish civilians.

He commanded in July and August 1941 the Einsatzgruppe "Galicia", responsible for the murder of at least 4,000 Jews from Galicia . He was also involved in the arrest and murder of twenty-five Polish college professors at Lviv.

On 20 January 1942 he took part in the Wannsee Conference at which the decision was made to conduct the Holocaust - the genocide of the Jewish population in occupied Third Reich Europe. From July 1943 to July 1944 he served in Schöngarth 4 SS Division, stationed in Greece.

In July 1944, he was head of SD and Sipo in The Hague, and from March 10 to April 1945, replaced Hans Rauter in the position of Higher SS and Police Leader of the occupied territory of the Netherlands. After the war, he was arrested by the Allies and brought before a British Military Tribunal in Enschede and charged with the murder of a downed Allied airman on November 21, 1944. Schöngarth was sentenced to death on February 11th 1946. He was executed by hanging at Hamelin in May 1946.  sourced from wikipedia

 

On 21st  November 1944 Flying Fortress 43-38107 (Silver Symphony) of 493 Bomber piloted by 1st Lt. Llewelleyn H. Baxter and co-piloted by 2nd Lt. Americo S Galle, was on on its way to bomb the Synthetic Oil Plant at Merseberg, Germany.

The crew were Pilot: Lieutenant Llewellyn Hunter Baxter, Co Pilot: 2nd, Lieutenant Americo S. Galle, Navigator: 2nd Lieutenant Richard Edgar, 2nd Lieutenant William Biggs Cox, Sergeant Richard L. Sipes, Sergeant William Carrington Massey, Sergeant William Brake Jenkins, Sergeant Merle Auerbach, and Sergeant Herman Adam Schroeder Jr.

Twenty year old Americo S Galle from Yonkers, New York, who had received his wings and commission in December 1943, was based in England since May 28th 1944, completed 35 bombing missions and had been awarded the Air Medal with four clusters. He had recently written to his parents that he expected to be home on leave before the end of the year.

They  had already flown on 27 missions when the Flying Fortress was damaged while passing over Zwelle at about 1100 hours. The crew of nine bailed out northeast of Enschede, Holland. 

Eight of the nine were immediately captured and sent to interrogation centres and then on to POW camps.

The co-pilot, 2nd Lieutentant Americo S Galle from New York, was unlucky to parachute into the grounds of a villa which turned out to be the Headquarters of the German Security SS/SD. He was apparently uninjured.

The airman was taken by the SS to the cellar in the villa while arrangements were made for his disposal. While he was in the cellar, four soldiers of the Wehrmacht came to the villa and demanded that the airman be handed over to them. The SS denied that he was there and the soldiers went away.

 

 

The Germans then removed Galle's flying kit and substituted it with a light coloured shirt, a pair of dark trousers and a pair of socks. In those civilian clothes he was put into a security vehicle, his hands handcuffed behind his back and taken some distance away, but still within the grounds of the SS HQ, to a nearby spot where a shallow grave had already been dug by Hadler and Gernoth. He was then escorted from the car by two SS personel, one of whom, Gernoth, dropped back and shot the American in the back of the neck.

The murder of this unidentified airman came to light immediately after the war, the result of two Dutch prisoners who were employed at the SS/SD Headquarters, coming forward as witnesses.

They had seen the airman parachuting down, his imprisonment in the cellar and also his transfer from there to the grave where he was shot.

They named three of the murderers as Scharfuehrer Liebing, SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Kommissar Knop, and Scharfuehrer Boehm. They also confirmed the presence of Schongarth and several other SD/SS personnel in the villa at that time. When arrested after the war, Schongarth completely denied complicity in the murder.

After the war four graves were found in the Villa's grounds. The other three were found to be of SS officers who had been hanged. At least one execution was authorised by Schongarth for not obeying orders.

 

The accused at the war crimes trial were, SS-Brigadeführer Eberhard Schongarth, SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Kommissar Erwin Knop, SS Untersturmfuehrer Wilhelm Hadler, Kriminal Sekretaer Herbert Fritz Willi Gernoth, who carried out the shooting, Scharfuehrer Erich Lebing, Scharfuehrer Fritz Boehm, and SS Obersturmfuehrer Friedrich Beeck the villa's commanding officer. All former Kriminal Sekretiirs or members of the SS, they were charged with "committing a war crime, in that they at Enschede, Holland, on 21st November, 1944, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned in the killing of an unknown Allied airman, a prisoner of war."

Subject to confirmation, all the accused were found guilty. Five, including Schongarth, were sentenced to death by hanging, and two, Erich Liebing & Fritz Boehm, to imprisonment for fifteen and ten years. The executions, carried out by British hangman Albert Pierrepoint, took place on 16 May 1946 at Hamelin Prison.

 

Also hanged at Hamelin that day, Bruno Emil Tesch a German chemist and entrepreneur. He was the co-inventor of the insecticide Zyklon B with Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt and also the owner of Tesch & Stabenow a pest control company he co-founded in 1924 with Paul Stabenow in Hamburg, Germany, a major supplier of Zyklon B to the Nazi extermination camps. Tesch was executed by hanging on May 16, 1946, by Albert Pierrepoint in Hamelin Prison.




The Woeste Hoeve Memorial

The 117 people who died at Woeste Hoeve, were taken from prisons in Apeldoorn, Deventer, Zwolle, Assen, Doetinchem and Groningen. Local residents and passers-by were forced to stop and walk along the bike path where the bodies lay, as an example. There was a sign that read: 'So we do with terrorists and saboteurs.'
The victims had one thing in common, namely that they were caught on the day of the attack.
There were some who were arrested for openly opposing the German rulers and had actually been sentenced to death (Todeskandidaten) and also people whose interrogations were not yet finalized, but for whom the death penalty seemed inevitable.
Detectives from the Dutch Apeldoorn police arrived at the scene at 2pm. They cut the ropes binding the victims and started the long process of identification. When that was completed, trucks transported the bodies to Heidehof cemetery at Apeldoorn where a mass grave had already been dug.
Very soon after the Liberation, a monument was erected on the spot where the 117 executions had taken place. It was a simple memorial erected as a reminder of that German atrocity on March 8 1945. The monument consisted of a wooden cross, with a few large boulders at the base. Nearby was a plain wooden sign.
After the war, yearly commemorations were held there.
On 4 May 1947, Queen Wilhelmina visited the memorial site. In 1948, survivors indicated that they wanted to have a plaque engraved with the names of the people that were shot at the monument site and the wooden sign was replaced by a bronze plaque.

 

In 1979, a new wooden cross was erected, and in 1991 a meeting of a number of relatives of the victims took place in Arnhem. It was decided to set up Foundation Memorial Woeste Hoeve. The objective of the foundation was to improve the monument, and particularly the application of plaques with names.
On May 4, 1992 the new monument was unveiled, with the names of the victims. The central element is still a large wooden cross placed on a pedestal. Behind the cross is a framed glass plaque mounted on a stone tablet. On the edge of the memorial stone: "on the morning of March 8, 1945, they were murdered by the Germans in revenge at this place". On the glass plaque the names of the 117 who were shot are engraved in alphabetical order .



