Peter Knox in Belgium
— June —
I was provided with a bicycle—the prime means of transport in this part of petrol starved occupied Europe—and escorted to a house in a nearby town. It was strange, and not a little frightening, to be back among people. I think I expected to see German soldiers lurking behind every doorway. It was all very humdrum, at least on the surface. People were walking about the streets, talking on corners. I saw no one in uniform.
Inside the house I met a middle-aged woman who was a central figure in the underground movement. ( KM Mrs. Jeanne (Leemans)-Schlesser - born in Dinant, Belgium - She was arrested in the summer of 1944 and sent to prisoner of war camp. She told me I was to be held on a nearby farm before being taken south to Brussels. I learned that I had been shot down over Balen-Neet (this was incorrect information) in
|Belgium and that I was now in Geel. She said that travel had become very difficult since the invasion of Europe and because of the allied bombings of all forms of transport. Then I was introduced to the two people who were to accompany me to the farm. They were in fact the farmer's son and daughter, Jules and Dimpna Sterckx. It was all very efficient and brisk. I was to learn after the War that, tragically, this good woman (Mrs. Leemans) who helped over 100 airmen to escape was denounced to the Germans, and taken to one of the prison camps. For the Belgians it was very high risk work.
Jules, who was about my age, and his younger sister were the children of Flemish farmers. They had to escort me through streets where they were known. It was the first time they had undertaken such a mission and it was a feat of great courage on their part as I was obviously a foreigner to this region. Many dangers existed for them.
As I came up to the farm building. I was taken inside and introduced to the farmer, Frans Sterckx, his wife , Maria Clementina Sterckx-Heyns and Marcel Maes, Dimpna's fiancé. I was also delighted to find out that there was another RAF man being held on the farm. He was a Flight-Sergeant navigator, Reg Brookes, also aged about 20, who had been shot down at the end of March returning from a raid on Nürnberg in Germany.
The farm was to be our base for the whole month of July and the first part of August. We were held there while the great battles around Normandy were being waged. The escape route for airmen through France was blocked and there was little the underground movement could do except to put us in a safe haven until the Allied forces liberated the occupied territories. This was a dangerous enough exercise for those involved. We were told that the Germans made repeated sweeps of the Belgian countryside looking for young Belgians to draft into labour gangs. If allied airmen had been found on a farm the results would have been disastrous for the farmer and his family. We not only had to be kept hidden from the Germans, it was also essential that we be kept out of sight of other farmers. This was an area of small-holdings and it was a major problem to keep two tallish men out of sight of prying eyes.
A small recess had been built inside a pile of bricks stacked against the rear of the farm building. We had to crawl through a small opening Into this recess. It was then bricked up again. Inside was a mattress and little else. Reg and I spent our nights there sleeping head to toe. Ventilation came from spaces left between the unevenly heaped bricks. It was an effective hiding place and occasionally--presumably if there was fear of a German raid--we were joined in it by Jules. That made it a tight squeeze.
During the day we had two hiding places. One was in a broad hedgerow. There was space in the centre for quite a cosy little nook. We had room to lie down, sit up or crawl around. I cannot recall feeling cramped. The second hiding place was in the centre of one of the fields of corn. The farmer had cut out a small square and there we had more freedom to move around since the corn was at its full height and we were reasonably out of sight if we stood up with a stoop. Both Reg and I were fit and of fairly even temperament. There was no friction between us even in such close proximity.
|In the dark of the evening we were able to take some exercise, walking up and down in the vicinity of the farm house. Clearly we had to follow the advice of the farmer and his family as to where we spent the day and when we could approach the house in the evening. Then we could talk with them, have the occasional wash and use their lavatory. The house was blacked out and the farm dogs would bark if any strangers were approaching. We also had meals with the family at night. They were most generous in the food they gave us. Because it was a farm there were a lot of eggs and I recall a pig being killed for meat, this had to be done in secret because the Germans kept a tight grip on all food and requisitioned grain and animals to supply their forces and home markets.
