Date : May 21, 2022
Two remembrance posts were unveiled on this day at the Schelpenbolweg.
Havilland Mosquito Mk.IV
On May 9, 1943, the Mosquito departed from Oakington Airport in England with pilot Hall and navigator Woodruff. The aircraft had taken off at 6.45 pm for a long-range photo and meteorological reconnaissance flight (PAMPA) over the Netherlands, among others.
The Mosquito was intercepted at about 8,300 meters altitude by Hauptmann Robert Olejnik of the 4./JG 1 in his Focke-Wulf FW190 fighter. The two English crew members jumped out of the plane with their parachutes. The Mosquito broke into pieces in the air, so that the wreckage ended up scattered on the ground at Schelpenbolweg, Klieverweg and Wierweg.
As soon as the navigator Woodruff landed, he was captured by the occupying forces. The pilot Hall was able to hide in various locations for a few days with the help of the resistance. But due to the threat of far-reaching heavy reprisals from the occupying forces, Hall turned himself in in Middenmeer on 14 May.
Peter Frank Hall
27 years old
William Charles Woodruff
21 years old
American army trucks at the unveiling of two remembrance posts on May 21, 2022 at the Schelpenbolweg
A Dutch Fokker suffered an engine failure on 12 May 1940 and made an emergency landing on plot E48 near the Schelpenbolweg. Both crew members escaped unhurt.
On May 9, 1943 a Mosquito reconnaissance plane was shot down after which it crashed into pieces around the Schelpenbolweg. Both crew members survived the crash by using their parachutes. They were captured by the Germans.
On May 21, 2022, we unveiled two remembrance posts for the crew members of these aircraft. Both remembrance posts have been placed and unveiled on Schelpenbolweg. Invited guests and other interested parties gathered at De Cultuurschuur in Wieringerwerf where the welcome speech was spoken by Fred de Vries of the Wieringermeer Historical Society. Fred showed a photo with explanatory text about the crashed Fokker on the back. More than eighty years later, new information is still emerging.
Mark Hakvoort, our chairman, welcomed all visitors and in particular Flying Officer Brad Duesbury of the English Embassy in The Hague, Mayor Rian van Dam, Dirk and Jetty Bak, Edith van de Bovenkamp of Freedom Flame and Veterans Schagen - Hollands Kroon. The Dutch Defense was represented by LTZ1 Richard van Hooff and SAOO Roelof van Beenen, both from De Kooy military airfield in Den Helder.
From De Cultuurschuur the guests left after the Schelpenbolweg for the first unveiling. Original American army trucks from the Medemblik War Museum were available for transport and they were gratefully used.
At the remembrance post for the Mosquito DZ316, attention was paid to Peter Frank Hall and William Charles Woodruff, who survived the crash because they used their parachutes in time. Mayor of Hollands Kroon, Rian van Dam, was also present at the unveiling of this remembrance post and briefly told what happened on 9 May 1943. Flying Officer Brad Duesbury said in his speech that he was honored to be present at this ceremony. Dirk Bak blew the English national anthem and wreaths and flowers were laid on behalf of the Municipality of Hollands Kroon, the Historical Society Wieringermeer, Verteranen Schagen and Hollands Kroon, the English Embassy and the Freedom Flame Foundation. The group then left by American army truck to the memorial pole for the Dutch Fokker, further down the Schelpenbolweg. Traffic guidance was again well organized this day by Bertus Juurlink.
Crash story of the Mosquito DZ316 and the hiding pilot
It is Sunday evening May 9, 1943, the Netherlands was occupied for three years. At 8:13 pm a large group of aircraft on mission flies over the Netherlands. At the same time, the English twin-engine Mosquito flew nearby. Peter F. Hall (pilot) and his navigator William C. Woodruff were together on a weather reconnaissance mission.
The Allies made multiple weather reconnaissance daily to provide a good forecast for the upcoming land, sea and air operations. The aircraft, the Mosquito, was specially equipped with cameras for this type of mission, called Photorecce and Meteorological Photography Aircraft (PAMPA). Hall and Woodruff had taken off from Oakington, England, airport at 6:45 pm that evening.
Four German fighters of the type Focke Wulf FW 190 A-5 caught sight of the fast English Mosquito. The Focke Wulfs had taken off from Woensdrecht airfield and belonged to the Jagdgeschwader 4./JG1 (German name for a squadron). Normally a Mosquito was a very difficult aircraft to intercept, partly due to its speed and altitude. The German pilot Hauptmann Robert Olejnik shot at the Mosquito, after which the aircraft shattered into burning pieces in mid-air. The crew of the Mosquito was able to save themselves just in time with the parachute. Because the time was about 8.13 pm in May, the occupier could clearly see both parachutes coming down from the ground.