The 1945 sign, the 1979 cross and the 1992 Memorial



Franklin D. Coslett the navigator in B-24 # 42-5250 of the 467th Bomber Group

 

Franklin D. Coslett was the navigator of B-24 # 42-52506. The aircraft was on a mission to bomb Friedrichstrasse Station in Berlin on 29th April 1944 and was damaged when four Me 109 and four FW 190s attacked it in the target area. At 1210 hrs this a/c was again reported as being under attack by five Me 109s and at that time was taking advantage of a cloud layer at a lower altitude to throw off some of these attacks.

It had lost a quantity of fuel of fuel and also had engine problems. The entire crew were forced to bail out over Uddel in Holland. The aircraft crashed into a farmhouse at the Elspeterweg in Uddel, tragically killing 19 year old Gemmigje Mulder. Five of the crewmen were immediately captured and made POW. They were Major Robert L. Salzarulo (Command Pilot), 2nd Lt. Edgar J. Powell (Co-pilot), 2nd Lt. Edward Verbosky (Bombardier), S/Sgt. Henry H. Allen (Gunner).

Six of the crew, Lt. Bill F. Moore - Pilot, Lt. John L. Low - Group Bombardier, Lt. Franklin D. Coslett - Navigator, T/Sgt Clinton L. Watts - Engineer, S/Sgt James R. Anslow - Radio Officer, and S/Sgt Walker T. Kilgore - Gunner, all evaded capture by linking up with the Dutch underground. Franklin Coslett, together with Polish pilot Czeslaw Oberdak, was for some of that time sheltered on Piet Silent's boat at Zwolle by the De Groene group (see montage and Czeslaw Oberdak's story)

On 1st October 1944 the hiding place of the 6 airmen was raided by the Germans. Five managed to escape but the pilot, Lt. Bill F Moore, was captured. He was moved to the William III Barracks at Apeldoorn for interrogation by the SD who wanted to know the whereabouts of his crewmates. He remained silent and, together with 12 members of the Dutch Resistance, was executed on 2nd December 1944.

 

 

 

Franklin D Coslett, a pioneering television news anchorman, died in February 1992 at Scranton, Pennsylvania, of pneumonia. He was 76 and made his debut as a news anchor on WBRE-TV in Scranton in January 1952 and worked at the station until his retirement in 1980. He began his broadcast career with WBRE radio at the age of 16.



The Surviving Airmen of Lancaster ME700 VN-V of 50 Squadron helped by the Green Group.

Lancaster ME700 VN-V of 50 Squadron took off at 18.43 on 23rd September 1944 from RAF Skellingthorpe with its target to breach the Dortmund Ems Kanal just to the north of Munster. The raid was a success as a six mile stretch of the canal was drained. ME700 was brought down at around 23.40, apparently by Oblt.Heinz W Schnaufer, between Nieuwebrug and Ommen. Only three of the crew managed to bale out successfully.
The crew were

Pilot - P/O Oliver G. Korpela - RCAF 

Flight Engineer -Sgt. Harry Harrison MacFarlane -RAFVR

Navigator -  F/Sgt. Eric. H. Tunnell - RAFVR - Age 23 

Bomb Aimer - F/O Charles D. Lucas - RAFVR 

W.Op./A/G-F/Sgt. Raymond Larcome-RAFVR -Age 21

Mid Upper Gunner- F/O Angus B. Harvey- RCAF -Age 25 

Rear Air Gunner-F/O John Murray Dunsmuir- RCAF -Age 26

 

The three airmen who parachuted to safety

 

 

 

Three of the four airmen who were killed 

 

 

F/Sgt R. Larcome, F/Sgt E H Tunnell, F/O J M Dunsmuir and F/O A B Harvey are all buried in the general cemetery in Dalfsen. 

 

 

Dalfsen General Cemetery - plot 6 (Allied Plot of Honour)

Dalfsen (Prov. of Overijssel / Salland area) General Cemetery - a/d. Ruitenborghstraat - in plot 6 (Allied Plot of Honour) - graves 20-23

 

20 - F/O. Dunsmuir J.M. (John Murray) - J/21396 (RCAF) - Air Gunner - Canadian - age 26

Son of John & Janet Dunsmuir, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; husband of

Thelma Adelaide Dunsmuir, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

21 - F/Sgt. Tunnell E.H. (Eric Henry) - 1395660 (RAFVR) - Navigator - UK - age 23

Son of Frederick William & Florence Annie Tunnell, of Stamford Hill, London, UK

 

22 - F/Sgt. Larcome R. (Raymond) - 1332939 (RAFVR) - W.O./A.G. - UK - age 21

Son of Alfred Henry & Beatrice Mary Larcome, of Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

 

23 - F/O. Harvey A.B. (Angus Beverly) - J/38162 (RCAF) - Canadian - Air Gunner - age 25

Son of Henry W. & Jannette E. Harvey, of Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba, Canada

Charles Lucas and Harry MacFarlane were found by a friendly policeman at Oudleusen who hid them in a boathouse at the weir on the river Vecht, until late October. From there they went Piet Silent's boat at Zwolle  where they were under the protection of the Green Group.

In January 1945 they went back to the safehouse at Oudleusen. Through the pilot line Dalfsen-Raalte they were then taken to a shelter west of Raalte, where to their great joy they were reunited with their Skipper Oliver Korpela. He had also been helped by the Dutch Resistance. With a new identity he was posing as a deaf mute tailor "Jan Bos" and had survived many close calls with the enemy. I understand his family was Finnish by origin. He was born 18 June 1920, in Nemegos, Ontario and he died 19 February 2006, in Sudbury, Ontario  aged 85. By the way, Sudbury is a small (Finnish) settlement near Chapleau. He was the son of Kalle Charles & Lempi Maria Aspi Jutila Korpela; brother of Elmer Korpela (1928-2008) and husband of Ina Anelma Korhonen Korpela (his first wife).

On April 1, 1945, the three crewmates were liberated by Canadian troops at Zelhem.

In 1986 a poem was written at Dalfsen dedicated to the four dead airmen by J.G.L. Küppers.

DOWN HERE THE GAME OF HIT AND RUN, UP THERE YOU CAME TO HIT THE HUN.

TO US YOU DROPPED BY PARACHUTE, THE ARMS REQUIRED AND FOOD TO BOOT.

YOU FOUGHT AND FELL AND HIT THE DECK, BUT IN THE END BROKE JERRY'S NECK.

I'M GRATEFUL FOR THIS DAY WE MET, I STILL MAY LIVE "LEST WE FORGET".