Fortunately the Germans did not approach the farm house while we were there. We were, however, very close to an airfield and we used to see German planes taking off and landing.Sometimes they flew directly over us as we squatted in the patch in the corn field and we would have to take cover in the crops. We could not identify the planes which were small but not frontline fighters. They looked to be military observation aircraft. Whatever they were, they looked sinister to us and we dived out of sight. (KM - most likely the German military base of Diest-Schaffen, some 20 kilometers S.E. of Geel)
We passed the day talking, sleeping and playing endless games of cards. The family had some 52 card packs and we taught one another the games we knew. Chinese and Miss Milligan were favourites. We discussed our families and our upbringing and what we planned to do after the War. We tried to learn a little Flemish from a grammar book but not very seriously. We did, however, pick up the words of Lilie Marlene which was the popular song of the moment. Our main contact was with Jules. He gave us
|news about the progress of the war. Generally we were in a state of limbo and one day drifted into another. The weather remained mainly fine and warm but one night there was a tremendous thunder storm. We all gathered in the main room of the farm house. I sensed that as farmers living close to nature there was genuine fear of the lightning and thunder which seemed to be all around us. No damage was done and the crops survived.
As the summer progressed the corn had to be harvested. We were gradually losing our most secure cover. Somewhere in the Resistance movement the decision was taken that we would have to be moved. The family must have been relieved but they did not in any sense hustle us out. We were taken in to their main room and given a drink when one of the underground workers came to tell us the plans. When the day came for us to go, they all gathered bravely outside the house to bid us farewell.
Our move was from the countryside to a nearby town, Turnhout, and we had to make the journey of several miles on bicycles. Our guide was a young priest.
(It is not clear based on updated 2006 information whether Brookes and Knox travelled together). Dimpna Maes Sterckx recalls that it was her brother Jules who escorted them on bikes. Reg Brookes recalls that Jules took him-some of the way but that Knox followed
separately as the height of the two men would make them obvious).
Fortunately the country through which we passed was flat. The muscles in our legs were in poor condition after the six weeks of inactivity and pedaling the bikes was hard work. We were taken by back routes and had to cross a canal using a footbridge by a lock. A few minutes before we arrived at the lock we saw RAF fighter planes diving down to attack barge traffic
on the canal. We could see people gathering by the lock and the priest decided it was too dangerous to proceed. We turned back and took a different route feeling rather relieved that we had not been at the lock a few minutes earlier and shot at by our own planes.
Turnhout was a fair sized town and it was a strange experience to be riding through streets with people shopping and going about their business. The priest took us to the house (JK-80 Kwakkelstraat) where we were to be held for a few days before being taken to Brussels. Care was taken about our entry. The woman who was to look after us had a flat on the second or third floor of the house. We had to get rid of the bikes and get through the front door as quickly and as casually as possible.
Our new minder was in her late 30s or early 40s. She was quite tall and on the thin side. (KM -Mrs. Zosine Emilienne Verstraeten neé Lafili). Her husband was a soldier in the Belgian army (François Verstraeten) and had been made a prisoner of war. A city woman, she was intelligent, kind and had a good sense of humour. She was a fluent French speaker, although Turnout was very much a Flemish town. Reg and I were told that our stay in Turnhout was to be short and that we would be moved to Brussels as soon as the necessary arrangements could be made. We never ventured out into the street but could move freely around the flat which had two bedrooms and a sitting room.
It was decided that we should move singly to Brussels and after a very few days Reg left. I followed a couple of days later. During that time two US airmen were brought into the town by the underground. They knew no French and I had to translate a message to them prepared by one of the Resistance people. I cannot recall much of the text but I do recall that it urged them to be patient and explained what was being done for them. Subsequently I met them for a few minutes. They were gunners from a Flying Fortress which had been shot down a few days previously and were having trouble in coming to terms with their predicament because of communication difficulties. I was able to reassure them that they were in good hands but could do little for one of the pair who said that "my dawgs (feet) are killing me."He had been given a pair of shoes that were far too small for him. (Probably Captain Griffith and Sgt Daniel Cargill shown as having stayed at Kwakkelstraat at same time as Peter Knox).
