VERSLAG DOOR BERNARD BLACK, GLIDER PILOOT



INLEIDING
zie ook de uitleiding

Wat heeft Bernard Black te maken met de Tien van Renesse?

Hij was ťťn van de 17 die zouden worden opgehaald
door de geallieerden naar bevrijd gebied.
De belangrijkste reden voor de actie van de geallieerden is gelegen
in de aanwezigheid van Engelse piloot Bernard Black en zijn maat Phil Hudson.
Strategisch hadden de geallieerden geen belangstelling voor Schouwen&Duiveland.
De informatie die de leden van de ondergrondse konden verstrekken deed er niet veel toe.
Zonder de aanwezigheid van de twee piloten waren de geallieerden
nooit met een boot naar het bezette eiland gekomen.

Ik leg dit nog eens uit in de volgende clip, opgenomen door Tjeerd Muller,

Waarom kwamen de geallieerden de Tien van Renesse ophalen?







Een document over Bernard Black als krijgsgevangene.
Geboren op 12 maart 1922 te Manchester.
Neergestort op 18 sept. 1944.
Gearresteerd op 12 dec. 1944.
Lengte 1.68, gewicht 56 kg.
Godsdienst r.k.
.


Hieronder treft u een ooggetuigeverslag aan
van de Engelse Gliderpiloot Bernard Black.
Hij maakte met zijn toestel deel uit
van een armada van 1200 bommenwerpers
met op sleeptouw 1200 Gliders.
Ze waren met z'n allen op weg naar Arnhem en omgeving
voor de operatie Market Garden.

Hij moest met zijn Glider een noodlanding maken
op het bezette Schouwen&Duiveland.

Maar eerst iets over de Glider.



Een Glider is eigenlijk een zweefvliegtuig
dat getrokken wordt door een bommenwerper.
.




Er waren altijd twee piloten.
Er werd veel concentratie van hen gevraagd.
.




De laadruimte.
Bernard vervoerde een jeep met trailer,
bestemd voor de geallieerde operatie Market Garden.
.




Zo zag de cockpit er van buiten uit,
.




Een Stirling bommenwerper.
De trekker van de Glider.
.


HET OOGGETUIGEVERSLAG VAN BERNARD BLACK


Ik heb het al eerder gezegd: een opvallende bijzonderheid in de geschiedenis van de Tien van Renesse is het feit van de vele ooggetuigeverslagen. Bij elke cruciale situatie was in ieder geval ťťn ooggetuige aanwezig. Ik heb me dan ook beijverd al die ooggetuigen aan het woord te laten. (lees daarover ook de Uitleiding bij hoofdstuk 3). Ik geef even een overzicht van al die ooggetuigenissen.

1. Allereerst hebben we het belangrijke proces-verbaal van Christiaan Wisse, die met zijn vrouw aan een arrestatie ontkwam. Hij vertelt zelf wat zich bij de vluchtpogingen heeft afgespeeld.

2. Student Marius de Glopper is ook een belangrijk ooggetuige van de vluchtpogingen.

3. Dan hebben we het verslag van Anna Hage, die de barre tocht met de mannen naar Middelharnis beschrijft. Ze maakte het proces mee, maar werd vrijgesproken.

4. Voor mij is het verslag van ds. Voorneveld van zijn bezoek aan de mannen in de bunker heel wezenlijk.

5. Vervolgens hebben we het dagboek van SamuŽl Muller over zijn bezoek op 10 december aan ds. en mevrouw Voorneveld.

6. Het verslag van de te jonge Cornelis den Boer, oor- en ooggetuige bij de ophanging.

7. Het verslag van de verbindingsman Hendrik Minkema, dat weer een heel apart licht werpt op de vluchtpogingen en wat daaraan vooraf ging.

8. Hier volgt als nummer 8 het ooggetuigeverslag van ťťn van de Engelse piloten die op Schouwen&Duiveland neerkwamen, toen hun Glider in een slipstream raakte en een noodlanding moest maken. Zijn naam is Bernard Black. Hij was POW = Prisoner Of War: krijgsgevangene. Zijn oorspronkelijke verslag bestaat uit 27 hoofdstukken.

Op deze site vind je POW-verhalen. In de rij auteurs tref je ook Bernard Black aan.

Bernard beschikt over een bijzonder scherp geheugen. Ik sta versteld van de details in zijn herinneringen. Ik noem alleen al zijn bezoek aan het huis van Minkema om te telefoneren met zijn Engelse collega's over de tweede vluchtpoging. Zijn beschrijvingen van hun maaltijden vond ik ook treffend.

Ik citeer een paar van zijn hoofdstukken. Toch is het nog een heel verhaal. Vooraf vertelt hij hoe het mis gaat met zijn Glider, een Horsa achter een Stirling Bomber. Hij is eerste piloot. Zijn tweede piloot is Phil Hudson. Verder is een Nederlandse commando aan boord Herman de Leeuw. Daarnaast zijn er nog drie anderen.

Hun Glider vervoert een jeep met trailer, bestemd voor de operatie Market Garden: de slag om Arnhem in september 1944. De bedoeling was om de de bruggen bij Grave, Nijmegen en Arnhem te veroveren met de nieuw gevormde 1e Allied Airborne Army. Deze bestond uit twee Amerikaanse Airborne Divisies (de 82e en de 101e), de Britse 1st Airborne Divisie, en de Poolse Parachute Brigade. Vervolgens kon dan de 21e Leger Groep over de Rijn bij Arnhem trekken voor de laatste aanval in Duitsland. Helaas is de grote militaire operatie mislukt.

Door een onverwachte manoeuvre van de Stirling moesten Bernard en Phil hun Glider loskoppelen en een noodlanding maken boven Schouwen&Duiveland. Bernard vertelt hoe ze zich verbergen, zich opsplitsen in drie groepjes van twee. Hij gaat verder met Phil. Allerlei spannende avonturen maken ze mee. Het leest als een spannend jeugdboek over de oorlog.