The German pilot Hauptmann Robert Olejnik was born on March 9, 1911 in Essen-Borbeck. During the war he flew 680 missions and shot down 42 planes. He survived the war and died on October 29, 1988 in Munich.
The plane wreckage fell scattered on the ground at several farms north of Slootdorp. Among other things, a piece of the fuselage landed at J. van de Oord (lot F50) and J. Schrale (lot E25) on the Wierweg. The largest part of the Mosquito came down in flames at the Schelpenbolweg near F. Aukema (lot E37).
The P/O observer William C. Woodruff landed with his parachute in the Wieringermeerpolder south of the Haukes, on plot E38 (tenant L. Vreugdenhil) and was arrested there almost immediately by Dutch Marechaussee Mr. T van de Hoek. Together with the head of the Air Defense Service (LBD), Mr. C.W. van Zijll-Langhout, he handed over Woodruff to the German soldiers who had arrived in the meantime.
Woodruff spent the rest of the war in a POW camp. Woodruff passed away on July 25, 2003. The other possible location where Woodruff landed is at K.E. Vlieg (lot E52/53) mentioned Mr. John de Vries from Pella USA. John was born on May 21, 1934 as Jan de Vries and emigrated in 1949. In June 2015 he wrote a letter with his eyewitness account.
The Mosquito pilot, F/O Peter F. Hall, landed at a different location with his parachute. In the report of the LBD of 12 May, van Zijll-Langhout mentions the following about the evening of 9 May. The pilot Hall landed on the farm L.Y. Kuipers on the Schelpenbolweg (lot E42). Immediately after LBD's arrival, the Englishman appeared to have disappeared. During the interrogation of Kuipers by Van Zijll-Langhout, he stated that the Englishman had seen walking across J. de Vries' land (lot E41) in the direction of Schelpenbolweg. Afterwards, the LBD paid a visit to Mr. Jelle de Vries on the Schelpenbolweg. He says that they (Jelle De Vries, J. v.d. Meulen and J.E. Rinsma) had come across the Englishman on De Vries' plot. The Englishman had made it clear to them with gestures that he wanted to be hidden. He was refused this, reported de Vries to van Zijll-Langhout. After this, the Englishman continued to the Schelpenbolweg. After this, De Vries and his servants no longer paid any attention to him, because they thought that he "walked into the arms" of the members of the "German Wehrmacht", who had already arrived". De Vries and the servants "went to take a look at the Englishman's parachute".
A 2015 letter from Reinder Jacobi from Canada describes the eyewitness account of the Jacobi family. mr. Melle Jacobi was a tenant on plot E14 on the Wierweg in Slootdorp. In January 1935 Melle Jacobi came to the Wieringermeer with his wife and 2 children. In August 1935 the youngest brother Gooitsen Jacobi came to work on the farm of Melle. After the war, in 1955 the Jacobi family emigrated to Brazil. In the eyewitness account of Melle Jacobi, it is described that Melle Jacobi went to it (the location of the paratrooper) on the bicycle. When he arrived at the yard of Jelle de Vries on the Schelpenbolweg, it was already full of German soldiers (Zoll Grenz Schutz in Den Oever). Jacobi asked de Vries at an unnoticed moment where the pilot was hidden. De Vries nodded to a small corner of flowering tuber seed in the vegetable garden. The Germans ran around the piece of tuber seed with their rifles ready, without anyone having the idea to examine the field more closely.
mr. John de Vries (Jelle de Vries' son) emigrated in 1949 and lives in Pella USA, his account differs from that of Melle Jacobi. The pilot was helped to remove his parachute and he was taken to De Vries' farm to hide. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for this, because the Germans had already arrived at the farm on the Schelpenbolweg. Pilot Hall was hidden in the middle of a pothole about one meter high and three meters in diameter and covered by Jan Bruinsma. The story of John de Vries is different from Melle Jacobi, but essentially the same.
In any case, it frustrated the German occupier, who immediately went to search the farm of De Vries and the neighbors. De Vries and Bruinsma were interrogated by an interpreter, but by switching to Frisian, the interpreter did not get much further. De Vries became quite nervous because he illegally hid wheat and even a radio on the farm, but neither was found. The German soldiers dug into the pit where Hall was hidden, while De Vries stood next to it, but found nothing. nerve-wracking. Until midnight the soldiers searched without finding anything, says John de Vries.
John de Vries mentions in his story that Hall had left the hump overnight, walked back to the L.Y. Kuiper's farm and hid there in the chicken coop. Monday morning 10 May at 6.30 am Mrs. Kuipers went to feed the chickens and look for eggs and was shocked when she opened the chicken coop. There Hall sat among the hens and just gulped down a raw egg. She immediately put her finger to her lips to signal Hall to be quiet. De Vries was called in and Hall was taken back to the farm where he was given a proper breakfast, changed clothes and hid for the rest of the day.