The trip to Brussels via Antwerp was my first contact with people outside the narrow circle of the Resistance friends. A middle aged man escorted me by train. I huddled by the window and he sat beside me so that no one could talk to me--we were in one of those trains with little compartments with long interfacing benches each holding five or six people. The train became quite crowded but the journey was uneventful. There were no searches, no inspectors and no talkative neighbours. At one point we halted in the countryside close to a German military camp and I could see the soldiers moving around. It was my first real sighting of Germans in person, other than the pilots we used to see in their planes when they flew over the farm.
In Brussels I was taken from the station to a cafe and there I was handed over to another man to be taken by bus to the house in the heart of the city where we were to be held. There I was reunited with Reg who had also made the transfer safely. This did not always happen. After Brussels was liberated and we were freed I spoke to an RAF man who had travelled like me to Brussels from Antwerp. His escort, a middle aged man, had handed him over to the Germans. Fortunately for him the Germans left him behind when the Allied armies entered Brussels. The escort must have been a spy who worked for both sides. I have often wondered if we had shared the same escort and I had been one of those he passed along the underground chain to sustain his credibility as a Resistance fighter. Certainly the description fitted.
On the morning of 4 September it was clear that the Germans had withdrawn and the city was about to be liberated. The streets were thronged with people and Reg and I joined them early on. We stood in the main avenue as the tanks and armoured cars of a Guards Regiment drove in. It was a wonderfully happy scene and we joined in the chorus of welcome, cheering and waving at the soldiers. When they stopped and took up positions by the roadside we had a word with them. It was all very disciplined. At one point a rumour swept the town that there had been an armistice and the war was over. People danced and sung. The Guards officers ordered their men to stay by their vehicles and not to join in the celebrations. Soon the rumour subsided and we had the reassuring sight of the troops "brewing up”.
Reg and I were anxious to find someone to report to. We were directed to an area on the outskirts of the town which the RAF had taken over. Light planes were using it as a landing strip. We trailed out there hoping to hitch a lift back to England. The sentries told us this was forbidden and that the Army would look after us. It had a section detailed to round up people like ourselves. Clearly they had to be careful. We were dressed in civilian clothes and could have been spies or saboteurs. The city, though jubilant, was tense. There were many frightened people who had collaborated with the Germans.
By the next day the British Army was in full command of the city and had requisitioned the main hotels. It was not long before we were directed to a reception centre and made contact with the military personnel with responsibility for looking after escaping prisoners of war. Airmen like Reg and I who had been shot down and evaded capture and, presumably, agents and spies and others with a call on Allied protection. After some form of preliminary vetting we were accepted as genuine and given a room in a leading hotel. We were fed and one of the officers kindly gave us champagne taken from German stores. Other airmen straggled in but none that I knew. (According to Reg Brookes May 31 2006 - this was the Metropole Hotel in Brussels).
In the lobby of the hotel late in the evening I saw a war correspondent with Australian flashes on his shoulder. I asked him if he knew whether there was anybody from my father's paper, the Melbourne Argus. The next morning I managed to find Geoff Hutton, an old friend. It was quite an emotional moment because I thought that now I could let my parents know that I was alive and well. In fact, it was not as easy as it seemed. There were strict rules on the release of information about anyone who was officially a "casualty”. The news that I was alive would eventually arrive on the desk of the Melbourne Argus early on Saturday morning 9 September. My mother and father were at their Woodend weekend home 50 miles outside Melbourne. The sub-editor on duty woke them up with the news. I don't think there was much sleep in Woodend that night.
