The grave of Flt Sgt James McDowell in Harlingen Cemetery in the Netherlands. His was the only body recovered after AJ-K was shot down on the Dams Raid, and the memorial to the whole crew will be placed near his grave. [Pic: 617 Squadron Netherlands Aircrew Memorial Foundation]
News from Jan van Dalen in the Netherlands:
“Due to the current situation, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the unveiling of the memorial plaque to the crew of Avro Lancaster AJ-K, on June 23 in Harlingen. For some time organisational and practical preparations have been unable to take place in a responsible manner within the measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and it is unclear how long this situation will last.
However, we have been able to finance the stone from the donations received, which has now been delivered to the stonemason and is ready for further finishing. The order and delivery of the bronze plaque is still uncertain due to the measures.
As soon as we have news about a new date, we will let you know as soon as possible.”
This is not a surprising development, and has obviously been taken in the best interests of everyone involved. Someday, as in the words used by a recent notable broadcaster, “we will meet again”, and we will all be able to commemorate the lives of the seven brave men who lost their lives late in the evening of 16 May 1943.
As Jan said above, enough funds have now been raised to order the stone block for the memorial. However, further money is needed to pay for a bronze plaque and other material, so if you would like to contribute please go to the 617 Squadron Netherlands Aircrew Memorial Foundation GoFundMe page.
Thanks for the efforts on this so far. I think it is a wonderful initiative and will look out for the unveiling later.
A few days ago I read the diary of Piet Bremer, born in 1920 at Texel. Irene Maas, from Texel as well, bought the diary and typed it on her website. That diary (click on the link under) can also be a good -may be new for you- source for other plain crashes.
A short translation:
‘May 17th 1943. Don’t praise the Sunday before the evening comes. Yesterday at 11 in the evening a low flying ‘Thommy’ came from sea, crossed pole 9 and flew to Den Helder. Out of bed. In the spotlight. Much shooting. The plane shot back. Explosion and one minute burning on the ground, with a lot of smoke. Went to bed. …)
‘17-5-1943. M. Prijs de Zondag niet eer het avond is. Gisteravond 11 uur kwam een Thommy laag van zee over paal 9 naar Den Helder. Ik er uit. In het zoeklicht. Fel schieten. Terug schieten. Even later uit elkaar gebarsten en een minuut hevige brand op de grond, met hoge rookkolom. Daarna weer te bed. Zo is de mens op 16 Mei 1943. Het was te laat om met elkaar te bekvechten, wie het het eerste gezien had.‘ (dagboek Piet Bremer op irenemaas.nl/pages/Verhalen/Bremer/1943.htm)
I suppose there’s nothing really new for you. The witness Bremer lived in Den Burg and thought that the crash was ‘on the ground’. That doesn’t match with the fact that the crash was in the Waddenzee.
Greetings, Cas Straatman email@example.com