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My Last Mission with the Dutch 320 Squadron

by Researcher 240096

Contributed by 
Researcher 240096
People in story: 
about Leendert Jonker
Location of story: 
Wales/ Schotland/ England.
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
24 August 2003

25th October 1943
It looked like any other day so ordinary — BUT !!!!

52-Crew members of the 320th squadron of the Netherlands Fleet Air Arm had to report early in the morning for a special bombing-mission over enemy territory across the Channel. The target was the airport Lanveoc-Poulmec. The airraid was going to be carried out together with 12 Mitchell bombers of the 98th Squadron with the coverage of 5 Spitfires and 4 Typhoon Squadrons. In all 133 Airo planes would take part in this operation. The Airfield to be bombed, was being used tor long distance reconaissance enemy planes which operated with the German submarines (creepy assasins, no wonder they were called the Wolf-pack) on the Atlantic route during the last war.
The take-off took place at 12.35hrs. from the Lasham airfield. And the general formation with the fighters escort would take place at 13.45hrs. over Dodman-Point and then the crossing to Landernau would start. At 14.45hrs. the French coast was
sighted and we flew at a height of 12.00Oft. Visibility was good. Only at about 6.000ft. a few small clouds were floating by.

Suddenly the anti-aircraft batteries started their deadly attack on us with such an intensity that formation section 3 and 4 were at a dead-loss and started panicking, this to the amazement and rage of the escorting fighters and the formationleader. The flying became erratic, zigzagging-like and changing heights. This put a heavy strain on the pilots to keep their planes on the right course.
Our crew were: the Pilot Jan Maas; Navigator Gerard Claassen; Telegraphist Hans Pennock and myself being turret-gunner.
We flew as nr. 2 in the formation nr. 2 of Wing-commander Bakker.
My orders were, to observe and watch out, while in front of the formation, for enemy fighters and to report their presence immediately.
Our Squadron-leader explicitly wanted to make a direct hit and flew a long bombing-run well over 40 sec. to reach his goal.
But by doing so we flew directly in the path of heavy ack-ack fire. More or less the same time I saw the bomb drop, an enormous explosion took place.
Simultaneously our kite was hit and rolled over on its back, where upon we started nose-diving while spinning around. Thank goodness this didn't last long as Jan regained controle over the plane. Up till now it's a mystery to me how the wings could have stood up to such an tremendous pressure. This all gave me the strength to regain my composure although severely wounded. One way or another I succeeded to look around and discovered myself in the open air. I noticed that the
barrel of one of the 12.7 machine-guns was ripped off. The fusilage, if one could call it that any longer, was one great mess. All around me gaping big holes, including
tail wings and ailerons. I also could feel gasoline blown into my face. While in a dream, though it seemed more like a nightmare, I was gazing around and noticed more and more flakbursts of exploding ack-ack shells. From the corner of my eye I observed, high above us, two fighters who were coming towards us and once more alarm took possesion of me. Somehow I managed to turn the turret towards the aft-end of the plane, in spite of the fact that I couldn't use my right arm, being badly injured, I tried the firing mechanisme and to my unspeakable delight the left machine-gun fired.

I felt strangely comforted by this action and my hope to reach our base in Good Old Blighty grew by the second. As the two fighters came nearer I recognised, with a sigh of relief, that they were our own Spitfires. Immediately they took charge of us and accompanied us till we were well out of enemy territory.
Although tormented by appaeling pain and loss of blood I crept out of the turret as I wasn't able to stand up. I looked at my right arm and became dumbfounded, it was nearly severed by the elbow and the underarm was hanging on by a strand of
my skin. I also suffered immensely of a severe wound in the thigh of my right leg and of lesser cuts and lacerations on back and legs. While I laid down there, I somehow succeeded to put on an emergency dressing around my arm or what was
left over of it. To accomplish this I had to open a package of emergency first aid kit. Our navigator, Claassen, did his utmost to assist me in my efforts but to no avail. Neither did he succeed in injecting me with morphine to soften my pain.
Do not ask me how, but during this spell I noticed that the panzer-windows of the fusilage had disappeared, apparently blown away. Beneath me was an enormous hole on account of having lost our bottom-turret. Above me the blue sky. Through
all the holes cold air readily found its way into our plane and probably the cold air acted as an anaestetic and made me feel numb and drowsy, most presumably it also stopped the flow of blood from my numerous wounds.

