This book, written for young and old, gives detailed information about the conditions during the operational fl ight of Stirling R9168 No. XV squadron RAF which crashed in the woods near Gortel, the Netherlands, on the 16th December 1942. Six men of the crew were killed, only the rear gunner survived. In 1992, the children from a primary school in Vaassen erected a
Memorial at the crash site. As the woods here are part of the Royal Forestry special permission from Queen Beatrix was received to do this.
In this book all details of the circumstances during the raid have been written. How the aircraft was prepared, what kind of men formed the crew (2 British, 2 Canadians; 2 Americans and 1 New Zealander; aged 19-26), what did they have to do during the raid on Diepholz Airfi eld? After the Stirling was hit by FLAK and on his way back to England, the reader is led to the German pilot who shot down the Stirling. At the time of the crash, the story follows a Dutch boy who was an eyewitness to the crash. In addition to this main part of the book, explanations are inserted, in about 50 short articles, about the circumstances of the Dutch during the war: resistance, the suffering of the Jews, liberation etc. All main records of the RAF, the Germans and the Dutch are included, as well as letters from parents
of the crew. Even parts of the rear gunner’s log book have been inserted.
The annual commemorations at the Air Gunners Monument in the forest at Gortel are always
impressive and have – like this book – one primary objective: we should never forget the sacrifi ces made for our freedom. ‘We will remember them.’