In 1995 a Dutchman, Hille Oppedijk, was trying to trace the airmen (or relatives) a the Stirling bomber that had been shot down in 1942 near to Blija, Holland.
Eventually, word got through to my dad and he contacted Hille, via a long letter, outlining his experience during that night. He and Hille corresponded for some time and eventually Hille sent him the flying helmet that I’d once thought was dad’s.
After dad’s death I managed to contact Hille (without realising that he and dad had been in contact previously) and he was so pleased to hear from me – it was so over-whelming! He’d had the flying helmet for many years, it seemed, and it was with some reluctance (naturally) that he’d given it to my father. He sent me some documents that have been very helpful and has been to speak with the daughter of one of the men who owned the farm into whose field they crashed… and she remembered a little of what had happened… amazing!
However, we have continued to correspond and even as I write this dad’s book is winging its way to HIllie with a message to him from me.
The book can be obtained from Amazon as an ebook – ‘Of Stirlings and Stalags: an air-gunner’s tale’ by WE ‘Bill’ Goodman
and from Lulu Publishers for the paperback.