Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: The Shot Down Bomber -- a story by Kees Vermeer


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
The Shot Down Bomber -- a story by Kees Vermeer
Permalink   


TO THE FORUM:  CAN ANYONE HELP US IDENTIFY THIS SHOT DOWN BOMBER??    THANK YOU.  KEES VERMEER

THE SHOT DOWN BOMBER

by Kees Vermeer

 

"There is another one!",  I shouted,  pointing to a parachute unfolding against the blue sky one spring day in 1944.  "Rotmoffen (Bastards)!" I shouted again as German  flak exploded among  broken pieces of an Allied bomber and unfolding parachutes with crew members hanging from them.  "Keep your mouth shut!", shouted my mother, which was sound advice, as German police occupied several houses not far from us.

My mother and I, and a few neighbors from across the street, watched how a life and death drama of a shot down bomber and its crew unfolded in front of our eyes.  When the flak hit the bomber, there was no fire;  the plane engine just whined one last time, then the plane spiralled out of control, somersaulted a few times, and broke up in large pieces.  Four parachutes unfolded after the bomber split up.  The flak stopped soon afterwards and the crew floated further unmolested to the ground.  Pieces of the plane and parachutists landed somewhere halfway between Gorinchem, a small Dutch city where I lived, and a village founded in 642 AD called Hoornaar.  The parachutists were caught by German soldiers and brought to Gorinchem for incarceration in the old army barracks of Dutch pontoniers, then occupied by Germans.

The next day, my friend George and I set out into the polder to look where the plane pieces had dropped.  We knew the polder around Gorinchem very well, as we often went out in spring to search for Mallards nesting in old pollard willows.  Mallard eggs were a good substitute for chicken eggs which were scarce during wartime.  We trekked as straight as the crow flies through the polder; and  jumped across many ditches with the aid of long poles to where  we thought the pieces of the bomber fell.  We saw a few people standing where a wing of the bomber  had fallen across a large ditch.  A pair of feet of a crew member were sticking out of the water beneath the wing.  The dead airman's feet were only dressed in socks;  obviously someone had pulled off his shoes.  George and I were upset that someone could commit such a sacrilege.  That person may have needed the shoes, but had no respect for an Allied airman, who paid with his life to fight against our common enemy.

People were helping themselves to anything  from the plane they thought they could use.  Shortly after, I informed my older brother Jan where we found pieces of the bomber.  He collected strips of rubber from the wing site.  The rubber was used to repair the big holes in the soles of my shoes.  I was on my last pair of leather shoes, which after the repair, lasted for several more months.  One or 2 months later, my older sister Cato found a pair of sunglasses, still intact in its case not far from the wing site.  I can no longer consult her but her son, Johan, has the case with the sunglasses.  Inside there is a note from the manufacturer -- American Optical Company with some serial and order numbers. 

Later on, I found an airplane turret which had slammed into a griend, a place where willows grow in dense rows.  The turret was partly submerged in muddy ground, and landed about 1 km from the site where the wing rested.  I brought Jan to the site;  he collected phosphorescent tipped light switches from the turret as we could use those at home.  We also collected pieces of shatter proof glass from the turret dome.  People carved rings, little airplanes, and other items from that glass.  These were then much in fashion as souvenirs from shot down Allied airplanes.  People wore the rings on their fingers and pinned little airplanes on their blouses and jackets.  They were also traded for goods and scarce commodities such as eggs, sugar, tea, coffee, cigarettes, etc.

The griend, where the turret landed, was in a very isolated part of the Dutch polder.  It later became one of my favorite places to visit.  Many songbirds sang from alder and willow branches.  Plants such as Noli-me-Tangere, bitterroot, hop, marsh ferns, and tall  wespenorchis (wasp's orchid),  which were uncommon elsewhere in the polder, grew there.  I took some of the tall orchid stems home, and shook the spores near red currant bushes in our garden.  Beautiful wespenorchis showed up each year in the shade of the currant bushes, and were visited by bees and wasps until I left my home for good in 1954 for Canada.  

END OF STORY

 

Johan -- Upon checking the map of the area of Hoornaar & Goudriaan, I now think that the reported Lancaster bomber that crashed on May 22, 1944 near Goudriaan and what I saw near Hoornaar are parts of the same bomber. I only found one wing and the turret. The ****pit, tail and the other wing must have dropped near Goudriaan. When I saw the bomber breaking up high in the sky, the pieces were dispersing far apart from each other.

Kees

On Mar 14, 2013, Johan Collee <colleehispower@gmail.com> wrote:



-- Edited by Kees Gorinchem on Friday 15th of March 2013 02:17:52 PM

__________________


Group Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 163
Date:
Permalink   

IF the date of loss is 22 May 1944 have a look at Lancaster ND956, a 166 SQn Lancaster. T/o 2235 Kirmington, crashed at Goudriaan, 10 km NNW of Gorinchem. 5 KIA and two (F/Engineer and Navigator) POW.

