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Old 05-06-07, 13:47
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 11,770
Default Re: Re: Officier-vlieger J. Blok

Originally posted by PPS
Do you have any idea where they were buried?

I live a short distance from Eglinton, and pass it every day on my way to work.

Thanks for joining us here.

Like all killed pilots, Johan Blok and Simon de Ridder were buried at the cemetery at the local church. Johan's remains were repatriated shortly after the war - allegedly (one of) the first. Simon's body was repatriated shortly after. Both were then reburied in the Netherlands. Other airmen are still buried there.

I visited Eglinton many (12?) years ago with my grandfather, his brother and an uncle. We were amazed to see so much of the infrastructure was still intact. The major runway is now as you say the City of Derry airport, but many taxi runways and hard standings are still there, outside of the perimeter of the airport. Some of the WW2 hangars are in use as stables etc. I found a runway light in the dirt along one of the taxi runways. I took it home, much to the amazement of the airport security officer who checked my hand luggage. He did look surprised when he saw a half-spherical item with wires running from it on the scanning machine. But he was relieved to find out it was only a rusty chunk of metal and allowed me to carry it on board (ah, those pre 9-11 days!).
We also visited the barracks close to the airfield. They were derelict; I think the site was owned by a car scrapper. Our guide was a local man (whose names escapes me at the moment) who in 1944 was a teenage boy delivering the newspaper at the base. He drew a very lively picture while showing the officer’s barracks, mess, cinema, etc.
Later we visited the crash site, it was a soggy farmer’s field next to a dyke of the bay. Very moving moment, especially for both of Johan’s brothers (who have passed away since our visit).

Your response triggered me to dig into this subject again, will do so when I retrieve my files, but I have just moved house and have yet to unpack my files on my grand uncle.

More later, thanks!
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