Op de site wings to victory vind je het volgende over de crash:

Glider Ė Type Horsa met serialno. B32 en Chalkno. 956 Ė gevlogen door
S/Sgt. Bernard Black en Sgt. Philip Hudson en gesleept door een Stirling
(Flg.Off.Gougher) van 299 squadron Ė verloor eveneens de sleepkabel als gevolg van
slipstream. Als gevolg hiervan landde de Horsa op Schouwen-Duiveland op een
locatie tussen Ouwerkerk en Nieuwerkerk. De bemanning alsmede de vier soldaten
probeerden zich in eerste instantie aan gevangenschap te onttrekken hetgeen voor drie
van hen een onhaalbare zaak bleek te zijn. De lading, bestaande uit een
jeep en een trailer, viel eveneens in Duitse handen.
S/Sgt. Bernard Black Glider Pilot Regiment escapy
Sgt. Philip Hudson Glider Pilot Regiment escapy
?? ?? 4th.Parachute Brigade pow
?? ?? 4th.Parachute Brigade pow
?? ?? 4th.Parachute Brigade pow
Pvt. Herman de Leeuw No.2 Troop escapy

Op het eiland dat voor een groot deel onder water stond, waren huizen genoeg om zich te verschuilen, maar hoe kwam je aan warmte en vooral aan voedsel? Hun doel was: zo gauw mogelijk de Oosterschelde oversteken naar hun makkers in bevrijd gebied. Ze worden liefdevol verzorgd door de Zeeuwse boer Jan Romeijn van de Groote Hoofstede, zoals Bernard schrijft. Romeijn brengt hen in contact met de Nederlandse ondergrondse. De broers Jan en Joost Ringelberg, beiden herders met een vergunning om met hun kudde op afgelegen delen van het eiland te komen, spelen daarin een belangrijke rol. Bernard en Phil worden herenigd met de Nederlandse commando Herman de Leeuw. GedrieŽn worden ze door Joost naar Zierikzee gebracht. Ze maken daar kennis met de gedeserteerde Armeen Jork Mikkenian. In het verslag komt dan voor het eerst de naam Van der Beek voor. Deze heeft een gesprek met Herman. We zijn nu aangekomen op het moment dat hoofdstuk 13 begint.

We ontvangen dan opnieuw een ooggetuigeverslag. Nu van een Britse sergeant. Zijn verhaal bevestigt wat we al wisten. Minkema vertelt bijvoorbeeld dat na de eerste mislukte poging tot oversteek een Engelse piloot in zijn huis wordt gebracht om rechtstreeks te kunnen telefoneren met zijn Engelse kornuiten in bevrijd gebied over een 2de poging om hen te halen.

Steeds komt de vraag boven, wat nu precies de reden is geweest dat de 17 wilden oversteken naar bevrijd gebied. Voor mij is de aanwezigheid van de twee Britse piloten een wezenlijke factor: de bevrijders doen er alles aan om hun gestrande makkers terug te halen.

Een tweede interessant detail is, dat we via hem weten dat Menke van der Beek als eerste het vuur opende op twee Duitse soldaten, die over hem gestruikeld zouden zijn als hij was blijven liggen. Bovendien vertelt Bernard dat ook hij op de Duitsers heeft gevuurd met pistool.

Enfin kijkt u zelf mee door de ogen van Bernard Black. Ik ben gestopt op het moment dat hij en Phil gevangen genomen worden door de Duitsers. De rest kunt u lezen via deze link.





VERSLAG VAN DE GEBEURTENISSEN VAN BEGIN DECEMBER 1944 DOOR BERNARD BLACK




Staff-Sergeant Bernard Black

Unit : No.22 Flight, "D" Squadron, No.1 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment.

Served : North-West Europe (captured).

Army No. : 884545

Camps : Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft I.

A Glider Pilot's Story

By Bernard Black


Chapter 13

I think all three of us slept for some of the time but not for very long. There was too much tension and excitement in the air although we were all outwardly calm. From time to time one or other of us would stand up and walk quietly across the room to look out of the skylight. There was nothing to see except the roofs opposite. More desultory conversation with occasional speculation by Phil and I about our prospective return to allied occupied territory with debriefing and return to UK. Such speculation was mainly indirect as though we were unwilling to tempt providence but mostly preceded by "I wonder...." In the weeks previously we had always hoped that we would eventually leave the island before or after an allied invasion but it had always seemed remote and we had been more concerned with day to day survival and had never really put our hopes into words.

The day wore on and late in the afternoon Joost arrived with two raincoats and two trilby hats. He gave us these and indicated that we should wear them over our uniforms and return to his house in the next street when it became dark enough. This was in fact what we did very soon after he left. I remember thinking as we followed Jork to the end of the street and turned the corner, "he doesn't seem to be walking but rather slinking round the corner." It may just have been fanciful imagination or the effect of the dark streets. We were welcomed by Joost and Min who had prepared some food for us. She had also prepared an attachť case for Jork in which were some spare clothes and underwear.

The tension was still there - it would soon be time to go - we didn't know where or how. We were in their hands. It would be their show to make contact with those who were to take us off - more than likely a squad of commandos; maybe Dutch commandos like Herman. Phil and I indulged in some light-hearted banter. This was our usual manner with each other but it may have been a subconscious attempt to relieve the tension. It was probably also due to the sight of each other in raincoats and trilbies. We were still wearing battle dress and our airborne smocks underneath. Phil's rifle we would leave behind.

There was a quiet knock at the door. It was Jan Ringelberg. Time to go. Between them they guided the three of us out of the town by the way we had entered but then we went in a different direction. Soon we came to a large barn which we entered quietly. Herman was already there. So were a dozen or so more other people. Two of them were Dutch police; one of these introduced himself as van de Beek. He it was who was in charge of the arrangements. The other policeman was accompanied by his wife. We would soon be on our way, there was a hum of low excited conversation. Van de Beek was saying to us in English that it would soon be time but that we still had to wait for some others to arrive before we continued on our way to the dijk. He also explained that the password consisting of the challenge "Queen" was to be answered by "Wilhelmina".

When it was time to go we left the barn in small groups and continued to walk away from the town until we reached the dijk along the top of which ran a small concrete wall. The party spread itself on the seaward side of the dijk. Van de Beek and the other policeman went down to the water's edge and began to signal at intervals, with their lamps, alternately red and white. It was cold and dark. There was some drizzle in the air and the visibility was rather less than the previous evening.

Lying next to me on the dijk was a young man who spoke to me in English. His name was Marius de Glopper; he told me he was a medical student. He asked me if I thought that the British would let him join the R.A.F. and I remember that I replied to the effect that it was more important for him to continue with his studies but that it would probably be possible for him to enlist in the R.A.F. if that was what he really wanted. After this quiet conversation we strained our ears for the sound of a boat's engine above the noise of the waves.

We thought we had heard the sound of an aircraft some distance away. There had been some talk that an aeroplane would be flying overhead to give the Germans something to listen to. Jan Ringelberg had mentioned this when he came to Ouwerkerk. Time passed. Besides listening everyone was peering into the darkness for some sign of the long awaited boat. But there was nothing. It was long overdue and soon the tide would start to ebb, making a landing impossible in these difficult waters. Van de Beek and his colleague ended their signals and rejoined the rest. There were whispered instructions and the party began to disperse in small groups. One of these consisted of Phil, Jork, Herman, van de Beek and me.

Cold and disappointed we cautiously made our way back to Zierikzee, to the house of Joost Ringelberg.We sat around the table in the kitchen and Min gave us hot drinks. Jork was badly demoralised and angry. He banged the table and complained "Tommy nichts komen, Tommy bang (afraid)." It was difficult to argue with his first statement, the British hadn't come but I couldn't let the remark about British cowardice pass. "Tommy nichts bang" said I. Van de Beek was still quite optimistic that perhaps another attempt could be made the next evening but he knew that there were difficulties. He left saying that he would be back in half an hour or so.