Regards,

Dave



__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Hello Dave,
Thank you for responding to our post. Kees' nephew just emailed the info below. We are interested in contacting the families of the Canadian dead airmen, Allan Andrew Anderson and Stanley Derek Spencer. Can you help ? Is the airman Bruce F. Bird still alive? We are Canadians and our address is below:

Kees and Rebecca Vermeer
8968 Mainwaring Road
North Saanich, Vancouver Island
British Columbia, Canada
V8L1J7
Phone: 1-250-656-6237
Skype Name: sky.rav

From: Johan Collee
Date: Mar 15, 2013
Subject: Re: Re: Re: THE SHOT DOWN BOMBER
To: Kees

Hi Kees,

I did some research on that bomber that crashed between Peursum (Giessenburg) en Goudriaan on the May 22th 1944, it was a Lancaster from the 166e Squadron Bomber Command, Reg.nr. ND956 AS-I
They were airborn from Kirmington, Lincolnshire UK and the mission was Duisburg. The bomber had a crew of 7 airmen from which 5 died during the crash, two of them
Bruce F. Bird and John F. Tomney (died in 1993) were captured by the Germans as POW's (Prisoners of War) Two of the dead airmen were Canadians, Allan Andrew Anderson and Stanley Derek Spencer.
Almost all of them are burried on the general cemetry of Goudriaan.

Source: airwar.texlaweb.nl

Greets,
Johan



-- Edited by Kees Gorinchem on Friday 15th of March 2013 08:04:10 PM

__________________


Group Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 163
Date:
Permalink   

Hi,

If I could suggest you edit your email address (take out the "@" and replace it with "AT". This will avoid you being inundated with spam.

I take it you are aware of this:

http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/lost-trails/lost-trails-search/2012/corin-gelderblom

Lost trail by Corin Gelderblom

15 March 2013

Corin Gelderblom is looking for relatives of Sgt. Bruce Forrester Bird

Last seen:
Where: RAF Kirmington
When: 1944

Extra details:
Sgt. B.F. Bird was a navigator on the RAF Lancaster ND956, coded AS-I, from 166 Sqn which aircraft was shot down during the night of 21-22 may 1944. Sgt. Bird survived the crash in Holland near the village of Goudriaan. He became a POW and returned to Britain after the war. A while later he probably moved to Australia. People in Goudriaan are looking for relatives and a photo of B.F. Bird for a memorial which will be erected in due time.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Re: Allan Andrew Anderson. Aged 21, born 21 April 1923.  In RCAF Casualty List No. 918, dated 25 June 1944, his hometown is given as Huxley, Alberta and his next of kin, his wife, name not given, but that she is "overseas". I am presuming she was also serving.

There are currently two families named Anderson in Huxley. As you are in BC you may wish to give them a call, considering one shares the same first name:

http://www.canada411.ca/search/?stype=si&what=anderson&where=Huxley%2C+AB&x=0&y=0

Stanley Derek Spencer: son of Basil Geoffrey and Hilda May Spencer, of Cultus Lake, British Columbia. Same details re hometown given in same Casualty List as Anderson. Age 22, born 15 March 1922.

Photo of Stanley Spencer here:

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/collections/virtualmem/photoview/2635451/75950

Image courtesy of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives so you may wish to contact them:

http://www.chilliwackmuseum.ca/ as they may be in contact with any family.

There are currently no families with the surname "Spencer" with telephones in Cultus Lake, BC.

Hope this helps a bit.

Regards,

Dave



-- Edited by alieneyes on Friday 15th of March 2013 03:37:32 PM

__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Hello Dave,
Thank you very much for the above info. Tonight, Kees and I contacted Allan Anderson in Huxley, Alberta (nephew of the dead airman, Allan Andrew Anderson) and his father, Orville Anderson (brother of the dead airman). We teleconferenced for alsmost 2 hours. Orville and his son, Jim, visited the Goudriaan gravesite where the 5 airmen were buried and later were joined by the POW F. TOMNEY after his death in 1993. We will contact the Chilliwack Museum tomorrow to find out more about the relatives of Stanley Derek Spencer. You have been most helpful. Thank you very much. We will be asking Kees' nephew, Johan Collee to take a photo of the sunglasses his mother found near the wing site in Hoornaar. We now know the names of the 6 airmen buried in Goudriaan --4 with the RAF; 2 with the RCAF. We do not know the whereabouts of Sgt Bruce Forrester Bird at this time.

Kees & Rebecca

__________________


Air Vice Marshall

Status: Offline
Posts: 305
Date:
Permalink   

Hi,

by all accounts the Lancaster was brought down by flak. However according to Theo Boitens Nachjagd War Diaries there is a probable luftwaffe claim for Lancaster ND956 on the night of 21/22 May 1944.

 

Oblt. Wilhelm Henseler : 1./NJG1          Lancaster            10 km. N.E     Dordrecht :             6.000 m.           01.37          Prob. 166 Sqn Lancaster ND956 

 

 

The link below has information about the crew and an email address for a Stephen Moffat, who looks to be a relative of Sgt Jacky Moffat.

 

http://www.knoxetal.com/raf/619.asp

 

Regards,

Mike



-- Edited by MikeH on Saturday 16th of March 2013 01:32:27 AM

__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Hello Mike,
I was 13 years old at the time of the incident. I did not see any German fighter plane nearby and the incident happened in broad daylight. The sun was shining that day. I was living at the Emmastraat in Gorinchem. The street is now called Koningin Emmastraat. The wing of the bomber and a dead airman which I and my friend, Sjors (George) De Winter, found were about 3 kilometres from our house in the Emmastraat. Dordrecht is NOT near Gorinchem or Hoornaar and Goudriaan where the wreckage of the bomber came down.

Thank you for the information ofn Stephen Moffat.

