Many thanks to Jolanda Hoevenberg, who on 5 May, the anniversary of the liberation of Holland, visited Lemmer General Cemetery, Lemsterland, Holland and kindly placed chrysanthemums at the grave of Sgt Jiří Mareš.
Sgt Jiří Mareš was a 25-year-old, 311 Sqn Air-Gunner, born 12/04/16 at Níkovice, Písek, Czechoslovakia.
On the night of 17 July 1941, eight 311 Sqn Wellingtons took-off for a bombing raid on Hamburg. One of the aircraft was Wellington KX-N, R1718, Captained by Sgt Jaroslav Nyč, At 23:07, on 17 July ’41, 311 Sqn Wellington KX-N, R1718, Captained by F/Sgt Jaroslav Nyc, and crewed by Sgt Karel Šťastný, co-pilot, P/O Jaroslav Zafouk, navigator, P/O Otakar Černý, wireless-operator, Sgt František Knap, front-gunner and Sgt Jiří Mareš, rear-gunner, took-off from East Wreatham for a bombing raid on Hamburg.
Nothing more was heard from this aircraft. At 00:50 it was attacked by a Luftwaffe Me 110 night fighter from 4/NJG1, being flown by Lt Rudolf Schoenert just west of Lemmer, Holland. The Wellington was shot down, crashing in the Zuiderzee on the island of Ijsselmeer 5km west of Lemmer. The crew managed to bail-out but Sgt Jiří Mareš, was drowned in the Zuider Zee after baling out of the stricken aircraft. The other five crew members were captured by the Germans and became Prisoners of War for the duration of the war.