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Thread: Guy Martin

  1. #1
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    Guy Martin

    First in the series of Guy Martin with the Dutch team unearthing a Lancaster Bomber in a Dutch Lake, well worth a watch.

  2. #2

    Guy Martin

    Watching it, interested in the topic, but not sure I can put up with Guy Martin for much longer.


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    Grand Master thieuster's Avatar
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    A link?

    BTW, 'we' found another one, in the northernmost part of the country. To give you an idea how important unearthing WWII bombers is for us is: the authorities have ordered to tear down a dyke between land and the sea to get near the plane. The process has to be done before October when the winter-storms start to hit us again...

    https://nos.nl/artikel/2527071-gat-v...o-ii-te-bergen (Use Translate for the English version).
    Last edited by thieuster; 7th July 2024 at 21:43.

  4. #4

    Guy Martin

    It’s on Channel 4 now.

    https://www.channel4.com/?gad_source...SAAEgLxL_D_BwE

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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    A link?

    BTW, 'we' found another one, in the northernmost part of the country. To give you an idea how important unearthing WWII bombers is for us is: the authorities have ordered to tear down a dyke between land and the sea to get near the plane. The process has to be done before October when the winter-storms start to hit us again...

    https://nos.nl/artikel/2527071-gat-v...o-ii-te-bergen (Use Translate for the English version).
    Respect to your nation Menno who want to return the fallen to their loved ones.

  6. #6
    Fair play to the Dutch, they seemed to have deep respect for the British bombers

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    Grand Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    Fair play to the Dutch, they seemed to have deep respect for the British bombers
    In all honesty: we dig up German fighters & crew as well. Afaik there are no German bombers in Dutch ground, only fighters. The ones we 'find' are shot down during the period after June 1944. Before that, the Germans took care of their own.

    My mother grew up in a Dutch village 4 kms from the German border. My grandfather was the local accountant for local small businesses and he spoke German and English. All Dutch men had to 'work' for the German war industry. Mostly in Germany. But my grandfather's language skills were enough for the Germans to keep him around. The local German military always treated shot down and captured Allied air crews politely. Medical care, a (Dutch) chaplain or minister for those who needed that. And my grandfather acted as the interpreter. That was his 'work'. The airmen were transported to the pow camps after their wounds healed etc. In hindsight, this reasonable fair treatment had to do with the fact that the German officers in the village were professional soldiers. There are also stories of ill-treatment of Allied pows in other places where the Germans had stationed 'hired soldiers' from other parts of Europe.

    Killed Allied airmen were buried in the local cemeteries (I wrote about that before). So there are a lot 'Commonwealth Cemetery' signs on local cemeteries in the Netherlands. As far as I know, the Germans allowed a proper burial. And the graves of the airmen were considered by locals as: "You're one of us now!"

    Having said that: there are multiple stories of airmen being lynched by an angry German mob when their plane was shot down over Germany itself. These crew members were seen as the ultimate evil. It even led to fights between German soldiers (who were told to uphold the Geneva Convention) and angry citizens. The German HC in Berlin was on the fence: the Nazi party used the bombers as the ultimate evil and endorsed(!) the lawless lynching, but the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe HQ staff were absolutely against this treatment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    A link?

    BTW, 'we' found another one, in the northernmost part of the country. To give you an idea how important unearthing WWII bombers is for us is: the authorities have ordered to tear down a dyke between land and the sea to get near the plane. The process has to be done before October when the winter-storms start to hit us again...

    https://nos.nl/artikel/2527071-gat-v...o-ii-te-bergen (Use Translate for the English version).
    More on Wellington HE346 (and Bf109?): https://web.archive.org/web/20240327...-28913205.html (I suggest using Google translate if necessary).

  9. #9
    Grand Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Partly written in Frysian, the other official language here. That makes translation more difficult.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Partly written in Frysian, the other official language here. That makes translation more difficult.
    Bûter, brea en griene tsiis is goed Ingelsk en goed Frysk.

  11. #11
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    Just wanted to say thanks for all the insights into these topics that you share on here Menno. It's important to Remember, and I'd say you Dutch do an even better job than we do over here. Respect.


    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    In all honesty: we dig up German fighters & crew as well. Afaik there are no German bombers in Dutch ground, only fighters. The ones we 'find' are shot down during the period after June 1944. Before that, the Germans took care of their own.