In the kitchen there was some more conversation with the Armenian continuing his complaints about the British and their non-arrival. I continued to keep my end up but it appeared that he wasn't just referring to that evening but to the fact that he had sent the British full details of the German defences on the island and that if only the British had put in an appearance it would have been easy for the Armenians to take over from the Germans. More table thumping "... bunker hier .... bunker hier .... Tommy nichts komen .... Tommy bang!" Once again I put in my two pennyworth .... and hoping that van de Beek would be able to set up another attempt, said "Tommy nichts bang .... Tommy komen!"

Van de Beek returned and also another member of the resistance group called by Joost "Cor". He had also been a guide that night but was not part of the group who were trying to leave the island. They wouldn't know until tomorrow whether another attempt could be made.

Meanwhile it had been decided that I should explain to the British the danger that this group of would be escapees were in since it was now four days that they had been in hiding after the last German proclamation when all men between the ages of 17 and 40 must now report to the Germans.

We had managed to leave Zierikzee without too much difficulty and we had returned and dispersed the group. If another attempt was to be made it must succeed since it was unlikely that we could return a second time. There was also the danger that some of the local population who remained in the vicinity and worked for the Germans might have noticed some of the unusual activity after dark.

I expressed my willingness to do whatever was required of me and van de Beek, Cor and Joost, continued a discussion of the details in Dutch. Min was also included in this discussion. Finally, van de Beek explained what would happen. Herman would spend the night with him; Jork and Phil would return to the empty house where we had spent the daylight hours; I would spend that night with the Ringelbergs; tomorrow at midday Cor would come for me and I would follow him to the meeting place where I would be able to talk to the British.

So much then was settled and there was nothing more that could be done until the following day. The others left at intervals and I was left alone with Joost and Min. It seemed quite strange for it was the first time that Phil and I had been apart since taking off from Keevil some eleven and a half weeks before. It was still the 6th December and his birthday was drawing to a close without the fulfilment of those aspirations which had seemed so promising less than twenty-four hours earlier.

There were some compensations for me. I was to sleep in a bed with sheets and I was able to have a good wash before going to bed. I lay between the sheets determined to enjoy this unexpected luxury but sleep did not come quickly. So much had happened in the last couple of days, my mind was still active and two unanswerable questions buzzed around inside my head: "Why hadn't the British come for us? What would tomorrow bring?"



Chapter 14

The bed made up for me was on the ground floor at the back of the house and I had been instructed by Joost that in the event of uninvited visitors I was to cross the room below the level of the window, make my way through the wash-house and hide in the chicken coop which was in the back yard. Unwelcome visitors would be indicated by Joost calling out to the dog. At least this is what I understood him to mean though I was by no means certain since our conversation was limited in the main to my slight knowledge of German and Dutch.

Although I spent a somewhat restless night, the morning found me alert and refreshed. I washed in my room and I was also given some hot water for shaving and I took the opportunity to tidy up my side burns. Fortunately my hair was not too long since Phil and I had what the Americans called "combat crops" in late August. However it was roughly the same length all over and very untidy. We ate a simple breakfast consisting I think of porridge and black coffee surrogaat. During the morning Joost produced a dark suit which was quite a reasonable fit. We were of similar build though I am slightly shorter. I also tried on his tweed overcoat and this too seemed to be OK The shoes were at least a size too big but by using an extra pair of thick socks and having the laces as tight as possible they presented no problem. A clean shirt, tie, scarf and hat, completed the rig-out and after trying on everything I returned to my uniform since my guide was not due for about two hours.

During the morning Joost and I chatted while Min busied herself with her household chores, pausing occasionally to join in and on at least one occasion to provide a cup of black coffee. I am unable to recall everything we talked about but I remember that our communication improved considerably - it had to, there was no one to interpret for us. At one stage we compared the population of the Netherlands with that of London; at that time they were not dissimilar. Joost also told me of some of the efforts of the locals when trying to score over their German occupiers without having to suffer any punitive consequences. At one time a favourite occupation had been to whistle and call "Hess! Hess!" after members of the Wehrmacht. When they were taken to task, they would blandly and politely explain that their dog was called Hess and "Hess is gone!".

Soon it was time for me to dress up in readiness for my little walk. This I did and Cor arrived. Making sure that I understood that I was to give him a start before I followed, we went out through the back yard into the garden. We then climbed over the fence to a small passage which separated the garden from the church. Cor set off and I followed. Although aware of the need to keep my distance I was anxious not to lose him. At one corner a man came around on a bike and as he came towards me startled me by calling out a greeting. I nodded and mumbled as he rode by. At another corner we passed two men in conversation. One of these wore a dark overcoat with an astrakhan collar. On his head was a black homburg and under his arm he carried a briefcase. As I passed in pursuit of Cor, it seemed to me that he gave me a piercing scrutiny.

Some distance ahead of me, Cor had stopped, opened a gate leading into a back garden, and then stood to await my arrival. Inside the back garden was what appeared to be an electrical transformer and standing next to it was another Dutchman who shook hands and then led the way into the house. Passing through a storeroom we came to a staircase which ascended in a square stairwell. Waiting for me at the top of the stairs was a smart looking man who wore horn- rimmed spectacles.

He greeted me and escorted me into a large room which was at the front of the building. It was a living room on the far side of which was a bay window. This part of the room was the dining area and seated at the table, looking out of the window was a lady who was introduced to me as his wife. Coming across the room to greet me she offered me a cup of tea which I accepted. Looking out of the window I saw that it looked out across what appeared to be the town square.

There was a little time before my host was to make his contact. Arriving soon after I did was the man from the street in the astrakhan collar. I was introduced to him and he too was offered a cup of tea. We chatted for a few moments and I indulged myself momentarily by picking up a cue and striking a ball on the small billiard table which was there. Then, with his wife by the window, astrakhan collar and myself standing by the billiard table, my host opened a cupboard and took from it a telephone. He then sat in his arm chair and plugged in the cable to a socket on the skirting board. "Oranje, Oranje, Oranje ...."

After this obvious identification, there followed a rapid conversation in Dutch which to me was completely unintelligible for the most part except towards the end when I think he referred to ".... heb ik hier de Engelsman." A few moments later he handed me the instrument. "Staff Sergeant Black speaking." "Brigade Major here" came the reply in the first English voice other than Phil's that I had heard for nearly three months.

"What happened last night?" I asked. I cannot recall exactly the words of the conversation which followed but his reply was to the effect that they had not seen our signal; that they had not been able to come close enough because the boat they had wanted to use had not been serviceable. My response to this was one of surprise that we had not been seen as we had been flashing our signal for nearly three-quarters of an hour. I was assured that they would make another attempt that evening half an hour later because of the tide.

At this stage I pointed out the dangers to the group who were in hiding and waiting to be taken off. I emphasised the difficulties in assembling them and bringing them to the rendezvous. They had been successfully concealed after the previous night's failure but they now had to repeat the performance of making their way after dark past German posts out of town and along the road to the dike. Once there they would be exposed to waiting once again for a boat to respond to the signal.