So it was also for the rest of us. We married, had families, and got jobs. The War became an increasingly distant episode in our lives. I never joined any RAAF or RAF associations and in the 50 years since the War finished I have only discussed my own personal experiences when specifically asked or, occasionally, when I have met by chance someone who served in the RAF. This has not been because of any reluctance to recall the past but rather because the stories of old soldiers, sailors and airmen tend to become rather repetitive and boring. So these memoirs have not been written to entertain but just to tell as factually as possible my personal wartime experience in Bomber Command as I have been able to recall it half a century later.
Peter Knox© 1995
Peter Knox-RAAF and Monica Newcombe WREN Wedding Day November 17, 1945 Melbourne, Australia
Wedding of Peter Knox RAAF and Monica Newcombe WREN - behind from left to right: Norm Jarvis (see picture of Australian Bomb Aimers) Peter Murphy and Pamela Knox, sister of Peter Knox. Monica Newcombe flanked by WRENS.
| Marriage took place at Newman College Chapel, Melbourne University, November 17th 1945. Monica Newcombe had been sent to Australia on troop ship on active duty with the Women's Royal Navy. Brevet as shown on left lapel on Peter Knox's uniform. Returned 60 years later to Knox family. Brevet was sole source of identification of RAAF uniform remaining, after plane shot down on June 22 1944. Knox had hidden his uniform in the pine forrest. Returned by Neil Webster.
On the morning of 4 September it was clear that the Germans had withdrawn and the city was about to be liber ated. The streets were thronged with people and Reg and I joined them early on. We stood in the main avenue as the tanks and armoured cars of a Guards Regiment drove in. It was a wonderfully happy scene and we joined in the chorus of welcome, cheering and waving at the soldiers. When they stopped and took up positions by the roadside we had a word with them. It was all very disciplined. At one point a rumour swept the town that there had been an armistice and the war was over. People danced and sung. The Guards officers ordered their men to stay by their vehicles and not to join in the celebrations.
For Reg and I and the other airmen in the hotel there was a wait of a day or two before arrangements could be made to get us back to England. The RAF would not fly us back from Brussels and we had to be transported by Army trucks to Paris. We joined a long convoy of vehicles on a rather wearisome journey. We were all, I think, suffering a reaction from the euphoria of the preceding days.
We spent a night in Paris and then we were flown in a Dakota of RAF Transport Command to an airport somewhere on the outskirts of south London. The pilot had a nervous bunch of passengers. For all 30 or so of us our previous flight had ended with a parachute jump. For the RAF men it was a homecoming. For me it was a stop on the way back to Australia.
This is the conclusion of Peter Knox in Belgium June - September 1944
ENGLAND AND RETURN TO AUSTRALIA
I spent several days in London going through the process of being re-incorporated into the RAAF. It was all very matter of fact and routine. There was no such thing as counselling. I had to have a basic medical, collect my mail and recover my own effects. It was an eerie experience going out to Uxbridge; I think it was, to a building where all the possessions of missing airmen were held. It was a soulless, depressing place with row after row of cubicles holding kitbags, uniforms and the few personal belongings we carted around with us. In London, I was briefed on the fate of the crew. The navigator (Taylor), wireless operator (Newberry) and flight engineer (Belshaw) were all prisoners of war. The pilot (Davis) and the two gunners (Moggridge and Bowering) were now listed as "missing believed killed."I also learned that our squadron had been decimated on the night we were shot down. Half the planes had not come back. The official records show that it was a disastrous operation for the RAF as a whole. A total of 127 Lancasters were sent on the raid and 41 were lost, about a third. It was the highest percentage loss suffered by Lancasters in one night during the three years in which they operated (March 1942 to May 1945). Equally sadly the RAAF records showed that by September, eight of the nine other Australian bomb-aimers I had trained with had been shot down. Some were prisoners of war. Others had disappeared with their crews.
During his time in England he visited the families of the British crew members. He was able to visit the relatives of the Canadian crew Member "Porky"Bowering on his return trip to Australia.