The crew of 103 Squadron Lancaster ME722 - Also helped by the Green Group

 

On the night of the 21/22nd May 1944, 103 Squadron participated in a raid on Duisberg. Although the target was cloud covered, the Oboe sky marking proved accurate and the raid was considered a success.

The squadron lost one Lancaster and crew on this raid. The Lancaster was ME722 PM-E, and the crew, who were on their first operation, consisted of :- Pilot - P/O Thomas Ivor Jones - RAF - Age 21, Navigator - W/O2 Edward Stewart Moran - RCAF, W.Operator / Air Gunner - Sgt. Charles Raymond Francis - RAF, Flt. Engineer - Sgt. Dennis Sharpe - RAF, Bomb Aimer -W/O Bruce Hamilton Davis - RAAF, Mid Upper Air Gunner -Sgt. Maurice Pickles - RAFVR, Rear Gunner- Sgt. William Ernest Jones - RAFVR - Age 23

This aircraft was hit by flak and then finished off by a night fighter flown by Hauptmann Martin Drewes of III/NJG 1 crashed at 00.50am near Zwoll. Drewes was a highly decorated night fighter pilot and during World War 2 shot down 49 bombers, all but 2 at night. This was his 38th kill. He scored 4 kills that night, the first one reported at 00.50 hrs and the last at 01.50 hrs near Rotterdam. He survived the war.

 

 

Standing from left to right: Sgt. Francis, Sgt Pickles (Buried at Kranenborg), Sgt. Jones (Buried at Kranenborg), W/O Moran. Sitting, left to right: Sgt Sharpe, P/O Jones (Buried at Kranenborg), W/O Bruce Davis

 

ME722 crashed near Zwolle in Holland hitting the ground with considerable force. Pilot Officer T I Jones, Sergeant Pickles and Sergeant W E Jones were killed and now rest at the Dekranenburg General Cemetery. Sergeant Sharp and Sergeant Francis evaded successfully with the help of Zwolle's 'Green' resistance group.

Sgt Sharp was later recaptured after being passed to the German infiltrated KLM escape line in Belgium. Sgt Francis was lucky. The Dutch resistance sent him via the escape-lines to Gibraltar and home.

 

 

A photograph of the crash site of ME 722 taken the day after the crash showing the crater, which had filled with water, and the damage to surrounding property. (3) A copy of an escape photograph (Sgt Jones?) found at the site of the crash.

2003 - Zwolle The municipality has been working since early November with the salvage of the British Lancaster bomber, which lay beside the Twistvliet Bridge underground. The schedule is completed this week. The storage is performed by the Storage Service of the Royal Air Force in cooperation with the Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Salvage and Identification Service of the Royal Netherlands Army. During storage, there were no human remains found. During the salvage various remains of the aircraft found including a piece of the landing gear and various shipboard weapon ammunition, such as fire bombs and patterns. A four thousand pounder was not found, as they initially had suspected. All material found is stored by the municipality.

 

Warrant Officer Bruce Davis RAAF, who had been wounded in the eye, and Warrant Officer Moran, evaded successfully for several weeks helped by some brave Dutch families. Unfortunately they were captured in civilian clothes when the Germans raided the house in which they were hiding. Bruce Davis did not have any ID on him and the Germans thought he was a spy. He was subjected to the most difficult interrogation by the Gestapo. His treatment was so severe that he was repatriated in February 1945.

He returned to Australia in a hospital ship and was only finally fit to be released from hospital in 1948. His dreadful experience at the hands of his captors was to blight his health for many years.

In 1977 he returned to Holland with his wife and visited the places he had been and some of the Dutch people who had helped him. In 1985 they also visited Canada and met Ted Moran who had also survived his capture and interrogation. Bruce Davis sadly passed away in February 1987.

W/O E.S "Ted" Moran  RCAF began his training Sept 1942 at no2 A.O.S Edmonton. Then on to Wellington bombers in 1943 followed by a conversion course on Halifax aircraft.

He was then posted to 103 Squadron RAF at Elsham Wolds on Lancasters in 1944.

On March 18th 1944 while outward bound on an op to Frankfurt in Lancaster JB744, both inner engines failed and the pilot was forced to jettison his bomb-load in the sea. Returning over the East Anglia coast the aircraft crashed landed, hitting trees and buildings at Hill Farm, Layham in Suffolk and three crew were seriously injured.

W/O Moran was then placed with a new crew and on their first op 21/22 May to Duisburg in Lancaster MK1 ME722 PM-E was shot down. When captured he was sent to POW - Camp L7, Bankau, Silesia.

I traced another hiding airmen as you see, from that montage photo of the 'De Groene' resistance group: it's Sgt. Peter Sharp, alias 'Dennis', the Flight Engineer. Only one of the crew was successful by escaping via the escape-lines to Gibraltar, Sgt. Charles Raymond ' Joe ' Francis, - BINGO AGAIN !!!! because.. he is also pictured on the ' De Groene ' resistance group photo montage, left from F/O. Czeslaw Oberdak!  Willem

 


Johnny Warren from Halifax EB254 of 434 squadron RAF

Halifax EB254 of 434 Squadron (IP-D), target Leverkusen, 19/20 November 1943. EB254 was one of two 434 Squadron Halifax bombers lost on this operation. Airborne at 1638 hours on 19th November 1943 from RAF Tholthorpe it was shot down by a night-fighter whose first burst of fire killed the wireless operator, Birmingham born Sergeant Henry Derrick Newey, the only Englishman in this crew.The order to bale out was given and the Halifax crashed near Munchengladbach.
Others in the crew were pilot Sergeant R.E.Hukee, RCAF (POW), Sergeant A.V.McIntosh, RCAF (injured -evaded)F/O R.C.C.Hodgson, RCAF (POW), Flight Sergeant L.E.Smith, RCAF (POW), Flight Sergeant R.H.Gairns, RCAF (POW), Sergeant J.L.N.Warren, RCAF

 
( Left to right) Sgt J. L Warren, DFC (R-AG); Sgt H. D. Newey (RAF W-Op); Sgt R. E. Hukee, (Pilot); F/O R. C. Hodgson, (Nav.); F/Sgt L. E. Smith, (BA). Missing from the photo are Sgt A. V. McIntosh, (F/E); and F/Sgt R. H. Gairns, (MU-AG).

