Local Heart, Global Soul

November 23, 2017

I Can Hear Voices From The Past…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Standing in front of the old “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) in Baarle Nassau is not just the two hundred year old pump of yesterdays post but also something far more modern.

The item in question is a local and visitor information memorial piece, from a series called the “Liberation Route Europe“.

I learn from their website that: “Liberation Route Europe is a continuously growing, international remembrance trail that connects important milestones from modern European history. It forms a link between the main regions along the Western Allied Forces’ advance from southern England, to the beaches of Normandy, the Belgian Ardennes, South Eastern provinces of the Netherlands, the Hürtgen Forest and on to Berlin.

The route then continues to the Polish city of Gdansk, where a democratic revolution for overcoming the division of Europe was launched nearly two generations later. Since 2016 the Liberation Route Europe started the development of the Southern route, starting in Sicily.

This marker in Baarle commemorates the “The Battle of the Scheldt” and the information panel tells us: “What happened on and around this place during the liberation days in the autumn of 1944? You can hear and see these events at these Liberation Route Europe posts.

For the Allies, the port of Antwerp was of great strategic importance. They could only use it if these banks of the Scheldt and the roads to it were free of German troops. And so, during the Battle of the Scheldt, the war raged in all its horror. With all the tragic consequences for the military and civilians. Turn the wheel and listen to their experiences. Or download it free via http://www.liberationroute.com or via the app.”

There is a second paragraph on the board that tells us: “The 28 days of Baarle“, “On the 1st of October 1944, the 1st Polish Armoured Division enters the Netherlands to the south of Baarle-Nassau. But it will take 28 days before the german troops were completely driven out of this area. Meanwhile, the local residents wait on events in their shelters.”

Going to the Liberation Route Europe website and finding the page that concerns Baarle, I also discover a slightly more expanded text about events here: “On Sunday the 1st of October 1944, led by General Maczek, the 1st Polish Armoured Division began military operations in West Brabant. They entered the Netherlands at the village of Zondereigen. The inhabitants of Baarle sought refuge in shelters. They would spend a lot of time in them, because Baarle was only liberated after 28 days. The German army had reinforced its troops. Led by Hauptmann Mager, the 2nd Battalion of the 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment participated in the fighting.

Through a shrewd tactic, German paratroopers destroyed dozens of Polish tanks. General Maczek had to wait a long time for reinforcements. They had to be transported all the way from Normandy. The residents of Baarle had to helplessly watch their village being turned into smoking rubble. The destruction of the impressive Belgian church, in particular, made a deep impression. On the 28th of October 1944, Baarle is finally liberated.”

As I have mentioned many times previously, I feel it is important to keep history alive, not just because of the sacrifices that others made on our behalf, but also because I hope that learning from the mistakes of history means never having to repeat them.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

General Maczek

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Damage to the Remigius church…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Liberation Route Europe
https://liberationroute.com/pages/liberation-route-europe

July 25, 2017

The Wings Of War Fell To Earth…

Filed under: Flevoland,HISTORY,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,WORLD WAR II — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Travelling home along the province of Flevoland from our weekend-for-two away late last summer, Himself and I discover some sort of marker on the side of the road.

A long pole topped with a cut-out of a red aeroplane and a small information board. Needless to say we were curious and stopped to investigate further.

Entitled: “Vliegtuigroute” (Flightpath), the information board reads: “(Pole No. 03)
During the night of 9-10th April 1943  on this spot a Messersmith ME 110 (G9=Cx werknummer 4811) coming from it’s Leeuwarden airport base, crashed.

“De gehele bemanning” (The whole crew),(Kiwi’s note: it’s strange that it is worded like this because there were only two occupants in the plane)

Pilot Lt.  Kostler died. The radio operator survived.

He jumped out of the plane and it was the fourth time in one month that this had happened to him. In a fight with a Lancaster of the 101st squadron the two planes collided. 

What was exceptional about this event was that the RAF  did not  have a flight path over the IJsselmeer so the route for this plane was very unusual. Both aircraft exploded. The Lancaster crashed a few meters further, near Pole No.4.
Info:  http://www.airgunners.nl

Sadly, even with a good look around, Himself and I never found Pole No.4.  so we are unable to bring you the information that would have been on it about the fate of the Lancaster bomber occupants.

We both liked the idea that even in some tiny way spots like this are being marked and remembered so that these moments in history and the lives given on both sides of World War II are remembered.

We have no clue what happened to the unnamed radio operator after this crash, if he survived the war or not. I wish that things like this were better publicised so that history buffs in the general public could follow a trail of these poles as a day out for instance. It could even be made as a walking or cycling trail or  treasure hunt exercise for kids.

After writing this blog post earlier, I decided to do a little bit of extra research. Going to the airgunners website I found that not only did they have a link to the series of poles marking these sites but even better they had a language option link get this page in English. Also just a note of information: “4meiherdenkingdronten.nl” refers to the 4th of May which is is the National Remembrance Day  here in the Netherlands, and Dronten is a town in Flevoland.  Instead of transferring th entirety of the details  from there to here I will just add the link:

4 mei herdenking dronten  /memorial-poles-along-crash-route / language=English

Reading up further on the link for Pole No.4 that gives the information that was put into the poles, I am sad to report that none of the seven man crew of the Lancaster survived the crash.  I also learned that Pole No.4 is located at Alikruikweg 35, Biddinghuizen, whereas Pole No.3. is at Alikruikweg 20, Biddinghuizen. That must surely mean it is at least one farm away, probably why we never found it.

If anyone is interested in any of the additional information on any (or all) of the poles in this series and would like a translation from the Dutch text into English, please just drop me a message in the comments. I would be more than happy to translate it for you. The surrounding countryside is today a place of tranquility and peace, and I hope, of rest.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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