War Memorial De Pan
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.
Number of executed operational sorties from Downham Market: 1,787. Number of aircraft lost during these operational sorties: 77.
Krefeld is often referred to as the "Velvet and Silk City".
Maarheeze is a village in the Dutch municipality of Cranendonck, province of Noord-Brabant.
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:
- Sgt. F. Fawcett from Great Britain
- Sgt. A.J. Small from Great Britain
- Sgt. J.J. Mcdonald from Canada
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- Battle of the Ruhr - Wikipedia
Battle of the Ruhr - Wikipedia
- 207 Squadron RAF History - 207 Squadron graves: Eindhoven
207 Squadron RAF History - 207 Squadron graves: Eindhoven
- Neergestorte vliegtuigen in Maarheeze 1940-1945 - BHIC
Neergestorte vliegtuigen in Maarheeze 1940-1945 - BHIC
- Oorlogsmonument “De Pan” Vliegtuigcrash
Oorlogsmonument “De Pan” Vliegtuigcrash
- Crashboek' houdt WOII in leven
Crashboek' houdt WOII in leven
- Maarheeze, 'Pan-monument 1943' - Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 mei
Maarheeze, 'Pan-monument 1943'
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.
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© 2020 Raymond Philippe