I expressed my concern, that while we hoped to make the second attempt that evening, a third attempt would prove impossible from our end. The Brigade Major assured me that they would make their best efforts to pick us up and passed me on to "the Commando Officer in charge of the operation." Our discussion centred round the problem of sending light signals which could be seen by the British and yet remain unobserved by any watching Germans.

I recall that the Commando advised that the light should be shielded "by some tubular object like a mortar bomb case." After further assurances that they would do all they could to pick us up, I handed the telephone back to the Dutchman who rapidly concluded the proceedings and rang off. A few moments later he returned saying it was time for me to go. He and his wife wished me luck and shook hands as I left them, descending the stairs to where Cor was waiting to guide me back to the Ringelbergs. Pausing by the gate to make sure the coast was clear we travelled as before the same route in reverse and reached the Ringelbergs without incident.


Chapter 15

There was little else to do except wait and pray that the forthcoming second attempt would have a successful outcome. I felt as though there was something I should do but now I must remain passive once again. I hoped that what I had said would prove to have been some use but my feeling was that I had only fulfilled the requests of my Dutch hosts and underlined the urgency of their situation. The results were out of my hands but at least I could assure the others that the British were coming to fetch us that night.

After changing back into my uniform I thanked Joost for the use of his clothes, and we passed the rest of the afternoon attempting to converse. There were a couple of interruptions by callers knocking at the door which saw me crawling in the direction of the chicken coop but on each occasion the all clear was given before I actually got there.

The afternoon wore on and with the dusk came Phil and Jork. Phil was eager to know how things had gone. I told him about the Brigade Major and the Commando Officer and that it was on for that evening. Min prepared some food and we all sat round a table while she served us with some hot soup. There was again an atmosphere of mounting excitement in the midst of calm control. Once again it was time to go; we donned the raincoats and trilbies and after thanking Min we said goodbye.

As before under the guidance of Joost and Jan we left the town and made our way along the road which led to the dijk. This time as we met van de Beek he explained that he thought it was wiser if only a small group went to the beach to make contact while the bulk of the party waited in the empty house which lay nearby in the lea of the dijk. He suggested himself, his colleague Chris Wisse, and Herman; it seemed he sought my approval to this. It was an eminently sensible precaution and I readily agreed.

Inside the empty house were the others; again there was the low hum of conversation amid the general air of expectation. I exchanged some words with Marius, my friend from the previous evening. Then sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall I found myself next to Jork. We talked quietly. Through the medium of my limited German we exchanged the words of daily greeting in English and Russian. Repeating them and correcting each others pronunciation. "Guten tag .... Good day .... Dobre djin .... Dobre utro .... Good morning .... Dobre banikoff .... Good afternoon .... Spokani noces .... Good night."

I have no idea whether what I have reproduced here makes sense, I only know that it represents the memory of what I heard and thought it meant .... a mutual token of friendship from the extremes of Europe thrown together in a foreign land. It was also a way of passing the time of waiting. Occasionally there was a lull in the whisperings of conversation during which ears were strained to catch the hoped for sounds we all longed to hear.

"Shhsh. Listen .... is it .... could that be the sound of a boat's engine? It must be." The quiet excitement mounted. Soon van de Beek would return to tell us that they were here. The sound faded and was no more. More waiting and listening. Nothing. Then came the other policeman, Wisse. They had heard the boat, they thought they had seen a light flashed from it. Then they had lost it again. He returned to the beach and rejoined van de Beek and Herman. The minutes ticked away and in the little house the air of expectancy was being replaced by misgivings. Could it happen again? Were we all to be disappointed a second time? How long had we been waiting this time? It was already more than an hour past the appointed time.

Van de Beek and the other two returned. Sadly we would have to abandon the attempt again. He went around to the other members of the group and told them of his decision and what must now be done. The other policeman and his wife would go along the road before us and would give warning of any difficulties. Pushing their bicycles they set off along the road. Some way behind, another small group was just setting off in the same direction.

A mile or so to the west the dim lights of a car could be seen; it seemed to be on the road near the dijk when it changed direction as though the road swung away; a few seconds later it disappeared. At about the same time from the direction of Zierikzee another light was being waved. It looked as if Wisse was giving a warning of trouble.

Those who had set off in the same direction had seen it too and were returning towards us. There was a quiet consultation with van de Beek. We retraced our steps past the house and leaving the roadway came into the shadow of the dijk melting into the darkness of its grassy slope. The policeman mounted the dijk diagonally with most of the others following; I was towards the rear and as we faded into the cover of the dijk we were spread along its side with those who had been in the front nearer to the top and those in the rear like myself only about a third of the way up. Hardly daring to breathe, we waited in silence, listening and watching for whatever trouble Wisse's light had warned against.

When it came, it was not from the direction that Wisse and his wife had taken along the road. Looking in an easterly direction towards the top of the dijk past the other members of our group, I could see the silhouettes of two German soldiers coming towards us along the top of the dijk. They were barely five yards away from where the policeman lay and about twenty yards from my position. With their rifles pointing ahead of them they were advancing slowly towards us.

Suddenly van de Beek sprang to his feet just in front of them at the same time shouting "Hands up!" (had he stayed on the ground one of the Germans would have tripped over him two or three steps later.) Immediately two shots rang out in rapid succession. The first came from the nearest of the two Germans who must have advanced with safety catches off and fingers on the trigger. The second came from the pistol of van de Beek. One of the Germans gave a cry and fell headlong down the dijk I could not see what happened for the next few seconds as the members of our group came rushing down the dijk past me and scattering in all directions. Another shot rang out from the top of the dijk from the direction where I had last seen the two Germans. I fired my revolver in the direction of the flash and moved rapidly away from the dijk towards the house to gain cover.

The sound of running footsteps could be heard along the road and also splashing through the fields nearby. Backing around the side of the house I nearly collided with Herman and Phil coming in the opposite direction. None of us had a very clear picture as to the whereabouts of the two Germans or the rest of our group. We hurriedly decided to move away from the house moving cautiously some fifty yards or so to the west along the base of the dijk, then climbed to the top and over the sea-wall. As quietly as we could we crawled to the water's edge and then continued crawling in a westerly direction.

After about a hundred yards we stopped and after a hasty consultation decided that in case we were caught it would be better not to be wearing civilian hats and raincoats. These we left half-buried in the shingle and continued, this time just keeping low, in the same direction, the noise of our faster progress covered by the sound of the sea and the wind. We stopped three times more in the next mile. The first of these was to avoid detection when a flare was put up.

The second was to observe a patrol of Germans advancing at the double along the top of the dijk in the direction from which we had come. The third was to decide that we were now far enough away from the flares and the sporadic firing which could be heard in the distance.

We left the beach and crossed the sea-wall and descended the dijk quietly. To our left was a farm close to the dijk. We turned away from it and walked along the road. Not far away was a road junction and beyond it were flooded fields with other farms. We were uncertain as to our best course of action but finally returned to the farm near the dijk. The house itself was not very large and nestled in the lea of the dijk. Across the yard stood a large barn which we entered quietly. We knew that not far away there was probably a German post from which the patrol had come. Nevertheless, since we had slipped by, we would perhaps be safer for two or three days until the hullabaloo died down.

