207 SQUADRON ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORY
Commemoration Ceremony 2 May 2007
at the memorial to three Allied aircrews near Jisp
Gathering at the memorial
Windmill beside the North Holland Canal, not far from the memorial site
Above: On the outskirts of Purmerend, Tom Rogers, wartime Air Gunner, admiring a restored Harley Davidson US motorcycle: Right, Mrs Jeanne Harvey with Eric Bijtelaar.
A bright, blustery day. The North Holland Canal is just beyond the cars.
Mr Just Kroon and Mr Henk van Veen:
in the background is the tea tent at which refreshements were afterwards so kindly provided
Speech given by Henk van Veen (after Just's introduction) (translated by Eric Bijtelaar)
Just had agreed with me that I would take it over from him so he could start filming again, everybody knows that he would rather be behind his camera then speaking.
Nevertheless Just and Tinny Kroon are the driving force behind this monument. A monument that remembers of those important events that happened nearby.
I wish to give to Mrs Dampier a special cordial welcome and her husband and daughter.
Mrs Dampier is the daughter of Sergeant Ronald Dampier, an Air Gunner from the Lancaster that crashed here in the fields and where Ronald lost his life.
We would also like to thank the presence of both Mayors Tange and van Dam at this event.
Mr Henk van Veen & Mr Just Kroon (wearing a 207 lapel badge donated by the Association)
We remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. That is a common sentence and I would rather say: I have a lot of respect for those who lost their lives in the battle for our freedom, a society where my family, friends live in total freedom. A freedom of speech, thinking and acting.
Sadly enough this freedom needs to be guarded constantly and many times has to be enforced. I myself try to avoid every violent confrontation and try to walk the road of compromises and dialogue. But it seems that our society brings forth certain individuals that can only be kept on the right path by using force and I can't close my eyes to that either. Therefore my respect for those that during World War II and even after took the risk of not returning home.
Every flight from a more or less safe place to go and acquiring knowledge, droppings of food and personnel, bombardments or combat to hit and weaken the enemy.
None of those brave men left with the idea of never returning and all kept faith in the guardian angel, which gave them the courage to go on with their missions over and over again until a fatal moment and their guardian angel abandoned them.
To survive in this situation is a very small chance, you are able to jump out of your aircraft in time but then the danger of getting shot while hanging in the air or when hitting the ground. If you are not able to get out then the muddy fields of Jisp are your last resting place.
From 1945 onwards this region has been safe, but worldwide not much has changed. The actual battlefields are now further away from us but there is still a lot of violence and human suffering. With these words writing the following question arose: Has our planet Our Earth ever known peace? Nowadays we measure through statistics the hottest month ever, the heaviest storm ever, how many days without accidents at work?
When, I asked myself was the last time the world has know one second without war? Did this ever happen? And in spite of this knowledge to leave your loved ones and taking the risk of never returning to your safe place to guard the freedom of others. Deep, deep respect for this and we cannot do anything but think this over in silence.
Rev Dr Desmond Harvey: Introduction
We are here today to remember and to pay tribute to those young airmen who gave their lives for us all in the cause of freedom. And to give thanks for those who maintain and continue their memory in this place.
Rev Dr Desmond Harvey: Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know me when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word in on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea.
Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,
Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Rev Dr Desmond Harvey: St Pauls letter to the Romans. Chapter 8 verses 31b -39
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more that that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor death, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Rev Dr Desmond Harvey: Prayers
O God our Father in whose hands are the souls of men, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.
We give you thanks for the sacrifice of the young airmen who perished in this place in the cause of freedom and whom we remember today.
May their ultimate sacrifice be an inspiration to all who love mercy, seek justice and walk humbly with you and may your blessing be upon all those associated with this memorial in memory of those who died.
These prayers we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All: The Lords Prayer
Rev Dr Desmond Harvey: The Blessing
Mrs Jeanne Harvey
My father, Ronald Dampier was the Mid Upper gunner on the Lancaster 'Q for Queenie' of 207 Squadron, serial number ED554.
The aircraft was shot down on 9th April 1943 on a night bombing raid to Duisberg.
It was his first wedding anniversary. I was born 6 months later.