Jelle de Vries and Melle Jacobi had agreed that when things calmed down, Jacobi would pick up the pilot. After dressing up the pilot Peter Hall as a farmer, they set off together to Jacobi's farm on the Wierweg. Via the land of De Vries, through the canal (the Wiertocht) they came behind the land of J. Schrale (lot E25) and continued to Jacobi's farm. From there to the bushes near the draft ditch (the Hooge Terptocht, which is now partly filled in as a rubbish dump). An underground shelter had been built there. In the hide, Hall was accommodated with two Jewish people in hiding (names unknown), who also had a hiding place there.
The occupier felt taken for granted. And when the occupying forces had not found the pilot the following day(s), they captured J. de Vries, Bruinsma and De Vries' brother. Visible from De Vries' farm, the three men were lined up 15 meters apart, each guarded by 3 or 4 German soldiers wearing helmets. A German officer threatened the three with death if the pilot did not show up immediately.
John de Vries (9 years old) and his brother Jerry (7 years old) came home from school and saw the three men and recognized their father. Both yelled "hi daddy" but their father did not respond. John recalled that his father saw "white as snow".
About an hour after John's return, an interpreter with a German entered Mrs. De Vries's house. It was announced that the three men would be hanged and that father De Vries had asked for Reverend L. de Goede from Slootdorp.
Meanwhile, it was rumored that the Germans would conduct a raid and search all the forest strips along the trails and canals. In 1943 there were hardly any trees in the polder that had only been drained 13 years earlier. The imminent threat of a raid made residents very concerned. The safety of the Jewish people in hiding was also in danger. The pressure was further increased by the occupying forces. The pastor from Slootdorp, L. de Goede, was asked as an interpreter to explain the situation to the Englishman. Because the reports of De Vries and Jacobi here differ, it is possible that the pastor first visited the hiding place on the way to De Vries' farm.
The pilot Peter Hall thought that, in this case, it would be better to surrender to the German occupier. Towards evening Gooitsen Jacobi, Melle's brother, left for Slootdorp with the pilot and the two Jews. There are two different storylines. Story 1 by Melle Jacobi: That night they hid in the open air on a piece of wheat land (location unknown) and the next day the pilot surrendered in Middenmeer. Story 2, of the elderly in Slootdorp. They tell the story that the English pilot hid for a few days in the Reformed church in Slootdorp. Behind the church organ was a small hiding place and the story goes that Hall hid there. If this is the case, a lot of risk has been taken because the church tower was a German lookout during the war. Every night soldiers stood on the church tower to look out for overcoming planes.
In any case, the follow-up is described in detail in the additional report of the LBD of Van Zijll-Langhout of 14 May. That morning, Van Zijll-Langhout was called by the mayor A. Saal that the fugitive English pilot had joined the Guard of the Marechaussee J.H. Noot found.
The pilot Peter Hall had entered Hotel Smit in Middenmeer at 07:30 in the morning. The owner of the Hotel, Mr. R.D. Smit immediately informed the police. After the report, Mr. Noot immediately went to hotel Smit. There the report states that "after he had breakfast, he took the airman to the police post in Middenmeer". After this Hall was “surrendered” by Van Zijll-Langhout to the Feldgendarmerie (German military police) in Alkmaar.
After this, the Germans stopped their searches, released the three hostages and the Jewish people in hiding were able to return to their hiding place on the Hooge Terptocht. Yet after all this, that place was no longer considered safe by Melle Jacobi. Another woman in hiding, Mrs. Annie Geuzenbroek, who was hiding in a small room on the farm, was approaching a nervous crisis. It was decided to take the three people in hiding to Melle Jacobi's father in Nijega (Friesland). The resistance hero from the polder, Mr. A.C. de Graaf had a brother who had access to an official car, with which one could safely undertake the journey. In Friesland, Annie and the two Jewish people in hiding were able to wait for the end of the war.
From Alkmaar, Peter Hall was deported by the Germans to a prisoner of war camp. Hall spent the rest of the war in a POW camp. About a year after the end of the war, the De Vries family received a letter from England that Hall had returned safely and was living in Glasgow.
The impressive story of the families of Mr. Melle Jacobi and John de Vries and many others about the risks that were taken, the possible reprisals by the occupying forces, Jewish people in hiding, A.C. de Graaf and the English pilots may not be complete. If anyone remembers or has any details available, we at Stichting Herdenkingspalen Hollands Kroon would like to keep this for future generations. You can email our chairman Mark Hakvoort about this: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stichting Herdenkingspalen Hollands Kroon