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1944-07-26 The Loss of Mitchell FR185 NO-Z 'Blasting Bastard' (Van Leeuwen)

Crash site: near Fontaine-les-Ribouts, 1.2550E/48.6542N, Eure-et-Loir, France

Crash cause: enemy Flak; aircraft shot down on the way out after the attack


Name

1. Leeuwen, George Alexander van

Grebbeberg 090204 Leeuwen GA van

Rank

Res 1Lt Vl Wnr, F/O., Pilot

Decorations

Vliegerkruis

Born

7/8/1916

Place

Soerabaja, Java, NEI

Squadron

RAF 320 (Dutch) Sqn Bomber Command

Ops/hr

46/98

Aircraft

Mitchell Mk. II B-25D Nr. FR185 NO-Z

Base

RAF Dunsfold, Surrey, GB

Mission

Fuelstorage at Fontainebleau, F; take-off at 18.03h

Status

KIA, aircraft shot down by enemy Flak

age

27

Killed

26/7/1944

Place

Fontaine-les-Ribouts, Eure-et-Loir, F

Buried

Initially buried as unknown in Châtaincourt next to the church, 4 km NNW of Fontaine-les-Ribouts on 28/7/1944. Reburied Militair ereveld Grebbeberg, Rhenen, NL, grave 8/24. The DIB archive mentions his initial burial as at Communal Cemetery La Touches, France, at the north side of the church. Source: CAD-MvD 5.050.5220 map 81

Known to

OGS

yes

CWGC

no

Other crew

2. Res Sgt Wnr F.H. Bloemgarten, Copilot/Nav - KIA

3. Sgt Vltg Telegr B.D. Meijer, Wop/Ag - KIA

4. Korp Vltg Sch W.H. Willems, Ag - KIA

Remarks

Vliegerkruis, 20/7/1944, wegens

Gedurende geruimen tijd bij het 320e Squadron R.D.N.A.S. van Onzen Marine Luchtvaartdienst in het Vereenigd Koninkrijk, in oorlogsvluchten tegen den vijand blijk gegeven van moed, bekwaamheid, volharding en plichtsbetrachting.

Memorial

Memorial plate on Eglise Châtaincourt, Eure-et-Loir, France

GB arrival

31/5/1940 with Dutch vessel 'Batavier II' from Cherbourg, France, after an escape from Holland on 16/5/1940. Detached KL to KM. Send from England to NEI 1/9/1940 for military flying training

Data

Confusion

Geldhof: crashed near Dreux, F

OGS, DIB: died near Neuville-les-Bois, F

Source: CAD-MvD 5.050.5220/81, 300


Nam

2. Bloemgarten, Felix Hendrik

F.H. Bloemgarten Source: @St.M.Vl.P. 1939-50 Grebbeberg 090204 Bloemgarten FH

Rank

Res Sgt Wnr, Copilot/Nav

Decorations

None known

Born

23/5/1920

Place

Heerlen, NL

Squadron

RAF 320 (Dutch) Sqn Bomber Command

Ops/hr

11/24

Aircraft

Mitchell Mk. II B-25D Nr. FR185 NO-Z

Base

RAF Dunsfold, Surrey, GB

Mission

Fuelstorage at Fontainebleau, F; take-off at 18.03h

Status

KIA, aircraft shot down by enemy Flak

age

24

Killed

26/7/1944

Place

Fontaine-les-Ribouts, Eure-et-Loir, F

Buried

Initially identified via RAF Form 1250 and buried in Châtaincourt next to the church, 4 km NNW of Fontaine-les-Ribouts, on 28/7/1944. Reburied Militair ereveld Grebbeberg, Rhenen, NL, grave 8/25