Peter Knox wrote of one incident which "remains fixed in my memory. As I sat in the underground train heading for Richmond I noticed that the man opposite me had exactly the same mannerisms and an uncanny likeness to an RAF pilot who had skippered one of the crews which had trained with us. His name was Woods and he was a close friend of our pilot. I knew he had been shot down. Finally I asked my travelling companion his name and explained the reason. The pilot was his brother who was missing believed killed. He was delighted to talk to someone who could speak about his brother and we spent an hour or two in a bar close to Richmond station.
Epilogue: Peter Knox wrote: "Immediately the War was over, I established contact with Jules, the son of the Belgian farmer who had harboured me, and with the lady from Tumhout. Jules was interested in emigrating to Australia and my father offered to help him. He never came. He went to the Belgian Congo and was tragically killed in a motor car accident in Kenya in 1957. His sister Dimpna and Marcel married. Our kind friend from Turnhout (Mrs.Verstraeten) was reunited with her husband and her letters indicated she had settled back into normal domestic life."
Squadron Leader Dudley Hamilton Davis 61 Squadron (see Chapter 5 book "Into the Silk"by Ian Mackersey). Davis was brother of Pilot Officer Mark Anthony Hamilton Davis.
Sgt. Jacky Moffatt -born in Edinburgh Scotland, May 9,1923 -
166 Squadron May 21/22 1944 Lancaster III ND956 AS-1- Operation Duisburg Took off at 22.35 from Kirmington. Killed in action – Crashed at Goudriaan (Zuid-Holland), 10 km NNW of Gorinchem Those who lost their lives are buried in Goudriaan General Cemetery. F/S T G Franklin - kia
Sgt J F Tomney –(Flight Engineer) pow Sgt B F Bird –(Navigator) pow
Sgt S D Spencer RCAF –kia
Sgt J Kiltie – kia Sgt A A Anderson RCAF – kia Sgt Jacky Moffatt -kia
Jacky is uncle of Philomena Knox (nee Moffatt) Great Uncle to
Alexander, Jerome and Michael Knox. Beloved brother of Stephen Moffatt and Rev. Vincent Moffatt.
THE STERCKX FAMILY OF HOGE HOF - GEEL-LIESEL
The Sterckx family lived at Hoge Hof in Geel from 1934 until 1963. They were farmers . Below is a picture of Frans Sterckx (1877-1977) and his wife Maria Clementina Heyns (1887-1977).
From book by Jules Heyns "Gelenaars van alle tijden”.
Peter Knox was brought to their farmhouse in at the end of June 1944 by Mrs. Leemans – the local resistance contact. He joined F/S Reginald Brooks, 100 Squadron,
Lancaster 1 LL887 HW-H who had been shot down in April 22/23 1944.
The children Jules Sterckx (1922-1957) and Dimpna Sterckx (born 1926) lived in the farm and were the two guides along with Marcel Maes, a neighbour who was Dimpna's fiancé. There was a younger brother Alfons (b.1927)
Father Constant Hannes (from St. Aloysius College in Geel (b. October
1901 died 9th May 1962) visited Peter Knox at Hoge Hof and according to PEK he accompanied him by bicycle to Turnout.
Airmen Hidden by Colonel Victor Neels Secret Army 1940-1944
listed in same order as in "Balen tijdens de tweede wereldoorlog” – S G Studium General vzw Balen 2004 by Kamiel Mertens
Flemish people, cited in the rescue-reports book-Kamiel Mertens, pp 425-428; All members of the local resistance group of Balen
The following group of people were involved in the Balen Resistance Group
(This list in not complete)
Neels Vic(tor) Commander of Balen-resistance Aerts Alois - Member Balen Resistance Cools Albert - Member Balen-resistance Cools Jef (Jozef) – idem – his brother De Groof Frans - Member Balen Resistance Diels Gust (Gustaaf) – Member Balen Resistance Strubbe Raymond - Young schoolteacher, Member Balen Resistance; 1944:
in communal administration Balen: able to provide false documents Theunis Alfons – Member Balen Resistance De Keyzer Albert- Unknown – perhaps local who found airman.(see Mallett)
Name in Red bold italics indicated airman hidden by Col Neels and the Balen Resistance Group. However, there were many others involved in the various stages of the aircraft crash and subsequent escape route back.