    My mother grew up in a Dutch village 4 kms from the German border. My grandfather was the local accountant for local small businesses and he spoke German and English. All Dutch men had to 'work' for the German war industry. Mostly in Germany. But my grandfather's language skills were enough for the Germans to keep him around. The local German military always treated shot down and captured Allied air crews politely. Medical care, a (Dutch) chaplain or minister for those who needed that. And my grandfather acted as the interpreter. That was his 'work'. The airmen were transported to the pow camps after their wounds healed etc. In hindsight, this reasonable fair treatment had to do with the fact that the German officers in the village were professional soldiers. There are also stories of ill-treatment of Allied pows in other places where the Germans had stationed 'hired soldiers' from other parts of Europe.

    Killed Allied airmen were buried in the local cemeteries (I wrote about that before). So there are a lot 'Commonwealth Cemetery' signs on local cemeteries in the Netherlands. As far as I know, the Germans allowed a proper burial. And the graves of the airmen were considered by locals as: "You're one of us now!"

    Having said that: there are multiple stories of airmen being lynched by an angry German mob when their plane was shot down over Germany itself. These crew members were seen as the ultimate evil. It even led to fights between German soldiers (who were told to uphold the Geneva Convention) and angry citizens. The German HC in Berlin was on the fence: the Nazi party used the bombers as the ultimate evil and endorsed(!) the lawless lynching, but the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe HQ staff were absolutely against this treatment.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyCasper View Post
    Watching it, interested in the topic, but not sure I can put up with Guy Martin for much longer.


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    I know. I feel bad because He is such a good bloke but it pains Me to watch Him on TV.

  13. #13
    I was quite moved by the Dutch approach. It's really deserving of more coverage here.

    Had a tear in my eye when they showed the letter the airmans father had sent a decade after his loss. So sad he was never able to visit his son's grave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    In all honesty: we dig up German fighters & crew as well. Afaik there are no German bombers in Dutch ground, only fighters. The ones we 'find' are shot down during the period after June 1944. Before that, the Germans took care of their own.

    My mother grew up in a Dutch village 4 kms from the German border. My grandfather was the local accountant for local small businesses and he spoke German and English. All Dutch men had to 'work' for the German war industry. Mostly in Germany. But my grandfather's language skills were enough for the Germans to keep him around. The local German military always treated shot down and captured Allied air crews politely. Medical care, a (Dutch) chaplain or minister for those who needed that. And my grandfather acted as the interpreter. That was his 'work'. The airmen were transported to the pow camps after their wounds healed etc. In hindsight, this reasonable fair treatment had to do with the fact that the German officers in the village were professional soldiers. There are also stories of ill-treatment of Allied pows in other places where the Germans had stationed 'hired soldiers' from other parts of Europe.

    Killed Allied airmen were buried in the local cemeteries (I wrote about that before). So there are a lot 'Commonwealth Cemetery' signs on local cemeteries in the Netherlands. As far as I know, the Germans allowed a proper burial. And the graves of the airmen were considered by locals as: "You're one of us now!"

    Having said that: there are multiple stories of airmen being lynched by an angry German mob when their plane was shot down over Germany itself. These crew members were seen as the ultimate evil. It even led to fights between German soldiers (who were told to uphold the Geneva Convention) and angry citizens. The German HC in Berlin was on the fence: the Nazi party used the bombers as the ultimate evil and endorsed(!) the lawless lynching, but the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe HQ staff were absolutely against this treatment.
    Really interesting Menno, thanks for posting.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    In all honesty: we dig up German fighters & crew as well. Afaik there are no German bombers in Dutch ground, only fighters. The ones we 'find' are shot down during the period after June 1944. Before that, the Germans took care of their own.

    My mother grew up in a Dutch village 4 kms from the German border. My grandfather was the local accountant for local small businesses and he spoke German and English. All Dutch men had to 'work' for the German war industry. Mostly in Germany. But my grandfather's language skills were enough for the Germans to keep him around. The local German military always treated shot down and captured Allied air crews politely. Medical care, a (Dutch) chaplain or minister for those who needed that. And my grandfather acted as the interpreter. That was his 'work'. The airmen were transported to the pow camps after their wounds healed etc. In hindsight, this reasonable fair treatment had to do with the fact that the German officers in the village were professional soldiers. There are also stories of ill-treatment of Allied pows in other places where the Germans had stationed 'hired soldiers' from other parts of Europe.