Sgt Jean Louis Nazaire (Johnny) Warren was a member of the crew of Halifax bomber EB254 which was shot down over Cologne in November 1943.
We bombed our target and on the way out were hit by a night fighter. The machine was on fire and started to spin and we dropped from 20,000 feet to 9,000 feet before the pilot got control and straightened it out. The intercom was shot away and I thought that we were flying back to England. After a few minutes I went through the plane, flashed a light on the altimeter, and found we were between 900 - 1,000 feet.  I went back to the turret, got my parachute, but before I could bale out the plane hit the ground and burst into flames. I got out and started to go back to see if I could find any of the crew but bullets were exploding and I was hit in the lip and wrist. I was also badly bruised and hurt my knee, so that I could not run; I hobbled to a tree about 50 yards away and lay down. Just as I did so a bomb in the plane went off. It is my belief that the rest of the had crew baled out. I hid in a haystack that night, and the next morning it took me about an hour to start moving. I walked across fields most of the day and slept in the woods till 0500 the following morning. By this time I was feeling so sick that I went to a farmhouse and gave myself up.
 He was then imprisoned in Dulag Luft at Wetzlar and sent to Stalag Luft IVB at Nuhlberg.
On 17th March 1944, Sergeant Warren made his first attempt to escape by joining a party of French prisoners going out for supplies. When the party reached the stores he broke away and went to a cemetery where, by pre-arrangement, he was to have met a Canadian airman who had previously escaped.
On arrival, Sergeant Warren learned that the other airman had been recaptured and the guards had been reinforced. As he had neither food nor maps, Sergeant Warren decided to return to the camp and await a more favourable opportunity. He re-entered the camp undetected.
On 1st May 1944, Sergeant Warren made a further attempt, using the same method as before. He met an RAF officer ( P/O J. Brandford - see boat photo with Herm Jan Snel ) and both successfully evaded the search parties and guards for five days. Four other escapers soon joined them and all managed to get on a train carrying rolls of paper to Holland.
On arrival in Holland the party split up, and Sergeant Warren and P/O J Brandford travelled north until they made contact with the Dutch underground movement in Borne. They stayed for five weeks and then moved on to Nijverdal, owing to the activities of the Germans. Early in August 1944, Sergeant Warren moved to Zwolle and hid in a boat until the end of the month when he was then given shelter in a castle near Hattem. The German search parties were very active, but he successfully evaded them and eventually reached Gossel, where he remained for eight weeks. Of the period, six weeks were spent hiding in a cave under a pigsty, in company with two Poles and a Dutchman. The Germans made a surprise search and the members of the party were ultimately arrested.

One morning we heard German voices and the door was opened and we were arrested. The Germans knocked us around with rifle butts and made us stand against a wall with our hands over our heads for 4-5 hours. They arrested the farmer and nine members of the organisation and burnt the farm. We were then marched to Deventer and put in the Landwach prison, section one

Although Sergeant Warren produced his RAF identity discs, he was treated as a "terrorist" and badly manhandled during interrogation, after which he was put in a cell measuring 12 feet by 6 feet with thirteen others. For three weeks they remained in the cell, no one being allowed out for any purpose. Later he was taken to an empty house for interrogation and further brutal treatment was carried out. Eventually Sergeant Warren was moved to Oxelhoft, where conditions were even worse. On 1st February 1945, he and ninety-three others were put into two box cars and sent to Germany. During the journey some of the party pried open a window of the truck and made an attempt to escape, but the guards saw them and opened fire.
Sergeant Warren succeeded in getting away and evading capture by walking all night through water waist-high. The next evening he made contact with an underground organization and was taken to Lobith. The next night an attempt to cross the Rhine was made, but those who tried had to return to the starting point owing to strong enemy opposition.
The party was then taken to a farm by a Dutch nurse and given shelter. On the 22nd February 1945, the Germans ordered all farms to be evacuated, so Sergeant Warren and some others posed as members of the farmer's family and moved with them. Later he posed as a Dutch policeman in order to prevent being taken again. On 23 March we bicycled to a village close to Rhenden  where we met F/L Richards, RCAF. The next day Colonel Duncan and F/L Richards (who were billeted together) were moved and I was taken across the Ijssel to Velp. I stayed there until 16 April when the British troops arrived on the outskirts of the town and I joined them. I was finally sent home, landing in UK on 19 April 1945.  He was later awarded the British Empire Medal.

Sgt R E Hukee, the pilot, gave the order to leave the burning plane and he and five other members of the crew were taken prisoner. During the following night (November 20th), Sgt Allen Vincent Macintosh managed to escape. His Dutch helpers were later named as Dick Albers, K. Geerts, H. Peeters, Mr Gunnewegh and Mrs. Wijnen. From there he walked to the Dutch-Belgian border, and passed through. Helped by the Belgian Resistance, he remained hidden until the liberation. For some of that time he  was sheltered in the house of Virginia de Bruyn at Keizerstraat 37 in Antwerp and VAES Antwerp.

Hi Tom & Willem. Great web site, I'll add the link to rcaf434squadron site. Very good article on Johnny Warren with 434 squadron, any chance I could get larger images of Sgt. Warren? I would also like to link this crew with your write up on EB-254. If there is anything I can help you out with in the future please give me a shout.  Cheers, Alan (Soderstrom)    May 2014  www.rcaf434squadron.com

 

 

2nd Lt. Lieudell ' Lefty ' E. Bauer and Flying Fortress  42-37867    'Berlin Ambassador'

On 11th January 1944, Flying Fortress 42-37867 "Berlin Ambassador' of the 388th Bomber Group, was piloted by 2nd Lt. George Gustav Hoehn on a raid over Germany. The B17 came under enemy  fire and its No.2 and No.3 engines were hit. The crippled aircraft headed towards the Dutch border and rapidly lost altitude. Seven of the crew managed to bale out before it crashed close to the hamlet of Berkum near Zwolle at around 13.00 hrs. The remaining three crewmen were killed including the pilot.
2nd Lt. Lieudell ' Lefty ' E. Bauer
, the bombardier, was one of the survivors. He was helped by the local resistance and his photo appears on the Zwolle Group montage. Like most of the other airmen, he was eventually captured, made a prisoner of war, (no. 3622771) and survived the war.
In later civilian life he was a lawyer and a respected judge in his home town of Shelby Co., Ohio.

 

 

 

 

Two American B17 Aircrew survivors helped by the Green Group

B-17G - 42-37766 - BG-"F", of 334th Squadron the 95th Bomber Group, took off from Horham on  22 Dec 1943. Their target was the local railroad marshalling yards at Münster city in Germany - not far from the Dutch border. Only flying with the Squadron for two weeks, this was Maurice Mangis's fourth mission, all in the same aircraft.

The Flying Fortress, called 'Princess Pat' and named after the sister of the ball turret gunner and the wife of the pilot, was hit by FLAK-fire when over the target area.

The pilot turned the aircraft back towards the coast and quickly fell out of the protection of the bomber formation becoming an easy target for two Luftwaffe fighters. Their cannon fire ripped the plane to shreds and killed both waist gunners.

With two engines inoperative, the aircraft rapidly lost altitude.

At 6000 feet six of the crew baled out. The co-pilot remained with the aircraft to help the pilot, still wrestling with the controls, to adjust his parachute. When above Zuidwolder the Flying Fortress suddenly turned southward and plunged to the ground catching fire on impact. It had come down in Lageveen hamlet, SW of Hoogeveen town and NW of Zuidwolde village, in the Prov. of Drenthe, at about 14.30 hrs.