Flight Sergeant Philip Tweedy DFM - 635 Sqn Lancaster III ND819 F2-M Op. Duisburg t/o 2249 21-22 May 1944 from Downham Market - Crashed at Luijksgestel (Noord-Brabant) near the Dutch/Belgian border. (Per W R Chorley: F/S Tweedy had served with 76 Squadron, details of his DFM having been published on 14 September 1943, he had flown with Norwegian, Lt E. Sandberg.
The following on the aircraft were KIA : Sgt E J Rowlands RAF, (he rests in Nederweert War Cemetery,
F/S M B Rumbles RAF -, F/S L J Making RAF; F/S A A Jepson RCAF, (these three buried at Eindhoven General Cemetery); W/O G A D Mould (commemorated on panel 214 Runnymede Memorial).
W/O J A Porter, RAF, pow.
Flight Sergeant, Peter Edmund Knox RAAF - 619 Sqn Lancaster 1 – ME846 PG-C Op. Wesseling T/o 23.01 21-22 June 1944 from Dunholme Lodge
Others on Aircraft Sergeant, Thomas. A. Newberry – 1602063 RAF – Wireless Operator/pow
Sergeant, W. Dennis "Geordie"Belshaw – 1808996 RAF – Flight Engineer/pow after being hidden at first Pilot Officer, Mark Anthony Hamilton "Dave"Davis – 174023 RAFVR – Pilot missing believed kia – Name appears
Runnymede Memorial Panel 211.
Flight Sergeant, Leslie E. J. "Tagger"Taylor – 1585057 RAF – Navigator/pow Sergeant, George Harry Moggridge – 1896779 RAFVR - Mid-Upper Gunner/kia Pilot Officer, John Ernest Ralph "Porky"Bowering – J/88199 RCAF – Rear Gunner kia
W/O Kenneth C Sweatman RCAF -424 Sqn Halifax III HX313 QB-B
Op: Bourg-Leopold T/o 23.45 27-28 May 1944 from Skipton-on-Swale - crashed at Oostham-Langven (Limburg),
6 km WSW of Leopoldsburg, Belgium. Through Col. Neels we see that Kenneth Sweatman came from Kelliher Street, Saskatchewan Canada.
Further details given by Kamiel Mertens for Sweatman showing sources:
Crash in Olmen-Germeer (near Balen) after the bombardment of May 1944 of the Camp of Beverlo (Leopoldsburg) "cared for by Alfons Theunis (local resistance), during 1 night (medical care, food, bed…) Passed to Neels,
(accompanied by Frans De Groof); transport to Balen, 7 days with Neels, and transport to Mrs Leemans-Geel.