Just over Exeter were the landing was set in, I accidently looked to starboardside of the plane and to my most astounding horror I saw that the tyres of both wheels of the landing-gear were ripped apart and hanging on the landing-gear. The moment Jan landed the plane or what was left over of it, he slightly pulled the plane backwards, this to achieve a soft landing. When the wheel-rims hit the ground the engines stopped. The pilot managed to clear the take-off strip of the airfield by stearing it into the field where it came to a standstill. All I can say after all these years, to me it was the most succesfull landing I ever encountered in my whole career and I am still in awe and amazement. At that moment the time on my watch read 15.27hrs. Immediately nurses came running towards the plane to rescue me out of the wreckage. They did not succeed in reaching me on account everything was either broken down or twisted, while sharp metalstrips were portruding everywhere. The door shielded by a panzer of more than a centimeter thick was
crumbled-up like a piece of paper. Somehow I managed to crawl out through a smaller hole in the fusilage, by using one arm and a leg, this took nearly the last of my energy. But although almost overcome by pain I did not succumb to unconsciousness.

With all the speed they could muster, I was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. The medical staff stood awaiting me. Immediately they cut away all the clothes from my body. As they already had identified my blood-group from my identification-disk, straight away I was given a blood-transfusion.
I just succeeded to pass-on the address of my wife. Last but not least I remember two doctors bending over me, contemplating to amputate my right arm.
My answer to his question if they were allowed to experiment with my arm, was affirmative. Then everything blotted out for me.

About nine the same evening I partly awoke out of my narcosis and noticed that my arm was still there. Nurse Lenten who kept watch at my bedside told me that she had phoned my wife and that she would take the next train from Holyhead. In fact it was going to be 7pm the next night-before she arrived.
The staff had prepared a room for her, so my wife would be able to visit me regularly.

Next day Jan Maas and Gerard Claassen paid me a visit. lt must have given them some shock to see me in this condition. The staff had concocted some structure where my arm laid in, blood-transfusions where the blood dripped
down my fingers. At the foot-end of my bed a heavy weight was attached to my right leg to keep it stretched all times so the muscles in the backside of my thigh
could regain their strength. I confessed the following to Jan: During the flight back I could follow all conversations over the intercom. In my mind I was throughly convinced we would succeed in reaching England. Through one of the many holes I saw that of the steering-cables only two strands were left intact, but I didn't report this to Jan. So that's how I owed up now. Jan looked at me and his answer was: "Leen we're here and alive and that's all what counts". lt took appr. 24hrs before I regained control over my mental faculties due to the fact oftension, fatigue and loss of blood. The Canadian orthopedic-surgeon attached to the Hospital, paid me daily a visit. He told in full what his plans were if the operation would succeed.

Also the C.O. of the airfield paid me a visit. Accompanying him were a Doctor and a man of Cloth. They all immensely admired the performance of Jan Maas. Only supernatural powers must have assisted him to keep this kite, in such a terrible condition, in the air and to land safely. Beside the afore mentioned big holes another 1300 smaller ones were accounted for. Jan was a Pilot of great class who proved to be selfdisciplined, courageous and dutyfull. Furthermore Jan personally expressed his thanks to the Spitfire-pilots who escorted us home in our heavily mutilated plane. Some time later I learned that our own losses were quite heavy.
5 Members killed, 1 severely wounded, 3 wounded, 2 received shocks, one of them being our telegraphist Hans Pennock , three baled out and were captured and made prisoners of war by the Terries. The 2nd of Nov. 1943 became a special day for me. I received two official despatches. The first one informed me that I was awarded the Flying Cross with the following mentioning:

"As gunner of a Mitchell-bomber of the 320th Squadron RDNAS of the Dutch Fleet Air Arm stationed in the U.K., during an airraid on an enemy airfield near Brest(France) on the 25th Oct. 1943 showed exemplary duty,
perseverance, courage and high morality after his plane received a direct hit whereby he himself was severely wounded and with disregard for his own condition and carrying on without pain-killers stayed on his post and even after loss of blood, to control himself and ensuring the others that
nothing was wrong with him, by doing so kept the moral of the crew at highest level".