The four crewmen killed were; the Pilot 2nd Lt. Maurice W. Mangis, his Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Donald Frank Lembcke, and two of the gunners, Sgt. William H. McMaster and Sgt. Jack B. Short. All were buried at Zuidwolder. (After the war they were reburied next to each other, in the US-Cemetery at Margraten (Zuid-Limburg).

The hit was claimed by Lt. Karl-Heinz Kempf, flying a Me.Bf-109G-6/4u, of unit 11./JG.26 ' Schlageter.

 

Pilot - 2nd Lt. Maurice W. Mangis - Jefferson, Marion County, OR 

Co-Pilot - 2nd Lt. Donald Frank Lembcke - Monroe County, NY 

Navigator - 2nd Lt. Ernest James Bennett - Deschute County, OR

Bombardier - 2nd Lt. Leonard Joseph Celusnak - MN

Engineer / Top Turret Gunner - S/Sgt. William Ronald Tracy - Schoharie County, NY

Radio Operator - S/Sgt. Richard Clark Dabney - Bidwell, Gallia County, OH

Ball Turret Gunner - Sgt. Dale Wilfred Aldrich - Coulee City, Grant County, WA

Right Waist Gunner / Ass't Eng. - Sgt. William H. McMaster - Humphreys County, MS

 Left Waist Gunner / Ass't Radio Op. - Sgt. Jack B. Short - Bay County, MI

Tail Gunner - Sgt. Anton  Svoboda - Cook County, IL

 

 


Back row - (left to right) - Pilot Maurice W Mangis, Co-pilot Donald F Lembcke, Navigator F. Faragasso, Bombardier Leonard J Celusnak.
Front row - (L to R) Top Turret/Engineer William R Tracy, Radio Operator Richard C Dabney, Waist Gunner William H McMaster, Waist Gunner Jack B Short, Ball Turret Gunner Dale W Aldrich, Tail Gunner Anton Svoboda
Note - Navigator F. Faragasso was replaced by Ernest J Bennett on this mission. Was this the same navigator F.Faragasso shot down with Charles Zesch in  Flying Fortress - 42-29987 on 26th November?



42-37766 - BG-"F"  (bottom) with fighter escort
Four of the crew, 2nd Lt. Leonard J. Celusnak, S/Sgt William R. Tracy, Sgt Dale W. Aldrich and Sgt Anton Svoboda were immediately captured by German troops.
The navigator Ernest Bennett and radio operator Richard Dabney managed to hide and were given shelter by members of the local resistance at the home of Johannes Aalderen at Bentinckslaan. They were both then taken to Green Group's barge near Zwolle city (see story and montage above) and appear to have spent some time there. They were then moved south to Belgium where they hid at Mechelen, ten miles north-east of Brussels in the care of Marie-Dumon Plessix.
Unfortunately their six months of evading the Germans came to an end on 21st June when they were arrested by the Gestapo, together with the couple sheltering them, Frans and Marie-Louise Franckx of 157 Nekkerspoelstraat, Mechelen, and another American flyer, Charles Zesch, who had been on the run after the Flying Fortress - 42-29987 (BS-Q) 305th Bomber Group, was shot down by a Bf109 (Lt Wilhelm Kientsch) of 6./JG27 on November 26, 1943 during a mission to Bremen.
For the Americans it was interrogation and POW camp but for the brave Belgian civilians a far worst fate awaited - questioning by the Gestapo.

 

 

 

 

 

The Belgian De Witte Escape Line - Initiated and controlled by the German Abwehr

The Dutch Resistance Movement were passing most of the Allied airmen they had rescued to their contacts in the Belgian Resistance. They were not to know until after the war that few of the airmen left Antwerp to return to England. After interrogation by the German Abwehr most were soon in German prisoner of war camps.

Abwehr officials in Belgium conceived of a plan where they would create a false escape line in Antwerp using innocent people who wanted to assist the Allies. The false escape route came to be known as the KLM line. Many Resistance members were taken in by the scheme. Its traitorous front man was René (Robert) van Muylem, a Flemish collaborator, born in the province of Antwerp.

'Robert' was recognized among the Antwerp resistance leadership as being a parachuted agent from London and developed great prestige by supplying them with money, explosives, false papers, etc. He swiftly rose to a high and influential position within the movement. By late March and then throughout the summer of 44 he 'handled' most of the Allied airmen arriving in that town.

The Abwehr’s objective was not just to catch Allied fliers and their helpers. Probably more important was the opportunity to extract valuable intelligence from the fliers who thought they were in friendly hands—information on the airmen’s units, bases, locations of airfields, their planes’ armament and radar, where they were shot down, and who their helpers were.

A letter written after the war by 2nd Lt. Robert Giles of Spindale, North Carolina, describes how he and another flier were guided “to a rather luxurious apartment where we were ‘entertained’ by a prosperous-looking businessman and his wife. This man was supposedly the head of the organization in Antwerp.” Another man “who spoke excellent English with an American accent” conducted them to another apartment where they were “told that we would have to be questioned some to finally establish our identity as American airmen” and not “English-speaking German flyers”. “The questioning was conducted very skillfully.”

Still believing they were going to be taken to France, the two fliers were guided up the street to another building. “We entered a building and there we were in the Antwerp Gestapo headquarters.”

The woman mentioned in the above account was Pauline (Pam) Vlaming (Flemming) a Dutch NSB member and collaborator, and the second man was Luftwaffe Oberleutnant Dr. Werner.

Of the 235 airmen captured by the Antwerp Abw III/f, 177 were credited to van Muylem's efforts - though in his interrogation report he modestly reported the figure was only 176. When Belgium was liberated in September 1944, van Muylem fled to Germany, then Austria. He was returned to France by the Germans in 1945, possibly for sabotage assignments and managed to get a job in Paris as a bartender at Camp Lucky Strike, a USAAF repatriation centre. Unfortunately for him, an American airmen, Lt Robert Hoke of the 388 BG, one of the airmen he had betrayed, spotted him there and alerted his superiors. Belgian police arrested van Muylem in Paris.

He confessed that he was responsible for the German capture of 177 Allied airmen. The totals may have been much higher. He was tried, found guilty, and executed on May 29, 1948.

 

About that time, Big Guy (van Muylem) turned around, "You and the people you have been with think you're so smart. For your information, you are now our prisoners. We happen to be the Secret German Police." He walked over to a filing cabinet and took out a file. "Here are the people who have preceded you, coming down through Holland," he said and he read off a bunch of names. I did'nt recognise any of them until he came to two names. One was Ernest Bennett and the other was Richard Dabney. They were the navigator and radio operator I had met in J.J van Dongen's house in Rotterdam.  from Two Gold Coins and a Prayer by the son of captured USAF flyer James H Keefe.