    Killed Allied airmen were buried in the local cemeteries (I wrote about that before). So there are a lot 'Commonwealth Cemetery' signs on local cemeteries in the Netherlands. As far as I know, the Germans allowed a proper burial. And the graves of the airmen were considered by locals as: "You're one of us now!"

    Having said that: there are multiple stories of airmen being lynched by an angry German mob when their plane was shot down over Germany itself. These crew members were seen as the ultimate evil. It even led to fights between German soldiers (who were told to uphold the Geneva Convention) and angry citizens. The German HC in Berlin was on the fence: the Nazi party used the bombers as the ultimate evil and endorsed(!) the lawless lynching, but the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe HQ staff were absolutely against this treatment.
    There is a famous example of the Germans using capture airman as an example of propaganda
    A USAAF B17 Murder Inc. was shot down and one of the crew man had the aircraft name painted on the back of his A2 jacket. (As was common)

    https://www.historynet.com/gangsters...anda-campaign/

    The German military had to stop him being lynched

    With regard to the treatment of POW airman, it should also be remembered that Airman went to Luftwaffe administered camps, these were largely ran by older ‘Gentlemen’ officers some of who were ex airmen / had served in the first war as airmen, fair treatment was considered the gentlemanly thing to do, they also wanted to ensure fair treatment for the German airman POWs in the UK, Canada and the US.

    My local cemetery in West London has a number of Commonwealth war graves, the majority airmen from the RAF or commonwealth nations, this is due to a hospital close by where they were treated. One that stands out is of a young Luftwaffe Airman. I have no idea why he is buried in Ealing but he is and his grave is as smart and as cared for as the Allied troops.

  16. #16
    Grand Master thieuster's Avatar
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    A few other details: in this part of Europe, the Wehrmacht had stationed ordinary soldiers from German villages etc with a professional staff sergeant and officers. For a long time, the Germans believed that they would convince the Dutch and the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium that they were all part of the German Reich. Sugarcoating the occupation, so to speak... Dutch resistance had other 'plans' and the Germans responded by sending the Sicherheits Dienst (secret service).

    The Dutch resistance was organized in 'cells' like more resistance movements were. There was no 'house of cards' that would fall apart. One major 'operation' of the Dutch resistance was hiding allied airmen and trying to get them through Europe(!) back to England. Switzerland and Spain were the goals for those men. With false IDs, impressive letters with false stamps etc. Interestingly, a lot of that work was done by young women and even children.

    This article (use Translate) from a well-respected Dutch newspaper contains a lot of facts and anecdotes.

    https://www.volkskrant.nl/kijkverder/2017/verzet/

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    We visited 1940-1945 Museum in Dordrecht recently. One of the rooms was dedicated to the Dutch Resistance which can be characterised as largely non-violent according to “Was God on Vacation” by Jack van der Geest. Apparently a 1938 Dutch law required all guns to be registered, when the Nazis invaded they found the register, went house to house demanding the guns and hence there wasn’t actually a great deal of physical resistance. Exhibits have been donated by local families and provide a rich collection together with some wonderful stories of very brave people assisted by the British SOE.

  18. #18
    Grand Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Everything was registered here in this neatly raked country! One of the reasons so many Jewish people here were rounded up and sent to concentration camps! The local councils’ administration had put ‘joods’ (Jewish) on the address records. They ran a tidy ship: ‘Jewish’, ‘Surinam’, ‘Antilles’. A mark on every person.

    It was the Nazi’s dreams come true. And hiding jewish people, resistance fighters and airmen became extremely difficult when the Nazis introduced personal IDs.

    So, enter the resistance ‘industry’ of forging papers. Those airmen needed Dutch papers as well. A lot of graphic artists became good forgers of all sort of documents. Even money. The Germans had introduced their own ‘Dutch’ banknotes and coins. Like in the UK: the portait of the Queen was on all coins etc.

    Forging and counterfeiting became só good btw that the Dutch government switched to new banknotes right after May 1945: there were afraid that some graphic artists would turn their ‘passion’ into a ‘job’: too many fake banknotes among the public. (And there’s another reason I will explain later).