The 2nd letter from the Neth. Naval H.Q. informed me that I had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Obviously this was not to be a dry occasion and a toast with a glass of wine concluded this memorable occasion. The Staff decorated my
bed and last but not least flowers and a basket of fruit arrived.

The 5th Nov. 1943 The first plastercast was being renewed. The medical staff also told me that the operation of my arm had been a great success and didn't have to be amputated. The leading surgeon told me what they had done to save my
arm and they showed me the X-rays. At last there was some cause for optimisme. Furthermore the surgeon told me that Prof. Seddon of Oxford would be contacted and would undertake the experiment of relaying the nerves in my arm in a different
course and connect them up again. But first of all the big wounds had to heal.
A big disappointment took place to all concerned of the medical staff. At the 8th Nov. 1943 I was being transferred to the R.A.F. Hospital at Wroughton.
The transport to the hospital was terrible. I had a feeling if the springs of the ambulance had gone for a burden. The hospital was a newly prepared hospital with 1500 beds, the Matron, rather short of short of size, appr. 5ft-3 inches, compensated this shortness by ruling with an iron hand and her tongue was razorlike. God bless her.

Thank goodness it was a short stay at this hospital, where mainly skin-transplantations took place. With some success two operations took place, performed by Dr. Keto, a surgeon from New-Zealand. Around the end of the year I was allowed to get out of bed during the day-time. But then ‘the next problem arose. All my clothing had been incinerated after I was admitted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. They were covered with blood and scrapnell. After consultation with the leading Surgeon I was granted to leave, in borrowed clothes, for the Dutch Naval H.Q. at London, to acquire a new outfit (uniform) for a P.O.
I was given a special travel-permit for a period of 14 days. Where also was mentioned and requested of the Railway concerned to keep at all time e seat ready either first or second class. I first travelled to Lasham, where I found my old raincoat. All my personal belongings had been sent to my wife in Holyhead.
Hence direction London where I arrived in the evening and luckily enough there was a room free at the Bangor Hotel. After a good nightrest I proceeded to the Dutch Naval H.Q. At first some sort of a form had to be filled in and after that I was given a sum of money. Then they discovered that I was promoted to Sergeant while inactive and laying in hospital recovering of my wounds.

The next two points were specified as follows:
1. This promotion is contrary the law and Naval regulations.
2. The promotion was official and could not be revoked.
Just sort this one out. At long last up to the clothing stores. That was a good laugh, hardly anything fitted me of course. I was told to see a tailor to have an uniform and overcoat made to measure. As I wanted to travel to Holyhead I was advised
to see the Naval tailor who was stationed in H'head. My arrival at H'head was a great suprise for my wife and family. I was given all the assistance by the Naval-tailor and couldn't have wished for better. Within a week I was the proud possessor of a new uniform and overcoat to go with it. One more problem cropped up. I was still plagued by open wounds which needed daily cleansing and dressing up.
This also was mentioned in the open letter I was given by the hospital staff.
But I could not be treated in the Dutch Naval sickbay as they didn't have the proper medicaments. After the skin-transplantation I was left with an open wound appr. 5 c/m wide which hadn't healed properly and was covered by sterilised strips of cloth soaked in Vaseline and special treated dressing. Luckily our GP. in H'head
had the proper remedy at her disposal and she was willing to treat me every morning.