Known to

OGS

yes

CWGC

no

Other crew

1. Res 1Lt Vl Wnr G.A. van Leeuwen, Pilot - KIA

3. Sgt Vltg Telegr B.D. Meijer, Wop/Ag - KIA

4. Korp Vltg Sch W.H. Willems, Ag - KIA

Remarks

Student of Technische Hogeschool Delft

Memoria

1. Memorial plate on Eglise Châtaincourt, Eure-et-Loir, France

2. Stained glass Memorial window, building of the TU, Technische Aardwetenschappen, Mijnbouwstraat 120, Delft, NL

3. Memorial plate, main building Technische Universiteit Delft, NL

GB arrival

Interrogation report NA 2.09.06-5298

Data

Confusion

Geldhof: crashed near Dreux, F

OGS, DIB: died near Neuville-les-Bois, F

Source: CAD-MvD 5.050.5220/81, 300


Name

3. Meijer, Bernard Dirk

B.D. Meijer Source: @St.M.Vl.P. 1939-50 Grebbeberg 090204 Meijer BD

Rank

Sgt Vltg Telegr, Wop/Ag

Stb.Nr. 30522/D

Decorations

None known

Born

19/6/1922

Place

Menado, Celebes, NEI

Squadron

RAF 320 (Dutch) Sqn Bomber Command

Ops/hr

Aircraft

Mitchell Mk. II B-25D Nr. FR185 NO-Z

Base

RAF Dunsfold, Surrey, GB

Mission

Fuelstorage at Fontainebleau, F; take-off at 18.03h

Status

KIA, aircraft shot down by enemy Flak

age

22

Killed

26/7/1944

Place

Fontaine-les-Ribouts, Eure-et-Loir, F

Buried

Initially buried as unknown in Châtaincourt next to the church, 4 km NNW of Fontaine-les-Ribouts on 28/7/1944.

Reburied Militair ereveld Grebbeberg, Rhenen, NL, grave 8/26

Known to

OGS

yes

CWGC

no

Other crew

1. Res 1Lt Vl Wnr G.A. van Leeuwen, Pilot - KIA

2. Res Sgt Wnr F.H. Bloemgarten, Copilot/Nav - KIA

4. Korp Vltg Sch W.H. Willems, Ag - KIA

Remarks

Memorial

Memorial plate on Eglise Châtaincourt, Eure-et-Loir, France

GB arrival

Data

Confusion

Geldhof: crashed near Dreux, F

OGS: died near Neuville-les-Bois, F

Source: CAD-MvD 5.050.5220/81, 300


Name

4. Willems, Wilhelmus Hubertus

Grebbeberg 090204 Willems WH

Rank

Korp Vltg Sch, Ag

Stb.Nr. 90656/Z

Decorations

None known

Born

15/2/1920

Place

Maastricht, NL

Squadron

RAF 320 (Dutch) Sqn Bomber Command

Ops/hr

Aircraft

Mitchell Mk. II B-25D Nr. FR185 NO-Z

Base

RAF Dunsfold, Surrey, GB

Mission

Fuelstorage at Fontainebleau, F; take-off at 18.03h

Status

KIA, aircraft shot down by enemy Flak

age

24

Killed

26/7/1944

Place

Fontaine-les-Ribouts, Eure-et-Loir, F

Buried

Initially buried as unknown in Châtaincourt next to the church, 4 km NNW of Fontaine-les-Ribouts on 28/7/1944.

Reburied Militair ereveld Grebbeberg, Rhenen, NL, grave 8/27

Known to

OGS

yes

CWGC

no

Other crew

1. Res 1Lt Vl Wnr G.A. van Leeuwen, Pilot - KIA

2. Res Sgt Wnr F.H. Bloemgarten, Copilot/Nav - KIA

3. Sgt Vltg Telegr B.D. Meijer, Wop/Ag - KIA

4. Korp Vltg Sch W.H. Willems, Ag - KIA

Remarks

Of Heerdeweg 81, Maastricht, NL.

Bloemgarten was the only one identified directly after the crash. This most likely means that he carried his RAF Form 1250 identity card, and that it was readable. Circumstances of identification of the others as yet unknown.

