On 4 May 2023, more than 200 visitors attended the official unveiling of the 18th Remembrance Post of the Stichting Herdenkingspalen Hollands Kroon foundation. It was a special unveiling because in addition to the Remembrance Post, a Memorial in memory to the crew of Czechoslovak 311 Sqn Wellington T2990 bomber that crashed in June 1941 at the Kanaalweg in Nieuwe Niedorpwas also unveiled.
Dutch military veterans, led by Dick Doornik were, as always, also well represented.
The unveiling of the monument was done by Her Excellency Mrs Katerina Sequensová, Ambassador for the Czech Republic in the Netherlands, and His Excellency Mr. Juraj Machac, Ambassador for Slovakia in the Netherlands.
In the various speeches, the crew members of the Vickers Wellington T2990 were remembered as heroes who made the greatest sacrifice for our freedom. Pilot Vilém Bufka was the only survivor of the crash. The other five crew members were officially posted as missing until recently. After the excavation of the aircraft in 2021, it was confirmed in January 2022 that the other five crew members had been found. In June 2022, the remains of these five heroes were buried at the CWGC Bergen op Zoom, cemetery.
Mayor Rian van Dam, who also unveiled the memorial pole, emphasized the importance of continuing to commemorate. She said that we realise how valuable our free world is. In several speeches, such as those of the Czech and Slovak Ambassadors, emphasis was made to the situation in Ukraine, one of Slovakia’s neighbours.
Numerous wreaths and flower bouquets were laid at both the Memorial the Remembrance Post.
In between the speeches and recollections, appropriate music was provided the ‘t Veld musicians. Later trumpet player Dirk Bak, who is present at all the unveilings of the Stichting Herdenkingspalen Hollands Kroon, passionately played The Last Post and the national anthems of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
After the official and ceremonial activities, those present were treated to a “fly-past”, by the WW2 Lancaster bomber from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The roar of its four Merlin engines, its low altitude as it flew over, and the extra circuit flown to give the audience a extra pleasure, all made for an impressive conclusion to this memorable day.
A beautiful Memorial about which its sculptor, Rutger Jan, explained details about the design and its creation which had been commissioned by the Municipality of Hollands Kroon.
The event was organised by Chris Dijkshoorn Treasurer of the Stichting Herdenkingspalen Hollands Kroon foundation who was Master of Ceremony, Ingrid Sijtzel and Nanneke Barends of the Municipality of Hollands Kroon. Thanks to their efforts, everyone looked back on a beautiful, impressive and very successful day. Many thanks also go to Matthijs Gemmink and Jan de Vries of the Municipality of Hollands Kroon and Sieb Rienstra and Joke Koomen of the 4 May Committee Niedorp.Many Thanks to Mr Roel Rijks who represented the Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates ltd at this event and laid a wreath on their behalf.
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Their Courage and Sacrifice Wil Never be Forgotten.