At the far end of the barn was a loft or high platform with a ladder giving access. We mounted this and went above. There was some hay up there though the bulk of what hay there was in the barn was nearer to the entrance. Occasionally during the next hour, there came the occasional sound of light machine gun and rifle fire, mostly short-lived and not always from the same direction. Whatever was going on, we were better off out of it for the time being. We had no idea what was happening to our erstwhile comrades or whether they like us had managed to avoid trouble for the time being.


Chapter 16

We spent the next three days in the barn; to be precise from just before midnight on the 7th until about 8 p.m. on Sunday 10th December. Most of the time we were in a mental turmoil; torn between the desire to move to a more familiar place where we would feel safer and yet aware of the need to stay put until the hue and cry had died down. Added to this we wanted to know what had happened to the others - had they managed to escape and hide in their own familiar surroundings or were they in the hands of the Germans?

Above all we felt let down. Our own people had failed not only us but also the Dutch resisters who were risking their lives. No doubt those other members of the underground who had not been trying to leave the island would be in for a more difficult time as a result of the incident of the 7th. We were depressed, cold and tired. More than that we were angry. By comparison the additional problem of food and drink seemed at first to be the least of our worries.

However, we had absolutely nothing and there seemed to be no way of obtaining anything at this stage since we were reluctant to leave the barn just yet.

We remained in the loft where we could see the full length of the barn. Around the middle of the day a farmer or farm-worker came into the barn. We watched him closely while remaining unseen. To our surprise he seemed to be behaving suspiciously and was apparently concealing something in the hay at the far end. After he had gone, we decided to investigate. One of us, I think it was Herman, went below and returned with a large tin of catering pack size but unlabelled. It was somewhat dented but still intact and of American origin. After a brief talk to decide whether we should deprive the Dutchman of his jetsam we opened the tin to find that it contained full cream dried milk. This cheered us up. We had food - the only problem was how to eat it. A mouthful of milk powder brings its own problems. We needed water. While skirting the barn the night before we had seen rain butts out at the back. However we were reluctant to risk being seen outside because of the possibility of a German post nearby.

Eventually the need for water became overwhelming. The only suitable receptacle was a dirty old wooden milking pail. We cleaned it as well as possible with handful of straw and then we pulled straws to see who was going outside for the water. It was Phil. When he returned we found that the receptacle was ideal for our purposes. The technique developed as follows. First a handful of dried milk in the mouth; then with one's face in the pail the mouth was filled; the milk was then mixed by swishing the water around in the mouth; then finally the mixture was swallowed.

Our lot was now improved. We had milk and water; for the rest there was little else but conversation and waiting. During the second day most of our talk centred around the need for information and food. When darkness came we went over to the house and knocked quietly. The farmer came to the door and we went inside the kitchen. On the table was an oil lamp and by its light we could see that the other occupants of the room consisted of two women and two small children. The man seemed more afraid than the women. He wasn't pleased to see us and he was less pleased at the idea of us staying in the barn. His news was scant but apparently some Dutchmen had been caught by the Germans. He was unwilling to help us and wanted us to us to leave. I told Herman to ask for some food and to tell him that we would leave. He gave us some apples and we left, but only as far as the barn.

We decided to stay for another night and felt that as long as the farmer thought we had gone it would give us some measure of safety. The next night would be the third and if we left soon after dark we could hope to get into Zierikzee and I could find the house of Joost Ringleberg. In fact this is what we did. Cautiously we made our way back into Zierikzee in our stockinged feet. There my daylight experience of 7th enabled me to find the back garden which we entered over the fence. We quietly tapped on the back door. Joost appeared at a small window and when he saw who it was he let us in. Min busied herself making some porridge for us. They were both relieved to see us and also very upset. Some of the group had been hanged that day in Renesse - they thought ten. Among those hanged had been van de Beek. This was shattering news. It was unthinkable that we should stay. Joost gave us directions that would take us to a place in the neighbourhood of Schuddebeurs where he thought it would be safe for us to hide. As soon as he thought it was safe he would try to reach us with food. We finished the porridge that Min had prepared for us. Sadly we said goodbye and left by the way we had come. With great circumspection and still carrying our boots we made our way out of the town. Several times we stopped and in quiet discussed where we were and in which direction Joost had meant us to go. Several times in our uncertainty we retraced our steps and tried another way.


Chapter 17

It would soon be light. We were lost although we knew where we were. We were definitely in the neighbourhood of Schuddebeurs. Phil and I had been unable to understand Joost's directions for finding the place where he intended us to hide. Herman had no doubt understood the directions but we were all confused. We recognised the area from our walk into Zierikzee with the Ringelbergs in the early hours of the 6th December.

We made our way along the Oude Polder Dijk to the Wijde Linie. It looked to us as solitary and deserted as before. We decided that it would have to do as a temporary hiding place even though it was not where we had been directed. I think all three of us felt rather insecure. Phil and I would have felt better in the more familiar surroundings of Nieuwerkerk or Ouwerkerk. Herman would have been happier if he'd been able to return to Sirjansland. We were also worried because if Joost came looking for us a couple of days later as he had promised, he would be unable to find us. The news we had received in Zierikzee had been shattering even if not completely unexpected. All these things weighed heavily upon us and added to our confusion and uncertainty.

We decided to risk it and spend the daylight hours in the farmhouse and then in the afternoon as darkness approached, we would retrieve the boat which had been sunk in the shed at the side of the house. The house itself had a central entrance and passage on each side of which were the ground floor rooms. The stairs from the passage led above to a central attic (zolder) off which were small bedrooms overlooking the forecourt and the road along the dijk. Everywhere in everything thought to be of value had been removed and what was left had been discarded and scattered all over the floors both upstairs and down. It was like a nightmarish hangover from a jumble sale. In modern parlance it had been thoroughly turned over, just as the house in the Molenstraat had been between the time we had abandoned it and the night of the 5th.

We needed the rest, and lay side by side on the bed which was about the same level as the bottom of the window. By turning our heads to one side we could see along the road at the top of the dijk. Lying there we quietly discussed our predicament and what we hoped to do later in the day.

At about 11 o'clock in the morning, two German soldiers came into the house. Phil and I had been through this before another couple of looters. We waited quietly. We could hear them talking below and kicking the rubbish aside as they rooted about for anything of value. There were no rich pickings left for them and after two or three minutes, they left the house without even bothering to come up the stairs. We breathed again and no doubt our heart beat gradually returned to normal once again.

At about midday, we were disturbed again, this time by two Dutch labourers. Waiting quietly as before, we saw one come up the stairs while at first the other one stayed below. This time the one who first came up the stairs spotted Phil's boots among the rubble and bent down to pick them up and examine them. At this we showed ourselves, leaving Herman to tell them and warn them off. Herman spoke to them for a couple of minutes and then they left. We were quite worried about this turn of events as we knew that the previous week all men between 17 and 40 had been ordered to report to the Germans and that any able bodied men in the area were either divers in hiding or were working under German supervision.

