During World War II more than 40 different bombers and jet fighters have crashed within de county borders of Hollands Kroon. The crashes were mostly on land, in the Ijssel lake and the Wadden sea.
Few crew members were arrested after using their parachute to reach the ground, others could flee with the help of the Resistance. However, the majority lost their lives and did not return home safely to their family and loved ones.
Unveiled on April 25th, 2023
Avro Lancaster Mk. III ND357 GT-G from 156 “Pathfinder” Squadron
The ND357 departed from Warboys airfield on January 14 1944 at 4.45 p.m. towards Braunschweig Germany. After the bombing, the aircraft was shot down on its way back by the Messerschmitt Bf 110G of Oberleutnant Dietrich Schmidt operating from Leeuwarden. From the east, the burning bomber flew low over Kolhorn, between the church and the then primary school. The Lancaster crashed into the ditch side at 8.35 pm, almost against the dike.
The bomber had a very experienced crew on board. Five crew members had one or more awards and six had completed more than thirty missions. Mansfield and Alexander even more than fifty missions. The entire crew was killed and is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery near Bergen op Zoom. Five are buried together in one grave.
Nelson Reuben Mansfield
31 years old
Charles Henry Lawrance
30 years old
Edward Sudbury Alexander
24 years old
Bernard Aidan Trott
29 years old
Charles Roy Swinney
26 years old
Victor Norman Cawdery
20 years old
George William Penrose
30 years old
Unveiling of the remembrance post for the crew of the Avro Lancaster ND357 on April 25, 2023
On Tuesday evening, April 25, 2023, the unveiling of the remembrance post in memory of the crew of the Avro Lancaster Mk III ND357 GT-G of 156 “Pathfinder” Squadron took place. It was an impressive moment for Jim and Patty Nichol from Canada, relatives of Edward Sudbury Alexander, one of the Lancaster's crew members.
Mien Struik-Bakker, a 92-year-old resident of the region, was also present to make the unveiling together with Patty. Colonel Marc LaFortune, Defense Attaché to the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, was also present on behalf of the Canadian Embassy.
The 4 May Committee, historical society and foundation Oud Kolhorn were also present at the ceremony. The program started at 7:00 PM and the ceremony ended at 7:45 PM. Afterwards there was the possibility to drink coffee or tea thanks to the much appreciated hospitality of Ton and Petra.
It was an impressive and respectful ceremony in memory of the highly experienced crew of the ND357, who gave their lives for our freedom. During the ceremony, deputy mayor Maarten Versluis of the Municipality of Hollands Kroon gave a beautiful speech. He emphasized how important and not self-evident freedom is and that we must therefore continue to remember. He reflected on the current situation in Ukraine.
Colonel Marc LaFortune of the Canadian embassy was also impressed by the ceremony and the way in which commemoration takes place in the Netherlands. He indicated that they do not do this in this way in Canada and that he was deeply impressed by the way in which the Netherlands reflects on the sacrifices made for the freedom of our country.
The remembrance post was officially unveiled by Patty Nichol and Mien Struik-Bakker. Dirk Bak played The Last Post and the national anthems of New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. The presence of the veterans led by Dick Doornik made the official character of this commemoration complete and impressive.
Edith van de Bovenkamp provided the memorial pole with a container of Freedom Flame tulips. The intention is that these tulips will be placed at all remembrance posts of our foundation in the coming weeks.
Stichting Herdenkingspalen Hollands Kroon
Board of the foundation
Board members fulfill their tasks on a voluntary basis
Documents of the foundation