Kees

__________________


Group Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 163
Date:
Permalink   

Hi Kees,

No doubt you have seen the Australian webpage with the information about a company run by an MA Bird and the estate of Bruce Forrester Bird. That would suggest if he is the right man he is deceased. There are currently over 100 listings for that surname in Australia.

You say above here that the incident happened in broad daylight? If that is the case then ND596 is NOT your correct aircraft. This aircraft and the other 166 Sqn loss, ND579, with P/O Reilly and crew took off from Kirmington at 2235 and 2230 respectively. The operation was a night raid on Duisberg, not a daylight raid which, at that point in the war, was the domain of the USAAF (Bomber Command would go on to do daylight ops post-DDay)

Regards,

Dave

__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Hi Dave,
Firstly, my wife, Rebecca does all the computer work me. She and I are not seasoned online researchers and just groping our way. If it was not for you and Kees' nephew Johan, we would not have reached this far. Thanks for your EAGLE EYES, we are finding all these information you have searched for us.

NOW -- which bomber did I (my mother and neighbours) saw in broad daylight on that beautiful spring day in 1944? My nephew Johan Collee said there is no other record of an Allied bomber loss near Hoornaar & Goudriaan. We think that the bomber was on its return trip from a night bombing raid at Duisburg, Germany. Is this possible? I clearly saw the flak explode around the bomber.

Kees

__________________


Wing Commander

Status: Offline
Posts: 139
Date:
Permalink   

Kees

It may be worth back tracking a little.

Having read your original story, you obviously have a rough idea of where the aircraft came down. Are you able to access Google Earth and, if so, would you be able to provide rough co-ordinates for the crash site area so that we can see where it came down.

We may then be able to make use of our resources to see if we can trace an aircraft coming down in that area.

Regards

Pete

 

 



__________________

Researching:

- CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334

- Aircrew Training WWII (Basic / Trade / Operational)

- No. 35 Squadron [From Thetford to Scampton]

 

[Always looking for COPIES of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]



Group Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 163
Date:
Permalink   

Hi Kees,

I do not believe it could be a late returning RAF aircraft. Here's why:

If you look in Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944 (this is where airwar.texlaweb.nl got their information) you'll see that of the 30 (thirty) aircraft lost by Bomber Command on this operation, all of them took off between 2200-2258 hours. The longest air op of Bomber Command was Dresden on 13 Feb 1945 and Chemnitz on 5-6 March, 1945, between 8.5 and 10 hours in some airman's logs I have seen.

But Chemnitz and Dresden are much further away from the UK than Goudriaan. Aircraft taking off at 2230 for a raid on a target in the Netherlands would return in darkness, not broad daylight.

Secondly, in your original story you mention seeing four parachutes, yet only two escaped. On that note I am surprised it was the F/Engineer and Navigator, as the Bomb Aimer's station was right on top of the hatch which they would have used to escape. But that sort of detail can be worked out later IF this is the right aircraft.

To completely rule out this aircraft I would suggest you obtain the service files of the two Canadians on board. UK records are impossible to obtain without consent, yet the files of all Canadians killed in the war are open, without restriction. No need to be related. In said files will be excerpts from the Loss Of Bomber Questionnaire both men would have filled out upon liberation. Also, the post-war identification process records will be in there as well.

Click on each link and follow the advice on ordering copies of the file. If you can't wait the six months it usually takes I can give you the name of a paid researcher I used in Ottawa.

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/war-dead/001056-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=502&interval=20&&PHPSESSID=rbj0gvpigek0u2dt2rf61njou6

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/war-dead/001056-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=33643&interval=20&&PHPSESSID=rbj0gvpigek0u2dt2rf61njou6

I'm sorry but I don't research USAAF losses so can't even begin to tell you where to look other than a forum I have seen:

http://forum.armyairforces.com/Forums

Regards,

Dave

__________________


Wing Commander

Status: Offline
Posts: 139
Date:
Permalink   

To confirm Dave's point, the Bomber Command Night Raid Report for 21st May 1944 shows that the bomber stream were over the target between 01.06 and 01.22 so aircraft on this operation would not have been flying during daylight hours.

35 Squadron aircraft involved landed at around 03.00

Regards

Pete



-- Edited by PeteT on Saturday 16th of March 2013 11:55:16 AM

__________________

Researching:

- CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334

- Aircrew Training WWII (Basic / Trade / Operational)

- No. 35 Squadron [From Thetford to Scampton]

 

[Always looking for COPIES of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]



Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Pete -- I (through Rebecca) sent my nephew, Johan, a hand-drawn map in pdf where I found the wing with the dead airman and the turret, 1 km away from the wing site towards the direction Goudriaan. I also have a google map of the Hoornaar- Goudriaan area in pdf as well. Unfortunately, I cannot copy these maps into the reply section of the Bombercrew.com Forum. Please send me an email address to where I can send these maps.

Kees (& Rebecca)



__________________


Wing Commander

Status: Offline
Posts: 139
Date:
Permalink   

If you click on my user name (left hand side) you should be able to obtain my e-mail address.