We had only showed ourselves to prevent the loss of Phil's boots. We knew how frightened the locals were and who could blame them when, two days earlier, ten of their number had been publicly executed. We discussed with Herman the chances of being given away by the two labourers - they were obviously working in the vicinity and we were loath to make ourselves scarce in the daylight. Our best hope lay in the onset of darkness and we returned to the little bedroom to sweat it out.

At about two-thirty in the afternoon we knew that our fate had been sealed. A group of heavily armed Germans, some 16 in number, could be seen approaching along the dijk road. They were in files and as the leading file came abreast of the farm they spread themselves along the road and faced the house. The leaders after satisfying themselves as to the positioning of their men, detached themselves and crossed the forecourt to the entrance of the house.

From our viewpoint as we lay on the bed the scene was self-explanatory. This was a collection job. There was nowhere for us to go and nothing more to be done. Going into the attic towards the top of the stairs, I shouted "Kamerad!" and showed myself with hands upraised. Below stood an Oberleutnant and a Veldwebel. In response to their signal, I led Phil and Herman down the stairs. The Veldwebel removed the revolver which hung in front of me by the lanyard around my neck. A brief search revealed this to be our only weapon. He also removed my prismatic compass which he deemed to be a great prize.

The Leutnant spoke English and as we set off for Zierikzee with our escort, he suggested that our lot would be much improved on our arrival since we would be given hot coffee to drink. Some little way along the road, we passed a small group of Dutch labourers working on a drainage ditch. Here the Oberleutnant left us, mounted a small motorcycle lying at the side of the road and rapidly departed in the direction of Zierikzee.

We continued under escort which was now commanded by the Veldwebel. Once or twice he attempted conversational gambits the first of which was one we were to hear several times in the next couple of weeks. "For you the war is over!" This seemed to be an English phrase known to many members of the German armed forces as I am sure many ex-P.O.W. will remember especially late in the war. For many of them it was probably a kind of wishful thinking which reflected a kind of envy that the war was not yet over for them.



Aldus het verslag door Bernard Black. U kunt verder lezen in zijn POW-verhaal.



UITLEIDING


In mei/juni 1980 bezocht Bernard Black Schouwen-Duiveland.
In de Zierikzeesche Nieuwsbode van 30 mei en 2 juni 1980 werd een tweetal artikelen aan dit bezoek gewijd. Daarbij werd gebruik gemaakt van een brochure door G. Thuring met name over de operatie "Market Garden". Al met al boeiend genoeg om in z'n geheel over te nemen. Verschillende onderdelen uit het artikel zijn bij de aandachtige lezer al bekend. Tegelijk bevat het nieuwe informatie.

Hieronder volgen de beide artikelen. De auteur is mij niet bekend.


Engelse "Glider" piloot bezoekt Schouwen-Duiveland Artikel 1


Zierikzee, 29-5-1980.

Ter gelegenheid van de terugkeer van de Engelse piloot Bernard Black op Schouwen-Duiveland op zaterdag 31 mei (1980), werd door de heer J.W.G.M. Thuring te Heesch, lid van de dokumentatiewerkgroep, die zich bezighoudt met de luchtoorlog 1939-1945, een herdenkingsbrochure samengesteld. De Engelse piloot mr. Bernard Black kwam samen met zijn co-piloot Philip Hudson, vanwege overmacht tijdens de vlucht naar Arnhem op 18 september 1944 met zijn transportzweefvliegtuig neer op het door de vijand geÔnundeerde Schouwen-Duiveland. In de bovengenoemde brochure zijn herinneringen opgetekend over de toedracht van die vroegtijdige daling, over de Aktie "Market". In het kader waarvan deze vlucht werd gemaakt en over het verblijf van de Engelse gliderpiloot op Schouwen-Duiveland tot 7 december 1944.


Voorbeschouwing

In de voorbeschouwing bij de herdenkingsbrochure wordt vermeld, dat piloot Black en zijn co-piloot Philip Hudson zich onder uiterst moeilijke omstandigheden bijna drie maanden hebben staande weten te houden tegen de achtervolgende bezetters op het voor hen onbekende eiland.

Daarbij hebben ze voor een aantal achtergebleven eilandbewoners, ongewild, een situatie geschapen om hun ware menselijke en vaderlandslievende instelling te tonen.

Deze beproeving hebben de helpers met glans doorstaan. Toen dezen tenslotte van het eiland werden weggevoerd, was het met de Engelse onderduikers dan ook snel gedaan. Daarnaast heeft een groepje ArmeniŽrs, door de Duitsers uit het meest oostelijk deel van Europa naar het westen gesleept, zich in die tijd niet onbetuigd gelaten. Hun motieven tot verzet tegen het fascisme berustten op een soortgelijke basis.


Operatie "Market"

In deze brochure wordt uitgebreid ingegaan op de luchtoperatie "Market", die tegelijk een aanvang zou nemen met het noordwaarts oprukken van de grondtroepen vanuit het bruggehoofd bij Neerpelt (B.), codenaam "Garden". Met de uitvoering van de Operatie "Market" was belast het pas opgerichte Eerste Geallieerde Luchtlandingsleger. Dit leger bestond naast luchtlandingstroepen uit Amerika (82ste en 101ste divisie), Engeland (1ste divisie) en Polen (1ste Poolse parachutistenbrigade) ook uit transportvliegtuigeenheden. Deze laatste werden geleverd door de 9de Amerikaanse Troop Carrier Command en de 38ste en 46ste Group van de R.A.F. Tot deze eenheden behoorden in principe ook de transportzweefvliegtuigen.

Deze laatste toestellen "gliders" genoemd, werden vooral ingezet om troepenonderdelen die geen parachutistenopleiding hadden genoten (z.g. paratroopers) en relatief zwaar materieel te vervoeren. Dit kon bestaan uit jeeps, (antitanks) geschut of aanhangwagens meestal volgeladen met mortieren en granaten.

De aanval vanuit de lucht op diverse punten zou tegelijkertijd beginnen. Helaas was de transportvloot niet zo groot, dat alle troepen en materiaal in een dag zouden kunnen worden overgevlogen. De vliegtuigen zouden via speciale routes vliegen, die enerzijds bekende Duitse afweerconcentraties moesten ontwijken, anderzijds makkelijke herkenbare navigatiepunten moesten bevatten, zodat verdwalen of verkeerd vliegen zoveel mogelijk zou voorkomen kunnen worden. Wat het laatste betreft sommige transportvliegtuigen bevatten reeds radio- en radarapparatuur om dit te voorkomen. Hinderlijke weerstand in de lucht of op de grond moest door tientallen squadrons worden geŽlimineerd.