 

 

 

 

 

The crash-landing at Friesland of Flying Fortress 42-29987 and the help from the local resistance

In the early morning of Friday 26th November 1943, 440 heavy bombers took off from US airbases in Eastern England. The crews were briefed for a raid on a very important target, the city of Bremen, the second harbour in Nazi-Germany with about 430,000 inhabitants and navy dockyards along the river Weser, where the Germans built and repaired the U-boats responsible for the huge loss of ships in the Atlantic.  At the end of this raid, 25 of the bombers did not return to their bases in England.

 

  
This map shows at the top, the planned route to Bremen and below the fast hazardous route home over the Leeuwarden area

Flying Fortress 42-29987 of 384 Bomber Squadron, 547 Bomber Group, took off from Grafton Underwood near Kettering in Northamptonshire, UK. Pilot: Leslie Amundson, co-pilot: Bill Marcolla, navigator: Frank Faragasso, bombardier: Bob Coughlin, radio operator: Murray Howard, left gunner Frank Chairet ,  engineer / top turret gunner: Larry Ford, ball turret gunner: Jim Culloty, waist gunner: Chas Zesch, tail gunner: Cecil Brown. 
Attacked homeward-bound around 1 pm by a Bf109 piloted by Lt Wilhelm Kientsch of 6./JG27, the aircraft was was hit at an altitude of about 7,500 m and the pilot, 2nd Lt Leslie O. Amundson, gave the order to evacuate. It was around 1pm and they came down at Duurswoude, South East Drachten, Friesland.
The crew were, with the help of the local resistance, able to evade capture. 

This Boeing B-17F 'Flying Fortress' # 42-29987 came down on the ' Duerswâldmer Hei ' (a wildlife heath and moor area), in a successful emergency landing (wheels-up), not far away (± 100 meters) from the small ' working-class-house ' of the Duursma family, situated near the ' Breeberchspaed ' (small borderline path) and just behind the old Protestant Church and cemetery of ' Ald Duerswâld ' (Old Duurswoude). This emergency landing was the reason why my father, Mr. Pieter de Jong, aged 23 at that time, had to flee in a hurry, together with some other young guys of the village, from their secret hiding place in an underground shelter on the moor.... because soon the 'Jerries' were 'overcrowding' the area!

This was all happening in SE-Friesland, near my father's home, today's Wijnjewoude village. Soon he was cycling, dressed in his sisters' clothes, to the house of his fiancé, who is my own mother today (about 93 years old) then living at Makkinga village. The ' trouble there ' was - how could he know! - a Luftwaffe Fw-190 fighter, attacked and hit in the same battle, had landed there......

 My father came through, via the ' Balkweg ' (local road), past the German guards there.. Yes, he was a very lucky man that day, Friday 26th November 1944!! the day of one of the heaviest daylight air battles over Germany and Northern Holland.

S/Sgt. Charles Edward ' Earl ' (also named 'Chas') Zesch was the Right Waist Gunner of the plane, and S/Sgt. Cecil William 'Billy' Brown the Rear Gunner of the same aircraft, and both are pictured on the de Groene montage photo, and both were assisted, also, by the 'de Groene' resistance group, and believe me, that's new information for me.

 

 

 

In Friesland they were helped by the local resistance, via the well known Miss Tiny Mulder (courier), Mr. Krijn van der Helm (leader)  Hiding first in a local farmhouse, just South of the wildlife moorland area where they landed, in ' Rumah Sapi ' , at the ' Leidyk ' (along the road from St. Petersburg to Waskemeer village). In fact they were much too close to their landing place! For that reason the Frisian resistance quickly made a 'traffic accident scene', on the crossing nearby, so that the airmen could be transported by ambulance to safer places elsewhere in the province..

Some years ago, when they were still alive, I interviewed the Duursma family, two unmarried brothers and a sister living together in their ' little house ' just outside the wildlife and landing area. I was taking photos there etc., and visiting the 'crash site' with my own father.

 

 

 

The skipper of that B-17F, 2nd Lt. Leslie 'Les' Otho Amundson, the descendant of a 'Viking-family' living in the US, at Yakima city, Washington, returned to Friesland after the war and revisited the Duursma family.

As you see now, this story is 'close' to my father and myself. He is buried there, like most of our family, in the local churchyard which is approximately 300 meters from the landing site. It is now overgrown mostly by trees, although sheep are eating the young sprouts......    Willem

 

 

The Duursma brothers Roel (left) and Jan

 

Near the scene of the crash-landing one of the US-flyers who had been wounded in the leg was sitting outside of the little Duursma house in a chair, brought to him by Jan, when he was attended to by the local family doctor, Mr. Berghuis. His wounds were serious and they transported him to the nearest hospital where he was soon in the custody of the Germans. The remainder of the crew went 'on the run' right away, hiding with the assistance of two resistance agents, Mr. Wietze Eizenga and Mr. Ruurd Boonstra.

 

About the crew of B -17F-80-BO ‘ Fortress ‘ # 42-29987 and what happened to them later.

8th A.F. ‘Eight Balls’ overseas - 384th B. Group (Heavy) - 547th B.Sqdn. - Grafton Underwood airfield (UK) c.q. AAF station no. 106 - landing in Holland after approximately 5.00 hrs flying on their Bremen mission.

 

2nd Lt. Leslie Othol Amundson (O-677214) - Pilot / Captain - from Sunnyside, Yakima County, Wash. / USA born as youngest of 9 children of Norwegian immigrants. Enlisted 1941 - winged in 1942.

Evaded first, but arrested in Amsterdam, Christmas Eve 1943, by the GeStaPo - POW in camp Stalag Luft 1 - Barth Vogelsang, W. liberated by the Russians, 30 April 1945 - then transfer camp France, Lucky Strike, near Le Havre in still around 11 Nov. 2013 (pictured in local parade)

2nd Lt. William Theodore Marcollo (O-679913) - Co-Pilot - from Fresno city, Fresno County, California / USA born 29 March 1920. Related to Louise Marcollo & Barbara L. Macollo also - arrested too in Amsterdam and wounded during SD-interrogation, in that crazy ‘pistol-and-wooden chair-incident’ (see Les Amundson's account)

POW in camp Stalag Luft 1 - Barth Vogelsang. On 30 April 1945 liberated by Red Army troops and moved to transfer camp Lucky Strike (via air transport to France / Le Havre). Died 09 Sept. 1998 (age 78)

 2nd Lt. Frank Faragasso (O-676035) - Navigator - from Brooklyn, New York city. Miss Edith Faragasso (sister). POW in camp Stalag Luft 1 - Barth Vogelsang,Western Pomerania, Germany - liberated by the Russians, 30 April 1945 - transferred to camp Lucky Strike, near Le Havre, France later.

2nd Lt. Robert Vincent Coughlin (O-679331) - Bombardier -from Massachusetts. POW in camp Stalag Luft 1 - Barth Vogelsang, Western Pomerania, Germany - liberated by the Russians, 30 April 1945 - transferred to camp Lucky Strike, near Le Havre, France.

