Holandia / Historia

John Gordon Fraser, in hiding in Tjalleberd




On 11 November 1944, pilots of the Royal Canadian Air Force, based at Welschap airfield near Eindhoven, were ordered to bomb the lock at Terherne in two groups. The lock was complex situated on an important shipping route along which the Germans transported goods and military equipment.

A little after nine o'clock in the morning, the two groups of Hawker Typhoon fighter-bombers left shortly after each other from Eindhoven for their mission. After arriving at Terherne, the first group successfully bombed one of the two lock sections. The second group fared less well. The bombs ejected by the pilot of the first plane exploded just as John Gordon Fraser's second plane had taken up a lower position above the lock to drop its own bombs.  

His plane was hit in the cooling system by shrapnel from the bombs that exploded below him. This caused the engine temperature to rise rapidly. The pilot of the third plane reported over the on-board radio that smoke was coming from the engine, which made it clear to John Gordon Fraser that he would not reach his base and would have to find suitable terrain for an emergency landing.   

He made a successful emergency landing near Sint Johannesga. He reported to his colleagues over the radio that he was unhurt. Pilot Fraser initially took shelter in the Easterskar after the crash landing. Siebe de Jong and Jan Sloothaak provided him with civilian clothes and food. With help from the resistance, he then ended up in Tjalleberd after some wanderings through Joure, Akmarijp and Oudehaske, among other places. In a secret spot in the Frisian countryside, here across the motorway. 

There, he assisted Lykele Faber, agent of the Office of Special Assignments (BBO), who had been dropped together with Peter Tazelaar near Haskerhorne in November 1944. Their mission, code-named Necking, was to maintain radio contact with London, organise the Frisian resistance, and help set up sites where provisions, weapons and ammunition could be dropped by parachute. Faber and Fraser remained in Tjalleberd until its liberation on 14 April 1945. On 23 April 1945, Fraser had to account in London for the loss of his plane, his emergency landing, and the time (spent in hiding) until the liberation. 

Faber went to live in Canada after the war. In 2009, he died there at the age of 90. John Gordon Fraser died in 1982. In 2003, his daughter Joan visited the places where her father had been during the war and also attended the commemoration of the dead at Terherne lock.