Expatica news

Dutch town honours RAF airmen

12 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch town Bergen in North Holland paid tribute on Tuesday to six airman killed when their RAF bomber was shot down on a mission to Berlin 63 years ago.

The remains of the airmen were lowered into the ground in a single coffin during a moving funeral service attended by the town mayor and residents. A bugler played the Last Post as the crowd prayed for the men they called “our liberators”.

More than 20 surviving relatives attended the service as the airmen were buried with full military honours close to their commander, whose body had been thrown clear of the burning Stirling bomber, British newspaper Daily Telegraph reported.

The bomber, of No 15 Squadron, had taken off from RAF Alconbury, in Cambridgeshire on 11 May 1941, but as it crossed the Dutch coast it was attacked by a German fighter and crashed near the North Holland village Opmeer.

A marshy meadow swallowed the main part of the aircraft and the site was marked with a simple cross. The Royal Dutch Air Force recovered the plane this year after an eight-month operation.

And the Petrus and Paulus Church in Bergen held a service of commemoration on Tuesday for the six men whose remains were recovered from the wreckage.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news