Roermond Old Cemetery
 

Ron Cox, Dominique Clerx and Eric Munnicks who warmly greeted us on our arrival in Roermond, had invited the Board of the Old Cemetery in Roermond to meet me, my Son and Grandson. Before Members of the Cemetery Board conducted us to the enclave in the Cemetery where the RAF War Graves lay, Mr John Vaessen presented me with a letter from The Mayor of Roermond, Mr H. M. J. M. van Beers, kindly conveying a warm welcome to Roermond. On the occasions I have visited the Old Cemetery, I have been pleased and proud to see the care taken to ensure the RAF Graves were well looked after; the flower beds well-tended and Poppy Wreaths still adorning the graves from the last Commemoration Service.

The Members of the Cemetery Board also had thoughtfully given kind consideration for the welfare of this 90-year-old Veteran, making sure I had access to a chair whenever I needed to rest. I needed it when the Board showed us round this historic cemetery with its old Gothic tombstones and heard of its proud history. It was an honour to meet the Former Soldier who now voluntarily attends the RAF Graves, relating how once he had found roses strewn on each of the graves. I was proud to tell him that they had been laid as a tribute by my 21-year-old Granddaughter, Sophie, to honour and remember these brave young lads who had only been a year two older than herself.

We Shall Remember Them

Photo Maartjie van Berkel De Limburger

Wreath of Poppies and a floral tribute wrapped in bark

to portray the fuselage of Wellington NC607

to Commemorate

Flying Officer John W Lowrie DFC

Flying Officer G. Hill

Flying Officer J. K. Turner

Sergeant W. E. Ranger
Buried at Venray

 



On the following day we spent time at the Venray War Cemetery. It was my first visit to the grave of Sergeant W. E. Ranger and wanted to pay my respects and lay flowers in remembrance of his young life given in the defence of our country. He shared in the dangers with his comrades as they undertook the special reconnaissance mission and in the courage and valour shown by the crew of Wellington NC607.
 
REMEMBRANCE at Roermond






  




 
   

Vliegtuig neergestort bij Roermond.
23 januari. In de omgeving van Roermond
stort een Britse bommenwerper neer van
het type "Vickers Wellington". Deze
bommenwerper was opgestegen van de basis Melsbroek met als doel verkenning van de wegen rond Maasniel.
De bemanning bestond uit:
- Flying officer J. Turner
- Flying officer G. Hill
- Flying officer J. Lowrie
- Sergeant W. Ranger
- Flying officer K. Booth
- Flight sergeant C. Broad
Van de 6 bemanningsleden overleefden Flying officer K. Booth en Flight Sergeant
C. Broad de crash. Zij werden opgepakt
door de Duitsers en weggevoerd naar een krijgsgevangenenkamp.

Extract from the definitive history of Roermond during the Second World War, records

the crash of Wellington NC607 (page 433)
Van kazemat tot kelderleven
Roermond 1940-1945

by Eric Munnicks

-------------
An excerpt from The Legionnaire.
Newsletter of The Royal British Legion
Rheindahlen Branch e.V. [June 2008]
reports on the Service of Remembrance held in April each year.

'An annual event organised by The Bond van Wapenbroeders a Dutch Veterans Organisation, the British Military were represented by Army and RAF Personnel from Brunssum. In addition to the graves of Allied Airmen who were shot down in WW2, the cemetery also contains the graves of members of the Dutch Resistance who were executed by the Germans. After a Remembrance Service a procession is made around the cemetery to visit the graves and local school children place flowers on the graves of the Allied Airmen and the Members of the Resistance.'

I must record it was a most memorable occasion for me to meet Mr Louis Cox and to hear from him at first hand about what happen that dreadful morning on the 23rd January 1945 when my dear friend met his death whilst serving his country and in the battle to Liberate Holland.  It was a great comfort, and know it will be for the families of Flying Officer Hill and Flying Officer Turner, that the three young RAF Officers were treated with such care, dignity and respect as they were carried to their last resting place.   I am moved to tears as I think of that solemn procession making its way through the snow that winter day.  I shall never cease to be thankful to  Louis Cox and his two Brothers for showing courage and determination to honour our loved ones.

I am also most grateful to Ron Cox who having found traces of the plane near the crash-site extended an open invitation to Roermond through the internet to me and others seeking to know more about what happened to Wellington NC607. He with Dominique Clerx and Eric Munnicks greeted me with great wamth and with considerable care and thought arranged a most memorable programme and I will always be grateful to them. Also, my gratitude is most warmly extended to the Members of the Memorial Foundation Board who care for this historic Old Cemetery of Roermond and for kindly sparing time to be with me as I made this pilgrimage to the grave of my boyhood friend Flying-Officer John Lowrie DFC. www.oudekerkhofroermond.nl shows the special regard in Roermond for the Old Cemetery.

It will be a day that will long stay in my memory. I now know so very much more about what happened on that sad and fateful morning of the 23rd January 1945.

 
Per Ardua ad Astra

 

Index | DFC | 103 Squadron | 140 Squadron | 69 Squadron | Roermond Grave | Friendship | Pilgrimage 1 | Pilgrimage 2

Peenemunde 17 August 1943 | Peenemunde 2