Regards

Pete

__________________

Researching:

- CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334

- Aircrew Training WWII (Basic / Trade / Operational)

- No. 35 Squadron [From Thetford to Scampton]

 

[Always looking for COPIES of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]



Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Hello Pete --are you able to send the 2 maps and the photo of the flying sunglasses found at the wing site near Hoornaar to the Bombercrew.com Forum?    Kees & Rebecca
 
Subject: Re: FW: British Legion Lost Trail Reply
 

Corin -- Johan has already provided us with photos of the names on the monument and grave stones of the 6 dead airmen of Lancaster ND956 --no need to forward these. But we would like the photos of the crew members and the name/addresses of the relatives. Can you answer the following questions:
 
1. What year were the monument and grave stones erected in Goudriaan?
 
2. The monument says the 5 airmen died at 2 uur. Is this 2 AM? What is the source for the time of deatn? From people of Goudriaan or from the Luftwaffe? See the report from Theo Boitens Nachjagd War Diaries:
Hi,
by all accounts the Lancaster was brought down by flak. However according to Theo Boitens Nachjagd War Diaries there is a probable luftwaffe claim for Lancaster ND956 on the night of 21/22 May 1944.
 Oblt. Wilhelm Henseler : 1./NJG1 Lancaster 10 km. N.E Dordrecht : 6.000 m. 01.37 Prob. 166 Sqn Lancaster ND956

 
 
Mike (of Bombercrew.com Forum)
 
A German, Oblt. Wilhelm Henseler, reported the bomber was shot down at 1:37 AM near Dordrecht. I am suspicious of that report. In 1944, the Luftwaffe was past its glory and needed to boost the moral of its Air Force. Also, why would the bomber after being shot at Dordrecht fly to Goudriaan, which is the direction to Germany?
 
3. The monument also mentions the 5 airmen were buried at 19:30 uur on May 22, 1944. All 5 of them? I found a dead airman at the wing site (see map) near Hoornaar after May 22, 1944. Was he buried in Goudriaan after May 22, 1944?
 
4. Where were the pieces of the bomber which dropped near Goudriaan found? Could you draw the locations on the attached google map? What pieces were found near Goudriaan? ****pit? tail? wing? turret? etc... If you do not know, could you find out? People in Goudrian over 80 years may remember the sites.
 
5. Where were the dead bodies found? I found one at the wing site near Hoornaar. How many had parachutes on them? The reason I ask is that my recollection is that there were 3 or 4 parachutes of which 1 or 2 disappeared immediately among the exploding flak and bomber. The bomber did not catch fire.
 
6. My sister (Johan's mother) found a pair of Flying Sunglasses (see attached photo) near the wing site and the dead airman near Hoornaar. Were all the crew members supplied with flying sunglasses or just the pilot? If the latter only, then the dead airman I found could have been the pilot.
 
7. Johan/Corin -- could you please send me a photo showing all 6 grave stones in one photo. Please identify the names on the grave stones from right to left. Also, please check the records in the church cemetery for burial details.
 
Johan/Corin --meet Pete Tresadern of the Bombercrew.com Forum.

Regards,
 
Kees & Rebecca

On Mar 17, 2013, Corin Gelderblom wrote:


__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Dave or Pete or a Computer Savvy,
We tried to edit our first posting by deleting all the email addresses below the END OF STORY line (that of Johan Collee & ravermeer) and then resubmit the edited version. But when we login, the original version comes back with all the email addresses. We tried deleting entire emails below the END OF STORY line and resubmit but the original version comes back again upon logging in. How do I remove the email addresses from the first posting? I removed my email address in the profile already.

Kees

__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Hi Dave,

How much does it cost to research a file in Ottawa?

Kees



__________________


Wing Commander

Status: Offline
Posts: 139
Date:
Permalink   

Kees

I have received the maps and information this morning and I will spend some time today reading through it .... as there is a lot of confusion regarding the information, can you let me have a list of the names that are shown on the memorial

Thanks

Pete

__________________

Researching:

- CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334

- Aircrew Training WWII (Basic / Trade / Operational)

- No. 35 Squadron [From Thetford to Scampton]

 

[Always looking for COPIES of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]



Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Pete
Kees is still asleep so I am sending the photo now hoping it is not too late in your time zone. Please check your email. Thank you for the Google Earth map. I have printed it along with Kees' map so he can review it right away when he wakes up. Regards,
Rebecca

__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

THE SHOT DOWN BOMBER HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED!! THANK YOU DAVE AND ALL. HERE IS THE FINAL STORY. KEES

THE SHOT DOWN BOMBER
by Kees Vermeer
Posted: March 23, 2013

"There is another one!", I shouted, pointing to a parachute unfolding against the blue sky one summer day in 1944.1 "Rotmoffen (Bastards)!" I shouted again as German flak exploded among broken pieces of an Allied bomber and unfolding parachutes with crew members hanging from them. "Keep your mouth shut!", shouted my mother, which was sound advice, as German police occupied several houses not far from us.

I was 13 years old and seated at the table with my family for lunch. When we heard the noise of a whining plane and explosions, my mother and I ran out of the house. My brother Jan and sister Ali perhaps ran to the upstairs balcony. We could not see the plane in front of our house, so we ran across the street to the neighbors' homes from where we could see the bomber. From that location, my mother and I, and a few neighbors, watched how a life and death drama of a shot down bomber and its crew unfolded in front of our eyes.