T/Sgt. Murray Max Howard (39535520) - Radio Operator - from California. POW almost right away, because he needed medical care (wounded in one of his legs during the fighter attack). After first aid by local family doctor to nearest hospital - later on in Stalag Luft XVII-B, in Austria (Österreich), near Krems / Gniexendorf - Started evacuation march on 18 April 1945 - liberated by Russian units at Braunau, Austria, in early May 1945.

T/Sgt. Lawrence Frederick Lord (35344902) - Top Turret & Engineer -from Indiana. born in 1913 -l. Enlisted 25 March 1943 - age 24. POW in camp Stalag Luft III -Sagan, Lower Silesia, Germany (todays Zagan in Poland) - moved via long march etc. to then Stalag VII-A - Moosberg and also to Stalag XIII-D - Nürnberg Langwasser - Liberated by US troops 29 April 1945

Sgt. James Michael Culloty (10800310) - Ball Turret - from the Bronx, New York City. 1 year high school. Evaded (no details) ) - POW in camp Stalag Luft III -Sagan, in Lower Silesia, Germany (todays Zagan in Poland) in barrack 34B - then moved to Bavaria / South Germany, to Nürnberg Langwasser, in Stalag XIII-D (former Nazi party rally grounds) and liberated there on 16 April 1945 by US-units.

S/Sgt. Cecil William Brown (15383087) - Tail Gunner - from Kentucky evaded first, via ‘De Groene’ (Zwolle) etc. - POW in Heydekrug, Memelland / Germany first (StalagLuft VI, in todays Lithuania) - then to Pommern Gross Tychow (Stalag Luft IV, in todays Poland)- At the end of the war transported to KZ Wöbbelin, near Ludwigslust, in the Schwerin area (part of the Neuengamme concentration camp) - not known when liberated.

S/Sgt. Charles Emil Zesch (17121904) - Waist Gunner from St. Louise, Missouri. Born 1920. He was the son of an immigrant's family. The only crew member with with German/Jewish roots - 4 years high school. Nicknamed ‘Chas’ or ‘Earl’ and ‘Edward’. Civilian work - electrician. Enlisted 17 Oct. 1942 - Jefferson Barracks (Miss.) Evaded via ‘De Groene’ (Zwolle) etc. Arrested in Mechelen, Belgium, by the GeStaPo, 21 June 1944 after evading capture for 6 months. -POW in camp Stalag Luft VI - Heydekrug, Memelland, Germany (now in Lithuania) - moved to Stalag Luft IV - Gross Tychow, Pomerania, Germany (in todays Poland) - moved again, to KZ Wöbbelin bei Ludwigslust (subcamp of concentration camp Neuengamme). He wrote a book: ‘World War II memories of a POW’ - published in 1996.

 Sgt. Frank Chairet (11101815) - Waist Gunner from Fairfield County, Connecticut - born in 1923. Evaded (no details available) first - POW in camp Stalag Luft XVII-B, near Krems / Gniexendorf, in Austria (Österreich) - From 18 April 1945 in forced evacuation march to Braunau also (as T/Sgt. Murray Howard) - Liberated by the Red Army in the beginning of May 1945 - brought home via the UK by B-17 ‘Fortress’

 

Note 1: despite the efforts made by the Dutch and Belgium resistance, all crew were made POW, most of

them in Holland, before the end of 1943.

Note 2: Amundson, Coughlin and Faragasso were room mates in the same POW-camp etc. - Section South,

Barrack no. 4, Room no. 5 (Barth Vogelsang)

 

So sad my own father doesn't live anymore! He was asking many times, when I was researching and writing letters etc., can't you find those men?   Willem

 

 

 

 

War pilot from the States back in Wijnjewoude. (article in the Leeuwarder Courant,17th May 2002)

An emotional reunion yesterday morning (Thursday 16 May 2002) on the ‘Duurswoudster Heide’ near Wijnjewoude (the heath and moor area of Duurswoude). The American Les Amundson was reunited with Jan Duursma there, behind whose house he made a forced landing in his B-17 during World War 2.

WIJNJEWOUDE - Tears are coming to the eyes of American Les Amundson (82) as he is meeting again Jan Duursma (89) from Wijnjewoude, at the landing place on the heath and moor area of Duurswoude.” I’m so happy to see you again. And I want to visit your small home with pleasure”, says Amundson.

The former pilot is allowed to take a seat in a jeep, which is taking him to the spot were he made an emergency landing on 26 November 1943. Amundson was flying over the Duursma’s home. “We were heading straight towards that small house. Fortunately we had just enough power to jump over”, says the former captain.

The crew of 10 of the ‘Flying Fortress’ had bombed the harbour of Bremen city in Germany and was hit by Messerschmitt fire soon after. The 2 starboard engines were lost in that event.

The Duursma family, mother and sons Jan and Roel, and daughter Jantje, were just sitting down for dinner when the colossus came straight overhead.

It was like a liquid manure container (cow dung tanker) hanging in the air”, their mother Duursma had later cried. “She had never seen in her life such a thing and so close”, says Jan Duursma. The family ran outside in panic and then saw how the B-17 had landed in the heath and moor area just behind their small house. Many people from the village soon arrived. Photo shows Jan Duursma (left) & Les Amundson in 2002

One of them was resistance agent Wietze Eizenga. With him Amundson was often in contact later. “When we had shortages of food and clothing after the war, Les was sending goods to us from the States”, says Eizenga.

He, now a 79 year old inhabitant of Leiderdorp town (thus living in SW-Holland), hid the pilot and 3 more crew in the haystack of a neighbouring farmhouse, while he brought the wounded flyer to the Duursma’s.

Amundson is emotional again when he learns now that ‘Mum Duursma’ had saved his life jacket all that time. I'll give it to a museum”, he says.

The Duursma’s had very scary moments again 3 days later when a German came to threaten them with his gun, trying to get better answers about the hiding airmen. But they did not tell anything. All 10 airmen survived the war.

The area in which the small house is situated, near the Breeberchspaed (the reporter was writing ‘something’ like that….) has changed through the years, as Amundson is seeing now. Not so much woodland, now mostly heath area.

Duursma is now using a walking stick, and Amundson himself has grey hair. “Brave people, those Frisians”, says the American. Then his handkerchief is coming out again. “Ït feels so good, what those people, while in great danger, did to help us”. (translation, Willem de Jong, 5 February 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

The pilot Les Amundson's Account

On November 26th, we went up, 200 four-engine bombers to bomb Bremen sub pens, the city of Bremen in Germany.

As I approached the target, a 109, Messerschmitt 109 come in behind and tracers were going right over my head and as he turned, he went, the tracers went through the right wing and he shot out the two right engines.

Just as I dropped the bombs, an 88-millimeter hit my right wing rudder and blew a big hole inside the ship, and broke, cut, the control cables and wounded the radio operator (Murray Howard).

He was badly wounded, but we couldn’t keep up with the bomb stream.