De noordelijke route

Voor de eerste dag, zondag 17 september, waren in het kader van operatie "Market" twee routes gekozen. De zuidelijke zou via de landtong oostelijk van Londen naar Oostende voeren en vandaar via Gent naar Geel (dit alles was reeds bevrijd Belgisch gebied). Dan zou in noordelijke richting Nederland binnengevlogen. Deze uitgestippelde route was bestemd voor de aanvoer van de 101ste Divisie.

De beide overige divisies verlieten Engeland via de meest oostelijk gesitueerde punt in het grafschap Suffolk, om vervolgens over de Noordzee koers te zetten naar het noordwestelijk deel van Schouwen. Dit stuk was duidelijk gemarkeerd door schepen die tevoren hun juiste plaats hadden ingenomen.

Hiertoe behoorden ook reddingsboten. Vervolgens werd recht op St.Philipsland aangevlogen en vandaar uit richting Vught (ten zuiden van 's-Hertogenbosch.) Hier waaierde de armada uit elkaar in verband met de diverse aanvliegdoelen, zoals Grave, Overasselt, Groesbeek (twee zones) en Arnhem (drie zones). Het noordelijk gebied van Schouwen was bewust gekozen, omdat uit ervaring was gebleken, dat het afweergeschut daar minder intensief was dan in de "Westhoek".


Strakke formatie

De Amerikanen met of zonder gliders zouden in specifieke strakke formaties op een hoogte van ongeveer 500 meter vliegen. Vlak boven het doel zou op maar 170 meter hoogte worden gevlogen. De Engelsen met hun meestal zwaardere vliegtuigen en gliders zouden op 800 meter hoogte vliegen in wat losser verband. Bij de terugvlucht zou dezelfde route worden gevlogen maar in omgekeerde richting en nu veel hoger om ander luchtverkeer niet te hinderen.

De gliders die de Engelsen gebruikten waren veelal van het type Horsa. Deze waren voornamelijk uit hout gekonstrueerd en konden ruim 3000 kg nuttige lading vervoeren. Er waren twee vliegers aan boord, die daarvoor een speciale opleiding hadden genoten. Eerst op normale elementaire lesvliegtuigen met motor, later op transportzweefvliegtuigen van steeds zwaarder kaliber.

De lading kon bestaan uit 28 volledig bepakte paratroopers, of jeep met aanhangwagen of (antitank) geschut. Op kleine schaal werd nog een zwaarder type ingezet. De lengte van de trekkabel bedroeg ongeveer 100 meter en wanneer eenmaal losgeraakt in een vlucht, werd dit de definitieve situatie. Dan moest de gliderpiloot snel uitzien naar een geschikt landingsterreintje.

In totaal passeerden die dag bijna 1000 transportvliegtuigen en 400 gliders Schouwen-Duiveland, oostwaarts vliegend. Daarnaast werden deze vliegtuigen voorafgegaan en begeleid door honderden jagers.

Deze laatsten waren ook actief met betrekking tot aanvallen van boten in de buurt van Schouwen. Er werd slechts ťťn transporttoestel boven Schouwen-Duiveland geraakt en daardoor moest het zweefvliegtuig vroegtijdig afhaken. Hier waren zes vliegers en twee paratroopers bij betrokken. Teruggekeerde vliegers meldden die avond dat de luchtafweer aldaar zwak en inaccuraat was. Deze minimale verliezen hadden een bepaalde oorzaak en zouden ook tot bepaalde beslissingen leiden.


Maandag 18 september

Aanvankelijk was besloten uitsluitend gebruik te maken van de zuidelijke route mede in verband met de verwachte vorderingen van het landleger richting Nijmegen en daardoor het vliegen boven vijandelijk gebied met alle risico's tot het minimum te beperken.

Helaas waren de weersvoorspellingen voor dit gebied niet gunstig. Daardoor werd op 18 september 's morgens besloten dat alle vliegtuigen de noordelijke route zouden volgen. De gunstige resultaten de vorige dag hier verkregen zullen deze beslissing zeker hebben vergemakkelijkt.

Op deze ochtend bevonden zich op de R.A.F.basis Keevil naast twee transport squadrons, uitgerust met omgebouwde bommenwerpers van het type Stirling, ook Horsa's om naar Arnhem te worden gesleept.

Wat er die dag met het gereedsstaande transportvliegtuig, dat het individuele codenummer DP 956 droeg, gebeurde, werd in de brochure opgenomen als een boeiend verslag van Bernard Black.



Engelse "Glider" piloot bezoekt Schouwen-Duiveland Artikel 2


Zierikzee, 30-5-1980

Ter gelegenheid van het bezoek op zaterdag 31 mei van de Engelse gliderpiloot Bernard Black, die op 18 september 1944 een noodlanding maakte op Schouwen-Duiveland, werd door de heer J.W.G.M.Thuring uit Heesch een herdenkingsbrochure samengesteld. Deze brochure bevat vele gegevens over het verblijf van de Engelse piloot op Schouwen-Duiveland tot 7 december 1944. In het eerste artikel, gewijd aan de brochure, werd reeds ingegaan op de gebeurtenissen voorafgaande aan die 18de september 1944.

Bernard Black, piloot van transportzweefvliegtuig met codenummer DP956, vertelt in een boeiend verslag over hetgeen met de glider op die dag gebeurde: "Toen we opstegen van Keevil was de vroege ochtendmist nog niet opgetrokken. Het eerste deel van de vlucht was weinig enerverend, omstandigheden waren rustig en er waren geen problemen met het slepen.

De radioverbinding werkte goed en maakte een goede kommunikatie met de piloot van het slepende vliegtuig. Hij feliciteerde ons met de uitstekende koershouding en vertelde dat de glider, die hij de vorige dag had gesleept was gestationeerd vlakbij Norwich. Terwijl we oostwaarts vlogen, zagen we kombinaties van andere bases zich bij de armada voegen.

We vlogen over de oostkust en de eerste impressies waren die van verwondering en ontzag over de omvang van de operatie. Een glider voor ons ging naar beneden en kwam terecht in zee. In de tijd dat we hem bereikten was de bemanning boven op de vleugels geklommen en een van de vele reddingsvaartuigen naderde reeds snel de glider.


Ingehaald

Terwijl we de Nederlandse kust naderden kwam de stroom vliegtuigen samen en het luchtruim leek overbevolkt. Beneden ons zagen we de vloedlijn. Een ander kombinatie, een beetje sneller dan de onze, haalde boven ons in. Ik riep het sleepvliegtuig op om het hem te vertellen, waardoor ik de luchtstroming van het inhalende sleepvliegtuig raakte. Voor een ogenblik was de glider moeilijk onder kontrole te houden, de bakboordvleugel zakte en terwijl ik dit wilde korrigeren, gebeurde het een en ander:

Of mijn sleper raakte de luchtstroom van de inhalende sleper of de sleeppiloot koos juist dat moment om een ontwijkende aktie te doen. Wat er ook precies gebeurde, het resultaat bleef gelijk: mijn sleper liet zijn stuurboordvleugel zakken en begon naar stuurboord te draaien. Dit gebeurde op het moment dat ik naar bakboord zwaaide. Toen was er sprake van de gevreesde onhoudbare situatie voor een glider op sleep."

Bernard Black vertelt in zijn relaas verder hoe hij besloot de sleeplijn te lossen.

Zijn glider werd tijdens de daling nog beschoten door Duitse artilleristen in drie schepen in het Keten-Mastgat. Terwijl de piloot een ontwijkende aktie ondernam, doken twee of drie jachtvliegtuigen op en namen de Duitsers voor hun rekening. Bernard zette zijn glider tenslotte aan de grond in een veld, behorende bij het bedrijf van Kees Romeijn onder Nieuwerkerk. De eerste Nederlander, die hij sprak was Jan Romeijn, wiens boerderij dichterbij Ouwerkerk lag.


Uit handen van de vijand

Om zich te onttrekken aan de Duitsers moesten de inzittenden zich zo snel mogelijk uit de voeten maken. Vermoedelijk zullen ze volgens instrukties hun glider met inhoud in brand gestoken hebben, nadat ze eerst de persoonlijke wapens, munitie en voedsel eruit hebben gehaald. Met zijn zessen zijn ze naar Nieuwerkerk gepeddeld door het geÔnundeerd gebied. Daar zijn de twee piloten uitgestapt en zijn de overigen onder aanvoering van Herman de Leeuw doorgevaren vermoedelijk richting Sirjansland.

Omdat een deel van de bevolking reeds in het begin van 1944 gedwongen was te evacueren was het vinden van een passende woning geen probleem. Bernard Black en zijn co-piloot Philip Hudson namen hun intrek in het huis van C. van Klinken aan de Molenweg recht tegenover de kerk van de Gereformeerde Gemeente. Jan Romeijn zorgde voor de proviandering.

In die tijd werd Nieuwerkerk ook wel eens bezocht door een patrouille te water van de marechaussee uit Zierikzee. De heer D. Visser weet zich nog te herinneren hoe hij tijdens zo'n tocht ramen en deuren van enkele huizen aan het dichttimmeren was, toen hem van achter de deur plotseling een pistoolmitrailleur op zijn borst werd gezet.

Terwijl hij van de schrik aan het bekomen was, had de andere partij al snel gekonkludeerd wat voor vlees ze in de kuip had. Visser lichtte daarna zijn collega J.H. van Doeselaar en zijn superieur J. Schaap in. Deze drie zouden gedurende vijf weken regelmatig voedsel overvaren op hun tochten door dit gebied, totdat de Duitsers dit verboden.


Diagnose

Tijdens een zo'n bezoek leek dat een der piloten ziek was. Visser zou de klacht aan de dokter (E. Vleugels-Schutter) gaan overbrengen. De dokter had al snel in de gaten dat Visser niet de patiŽnt was. De diagnose werd gesteld op diens realistische beschrijving en de juiste medicijnen werden meegegeven, blijkbaar met succes.

Toen de bevoorrading steeds problematischer werd en het gure jaargetijde ook zijn rol ging spelen, zijn beide piloten teruggegaan naar Jan Romeijn en zijn moeder in Ouwerkerk.

Begin december zijn de Engelsen ondergebracht bij de verzamelplaats ten huize van de familie Ringelberg te Zierikzee. Dit in verband met de voorgenomen repatriŽring naar bevrijd gebied. Een typische Engelse karaktertrek, namelijk het lakonieke en flegmatieke hebben ze steeds behouden.


Overgegeven

Het ploegje van Herman de Leeuw (Nederlandse passagier in de glider van Bernard Black) raakte snel gedemoraliseerd. De drie Engelse paratroepers gaven zich over, maar de Leeuw bleef ondergedoken en kreeg van verschillende kanten assistentie onder andere van Jan Schoenmaker. Ook hij werd naar Zierikzee overgebracht om met de piloten en Zeeuwse helpers via de Oosterschelde het bevrijde deel van Zeeland te bereiken. Hij en de piloten wisten in die dramatische nacht van 7 december te ontsnappen.


Lot van de ArmeniŽrs

Zoals reeds vermeld, was het slecht gesteld met de povere resultaten van de luchtdoelartilleristen op Schouwen-Duiveland. Dat hieraan sabotage ten grondslag lag, gepleegd door ArmeniŽrs is helaas nog niet algemeen bekend. Jork Mikkenian, een voormalig onderofficier uit het Sovjet-Russische leger moet hierbij de grote gangmaker zijn geweest waaraan indirect veel paratroepers hun leven hebben te danken. Hij werd gearresteerd en ondervraagd door wantrouwige Duitsers. Wetende welk lot hem boven het hoofd hing, slaagde hij erin, na een schietpartij te ontsnappen in het nachtelijk duister.

Tijdens zijn tocht op het eiland de luchtarmada achterna werd hij ziek. In deplorabele staat vond Joost Ringelberg hem. Deze laatste samen met zijn vrouw verpleegden hem liefdevol en verleenden onderdak. Ook hij zou in die fatale nacht van 7 december worden overgezet, maar de Duitsers wisten ook hem te pakken. Naar zijn lot hoeft men niet te gissen, het zal allerdroevigst geweest zijn. Of zijn vermoedelijke terechtstelling samenhangt met de fusillade van zeven Russische militairen van Armeense origine op 9 december 1944 aan het Havenhoofd te Middelharnis, is een zaak die door de lokale geschiedkundigen eens zou kunnen worden uitgezocht.


Opstand voorbereiden

Ook de afloop van de andere Armeense militair, Sjoeran (vermoedelijk zal dit zijn voornaam zijn, immers de achternaam van ArmeniŽrs eindigen meestal op "ian" bv Petrosian, Aznavourian), geeft weinig reden tot hoop. Hij, een voormalig officiervlieger bij de Sovjet-Russische Luchtmacht en achter de Duitse linies aan het front neergehaald, was altijd onrustig in de weer om een opstand voor te bereiden tesamen met patriottische eilandbewoners om zo geallieerde eenheden te helpen bij het bevrijden van het eiland. Hij heeft vermoedelijk het zoet van de overwinning niet mogen smaken.


Ontvangst

Morgen (zaterdag) 31 mei zal Bernard Black zoals gezegd een herkennismakingsbezoek aan Schouwen-Duiveland brengen. Zaterdagmiddag vind een officiŽle ontvangst plaats op het stadhuis te Zierikzee.

Mensen, die bij het gebeuren in 1944 betrokken waren, zijn van harte welkom de ontvangst bij te wonen. Inmiddels werd medegedeeld dat ook de Nederlandse inzittende in de glider van destijds, Herman de Leeuw zaterdagmiddag aanwezig zal zijn.

Deze ontvangst op het stadhuis zal gekombineerd worden met de begroeting van een Schotse dansgroep uit de twinstad Hatfield.



Hierbij eindigen beide artikelen uit de Zierikzeesche Nieuwsbode van 29 en 30 mei 1980.