‘Smitty’ and David Marshall

The Netherlands




Casemate 7 was part of the delay line of the Geul Line, built in 1939, just before the German invasion in May 1940. Since 2019, a plaque next to the Casemate commemorates the two aircraft that crashed in Mechelen. The plaque was unveiled by David Marshall, an American soldier. He was an infantryman in the American army and had been billeted in Hilleshagen for some time. His best mate, Benedict Schmitt, also called Smitty, was killed in action after their stay in Southern Limburg, when the 84th Armoured Division moved into Germany to break through the Siegfried Line. Smitty was buried in the American Cemetery in Margraten. Marshall shared his story during an interview.

‘19 November 1944 was a bad day for me. It was the first day of coming into contact with the enemy, just outside of Geilenkirchen. I was there with Smitty. He was a devout Catholic, I am Jewish. It didn't matter as we were in the same boat. We were inseparable. During a pause in the battle, Smitty suddenly said: Listen, if something happens to me you must go see my parents. I said that I wouldn't do that, but he insisted and to get him of my back, I said OK. The following day we were under heavy artillery fire and my best friend was killed by a grenade within 15 minutes. I returned home in one piece and had to tell his parents what had happened to their son. It took six months before I had gathered enough courage to pay Smitty's parents a visit.’


Hoofdstraat 99, 6281 BC Mechelen