The bomber was going down, then the flak exploded. 2 When the flak hit the bomber, there was no fire; the plane engine just whined one last time, then the plane spiralled out of control, somersaulted a few times, and broke up in large pieces. About 5 parachutes unfolded after the bomber split up, one of which disappeared quickly.3 The flak stopped soon afterwards and the crew floated further unmolested to the ground. The parachutists landed near Gorinchem, a small Dutch city where I lived. Pieces of the plane were scattered between Gorinchem and Hoornaar, a village founded in 642 AD. I heard the parachutists were caught by German soldiers and brought to Gorinchem for incarceration in the old army barracks of Dutch pontoniers, then occupied by Germans.4

The next day, my friend Sjors (George) de Winter and I set out into the polder to look where the plane pieces had dropped. We knew the polder around Gorinchem very well, as we often went out in spring to search for Mallards nesting in old pollard willows. Mallard eggs were a good substitute for chicken eggs which were scarce during wartime. We trekked as straight as the crow flies through the polder; and jumped across many ditches with the aid of long poles to where we thought the pieces of the bomber fell. We saw a few people standing where the wing of the bomber had fallen across a large ditch. A pair of feet of a crew member were sticking out of the water beneath the wing. The dead airman's feet were only dressed in socks; obviously someone had pulled off his shoes. Sjors and I were upset that someone could commit such a sacrilege. That person may have needed the shoes, but had no respect for an Allied airman, who paid with his life to fight against our common enemy.

People were helping themselves to anything from the plane they thought they could use. Shortly after, I informed my older brother Jan where we found pieces of the bomber. He collected strips of rubber from the wing site. The rubber was used to repair the big holes in the soles of my shoes. I was on my last pair of leather shoes, which after the repair, lasted for several more months. Several weeks later, my older sister Cato found a pair of sunglasses, still intact in its case not far from the wing site. I can no longer consult her but her son, Johan, has the case with the sunglasses (Photo 1). Inside there is a note from the manufacturer -- American Optical Company with some serial and order numbers. My sister Cato also wrote a note "Wednesday, July 28, 1943 found in the surroundings of Hoornaar. Fallen out of an American warplane. Signed C. Vermeer."

Later on, I found an airplane turret which had slammed into a griend, a place where willows grow in dense rows. The turret was partly submerged in muddy ground, and landed about 1 km from the site where the wing rested. I brought Jan to the site; he collected phosphorescent tipped light switches from the turret as we could use those at home. We also collected pieces of shatter proof glass from the turret dome. People carved rings, little airplanes, and other items from that glass. These were then much in fashion as souvenirs from shot down Allied airplanes. People wore the rings on their fingers and pinned little airplanes on their blouses and jackets. They were also traded for goods and scarce commodities such as eggs, sugar, tea, coffee, cigarettes, etc.

The griend, where the turret landed, was in a very isolated part of the Dutch polder. It later became one of my favorite places to visit. Many songbirds sang from alder and willow branches. Plants such as Noli-me-Tangere, bitterroot, hop, marsh ferns, and tall wespenorchis (wasp's orchid), which were uncommon elsewhere in the polder, grew there. I took some of the tall orchid stems home, and shook the spores near red currant bushes in our garden. Beautiful wespenorchis showed up each year in the shade of the currant bushes, and were visited by bees and wasps until I left my home for good in 1954 for Canada.


KEES


FOOTNOTES (written at the end of our research)
1. The date of the bomber crash was July 28, 1943.
2. Five German fighter planes FW190s shot down the bomber.
3. Nine parachutists bailed out of the bomber. The parachute which disappeared quickly may have been hit by the flak.
4. Eight parachutists were incarcerated ; Sgt Robert M. Martin was seriously wounded and his parachute was torn. He was buried in Rotterdam.



EPILOGUE

This story was written for my family. It is the original version with some additions. The Footnotes show what actually happened. This Epilogue explains how my wife Rebecca and I went about our research and were able to identify the shot down bomber, the wreckage and the dead airman.

My nephew Johan Collee's interest in my story encouraged me to look further into the identities of the shot down bomber and its crew, particularly the dead airman I found at the wing site.

Johan and I believed that my sister Cato made a mistake with the year 1943 as Johan could not find a bomber which crashed near Hoornaar that year. So he proceeded to search for bomber losses in the spring/summer of 1944. He came up with a Lancaster bomber which crashed near Goudriaan on May 22, 1944. I pursued the Lancaster crash through the Bombercrew.com Forum while Johan searched for others in the Gorinchem-Hoornaar-Hoogblokland area for 6 days (Mar 14-19, 2013). They all proved to be night crashes. We were told that daylight bombings were under US Command and started in June 1944.

On March 20, 2013, we decided to search for crashes of American bombers in the summer of 1944 near the Hoornaar/Gorinchem area through the Army Air Forces Forum. By March 21, we heard from Ivo de Jong that he was quite sure our shot down bomber was B-17F 42-3116 of the 92nd Bomb Group which was shot down on July 28, 1943 and which crashed near Gorinchem.
Hal, another Forum member, provided us with the list of names of the crew and the MACR 0373.

Kees,
If Ivo's identification is correct one crewman is buried in Netherlands Cemetery and the other in Ardennes Cemetery. I could not find the Missing Air Crew Report but attached below is a photo I took from the book by Stan Bishop and John Hey, Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vol 1.
Hal




Pete Tresadern, who had assisted me at the Bomber Crew Forum with the crash of Lancaster NB 956 near Goudriaan, suggested that the dead airman was Sgt Robert M. Martin. I do not think so because in the above MACR 0373, it was reported that Sgt. Martin was badly wounded; his parachute was torn; and his body was buried in Rotterdam.