After my return to the hospital I had a long conversation with the doctors involved. They, were surprised that there had been no contact or sign of life from the Dutch Naval Authorities. My wife was the only contact during my stay in the hospital. Only one friend paid me a visit namely Gerrit van der Wee. After consultation with the doctors I was told that, to perform the nerve-system operation I had to go to a hospital in Oxford. The second week of January 1944
I was taken by ambulance to the Wingfield Morris hospital on arrival there, the driver was told to take me to Rippen Hall, an old castle just outside oxford.
The building and the grounds around it,looked like a picture taken out of a fairy-tale book. It was tea time when I arrived and I was introduced to the head-nurse who appeared to be very kind and pleasant. She gave me a short summing-up about Rippen Hall. After that, I was invited to afternoon-tea in the dining hall. It was a real English tea only to be tound in England. Later I was introduced to the staff and other patients, they all wished me well. I also was introduced to the owner of the castle and his adjutant, both pensioned military men. I was given my own room. The nurses were all voluntary staff assisted by helping hands. I arrived Tuesday and next day I met Dr. Seddon, the well known neurologist, and three of his staff-members.

There seemed to be some movement in the arm after removing the plaster-cast. They'd never experienced anything like this. No elbow and yet movement. After examination decision was taken to operate. The nerves in my arm had to be altered and relayed and then needed connecting up again. The operation was to take place on saturday-morning at the Wingfield Morris Hosp. In the meantime I was introduced to a voluntary parttimer Mrs.Cambell-Thomsen, widow of the renowned Prof. Cambell-Thomsen. The lady invited me to her home to exchange views in a more settled manner. When she heard I was married she invited my wife for a holiday.

The mansion, too big to her liking, was during the war being used by the London Museum, to keep valuable pieces, which she and her husband together had discovered and collected, in a safe place. She spoke a lot about her three children, their travels and discoveries. She also remembered all her friends which she had encountered during her travels especially her old friend Agatha Christie.
In the manor were to be found many mummies, enormous vases and the renowned papyrus scrolls. Two of them were partly translated, with amongst the translaters Dutch Historians from Leiden. A long time time we kept contact with each other.

Saturday (20-05-’44), the operation date. Prof. Seddon and Miss D. Williams, were going to perform the operation. It was a great success, we couldn't have wished for a better result. Prof. Seddon pointed out to me that revalidating would take a long time. lt was of the greatest importance to exercise a lot and so regain flexibility of my muscles which had gone rather stiff in the meantime. I promised him I would do my utmost.

In- as well outside Rippen Hall I had many friends. We often were invited by very prominent people. Many of them had a position at the University. We heard that
many discoveries took place especially on Medical level. Most of the patients underwent voluntary treatment. Prof's, assistants and voluntary parttimers amongst them lots of wives of Doctors and Professors. Anyone of them would be available for 24hrs if necessary just to reach the goal they had set themselves to be of service to the patients. As many patients were beyond help, especially where operations were too late due to long waiting times. To perform operations this had to happen within 3 months after the accident to have some chance of success. This on account of the nerves in body and limbs. Students and young doctors were highly interested in the research-work of the Professor. We, the patients, were often asked to go to University-clinics, all expenses paid. Later we found out that expenses were paid by the interested doctors themselves.

Some doctors thought that even torn off limbs could be affixed again. In my case this was proven. Prof. Seddon and dr. Zachary were of the opinion that nerves could be transplanted. But before this could be achieved, extensive research had to be done. Many makeshift therapies were being tried out specially regarding revalidation. Everyday massage, warm baths and electric shock-therapy.
it soon became obvious that, in my case, the doctors were very successful.
The "ELBOW" movement and the re-growth of the implanted nerves were going according to plan. Dr. Williams was very proud how things had turned out after the successful operation. A remarkable incident took place when I visited a theatre
in Oxford. During music played on a violin I became increasingly aware of a strong tingling in my arm. lt seemed as if I was pricked by thousands of needles.
This irritation forced me to leave the theatre. Of course the weather had great influence on my arm especially by atmospheric pression. I know now I have to live with this. If stiffening of the muscles takes place in my arm it's hellish, but one must fight this contineously and be thankful one is alive and so the remedy is, keep active. Perspiration test amongst others showed that the nerves grew by appr. 1/2 millimetre a day.

