Welcome to the site of the B-17 monument Groenekan Foundation
Groenekan is a little village, north of the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands, with
about 1.900 inhabitants. On May 28 1944 an American B-17 Flying Fortress, returning
from a mission over Germany, crashed in a meadow just outside Groenekan.
Our Foundation did realize a monument to remember this event, which was revealed
on May 28 2014, exactly 70 years after the crash. It is a tribute to those that offered
their lives for our freedom.
On a nice Whitsunday, almost 70 years ago, around 3.30 PM, a burning American bomber
(a B-17 Flying Fortress) made a crash landing in a meadow just south of Groenekan.
Two of the ten members of the crew died already during the flight due to hits from
German anti aircraft weapons. Several others were slightly and one was seriously
injured. Dirk de Kruijff, Hendrik Copijn and the father of Ivo de Jong were the first
to arrive at the crashed aircraft, followed by German soldiers shortly thereafter.
The members of the crew were initially moved to the ranch of Dirk de Kruijff.
At that ranch the seriously wounded gunner Thomas Roskowick died shortly thereafter.
The seven surviving members of the crew were all taken as prisoners of war and returned
to their homes after the war. The three members that lost their lives were buried
on the American war cemetery of Margraten, but only Thomas Roskowick still rests
there now; the other two crew members have been repatriated to the USA by their families.
In 1995, on the occasion of the 50 th commemoration of the end of World War Two,
Wim Hoebink published an extensive description in Dutch of this event in “Sint Maerten”,
the magazine of the Historical Society Maartensdijk. He ended his article with the
following cry from the heart:
They should not be forgotten. It is the duty of Groenekan to remember these three
soldiers killed in action.
For the design, production and erection of the monument, including the ceremonious
dedication we need an amount of around € 12.000.
We started our fundraising at the end of November 2013 and are trying to get support
from the local population, local companies and supporting foundations. We were successfull
in raising the funds needed, especially thanks to many gifts fromthe local population,
which proved that our initiatiive for a monument was very much appreciated.
The dedication of the Monument
The ceremonious dedication of the monument took place on Wednesday afternoon, May
28, 2014 around 3.30 PM, exactly 70 years after the crash. The location is the corner
of Versteeglaan / Groenekanseweg in the center of Groenekan.
We have invited several relatives of the crew from the USA to witness this event
and 15 of them decided to come over. We organized a visit for them to the American
War Cemetery Margraten on Memorial Day, May 25, and of course they were present during
the dedication of our monument and played a prominent role in that ceremony.