War Memorial De Pan

Updated on March 27, 2020
raymondphilippe profile image

We are all a result of what happened in the past. I love English history, economic history and all things related to WW1 and WW2

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On the night of June 21-22, 1943, a four-engined Short Stirling bomber took off from Downham Market Air Base in Norfolk, England. Its target, the German city of Krefeld.

The aircraft belonged to the 218 Squadron R.A.F. (Gold Coast squadron). The bomber was presumably shot down by the German anti-aircraft defense (FLAK). The plane caught fire and exploded on the ground due to the bombs and ammunition that were still aboard the plane.

This year (2020) we will remember that the Netherlands was liberated 75 years ago and that we have lived in freedom ever since. To preserve and regain our freedom, many have made great sacrifices. Amongst those making a great sacrifice was the crew of this British bomber.

A
Downham Market Air Base in Norfolk:
Marham, Upper Marham, King's Lynn PE33 9NP, Verenigd Koninkrijk

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Number of executed operational sorties from Downham Market: 1,787. Number of aircraft lost during these operational sorties: 77.

B
Krefeld:
Krefeld, Germany

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Krefeld is often referred to as the "Velvet and Silk City".

C
Maarheeze:
Maarheeze, Netherlands

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Maarheeze is a village in the Dutch municipality of Cranendonck, province of Noord-Brabant.

Stirling Bombers

Rich - Kermode - Burrows
Rich - Kermode - Burrows | Source

War Memorial "The Pan"

The 'Pan-monument 1943' in Maarheeze (municipality of Cranendonck) was erected in memory of the three crew members of the Short Stirling who died during the crash on the night of 22 to 23 June, 1943. Four of the seven crew members were captured.

The memorial also commemorates all the war victims who died in the vicinity of our village as a result of acts of war.
The aircraft crashed in the Panbossen, not far from the farm 'Hoef aan de Pan' (Panweg 5).

The three crew members who lost their lives were:

  • Donald R. Rich, 21 years old (pilot) from Queensland, Australia,
  • Sgt. Stan H. Burrows, 28 years old (radiotelegrapher) from Ardleigh Green, Essex Great Britain and
  • Sgt. Brian Kermode, (bomb aimer/gunner) from Great Britain.

Sergeant Burrows' body was not found until June 25, 1943, near Chijnsgoed 5-7. When eyewitnesses discovered his body, he was still wearing his unopened parachute.

Chijnsgoed is a short walking distance from where I live. Due to the sacrifices many made during WW2, we can now celebrate the fact that we have lived in freedom since 1945, in the awareness that we are jointly responsible for passing on freedom.

Four crew members were captured:

  1. Sgt. F. Fawcett from Great Britain
  2. Sgt. A.J. Small from Great Britain
  3. Sgt. J.J. Mcdonald from Canada
  4. Sgt. H. Hill from Great Britain

Sgt J.J. McDonald, a Canadian, died later died in a POW camp on May 19, 1945.

The three fallen airmen are buried at the war cemetery in Woensel, respectively in graves EE 73, EE 10, and EE 32.

This is near de "Hoeve aan de Pan", the spot where the plane crashed.
This is near de "Hoeve aan de Pan", the spot where the plane crashed. | Source

Victims Of The War

During the Second World War, some 6,000 military planes crashed over the Netherlands.

More than 1,000 of them ended up in the province of Noord-Brabant. This concerns both Allied (British, American, and Canadian aircraft with crews consisting of many more nationalities) and German aircraft.

The Allied aircraft were very often bombers that, during bombing missions on targets in Germany, were hit by German anti-aircraft guns (the so-called Flak) or intercepted by German fighters (especially at night, during the so-called Nachtjagd).

On the night of 21 to 22 June 1943, Bomber Command carried out a large-scale attack on Krefeld.

Krefeld

A total of 705 bombers dropped 2,306 tons of bombs there. More than a thousand civilians were killed, and 4,550 were wounded. The RAF also paid a heavy toll: 44 aircraft did not return from this mission.

The bombardments of Krefeld formed part of the Battle of The Ruhr. Target-marking squadrons in RAF Bomber Command during World War II marked the ground in good visibility with Oboe Mosquitoes. The bombardments carried out by the allied forces started fires that raged out of control, for several hours. They destroyed many buildings in the east part of the city and consumed large parts of the city center.