During my stay of nine months in several hospitals not one, repeat not one official of the Dutch Naval Service ever bothered to enquire after or paid me a visit.
One would assume that persons like Naval-Chaplains or padres would take an interest as part of their daily duty, but nothing happened along these lines. And to think these men of cloth were the persons who had been assigned to ful fill these
duties but even they, passed on the bucket. Even the Flying Cross awarded to me, was dispatched by letter to my wife in Holyhead. The Rippen Hall surroundings were of great beauty, slightly similar to a small place in Holland called Bergen situated along the North-Sea coast in North Holland. Back to Rippen Hall, woody countryside with many big Manors, some farms and last but not least the local pubs. During the war the big houses and manors were filled to the nock with all kinds of valuable treasures from all kinds of musea. Before the war Rippon Hall had been part of
Oxford University. So there still was a comprehensive library. The hall merged with the church played a great role as a social and cultural centre. We, that's a few patients, were also allowed to take part in this circle. Every Tuesday night card games were being organised. Wednesday-evening was dancing night. Saturday-night there usually was either a film or play-acting. Sunday-morning Church Service and in the evening a forum was formed where all kinds of discussions took place.
Social, political and scientific subjects were usually the main items on the menu. Even the local population as well the patients took part in this discussions.
Of course the pubs regularly frequented by us for a bite or drink and sometimes for both. During the daytime we were very busy with all kinds of therapy as special attention was given that our damaged limbs etc. would function more or less normal
in the future. Even patients were given the opportunity to learn a new trade for times to come. After the invasion in Normandy, the Hall was packed with new
patients so logically we had to make room for them. Although every 3 months we had to come back for a medical check-up.

In July 1944 I was given leave and travelled to Holyhead where my wife lived. First I had te report aboard Hr. Ms. Depotship "Medusa", formerly a minelayer. Medically they could not treat me in Holyhead. Prof. Seddon suggested I put in for a transfer, to be stationed in London. The professor would personally be able to attend me. So the Dutch Navy had to create a position for me. After consultation with the Naval Officer in charge of the Personnel Dept. I was put in charge of the project "Watertransport" which meant I had to take care of Dutch Naval personnel, their wives and children who were repatriated to Holland and look after their personal belongings.

For further medical treatment I had to attend a R.A.F. clinic in Regents Park. From September 1944 upto and including May 1947 I have been in medical care. So within 11 months after my disastrous flying mission I resumed active service in the Dutch Naval Force.

Soon after one of my daily visits to the clinic I was to meet highly placed functionaries. Sir Winston Churchill was one of them. He was being troubled
by a painful back. We rather got on well and this resulted in an invitation to attend a session of Parliament. I even was presented with two of his famous cigars.

Also ministers and highranking officers, amongst them Chief of Staff of the R.A.F. underwent therapeutic treatment.
The Chief of Staff I remember very well, as I was very often given a lift in his Rolls Royce. On some occasions, if time wasn't pressing, we went to the Savoy for a cup of coffee and then I was driven back to the Dutch Naval H.Q.
But these visits were just a prologue of what was going to be one of my greatest and most memorable encounter of-all. One morning, during treatment, the Doctor and a courier from Buckingham Palace entered the massage-room. This Royal Messenger introduced himself and revealed to me that he had to pass an a request from His Majesty King George the Sixth. The Royal Request was phrased as follows: His Majesties King George and Queen Elisabeth with both the Royal Highnesses Elisabeth and Margaret intended to pay a visit to the R.A.F. clinic and H.M. the King would appreciatie it very much if Sergeant L. Jonker would also be present that particular day. The Royal visit would take place the week after. Miss Williams my physiotherapist as well myself Were overcome with delight and looking forward to this memorable occasion. I pledged myself by ensuring the Courier that I would not fail to be present. It seemed that only one officer of the Dutch Navy Air Arm was informed of this Royal Visit. During the visit 1 felt completely relaxed.
Miss Williams continued her treatment as usual. His Majesty the King was completely informed about my military career in the Marine Corps and the Dutch Fleet Air Arm.

