Pays-Bas / Monument

Pilots in the fire




During World War II, at least 16 Allied aircraft crashed through combat operations on the territory of the municipality of Neder-Betuwe. These involved 132 crew members, in which 66 were killed. Often still young men in their twenties from all over the world.

On the initiative of the local 4/5 May committees and with the effort of many, a memorial has been erected in Opheusden, the Netherlands. This monument commemorates the liberators and civilians who helped the survivors of a plane crash.

The location was chosen because a Douglas C-47A Skytrain with commander 1st. Lt. J.H. Spurrier had to make an emergency landing in this area. Sixteen paratroopers, who survived in the emergency landing were rescued by Johannes van Zanten's local resistance group. It was one of seven crashed aircraft, which took part in Operation Market in September 1944.

The main element of the monument shows the profile of a Douglas C-47A Skytrain, the type of aircraft that crashed near the memorial during Operation Market Garden. The 16 columns commemorate the 16 Allied aircraft that crashed on Neder-Betuwe territory due to combat operations.

With the joint 4/5 May committees, a yearly commemoration is being held at the monument on the Friday preceding the Market Garden commemoration on the Ginkelse Heide.