    But the bureaus that held the records of the Dutch citizens were often set on fire. Some with the aid of the Dutch branch of the RAF: they bombed the building. People inside or nearby were considered 'collateral damage'. Resistance attacks that killed Germans led to repercussions from the Germans: executing random people in the street. The resistance did not strike back on Germans. They did that once and that led to a massacre. ± 600 men from a village were taken away and were killed. The Dutch resistance took out Dutch traitors. The Germans didn't respond fiercely to that. When the RAF bombed buildings, nothing happened to the civilians. The Germans viewed this as a 'war thing'. Some daring raids over Dutch soil were done by the RAF's Dutch branch. With the idea in mind that a shot-down Dutch pilot was easier to hide than an English speaking pilot!

    All those stories that come up in my head. I figure that it has to to with several things. I was born in '58 and all grown-up people of my childhood went through the war. Men and women. 99% as an ordinary civilian. In the UK etc, most men served and a lot of them didn't want to talk about it. You all know examples of those people. But here, the German occupation was part of daily life. Add to that my love for stories. I always paid attention when people told about that period. My parents, neighbours, teachers in primary school etc. They all contributed to the image I have of that period. And some stories, I share here.

    Although, it was until last week that I heard of something; an incredible, weird story of failing intel that I will share later.
    Last edited by thieuster; 9th July 2024 at 07:07.

  19. #19
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    Fantastic programme, hats off to the Dutch. Amazing achievement retrieving those brave airman who gave their lives. Lest we forget

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    It is heartwarming to live here in NL and experience the communal spirit that the Dutch have regarding this part of their history.
    Living here in Haarlem with local heroines such as Hannie Schaft & Corrie Ten Boom and with the site of the execution of the Resistance Banker: https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/5...ruary-1945.htm around 200mtrs from my front door, it is clear that these events still live in the memories of so many.

    And, on my daily walk today I came across one of these local heroes, quietly bending over and polishing three of the local ‘stumbling stones’ that show the fate of a whole Jewish family who lived nearby. Another group of empassioned volunteers: https://www.struikelstenenhaarlem.nl/.

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    The ‘Stolpersteine’ project.
    More info here: https://www.stolpersteine.eu/en/home

    It’s a slow process before the Steine (stones) are in place. There are so many spots in Europe…My local council came up with the plan to put engraved granite stones in place until the authentic Stolpersteine have arrived. A good initiative!

    These 5 were ‘paved’ a few hundred meters from where I live. The granite stones are now replaced for these.


  22. #22
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    ICYMI...BBC link:

    Fifteen "stumbling stones" to commemorate people who were deported to concentration camps during World War Two are to be laid in Guernsey, museum bosses say.

    Guernsey Museum said the Stolpersteine would remember 11 people who died and four who survived the Nazi persecution.

    Staff said such cobblestone-like cubes could already be found in cities across Europe and were engraved brass caps inserted into public pavements and roadways in memory of victims and survivors of Nazism.

    Guernsey Museums also said it was "delighted" to announce German artist Gunter Demnig was due on the island on 26 July to install them...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyCasper View Post
    Watching it, interested in the topic, but not sure I can put up with Guy Martin for much longer.
    Enjoyed much of the programme with the exception of Guy Martin, I found his matey enthusiasm unsuitable for the subject.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

    'Populism, the last refuge of a Tory scoundrel'.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by number2 View Post
    Enjoyed much of the programme with the exception of Guy Martin, I found his matey enthusiasm unsuitable for the subject.
    Yep, a subject to be treated with certain seriousness and reverence, which the Dutch military, salvage, archeology and public absolutely did. All we got from him was 'by eck', 'bloody hell', 'the balls'....... Rather irritating. I watched it through as the topic does interest me as my father was RAF aircrew during WW2, although never discussed at home. The engineering stuff was also interesting, building the cofferdam, bracing it, pumping it out.

  25. #25
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    Just watched this programme so I am a little late to thread... but what a great programme.

    Absolute respect to the Dutch and their Government for this effort / initiative.. and the way they handled it and the respect shown to the families of the deceased.

    Looking after those who have suffered in Wars is paramount, and always should be. Whether deceased or still alive.


    The Dutch have shown their ultimate respect here and as a nation I am sure we all recognise that.