From the same report, it can be seen that the body of Sgt Jerre M Algeo was recovered from the wreckage on 17 August 1943 and initially buried at the Schelluinen Cemetery. That Cemetery is very close to where I found the wing of the shot down bomber across the wetering (large ditch) and the body of a dead airman (see Map 1 & 2). Moreover, the body remained at the site almost 3 weeks after the crash. I think that the body may have been quite decomposed when it was removed so it makes sense that the body would be buried in nearby Schelluinen. I recall people who went to the site after me still saw the feet. I also recall the Germans did not discover the wing site for quite sometime as it was in an isolated part of the polder at that time.

Then came Peter den Tek. He sent me an account (in Dutch) of the July 28, 1943 crash of the B-17F bomber near Gorinchem. In it was a photo of the wreckage across the wetering (Photo 2). I immediately recognized the site and the wreckage. Only it was not a wing --it was the rump of the bomber!!! After 70 years, I hope you can excuse my poor memory !! Also mentioned were the account of eyewitnesses having seen two feet sticking out beneath the wreckage which belonged to Sgt Jerre M. Algeo of Kansas, USA. It was also mentioned that he was initially buried in the Schelluinen Cemetery.












PHOTO 1-- FLYING SUNGLASSES FOUND NEAR THE WING SITE
(COURTESY OF JOHAN COLLEE)



MAP 1--KEES VERMEER'S SKETCH OF THE WING AND TURRET SITES


MAP 2-- WING AND TURRET SITES LABELLED BY KEES VERMEER
(BASE MAP COURTESY OF PETE TRESADERN)


PHOTO 2 -- B-17F 42-3116 WRECKAGE NEAR HOORNAAR AND SCHELLUINEN
(COURTESY OF PETER DEN TEK)



__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

THE SHOT DOWN BOMBER HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED!! THANK YOU DAVE AND ALL. HERE IS THE FINAL STORY. KEES

THE SHOT DOWN BOMBER
by Kees Vermeer
Posted: March 23, 2013

"There is another one!", I shouted, pointing to a parachute unfolding against the blue sky one summer day in 1944.1 "Rotmoffen (Bastards)!" I shouted again as German flak exploded among broken pieces of an Allied bomber and unfolding parachutes with crew members hanging from them. "Keep your mouth shut!", shouted my mother, which was sound advice, as German police occupied several houses not far from us.

I was 13 years old and seated at the table with my family for lunch. When we heard the noise of a whining plane and explosions, my mother and I ran out of the house. My brother Jan and sister Ali perhaps ran to the upstairs balcony. We could not see the plane in front of our house, so we ran across the street to the neighbors' homes from where we could see the bomber. From that location, my mother and I, and a few neighbors, watched how a life and death drama of a shot down bomber and its crew unfolded in front of our eyes.

The bomber was going down, then the flak exploded. 2 When the flak hit the bomber, there was no fire; the plane engine just whined one last time, then the plane spiralled out of control, somersaulted a few times, and broke up in large pieces. About 5 parachutes unfolded after the bomber split up, one of which disappeared quickly.3 The flak stopped soon afterwards and the crew floated further unmolested to the ground. The parachutists landed near Gorinchem, a small Dutch city where I lived. Pieces of the plane were scattered between Gorinchem and Hoornaar, a village founded in 642 AD. I heard the parachutists were caught by German soldiers and brought to Gorinchem for incarceration in the old army barracks of Dutch pontoniers, then occupied by Germans.4

The next day, my friend Sjors (George) de Winter and I set out into the polder to look where the plane pieces had dropped. We knew the polder around Gorinchem very well, as we often went out in spring to search for Mallards nesting in old pollard willows. Mallard eggs were a good substitute for chicken eggs which were scarce during wartime. We trekked as straight as the crow flies through the polder; and jumped across many ditches with the aid of long poles to where we thought the pieces of the bomber fell. We saw a few people standing where the wing of the bomber had fallen across a large ditch. A pair of feet of a crew member were sticking out of the water beneath the wing. The dead airman's feet were only dressed in socks; obviously someone had pulled off his shoes. Sjors and I were upset that someone could commit such a sacrilege. That person may have needed the shoes, but had no respect for an Allied airman, who paid with his life to fight against our common enemy.

People were helping themselves to anything from the plane they thought they could use. Shortly after, I informed my older brother Jan where we found pieces of the bomber. He collected strips of rubber from the wing site. The rubber was used to repair the big holes in the soles of my shoes. I was on my last pair of leather shoes, which after the repair, lasted for several more months. Several weeks later, my older sister Cato found a pair of sunglasses, still intact in its case not far from the wing site. I can no longer consult her but her son, Johan, has the case with the sunglasses (Photo 1). Inside there is a note from the manufacturer -- American Optical Company with some serial and order numbers. My sister Cato also wrote a note "Wednesday, July 28, 1943 found in the surroundings of Hoornaar. Fallen out of an American warplane. Signed C. Vermeer."

Later on, I found an airplane turret which had slammed into a griend, a place where willows grow in dense rows. The turret was partly submerged in muddy ground, and landed about 1 km from the site where the wing rested. I brought Jan to the site; he collected phosphorescent tipped light switches from the turret as we could use those at home. We also collected pieces of shatter proof glass from the turret dome. People carved rings, little airplanes, and other items from that glass. These were then much in fashion as souvenirs from shot down Allied airplanes. People wore the rings on their fingers and pinned little airplanes on their blouses and jackets. They were also traded for goods and scarce commodities such as eggs, sugar, tea, coffee, cigarettes, etc.

