Commemoration May 2022
On 6th May 2022 there was a ceremony to unveil a memorial in Gendringen to remember all (500+) casualties during WWII in the former municipalities of Gendringen and Wisch. These victims are, citizens, Dutch, Canadian, English and German soldiers and RAF victims of the nine crashes in that area. The crashes commemorated include S/Ldr G S Smith and the crew of ME840.
The ceremony was attended by over 200 people which included the Canadian Ambassador to The Netherlands, the UK and USA Military Attaché's to The Netherlands and various local mayors. Gary Berg of the 550 Squadron Association (a relative of JJ Berg of the S/Ldr Smith crew) was asked to speak along with Dennis Isfeld (his father, a Canadian soldier died when he was 2 and knew nothing about his father’s death until this visit when he was shown the actual place where his father had been shot). As you can imagine it was a very emotional speech. One very poignant moment for Gary was when, after the ceremony, a young German girl came up to him and apologised "for what the German people had done to the British people". Before he had a chance to reply she was off in a very embarrassed state. A reception was held after the event which lasted approximately an hour and a half.
The plan is to hold another ceremony next year for veterans and members of the Canadian forces who could not attend this year due to Covid restrictions.
Below is a small selection of photographs from the Commemoration Service in Gendringen. These have been taken from the above photographs link and that source is greatly acknowledged.
Click on individual pictures to view the larger image.