A plaque has been unveiled at an Amsterdam metro station to the crew of a Lancaster bomber that was shot down over the city exactly 80 years ago.
Six of the seven crew on board the Lancaster Mk 1, registration R5512, were killed when the plane crashed in the Volewijckspark neighbourhood on December 20, 1942. One man managed to bale out before the crash, but landed on a rooftop and died on impact.
The wreckage was discovered in 1962 during excavation work for the IJ tunnel. The bodies of four of the crew were recovered and buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek. The remaining three, who were recovered by the Germans, lie in Amsterdam’s New Eastern Cemetery.
The British and Canadian air force crewmen were all between 19 and 28 years old.
The unveiling of the plaque at Noorderpark station is the outcome of years of campaigning by Stichting Lancaster R5512, founded by Jos de Groot, who tracked down and contacted the relatives of the crew.
‘At last there is recognition for these young men who gave their lives for our freedom,’ De Groot said. ‘After 80 years.’
Ian Hulley, whose uncle, Bill Eales, was the pilot of the plane, was one of several relatives who attended the ceremony.
‘I am here today to remember him and the rest of the crew,’ Hulley told AT5. ‘They were fighting for all of us and it’s important we remember these things. We’re very grateful that the people of Holland have remembered the crew.’
The R5512 took off from RAF Woodhall Spa on the evening of December 20 in a fleet of 232 aircraft to carry out a raid on the industrial city of Duisburg. It was one of 12 planes that did not return, after being hit by German anti-aircraft fire on its way home.
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