The griend, where the turret landed, was in a very isolated part of the Dutch polder. It later became one of my favorite places to visit. Many songbirds sang from alder and willow branches. Plants such as Noli-me-Tangere, bitterroot, hop, marsh ferns, and tall wespenorchis (wasp's orchid), which were uncommon elsewhere in the polder, grew there. I took some of the tall orchid stems home, and shook the spores near red currant bushes in our garden. Beautiful wespenorchis showed up each year in the shade of the currant bushes, and were visited by bees and wasps until I left my home for good in 1954 for Canada.


KEES


FOOTNOTES (written at the end of our research)
1. The date of the bomber crash was July 28, 1943.
2. Five German fighter planes FW190s shot down the bomber.
3. Nine parachutists bailed out of the bomber. The parachute which disappeared quickly may have been hit by the flak.
4. Eight parachutists were incarcerated ; Sgt Robert M. Martin was seriously wounded and his parachute was torn. He was buried in Rotterdam.



EPILOGUE

This story was written for my family. It is the original version with some additions. The Footnotes show what actually happened. This Epilogue explains how my wife Rebecca and I went about our research and were able to identify the shot down bomber, the wreckage and the dead airman.

My nephew Johan Collee's interest in my story encouraged me to look further into the identities of the shot down bomber and its crew, particularly the dead airman I found at the wing site.

Johan and I believed that my sister Cato made a mistake with the year 1943 as Johan could not find a bomber which crashed near Hoornaar that year. So he proceeded to search for bomber losses in the spring/summer of 1944. He came up with a Lancaster bomber which crashed near Goudriaan on May 22, 1944. I pursued the Lancaster crash through the Bombercrew.com Forum while Johan searched for others in the Gorinchem-Hoornaar-Hoogblokland area for 6 days (Mar 14-19, 2013). They all proved to be night crashes. We were told that daylight bombings were under US Command and started in June 1944.

On March 20, 2013, we decided to search for crashes of American bombers in the summer of 1944 near the Hoornaar/Gorinchem area through the Army Air Forces Forum. By March 21, we heard from Ivo de Jong that he was quite sure our shot down bomber was B-17F 42-3116 of the 92nd Bomb Group which was shot down on July 28, 1943 and which crashed near Gorinchem.
Hal, another Forum member, provided us with the list of names of the crew and the MACR 0373.

Kees,
If Ivo's identification is correct one crewman is buried in Netherlands Cemetery and the other in Ardennes Cemetery. I could not find the Missing Air Crew Report but attached below is a photo I took from the book by Stan Bishop and John Hey, Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vol 1.
Hal




Pete Tresadern, who had assisted me at the Bomber Crew Forum with the crash of Lancaster NB 956 near Goudriaan, suggested that the dead airman was Sgt Robert M. Martin. I do not think so because in the above MACR 0373, it was reported that Sgt. Martin was badly wounded; his parachute was torn; and his body was buried in Rotterdam.

From the same report, it can be seen that the body of Sgt Jerre M Algeo was recovered from the wreckage on 17 August 1943 and initially buried at the Schelluinen Cemetery. That Cemetery is very close to where I found the wing of the shot down bomber across the wetering (large ditch) and the body of a dead airman (see Map 1 & 2). Moreover, the body remained at the site almost 3 weeks after the crash. I think that the body may have been quite decomposed when it was removed so it makes sense that the body would be buried in nearby Schelluinen. I recall people who went to the site after me still saw the feet. I also recall the Germans did not discover the wing site for quite sometime as it was in an isolated part of the polder at that time.

Then came Peter den Tek. He sent me an account (in Dutch) of the July 28, 1943 crash of the B-17F bomber near Gorinchem. In it was a photo of the wreckage across the wetering (Photo 2). I immediately recognized the site and the wreckage. Only it was not a wing --it was the rump of the bomber!!! After 70 years, I hope you can excuse my poor memory !! Also mentioned were the account of eyewitnesses having seen two feet sticking out beneath the wreckage which belonged to Sgt Jerre M. Algeo of Kansas, USA. It was also mentioned that he was initially buried in the Schelluinen Cemetery.












PHOTO 1-- FLYING SUNGLASSES FOUND NEAR THE WING SITE
(COURTESY OF JOHAN COLLEE)



MAP 1--KEES VERMEER'S SKETCH OF THE WING AND TURRET SITES


MAP 2-- WING AND TURRET SITES LABELLED BY KEES VERMEER
(BASE MAP COURTESY OF PETE TRESADERN)


PHOTO 2 -- B-17F 42-3116 WRECKAGE NEAR HOORNAAR AND SCHELLUINEN
(COURTESY OF PETER DEN TEK)



Attachments
__________________
Bert de Jong

Date:
Permalink   

Kees

as you can see on the photo of the downed B-17 body, there is a code at the tail.

 NR: 23116, the serial of the shot down B-17 was: 42-3116, so this is the B-17 of the 407th Squadron, 92e Bomb group, airfield Alconburry.

