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R.A.F. plane crash 16-4-1944

by Dirk Marinus - WW2 Site Helper

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Contributed by 
Dirk Marinus - WW2 Site Helper
People in story: 
Dirk Marinus
Location of story: 
Friesland in Holland
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 June 2003

On the 16th April 1944 I, then being 11year old boy was playing with friends outsideour house in a small town called Sneek in the province of Friesland (Holland). Our house was just opposite the railway station and we were often on sideof the station ,as my father was the stationmaster. Suddenly very low an aeroplane came over and we could clearly see the markings , and someone shouted : Engels vliegtuig (English plane). Of course we all looked up and then we saw the plane turning around and flew back into the direction it had come from, still flying very low. Immediately thereafter we could hear heavy gunfire and we realised that it was the plane firing at something,very close by. And then almost straight after an enormous explosion and large flames and smoke was rising up behind the railway yard about 3 to 4 km away. We all run across the yard to have a better look and my father shouted to me that the plane had crashed. German soldiers stationed at and near the station were allready making plans to rush to their army trucks to check it out , but they had to go via the main road. Myself and a friend anxious to look for souvenirs (especially persplex to make rings) did not hesitate for a minute and off we went along the railway line running like hares. We knew that this was an enormous short cut to where the plane had crashed , just out side a little village called Ijlst. We could now also see that there was a train stationery just out side the little station of Ijlst ,blowing off a lot of steam. Flames and smoke was rising into the air indicating the place where the plane had crashed.When we arrived at the place where the plane had crashed there were people running around trying to get close to the plane ,but the only police man in Ijlst had also arrived and tried to keep every one at bay. By now we could also see the German army arriving by lorries and we realised that they would slowly but certain tell people to disperse.Looking around we saw that the trees around had their tops sheared of and some one said ,that the plane had been shooting up the train"s engine, and on turning back to have a second go had flewn into the trees.We now made our way back home disappointed that we could not have any souvenirs, but I did ask one of the German soldiers I knew from the station if he could get me souvenir. Although he did not say yes , he winked and told me to go home. It was a few days later on talking to the soldiers again that I heard what had happened. The plane had spotted the train and had warned the train crew by flying very low over the train, he then flew low over us in Sneek and then turned back. By now the train crew had stopped the train (luckely a freight train) and had gone into cover. The plane shot up the locomotive, and then turned to have another go when the pilot flew into the trees .causing the plane to crash. Both crewmen got killed, and now, the story that has always remained with me as told by the German soldier. He told me that the two crewmen were New- Zealanders, and the plane"s compass was pointing into a South Easterly direction, the way to New -Zealand The crews names were R.M.Bull and J.E.Leach, and are buried in the church yard at Ijlst.And yes I did get a piece of persplex. Is there a possibility of verifying this story??

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Message 1 - A1071064 - R.A.F. plane crash 16-4-1944

Posted on: 06 June 2003 by Dirk Marinus - WW2 Site Helper

Entry: R.A.F. plane crash 16-4-1944 - A1071064 Author: Researcher 230014 - U230014

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