    To see them do this puts our Government to shame. Men who have suffered wars here now have mental health and many are homeless. Yet another nation can show this much respect and care.

    I get the comments about the Guy Martin thing. I do think that he means well but he was out of his depth on this one. Somebody else perhaps should have done this.

    My final thoughts after seeing him tell the families that their remains were confirmed: I absolutely hope that the Dutch Government told them officially first, gently and tactfully. Their efforts should have been respected by THEM telling the relatives. Not Guy saying "mate" to everyone. I absolutely hope that this HUGE effort didn't see that as the real conveying of the news. A bit cringey.


    Lest We Forget and RIP to the three and all those who died on this mission, and on all missions, by all forces over land and sea.

  26. #26
    Grand Master thieuster's Avatar
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    My final thoughts after seeing him tell the families that their remains were confirmed: I absolutely hope that the Dutch Government told them officially first, gently and tactfully. Their efforts should have been respected by THEM telling the relatives. Not Guy saying "mate" to everyone. I absolutely hope that this HUGE effort didn't see that as the real conveying of the news. A bit cringey.
    I don't know exactly how this process unfolds when a plane is found. But the excavation is in the hands of the Dutch Army. They are in the lead. Over the years, they must have reached out the the (former) Allied authorities. I guess that there are liaison officers on both ends. I cannot imagine that the Dutch Army with all their formal steps and traditions will throw that out of the window for one Guy Martin and a production crew.

    An example: Don't forget that during WWII, the Dutch Army had to be rebuilt from the ground-up. It's largely (not totally) built on the British Army system.

    A lot of the traditions and (un)written rules are copied for 'our' use. I was in a Regiment that was founded during WWII when a lot of Dutch refugees wanted to take up arms against the Germans. Our Parade uniform was 100% 'composed'. You can see 'British influences'... (It was a curse to wear it. It's wool and it itches when it gets hot. Don't mention when it gets wet! Horrible.)


  27. #27
    This thread brings two thoughts to mind:

    First, anyone with even a passing interest in the Lancaster should read “ Bomber” by Len Deighton. Truly remarkable level of scholarship in his fictional account of a raid.

    Second, I heard a Radio 4 broadcast a year or two back about airman graves in the Netherlands, how they cede the land, as other countries do embassy land, to the airman’s country. It focussed n a young Austrialian’s grave, how he was technically buried in Australia there, and it was a very moving thing indeed.

  28. #28
    And this is well worth watching:

    Night Bombers https://youtu.be/xAztJVoBTKE?feature=shared

  29. #29
    Thanks to the OP for mentioning this, fascinating on so many levels, the tech, the history , the fantastic old boy's recollections and the families' gratitude. The gravitiy of the process was , to my mind , well dealt with my Guy Martin, who is a bit of a hands on fellow but not insensitive.

  30. #30
    Grand Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGJG View Post
    This thread brings two thoughts to mind:

    First, anyone with even a passing interest in the Lancaster should read “ Bomber” by Len Deighton. Truly remarkable level of scholarship in his fictional account of a raid.

    Second, I heard a Radio 4 broadcast a year or two back about airman graves in the Netherlands, how they cede the land, as other countries do embassy land, to the airman’s country. It focussed n a young Austrialian’s grave, how he was technically buried in Australia there, and it was a very moving thing indeed.
    .

    Yes. Maintaining the graves is officially something for the Allied countries. In reality, the maintenance is done by the crew of the local cemetery. And in 99% of the cases, these are graves of airmen. However, there are exceptions: there are larger cemeteries with only the graves of soldiers. The Battle of Arnheim is an example. The all-Allied cemetery is located across the street where the Paras had their temp HQ. In the southernmost part of the country, near Maastricht (in Margraten to be exact) is a very large US cemetery. And that is US soil. Maintained by people hired by the US military. Margraten is a small village with mostly orchards and some farms. And the locals there are very proud that they are able to help the US crews to maintain the cemetery.

    Friends of us used to own and run a small (12 rooms) hotel, situated a few hundred meters from the US cemetery. 75% of their guests came from the US, 365 days/yr. The owners 'dialed in' on the US guests: e.g. a deal, so the local flower shop stopped at the hotel a few times/week for the guests to pick their flowers etc.

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