 

greetings

bert



__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Thank you, Bert, for pointing to the code at the tail and for providing a complete identification of my Shot Down Bomber. By the way, have you tracked down relatives of the 2 airmen who were killed in action --Sgt Jerre M. Algeo of Barton County, Missouri and Sgt Robert M. Martin (Rhode Island?)? Peter den Tek and I have some information on Sgt Jerre Algeo from The Lamar Democrat, April 24 & 27, 2013 issues; Jerre's photo (TIF file); Memorial plaque in the Barton County Hospital ---all in pdf format except for the TIF photo so we cannot attach them.  I could forward these by email to you if you want them.  Peter and I have thought of getting a memorial established in the Giessenlanden for at least the 2 airmen KIA.

Kees



__________________


Air Vice Marshall

Status: Offline
Posts: 305
Date:
Permalink   

Hi Kees,

the link below shows the B17 was shot down by Fw Peter Ahrens in Fw 190A-5 of JG 26/3 at Schelluinen,

 

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=51565

 

Mike

 

 

 



-- Edited by MikeH on Tuesday 11th of June 2013 12:28:24 AM



-- Edited by MikeH on Tuesday 11th of June 2013 12:31:43 AM

__________________
Peter Waleson

Date:
Permalink   

Hi Kees,

I, am bit younger as you, I was born in April 1943, I lived till 1971 in Gorinchem after that I lived in Australia. We lived in the last street towards the village Arkel in the Gorinchemse area then known as Zandvoort, now the Lingewijk.

All I note next is told to me of course as I was only then a baby.

About 500 metres away at or near the Arkelse Dike stood in the war the German air defence. There were a few allied bombardments in the old town of Gorinchem, also near wars end bombs rained down above our area.

As my mother told me, looking in the sky very small pin like objects were right overhead. I presume the bombing was intended to wipe out the Germain anti aircraft gun. All the bombs fell at the farmland 150 to 300 away, missing the target & no damage as far as I was told was caused.The houses shook from the bombs inpact. I'm also told by others that because of the swampy Dutch soil, some bombs did not explode & are still there. Most of the area there is now build on, bombs or no bombs.

My mother told me that near the Haarweg (the road to Hoog Blockland & Hoornaar) did lie a shot down plane for a long time, this plane was likely shot down from that German anti air craft gun at the Arkelse Dike I would say. The anti air craft gun about 1.5 km distance of the plane wreck. I understood the wreck or part of the wreck was close to the last houses of Gorinchem perhaps only 3 km, it is impossible in my opinion that part of that plane would have ended up in Goudrian, the distance just far too large.

The Goudrian wreck must been an other plane, the anti aircraft gun could well have shot down several planes over time. There are still people alive in Gorinchem who know a fair bit what happend in the war.

The allieds did also bomb 3 or 4 places in the old town, one of them the German militair equipment building, which also destroyed about 6 houses with citizens deads.

Per Peter Waleson in Australia   email: pandbwaleson  at  gmail.com



__________________


Aircraftsman 1st Class

Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Date:
Permalink   

My Uncle is Robert Martin, from Rhode Island. He was a tail gunner who was a casualty of the crash. I have attached several photos of him.

I have been in touch with Jim Nash a reporter who did a story about you and your story.

I am compiling some artifacts. I have Robert's Purple Heart, a Mother handkerchief and a Sister handkercheif with the Army Air Corps insignia; he sent them to my mom and grandma from gunnery school. I also have the letters from grandpa and the Army concerning his KIA and moving the body for internment. I am searching for his aircraft logo from his bomber jacket; which my uncle Harold brought back from your town, someone who had them gave them to him. He went to the site during or shortly after the war. He (Harold) is  picture at the grave site and in a Quanset hut pointing at a map.  

My cousin and her husband are going to Amsterdam the end of April 2015 for the unveiling of the memorial on 5/5/15 to the Allied airmen whose planes were downed over Holland.

Thank you for initiating this effort. 



-- Edited by Richard Martin Campbell on Saturday 13th of September 2014 12:10:47 AM



-- Edited by Richard Martin Campbell on Saturday 13th of September 2014 12:13:15 AM

Attachments
__________________


Flight Sergeant

Status: Offline
Posts: 15
Date:
Permalink   

Hello Richard,
Thanks for your post. I believe that the parachute of your Uncle Robert Martin was hit by German flak when he bailed out of the B17 bomber (see my commentary in the above EPILOGUE on The Shot Down Bomber).
Can you direct me to Jim Nash's report on my Shot Down Bomber story?
My wife Rebecca and I plan to visit Holland next spring. If the plan goes through, we will be attending the Memorial on May 5, 2015 in the municipality of Giessenlanden (near Gorinchem).
Best regards,
Kees

__________________


Aircraftsman 1st Class

Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Date:
Permalink   

He sent me this in an e mail...you cann request a link to his news story.

Peter den Tek has set up a facebook site to the memory of Sgt. Martin and his crew. www.facebook.com/groups/279158112226276/



Peter's e-mail is peter.den.tek@gmail.com



I forwarded the pictures that you sent, and Peter was wondering if it would be OK with you if he added them to the facebook site.



Shouild you want to contact me, my phone number is 401-949-3195, and e-mail jim00259@gmail.com

__________________


Aircraftsman 1st Class

Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Date:
Permalink   

Ahrens Peter Luftwaffe 11 JG26; KIFA 4/Mar/1945 ....info from users.accesscomm.ca/magnusfamily/ww2ger.htm

__________________
Anonymous

Date:
Permalink   

My grandfathers brother was Stanley Derek Spencer. We are in Calgary alBerta 

 

kristin Colpoys 

 



__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard