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November 28, On October 12, , the memorial panel in The Netherlands to honour the crew of Halifax L was unveiled. On Saturday, an information panel was unveiled at the site of the crash. The plane crashed near the Weersterweg, just outside Wons, at 22 hours 17 minutes. The next morning, it became clear that the 23 year old pilot, Elmer Bagnall Muttart, did not survive the crash. The fact that the pilot was able to control the damaged plane long enough gave the remaining 7 crew members the chance to escape out of the burning bomber.

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November 28, On October 12, , the memorial panel in The Netherlands to honour the crew of Halifax L was unveiled. On Saturday, an information panel was unveiled at the site of the crash. The plane crashed near the Weersterweg, just outside Wons, at 22 hours 17 minutes. The next morning, it became clear that the 23 year old pilot, Elmer Bagnall Muttart, did not survive the crash. The fact that the pilot was able to control the damaged plane long enough gave the remaining 7 crew members the chance to escape out of the burning bomber.

All survivors ended up in German prisoner of war camps and got their freedom back in Exceptional is the story of rear gunner John Duffield of Oxford, who was hospitalized with severe injuries in the German section of the Boniface Hospital in Leeuwarden.

He was regularly visited by Poldi Fellerer and his gunner, Georg Lotze. In , 14 years after the crash of L, Lotze made an attempt from Germany to get in touch again with Duffield.

In his homeland, the deceased pilot Elmer Muttart has never been forgotten. In Canada, Dutchman Pieter Valkenburg, who resides there, has delved into the history of all the deceased names on the monument, and as of also researched the life of Sgt Muttart. About 30 relatives were present, as well as Deputy Mayor Maarten Offinga. Before the unveiling there was a reception at the museum Het Hannemahuis in Harlingen, where a short presentation about the history of Halifax L was given.

Information Panel on Crash Unveiled. However, over Harlingen, they were shot at and hit by a German nightfighter and the plane caught fire. Thanks to him, they survived the crash. The plane crashed just outside Wons and the 23 year old pilot was killed by the crash. Exactly 78 years later, there again were Canadians and British in and around Wons. This time they were relatives of the afore-mentioned crew.

They were invited for the unveiling of an information panel on the Weersterweg that will ensure that this event will never be forgotten. Already for years he has been doing research on Canadians who were killed during the Second World War. Elgersma from Dorpsbelang Wons, and Mr. Pieter Valkenburg unveiled the panel with information about what happened on that autumn evening in Wreaths and flowers were laid by local and international organizations, such as the Canadian and British embassies in The Netherlands.

Families were then invited to be the first to view the panel. After everybody had taken in the information and surroundings, the group left for Wons and stopped, for a few moments, at the war memorial there. Earlier that day, they visited Het Hannemahuis in Harlingen where, according to one guest, a great presentation was given. Of course, they also had visited the grave of the deceased Elmer Muttart in Harlingen. Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg.

A big thank you to Pieter for taking the time to translate the articles! If you know of any more media stories, or have stories or photos to share about the crew or the events of October 12, , please contact Pieter at dariadv yahoo. November 18, On October 12, , the day of the unveiling of the memorial panel in The Netherlands to honour the crew of Halifax L finally arrived, with a series of events organized by the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, a non-profit volunteer organization based in the province of Friesland.

The Halifax L Crew. When we walked out of the Het Hannemahuis Museum in Harlingen, the dry but cloudy skies we had at the Harlingen General Cemetery had changed to rain. Out came the umbrellas as we made the long walk to the bus for the trip to Wons. Instead it rained even harder, meaning the memorial panel was to be unveiled in the rain.

Waiting for the unveiling of the memorial plaque in Wons. Photo credit: Sikko Drijver. The memorial panel was hidden from view by the flag of Wons when we first arrived. The memorial panel is located along a bicycle path and overlooking a field on the Politiek farm where Halifax L came down.

In addition to our Canadian and British group and volunteers from the Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, we were joined by dignitaries and citizens from the village of Wons and nearby communities. Finally the moment to unveil the memorial panel arrived, and the unveilers represented organizations that had provided funding towards the memorial panel. The unveilers were:. Unveiling of the memorial panel. George airbase, how it was attacked by a German nightfighter, the burial of Elmer Muttart in Harlingen General Cemetery on October 16, , the fate of the rest of the crew in POW camps in Germany, and ends with the unveiling of the memorial panel in Wons on October 12, At the bottom of the panel are photos of each crew member.

The memorial panel in Wons, overlooking the field on the Politiek farm where Halifax L came down. The memorial panel unveiled, the remembrance ceremony began, with the playing of the Last Post by Sgt Major Piet Bergsma of the Dutch Air Force, followed by a minute of silence and then the playing of the Reveille.

Next came the laying of wreaths by:. Colonel Timothy Young, left, who laid the wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada. Some of the wreaths and flags laid by the memorial panel in Wons. After the official ceremony was finished, family members were invited to get a closer look at the memorial panel. The Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation volunteers are commended for the wonderful job they did in designing the memorial panel. A remembrance project that has come full circle for Pieter with the permanent recognition given to the crew of Halifax L Once everyone had a chance to see the memorial panel, we were invited to the community hall in Wons for a small reception.

Back on the bus we went! If you have stories or photos to share about the crew or the events of October 12, , please contact Pieter at dariadv yahoo. November 9, An excellent presentation by Alexander Tuinhout and Douwe Drijver of the Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation gave everyone an idea of the events that led up to the crash on October 12, and what happened to the surviving crew members.

Middleton Saint George Aerodrome. It was no coincidence that 76 Squadron became stationed at the airfield as the Squadron was the second in the RAF flying with the new Handley Page Halifax bombers.

These modern planes were so heavy that they required long and paved runways for their takeoffs, runways that were present at Middleton. One of the pilots who switched from flying Whitleys to Halifax bombers and from 78 Squadron to 76 Squadron was Elmer Muttart, who received a promotion from Sgt to Flight Sgt in October , shortly before his last flight on October 12, Alexander had volunteered for the Royal Air Force in the spring of He was born in in Finchley, near London, but the family moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland before the war.

Sgt Reg Alexander. He was an accountancy clerk before the war but volunteered, like so many young men in those days, for the Royal Air Force in July Flight Sergeant Norman Frank Trayler. He was born in Dublin in , but lived in Mitcham, Surrey when he entered the service.. Patterson had worked as a gas and electricity repairman before he entered the RAF in November , shortly after the outbreak of war…. Sergeant George Henry Patterson. Next, Tuinhout mentioned the two Flight Engineers….

Sergeant Leslie Albert Roberts. Sergeant David Cotsell. At Harlingen General Cemetery Duffield had written that the plane had three extra people — himself, Roberts, and Hunt — to help with the flight as the Wireless Operator, Engineer, and Rear Gunner were inexperienced.

He also noted that, unfortunately, a key position was left unmanned — a gunner in the front turret — and he always wondered if events would have turned out differently had this position been filled.

John William Duffield. Photo courtesy of Lesley Newland. Tuinhout then related details of the flight of Halifax L on October 12, …. Four planes flew to Nuremburg and took part in an air raid against the Siemens factory.

L left the runway of Middleton Saint George just after half past seven and was the only plane of the Squadron that flew a more northerly route towards Bremen. Map of route taken by Halifax L Unfortunately, that evening RAF planes were observed by a night fighter base in Leeuwarden. Halifax L was one of 4 bombers that were shot down. They immediately opened up at us with all they had, and I can say their aim was good — too good for my liking.

At Harlingen General Cemetery. Muttart gave the order for the crew to evacuate and all were able to parachute out, except for Muttart himself. During a meet and greet on October 11, , family members of some of the British crew members explained that the order to leave the plane struck the crew with terror as they had never jumped out of a plane before, let alone one that was on fire, under enemy attack, and in the dark in an unknown country! Their only practice had been to jump from the roof of a building in England.

He must have tried a crash landing then…The machine must have been well on fire by this time and Elmer was either burned to death or killed when the machine blew up.

He was a gallant captain and he died that we might live. It was only his efforts that kept the disabled machine from crashing with all of us inside. The Halifax approached the village of Wons sliding and zigzagging when bombs came down in a meadow.

The plane lost a wing and eventually crashed about metres past the farm of Johannes Politiek and his family…. All of the surviving crew members spent the rest of the war years, in difficult conditions, in prisoner of war camps before returning to Great Britain to pick up their interrupted lives. Muttart was laid to rest, with military honours, in the Harlingen General Cemetery on Thursday, the 16 th of October.

With an introduction to all crew members, we next made our way to Wons, for the unveiling of the memorial panel.

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Belonging to Makkum is the hamlet Ingwier. The Sint Maarten terp is over a thousand years old. It housed the rural village Mackum with its church. In the 16th century a town arose south of the village called Statum. Here freight ships passing through the locks had to pay tolls.

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