Last week another family member of the crew of Short Stirling MG-J (W7471) 7 Squadron, Oakington, visited the village of Blije in northern Holland to see the place where our fathers’ plane came down after an attack by Oblt. Ludwig Becker. In the village there is the commemorative panel erected by the good offices of the Stitchting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation (SMAMF) who spend a great deal of time and energy researching plane crashes from WWII and erecting memorial panels in remembrance of the former airmen who fought in Bomber Command and who were brought down in Holland. Their efforts are a means of remembering and thanking those who fought and sometimes died to secure their freedom from German oppression at the time.
The commemorative panel was originally unveiled in 2016 on 7 June… the anniversary of the successful attack by Becker on 7 June 1942. Present at the unveiling were the families of crew members: William ‘Bill’ Goodman (dad), Norman ‘Buck’ Tayler, Edward ‘Ted’ Earngey and Sidney ‘Mac’ Macnamara. Sadly, at the time Maggie Henigman wasn’t able to attend.
However, just over two years later, Maggie, daughter of Clarence ‘Frank’ Henigman has now visited the site and, once again, Douwe Drijver and Alexander Tuinhout, from SMAMF, linked up with them to host their visit. Ger Boogmans, the Netherlands Bomber Command representative from Amsterdam, liaised between them to assist in their visit.
The photos below show Douwe and Alexander, the location of the original crash site, the panel itself and the town hall (former police station) at Ferwerd where dad, Mac, Jack Arnold and Harry Spry were taken and held before their trip to Amsterdam and the Dulag Luft for questioning.
The other photo is the amazing
pictorial map produced by Harry Spry (a local man from Blije who sometimes works with SMAMF) and who takes visitors on ‘mud walks’ along the mudflats of the coast. He told me that they still find objects from the air-war buried in the mud from time to time.