His Majesty also asked questions about medical treatment in three hospitals and how they managed to save my arm. The doctor who accompanied the Royal Familiy pointed out to the King how important this was for the medical world to achieve
this success. I have no exact recollection of the time how long the Royal visit lasted, but I believe longer than 35 minutes. The parting of this memorable visit was also something to be remembered, full of warmth and understanding.

A fortnight (two weeks?) later H.M. the Queen-Mother Mary paid a visit and showed great interrest. These two visits of the highest ranking people in England were a real tonic to me, also the praising words of H.M. the King with which He addressed me, reflected on me as the highest praise for all those who kept themselves 24hrs a day available for patients and war-casualties. Their grit to treat and heal all kinds of war-accidents, wounds etc. and eventual taking part in revalidating and rendering them fit to take their place back in society.
In any case mine was a success-story. I was again competent enough to continue my live where I left off and being able to look after my wife and family.
I like to express my sincerest thanks to the Canadian Orthopedic Surgeon and his assistants of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hosp. also include in my thanks Surgeon Wing-Commander Keto of the R.A.F. Hosp. at Wroughton, Professor Seddon,
Dr. Zachary and their two assistants of the Wingfield Morris Hosp. at Oxford, and last but not least Miss Williams, physiotherapist and all the other relentless working staff involved with my recovery.

Nov. the 6th I was requested to report, the seventh of Nov., in the Hague for a medical board to determine my condition. All this happened at short notice so my superior officer and I protested vigorously for the reason that the transportation of the repatriants would run out of hand. I proposed to have my medical papers sent by plane of the Royal Dutch Airlines (K.L.M.). But tragically as turned out
this plane crashed at Schiphol Airport. All passengers and crew were killed outright and my papers burned to a cinder.

After discussing the matter with a Naval Doctor he advised me to travel to the administrative centre of the Morris Wingfield Hosp. at oxford where they very kindly obliged me to re-furnish me with a new set of papers containing my past medical history.

With these papers I travelled the 4th of Dec. 1946 to the Department of Dutch Naval Affairs. Next day I had to report to a Medical Board. Their conclusions
were as follows: 30% invalidity — 50% unfit for active service. With this medical I had to present myself to the Demob Centre where I was told to find myself a civilian job and they promised me assistance and co-operation if anything
would turn up.

The Departmental Head was surprised to read in a letter which I showed him, that the Dutch Naval Personnel Officer at H.Q. London informed him that I still was under medical care and I was needed to continue my function. They requested my return to London for this reason. Naturally consent was given to this request, although one could not escape the feeling of slight amazement.

The 1st of Febr. 1947 I received a notice informing me that my discharge from Military Servics had been cancelled. During a sessions in the Netherlands House of Commons where debating took place concerning the Naval Budget, the Secretary of Naval Affairs gave a comprehensive view aboyt war-casualties. Employment for these casualties including 2 war-invalids could remain in active service with The Dutch Naval Forces.

Somehow my services in Londen seemed to be appreciated judging by many letters we received. Many thanks were heaped upon us for being a great help to the repatriants involved. My medical attention ended at the end of May 1947. Also most of the repatriants had been repatriated. The 2nd of may be 6 June I was transferred to Valkenburg (Holland), the Fleet Air Arm Aerodrome. On arrival I was given 6 month leave, being accumulated leave-periods between 1938-1947.

