The Netherlands / Audiospot
On September 17, 1944, the air is suddenly filled with an overwhelming drone. Many hundreds of aircraft appear over the area near Bladel. The planes are carrying paratroopers and equipment to the drop zone. Liberation is near. But the German anti-aircraft guns are firing fiercely. Some planes never reach their goal, but crash to the ground. Pilots, crews, soldiers and also civilians are killed.
On Sunday September 17 1944, a fleet of Skytrain transport aircraft, Waco gliders and accompanying jets flew the U.S. 101st Airborne Division from England to the Netherlands to be dropped at Son and Veghel. These aircraft arrived over the area where this boulder stands.
The Germans had stationed considerable anti-aircraft fire in this wooded area. Above Bladel, Casteren, Netersel and Hoogeloon, five Skytrains were shot down, killing the crew and paratroopers. Those who had managed to jump from their burning aircraft in time were often helped by people from the underground. A crashing plane also killed people on the ground.