Memorial

1. Vijfluik Loenen, Gelderland, NL

2. Memorial plate on Eglise Châtaincourt, Eure-et-Loir, France

3. His name is on the Memorial near the St. Servaaskerk, Maastricht, Limburg, NL

GB arrival

Engelandvaarder. He left Maastricht on 15/2/1941, and travelled a land route via Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal. From 26/7/1942 to 14/3/1943 he was detained in San Sebastion prison in Spain. He worked jobs along the route, to pay for his travel. He arrived in the UK on 16/10/1943. Certainly one of the longest journeys. Source: NA 2.09.06-6090

Data

Confusion

Geldhof: crashed near Dreux, F

OGS: died near Neuville-les-Bois, F

Source: CAD-MvD 5.050.5220/81, 300



320 Sqn Mitchells taxying to take-off. Dunsfold, winter 1944. Source: @St.M.Vl.P. 1939-50, JPK collection 7-6-2

2. Crash site data


Fontaine-les-Ribouts, 1949, at the site of the crash. Left is H.J. Bloemgarten, father of Felix. Some wreck debris remained at the crash site after clearing. Picture @St.M.Vl.P. 1939-50. Bloemgarten HJ 1949.jpg


The hamlet sunken in the wood in the center of the picture is Fontaine-les-Ribouts. The view is to the North, towards Châtaincourt. The unmarked Monument with the cross dates from the end of the 19th Century. Fontaine-les-Ribouts 050702

At the site of the crash in the field, a commemorative plate was believed to have been placed on a pole. Plate later removed to an outside wall of the church in Châtaincourt, 4 km NNW of Fontaine-les-Ribouts.


Eglise Châtaincourt. Text: 'Hollandais tombes le 26-7-1944 Felix Hendrick Bloemgarten et ses camarades' Photo: Jean-François Lafosse, made in the 1990's, via Philippe Castellano.

However, the Stichting Militair Vliegend Personeel 1939-1950, Baarn, NL, holds the following pictures:

Eglise Châtaincourt in 1945. We see the commemorative plate on the wall of the church, a propellor stuck in the ground as a headstone, and a wooden cross on the group grave of the aviators. At the time, the aviators were believed to be 'Anglais'. Later this was changed into 'Hollandais'. Source picture @St.M.Vl.P. 1939-50. Bloemgarten HJ 4.JPG

Eglise Châtaincourt in 1945, showing the commemorative plate in its original condition. Picture @St.M.Vl.P. 1939-50. Bloemgarten HJ 3.JPG

Pictures indicate that the commemorative plate may have been mounted on the church wall as of day one. An on the spot investigation on 2/7/2005 learned that the plate is actually part of the church wall plaster, and has been reworked to excellent condition, although the paint in the inscription has gone:


Châtaincourt 050702-5

The Van Leeuwen crew was initially buried in this lawn. Châtaincourt 050702-1

Jan Kloos, 3/7/2005:

'De trip toen Van Leeuwen werd neergehaald herinner ik me vrij goed: hij was het enige slachtoffer. We waren die dag in de buurt van Parijs (Fontainebleau) op olietanks en hadden goed succes want de boel brandde dagenlang. Op de terugweg kreeg Van Leeuwen een treffer en dat was eigenlijk te verwachten want sinds wij niets heengaande ondervonden, dachten we dat het op de terugweg hetzelfde zou zijn. Ik herinner me dat we het heel gemakkelijk namen en niet veel koersveranderingen maakten. Later wel toen we Van Leeuwen zagen donderen! Afijn zo was het.'

Map 82. Fontaine-les-Ribouts, Eure-et-Loir, France, crash area of Mitchell FR185 on 26/7/1944.

The crew was initially buried next to the church in Châtaincourt. The crash site, which has not been pinpointed, is also reported as Neuville-les-Bois (OGS, DIB) and 'near Dreux' (Geldhof). The picture of Fontaine-les-Ribouts, above, was taken at the arrow leading away from the text 'crash site', at the D113 junction, viewing in the direction of the arrow.


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