During my leave I paid a visit to the Wingfield Morris Hosp. in sept 1947 the main reason, still being bothered by painfull nerve attacks in the stomach-region. Prof. Seddon told me that the symptoms I mentioned plus troubled vocal chords and occasional nightmares was the most common complaint of flying personnel who participated in nightly operations also those who had been under great strain. These complaints reveal themselves approximately 6 months after a long period of rest. He warned me strongly not to take painkillers, alcohol and any other sedative. He advised me to keep myself bodily as well mentally fit. To keep one goal in life based on the future, making good use of knowledge and experience gained during life. There’s no better healing remedy according him.

At long last I bade farewell to the Professor, doctors and the entire nursing staff. This hardworking, succesfull team will always be good friends to be remembered. After this visit I had to fulfil a longstanding request namely a visit to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hosp. My wife and I experienced the most unforgettable day as quests of the Doctors and Nursing Staff. They were the people, or should I say friends who looked after me the very first hours of my ordeal. Particulary the Canadian Orthopedic-Surgeon was a very proud man. He was on the point of leaving for Canada and some time later he was offered a Professor-ship at the University of Vancouver. At last, the injuries and the experimental treatment I received contributed a step forwards in the Medical World and as His Majesty King George VI so finely phrased it: Many people in the future will benefit by it.

About this lifestory are we looking for information
about the following questions;
1. 09-08-1942: This was the date where Mr. Jonker estimated at Selsey Hill, Thorney Island a ME-110. This ME-110 was (what I heard the next day) crashed about 3 miles from Selsey Hill, above the water. (See attachement with the name ‘Thorney Island, Selsey Hill, 9 augustus 1942).
I am looking for evidence about this crach of the ME-110. Jonker told that
this was placed in the newspaper.
2. On 25th October 1943 Mr. Jonker was badly injured by an attack of the 320e squadron at the Lanveoc/ Poulmic airport which is near Brest. I am very interested in photos and video’s if available.
3. I am really looking forward to all information about the attack on 25th October 1943 at Brest.
4. Do you have information about the 98e squadron that flew in formation with the 320 squadron on 25th October 1943?
5. In 1945 was Mr. Jonker in treatment at the Royal Air Force clinic in Regent Park London, where he was acknowledged with a visit from the whole Royal Family (including Queen Elisabeth who is still the Queen). Later visited him Queen mother Mary. I would like to have some evidence that they visited him in the clinic (copy of diary).
6. In the clinic mr. Jonker had personal contact with Winston Churchill, who actually gave him a few cigars. I am also looking for evidence about this meeting.
7. Holyhead. Do you have information that in Holyhead was a Dutch Mine sweeping?
8. I am also looking to my friends (or family)
Jan Maas and Hans Pennock.

Please could you help us?

I (Everard Bakker) am writing a book about Leendert Jonker. Leendert is 87 years old and has a good mind. A few months ago a famous dutch professor told me that Leendert Jonker is really the first in the world with the great experimental operation to his arm. His arm which became after this operation 15 centimeter shorter. (I have a lot of pictures). After the war he has made a new fuchsia with the name of Audrey Hepburn. And this fuchsia is given to her.
In this book you can read about the warm welcome and friendship between Holland and the United Kingdom. (A lot of 320-ers are married with W.A.A.F.'s).

With friendly greetings,

By Leendert Jonker
Everard Bakker
Schootvork 11
0031-35 5317029

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - A1154350 - I was Airgunner by the Dutch 320 squadron (RAF).

Posted on: 10 September 2003 by Katherine-WW2 Team

Dear Researcher,

Your story is fascinating, and I notice you have posted some questions at the end. You might like to post these to the Research Desks - that way, there is a better chance of other people seeing them and posting a response.

You can find the Research Desks at:

Good luck in your research.
You might also like to post some details about yourself on your Personal Page - I'm sure other visitors to the site would be fascinated to read about you. Just go to your Personal Page at:


best wishes,
WW2 Team

best wiseh

Message 1 -

Posted on: 01 February 2005 by ToddGray

I am a historian working on Exeter and would like to quote from your account for a book I am writing. Would you be happy for me to do so?
I can be contacted at or through my home address which is 18 The Mint, Exeter EX4 3BL, thank you, Dr Todd Gray

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