Crash and rescue documented in the book of Frans Smolders: "Olmen tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog"and his book: "The last flight of the Blonde Bomber"1992; and in the study-project of the youngster Bram Dierckx "Terug
naar de basis"= Back-to-base”: Escape-routes for allied airman to Britain”. 2004-2005
Also on above aircraft - Killed: F/O R A Irwin RCAF; Sgt W G Wakely, RCAF; Sgt G F Freeman' RCAF; Funeral services for the three who died were held on 30th May at St-Truiden; their remains have since been taken to Heverlee War Cemetery. F/O W J Elliott RCAF, evd; Sgt M Muir RAF, evd; F/S Poppa RCAF, pow; F/L Mallett, RCAF, evd; (with Sweatman)
F/L B L Mallett RCAF - 424 Sqn Halifax III HX313 QB-B Op: Bourg-Leopold T/o 2345 - see Sweatman above - same aircraft
27-28 May 1944 from Skipton-on-Swale - crashed at Oostham-Langven (Limburg), 6 km WSW of
Navy - Roy O. Martin from Homestead Florida - USA Air gunner: John White from New York (19 or 20 years) USA
F/O E A Drake RAF - 619 Sqn -Lancaster I LL784 PG-M Op: Aachen T/o 2043 Coningsby 11-12 April 1944
-Drake and Baker (below) blown from aircraft as it exploded. Those who died laid to rest on 14th April at Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery
F/O Alfred Kenneth Baker RAF - - 619 Sqn Lancaster I LL784 PG-M Op: Aachen T/o 2043 Coningsby 11-12 April 1944 –(see Drake above)
Killed on this aircraft:
S/L J W E D McGilvray DFC Sgt I R F Haberfield
P/O J L Pritchard Sgt R. Hillier
W/O A A Munro DFM
F/S Arthur M. Rae – RAF 76 Sqn Halifax III MZ623 MP-P Op. Aachen T/o 2241 24-25 May 1944 from Holme-on-Spalding Moor. Crashed at Arendonk (Antwerp) 9 km E. of Turnhout.
Also on aircraft: W/O F Bishop RAF, pow; Sgt W T Mays RAF, pow; F/O T H Greer RAF, pow; F/S/ W Cliff RAF, pow; Sgt J Danes RAF, pow Sgt C. Cassidy RAF, pow;
After the war Albert Cools went to Africa (Belgian Congo), he died long ago;
His brother Jef (Jozef) Cools became a policeman, later adjunct-commissioner in Balen.
Where available others involved are cited elsewhere in this document.
The Balen Restistance Group helped many others but these are the names immediately available.
A Special Thank You
Reina Van Der Goot, Sarah Rijpkema, Joris Toye and all the staff for their organization and assistance in accommodating us at the magnificent Radisson SAS Royal Hotel.
Johan and Lea van den Borne Proprietors of the Postelsche Hofstee in Postel (Mol) for all their assistance and kindness in accommodating us and catering the excellent luncheon on September 3rd 2006. Working with you was a delightful experience.
The Lord Mayor of Mol, Paul Rotthier for his leadership and graciousness in organizing today's event.
We thank the City of Mol for commissioning the monument to the crew of Lancaster 1 - ME846 and
Mr. Bert Leysen (city-engineer) for designing the memorial stone.
Kamiel Mertens who has been the spirit and guide behind today's ceremony. Through his dedicated research and professional knowledge he has provided us with a wealth of information that we can now share with all of you.
Dr. Johan Claes for his support and assistance to Kamiel Mertens and all the staff of Studium Generale vzw, including Rene Geukens, Jan Siegers and Maria Wils
Also Jules Heyns for his work "Gelenaars van alle tijden"
Mrs. Gonnie Leysen from the City Archives in Geel
Thanks also to Col. Neels, the Vermierdt family, the Maes family, the Sterckx family and their relatives Father E. van den Bergh (dec'd) for his courage and bravery in writing the account of the crash of Lancaster I ME846 and the fate of the crew in his book "Postele Op Ter Heyden"in 1944.
I want to especially thank my husband Marjan Kiepura for his enthusiasm and generosity to bring forth this event that recognizes the valour and bravery of the crew of ME846 and the Belgian people.
I want to thank Diane Brown of Foxtale Studio for devoting her precious time, artistic and photographic skills in ensuring the quality of this Souvenir Program.
Most all we want to thank all those in the RAF who risked their lives for us, and the Belgian people of this region who saved so many
Thank you all, Friends and Family for being a part of this historic event on September 3rd, 2006
Jane Knox-Kiepura Littleton New Hampshire
In honor of the RAF and Belgian people
This document details events to the best of our knowledge .
We have tried to be as accurate as possible. We welcome any comments or additional information.
50 Church Street Littleton, New Hampshire 03561
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