The Netherlands / Monument

Memorial woods on the Kollenberg




Trees have been planted in the Memorial Woods on the Kollenberg, at a ten-minute walk from the historic city centre, in memory of war victims and members of the resistance, among others. All of the trees here were planted by residents as a permanent reminder of a birth, a death or a happy or tragic event. A little further on is the monument to the memory of the American pilot Donald Emerson, who crashed here with his fighter on Christmas Day 1944.

Donald R. Emerson, 21, was part of a fighter plane escort that was accompanying a squadron of bombers. After completing a mission over Germany, 21-year-old Emerson flew back to base in England in his Mustang on 25 December 1944.

On the border of Belgian and Dutch Limburg, he was attacked by six Focke-Wulf fighter planes of the Luftwaffe. Emerson successfully eliminated two German aircraft, but ran out of ammunition. He tried to conceal himself in a thick layer of clouds that hung over Sittard. Unfortunately, this did not work because his Mustang had been hit in the fighting with the Germans. In a rolling motion, the aircraft crashed near the Duustergats on the Kollenberg. Emerson, who was part of the 4th Fighter Group of the 8th Airforce, did not survive the crash and was buried at Margraten American Cemetery.

Duustergats, Sittard