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1941-04-28 The loss of Abraham Pennings

Crash site: Westerschelde river near Souburg, Zeeland, NL

Crash cause: shot down by enemy fighter


Pennings, Abraham Efraim

Dutch RAF aviator datasheet

A.E. Pennings Source: SLH


2Lt, P/O.


None known




Calioub, Egypt


RAF 611 'West Lancashire' Sqn Fighter Command




Spitfire Mk. IIa Nr. P7774 FY-?


RAF Hornchurch, Essex, GB


Rhubarb, raid on Souburg airfield, Zeeland, NL


MIA, shot down by Bf-109 of JG1






Westerschelde river near Souburg, Zeeland, NL

Known to










not known

GB arrival

Send from ML-KNIL, Andir, NEI, to England to join the RAF


Take-off was at 14:00.

Data confusion

It is unclear if the crash took place near East or near West Souburg. These villages are located East and West of Vlissingen. 611 Squadron website claims he was shot down by AA off Walcheren

Crash area of A.E. Pennings, 28/4/1941. Two approximations are given, as it is unclear if the crash was near East or near West Souburg. So far, 3 aircraft have been found NW of these locations. Aircraft parts in the Westerschelde river track may have been removed during river clearing and deepening operations.


The Westerschelde exit, where it flows into the North Sea, looking SW from Vlissingen. Assumed crash area of A.E. Pennings. Vlissingen 050604

Added by Stefan Pietrzak Youngs 2023-04-15

Three young pilots from the Dutch East Indies are 'chosen' in 1941 by Prince Bernhard to participate in an air war against the Germans. One of the first acts of war they carry out is an air raid on German positions on Walcheren (Zeeland). It becomes fateful for one of them.

Fighter aircraft

In the course of 1940, Prince Bernhard conceived the plan to purchase fighter aircraft, the hypermodern Spitfires. He wants Dutch pilots to cooperate with the RAF (Royal Air Force) to drive the Germans out of the Netherlands. The prince set up the Spitfire Fund (which would later develop into the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund) and purchased three Spitfires with it.


Now pilots still have to arrive to operate the Spitfires. The prince no longer has people from the Dutch Air Force at his disposal, because the Netherlands is occupied, so he looks to the Dutch East Indies, where there is no war yet. Three young KNIL pilots are brought to England to receive a short training on the Spitfire: Jan Bruinier, Theo Buys and Bram Pennings.

abraham pennings flight to uk

Abraham Pennings on left

Wings to Victory

Their first major mission is an attack on German positions on Walcheren in Zeeland. That mission is fateful for one of the pilots. Thanks to the reports of survivors and the extensive archive of the Wings to Victory foundation, the next of kin can find out exactly what happened decades later.


A monument to the killed pilot has not been built in Zeeland: 'his monument is the sea', according to the relatives. His name is on the memorial for airmen at Soesterberg Air Force Base.

In this episode of the Vertilde Verhalen podcast, Alexander van Iersel (grandson of Jan Bruinier), Pier Pennings (nephew of Bram Pennings) and Martien van Dijk (Wings to Victory) tell the story of the KNIL pilots, and thus prove to them the last honor.

(Podcast on Dutch radio)

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