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The people of Opijnen in the Netherlands Remember a Doomed Air Crew

Discussion in 'Living History' started by kerrd5, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

    May 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    From the Washington Post:

    "The village of Opijnen (oh-PIE-nin) in the Netherlands is a farming community where grazing sheep, cows and goats outnumber people (population around 1,200), and cars have to move to the side of the narrow roads for tractors coming in the opposite direction. There are no stores and one church, which discreetly tolls the hour. It’s therefore hard to imagine how shocking it must have been 75 years ago when the town’s slow, ancient, chthonic rhythms were surreally interrupted by a thunderous explosion.

    "On July 30, 1943, an American B-17F bomber, heading home to its base in England after a raid over Kassel, Germany, was shot down and crashed in a local field. Villagers looked up to see men falling out of the sky.

    “'It was about 11 o’clock in the morning of the 30 July 1943 that the population of my parish got alarmed by a terrible noise. A few minutes later we heard an awful smack. I was at the Townhall and ran outside and saw to the right a great column of smoke. I took my bike, raced to the plane of black smoke, and saw a burning aircraft of which the cannons were still firing,' wrote Bart Formijne (for-MYN-a), then the young mayor of Opijnen, in a 1945 letter (in English) to the family of one of the crew of the plane that he later learned was named Man-O-War. 'In the air we saw two white things, which were slowly coming down. Those things were parachutes. At the same time we saw two dirty German aircraft still circling above the burning plane.'”


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