He is buried in the New Eastern Cemetery in Amsterdam with other members of the crew.
I have visited his grave on several occasions but it was only recently that the Association learnt of the existence of the memorial.
So it is my first visit here, quite an emotional time.
I would like to thank you all for the part that you have played individually:
those of you who are here today,
those who discovered the remains of the aircraft,
those who erected this monument and those who maintain it.
My special thanks go to those of you who have made the arrangements which have allowed us to come here today to remember the crews of the 3 aircraft which where shot down close to this memorial and commemorated here.
It is a great comfort to me that my father is laid to rest here in Holland amongst such caring and freedom loving people.
I can only say .. THANK YOU.
on behalf of 207 Squadron Royal Air Force Association
No.207 Squadron Royal Air Force began life as No.7 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service in 1916.
In the Second World War the Squadron carried out 4,598 individual aircraft operational sorties.
These were flown by airmen of many nations, including your own.
145 aircraft and crews failed to return. 957 airmen were killed, 172 became Prisoners of War and 38 evaded capture by the enemy.
This memorial commemorates one of those 145 crews and 7 of those 957 killed.
image source: Jane Haslam
Their names were:
the Pilot: WO2 Harold Arthur HEALEY RCAF, age not known
the Flt Engineer: Sgt William Leslie WHITEHOUSE RAF, age not known
the Navigator: F/S Arthur Rupert LEWIS RAFVR, aged 28
the Air Bomber: Sgt Denis Edward WHITAKER RAF, aged 22
the Wireless Operator: Sgt Roy BISHOP RAFVR, aged 23
the Mid Upper Gunner: Sgt Ronald Eric Arthur DAMPIER RAFVR, aged 23
the Rear Gunner: F/S Cornelius William KLEYNHANS RAFVR, aged 24
Their graves are in Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery.
This memorial also commemorates the crews of two other Allied aircraft which crashed within a kilometre of where we stand. We remember them and their crews with equal pride:
A Halifax of 51 Squadron Royal Air Force, on May 13th 1943
A B-24 Liberator of 754 Squadron, 458th Bomb Group, United States Army Air Force, on March 6th 1944.
No.207 Squadron continued to give dedicated and distinguished service until 1984, when it was disbanded. The Squadron Association formed soon afterwards.
Since 2002 the Squadron has once again been part of the Royal Air Force. It is training pilots for the fast jets of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.
It is very conscious and proud of its heritage. I bring you greetings from the Squadron and its Commanding Officer.
On behalf of 207 Squadron Royal Air Force Association I add our thanks to all involved with the establishment and care of this memorial. Thank you for the continued cherishing of all the graves and memorials to the Allied servicemen and women who gave their lives in your country, fighting for freedom.
Rev Dr Desmond Harvey: The Act of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
All: We will remember them.
Mr Just Kroon then called for a one minute Silence and the Last Post was played
Finally, Just Kroon and Jeanne Harvey released two doves:
image source: Jane Haslam
Above: Dutch Wreath in place, with Association dedication
Below: Detail of wreath card from the Association, showing wartime and current 207 Squadron badges
In memory of
The Healey Crew
Lancaster ED554 EM-Q
All killed in action
night of 9/10 April 1943
The Squadron and
we who are left
salute you and the
brave Dutch people
who gave their lives for
our present freedoms.
Visit by the family of Sgt Ron Dampier
and members of 207 Squadron Association
2 May 2007
Rev Desmond Harvey, Kathryn Harvey, Just Kroon, Jeanne Harvey, Eric Bijtelaar
Mrs Tiny Kroon, Jane Haslam
image: Jane Haslam
image: Jane Haslam
Mrs Jeanne Harvey presented 207 Squadron badge plaques in
appreciation of those connected with the memorial and for the local community:
to Wormerland Burgemeester P Tange
image source: Jane Haslam
to Just Kroon
to Mr Henk van Veen
(seated) Hugh Wynter and Tom Rogers were wartime Air Gunners on 207 Squadron;
they were attending the Air Gunners Association events at Dronten and were
kindly brought to Jisp by their Dutch host family
Images source unless otherwise specified: Haslam
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page last updated 26 Nov 2007