Battle of the Ruhr of 1943

Source

The Monument

In 2000, on the initiative of Ad Hermens from Geldrop and Marietje van den Boomen from Someren-Heide, a monument was erected as a "tribute to all those who were killed in this area during the Second World War 1940 - 1945".

History Of The Monument

In 1997, some residents from the area (who united themselves in the Project Team Pan Monument 1943) came up with the idea to build a monument near the spot where the plane had crashed.

They got in contact with Rich's brother (the pilot) in Queensland, Australia. He was delighted with the initiative. Stan Burrows's family was tracked down with the help of a British veteran, Frank Walsh.

A local bank provided financial support. Our State Forestry agreed to the location, and the Land Registry carried out the measurements and the cartography. The municipality of Cranendonck also offered a grant.

The church community of the St. Joseph parish of Someren-Heide donated a stone altar, a beautiful chunk of granite (of ± 2,000 kilos) that proved to be very suitable for the monument. A local firm gave a plate of granite for the text to be engraved in. Besides, many volunteers also cooperated in the creation of the monument.
It has been a collective effort. From which resect and gratitude was shown for our liberators.

Unveiling

The monument was unveiled on May 5, 2000, by the Burrows family from England.
In the Panbossen, on the site of the disaster, a wooden cross was placed on February 19, 1998.

Location

The monument is located near the farm 'Hoef aan de Pan',
Located on the Panweg in Maarheeze (municipality of Cranendonck).

The text on the commemorative stone reads:

In Memory Of The Crew Of A 4-Engine Short Stirling Of The
British Royal Air Force (R.A.F.).

The Burning Plane Crashed Here On The Night Of 22 June 1943
On Its Mission To Krefeld In Germany.

The memorial also commemorates all the war victims who around the village were killed by acts of war.

Source
In 2019 we celebrated the liberation of our province Noord Brabant. The Netherlands were officially liberated in 2020.
In 2019 we celebrated the liberation of our province Noord Brabant. The Netherlands were officially liberated in 2020. | Source

This memorial tells part of the story of a few brave soldiers from the Second World War.
In this case, they were Englishmen, Canadians, and Australians. But both on the side of the victors and the conquered, many lost their lives. And many were scarred for life. Many families had to endure enormous grief.

Fortunately, we can now live in peace again with our neighbors. In fact, we like visiting Germany. And we're well aware that many civilians in this country have suffered greatly from the war too.

I do hope the majority of us prevent something like this ever happening again.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Raymond Philippe

    Comments

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      • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

        Raymond Philippe 

        2 months ago from The Netherlands

        Thank you Devika. We try to stay safe by staying at home. Hope you and your family stay safe too.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Raymond Philippe this is interesting and taught me lots of this title. Your well-researched hub is in detail and informative hope you keeping safe and taking care of yourself at this time. I enjoyed the read.

      • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

        Raymond Philippe 

        2 months ago from The Netherlands

        @peggy, unfortunately one of the 4 captured men died a few months before the ear ended in a POW camp.

        @liz, thanks for sharing your story about Tony.

      • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

        Raymond Philippe 

        2 months ago from The Netherlands

        I too find that very touching.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        It is generous how many people came together to honor their memory and contribution to maintaining peace and freedom. The human spirit is beautiful.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        2 months ago from Houston, Texas

        That is a beautiful war memorial for those who died not only in the crash of the airplane, but also all others who died for the cause of freedom. Do you know what happened to the four who were captured? Did they eventually gain their freedom?

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 months ago from UK

        It is sobering to reflect on how many lost their lives all those years ago so that we could enjoy freedom. I wrote an article about a man, Tony, who tends the site where an American bomber crashed into a hill near Sheffield, as it tried to avoid children in the park. Tony was one of the children and he has never forgotten the sacrifice of the brave airmen.

      • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

        Raymond Philippe 

        2 months ago from The Netherlands

        Thanks MG for your kind comments. I was shocked when I realized so many planes never returned home from their mission.

      • emge profile image

        MG Singh 

        2 months ago from Singapore

        Raymond, I found your article fascinating. It was wonderful recreating the bombing mission over Germany and I am so glad the crew who died are remembered. This is the lot of the airmen and we who are alive must cherish them and their memory.

      • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

        Raymond Philippe 

        2 months ago from The Netherlands

        Thank you Umesh

      • bhattuc profile image

        Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

        2 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

        Very nice presentation.

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