My bombardier (Bob Coughlin) he had dropped the bombs and we were hit and everything. He says there’s a bomb stuck, I said, "well go back and see the engineer" (Larry Ford). Now we were 22,000 feet, you have to have oxygen, and see if you can put the pin in the fuses, one in front and one in back of the bomb, that keeps a little propeller from spinning, for when it drops, with that pin out, that little fan on each end of that will pop off and fuse the bomb, as long as that pin is in there to keep that propeller from spinning, it’s safe.

Well he couldn’t reach it, and he, and when you’re 22,000 feet and he’s out there in, the temperatures below 40 degrees below zero because that’s where, the needle stopped. And he had to do this without a chute, and hangin’ out over an open bomb bay with that breeze blowin’ through there, and he was a very brave man himself, but he couldn’t get that pin in there so we took it down with us. And we bellied in, and it stayed in the shackles, fortunately. Our photo shows him at Yakima's Veterans Day Parade, 11 November 2013.

We kept losing altitude. I didn’t think we could cross the North Sea at that part far north; that’s quite a distance. So I gave them the choice of bailing out, but I was going to take the radio operator down and belly it in. So we got over to the northern part of Holland, a little town near Duurswoude, and I bellied it in and almost went through a little brick home there, but I had enough flying speed and it lifted over the house and landed. And then, we all got out and sat on the ground and got our wind.

 

 

Pilot Les Amundson (top left) with his crew

 

Dutchmen come from everywhere. I got a thermite flare and I was going to burn the plane and I finally got it to ignite, set it on the gas cap, and then I told everybody to break up, not over two, and scatter and see if we could get in the underground. And so, we did, except a wounded man and one other gunner; he walked down the road like he was going to town to get a beer, they picked him up right away.

And anyway, we all got in the underground.The Dutchmen were very brave and self-sacrificing because they could have been shot for helping us. And there was a gentleman that initially hid us in the underground. He was 20 years old and I was 23. But I was taken to safe houses trying to get to Belgium, as well as the other officers. We’d been moving back and forth in Northern Holland on the train, because we didn’t, they couldn’t make the connections.

Well, we got to Amsterdam, we got off the train, went through security checks, and Polizei Militär patrol the trains you’re on. You always had a Dutch identity card; we had civilian clothes the Underground furnished us. So they said they there’d be a car outside, which was unusual, there wasn’t any cars running to speak of. And drove around and they took us to a nice building, upstairs and said it’s an undertaking parlor in this room and nice davenports and we sat down and hadn’t been there very long and these doors all open and it was men with pistols saying, “Polizei, Militär”, we were under arrest, and they took, handcuffed us, hands behind our back, and took us across the street to the Gestapo prison.

And this was probably; well it was just the day before Christmas, in ’43. All four of us were captured at the same time. And, handcuffed again, and taken up by a Gestapo agent and into a room which I have imprinted in my mind. Stepped in this room, here’s this young SS officer, typical example of the true Arian man, and he was probably about 21, 22, with a drawn pistol. Death heads hat, with a skull on it. And beautiful uniform, shiny jack boots.

He twisted my arm behind me, and after he’d taken off the handcuffs and the interrogator sat across the desk with a girl there taking dictation, well, they’d asked me different questions and, but our briefing back in England we got, said only name, rank and serial number. Because that was, Geneva Convention, said that is all prisoners have to say.

Then late, about two in the morning I’d assume, they come and took us out, lined us up in the hall. And I looked at my co-pilot, he had a white shirt on and (puts hand on forehead) he was blood from here to his feet. And his face had been pulverized.

They said we’re going to be shot, as spies. Well they had us convinced, I’m telling you, we believed that. They took us outside and two riflemen put down their rifles and then they get on each side of each one of us and, get you by the scruff of the neck like this (grabs collar), one on each side you, then get you on the crotch and they threw you up on the steel plate deck, your hands behind you and just banged your head there for good. You know, there was nothing gentle about it.

And so we rode around in Amsterdam in the back of that lorry with those riflemen. So we went to big warehouse area, in a big lorry and pulled up to a door and honked a horn, and a Luftwaffe guard opened that, door.

I, I felt like kissing that guy, if I could of, I figured if we got out of the Gestapo hands into the Luftwaffe there might be some sanity somewhere.Then they took us upstairs later.

Then I got to talk to my copilot (Bill Marcolla) and I asked him what happened to him.

He said, “Well, I was going to be interrogated as you were, and that interrogator had a pistol on the desk in front of me and him and all the run-” But the weasel-y guy let go of his arm, where he’d been twisting, and took him, let his arm go. And the interrogator got up from the desk at that time, so he [the copilot] made a grab for that pistol which was either in the empty or he didn’t know the safety. (He wasn’t going alone!) And that SS trooper over by the door picked up a wood office chair and come over and hit him over the head with it and knocked him out. Knocked him and he fell on his back, then [the trooper] proceeded to take his jack boots and his heel and broke all his teeth off in his front and his mouth and broke his nose, and that’s where all the blood was coming from.

When we got to Cologne, why, we almost got lynched by a mob at that railroad station there. The guards we had had to keep pushing that crowd back, but they were losing ground, and they were all set to lynch us. And, so the railroad people opened the door and let us down in the basement, on the landing. And then the German Red Cross ladies come and give us a bowl of soup. That’s the first any of us had eaten for three or four days.

From Northwest Public Television World War II stories       Listen to the original audio edition

 

 

 

Willem's Introduction

14

Ameland in war-time

25

Wartime Texel  & Den Helder 

1

Friesland War-time Crashes

14b

Ameland,166 & 75 Squadron

26

Hindeloopen

2

Friesland Cemeteries

14c

Ameland Graves

27

Destroy the Scharnhorst!

3

Leeuwarden area

15

Terschelling

28

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 2

3a

Wirdum Remembers

15b

Terschelling 2

28a

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 3

4

Schiermonnikoog

16

Sage War Cemetery

29

12 Squadron in World War 2

4b

Schiermonnikoog  part 2

16b

RAF Topcliffe & 424 Squadron

30

The Runnymede Memorial

5

Harlingen

17

Vlieland Cemetery

31

Vuren at war

6

Kallenkote Cemetery

18

Jacobiparochie

32

Makkum Cemetery

7

Wartime Occupied Harlingen

19

Hampden AE 428, & Koudum

33

A fatal collision?

8

RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron

20

Willem's War-time photos

34

Hudsons and Venturas

9

Zwolle's ' De Groene ' group

21

Shipdham Airfield

35

101 Squadron

10

408 Squadron's Leipzig raid

21b

68th Squadron's Casualties

11

Friesland radar

22

Rottum Island or Rottumeroog

12

Lancasters DS776  & JA921

23

Bergen General Cemetery

 

 

 

 

back to 626 Squadron

 

 

 

 

 

 email-address:  w.jong1@upcmail.nl

 

 

 

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