Looking back at a very memorable week the idea gradually developed to put the information below on this Bomber Command website in order to commemorate the crash in a most suitable way. I am grateful to mister Bob Baxter who offered his co-operation in attaining this goal. By this means I would like to thank Wing-Commander Jack Harris OBE DFC (ret.) RAF 550 squadron association secretary and his wife as well, for their participation.
Hans Ooms and family, Westerbeek The Netherlands.
SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The memorial was built by a Westerbeek artist Mr Juul Baltussen and erected in 1997. It represents the tail of a Lancaster and stands as a token of remembrance to the crew of Lancaster (BQ-R) PB221 of 550 Squadron RAF which had crashed in Westerbeek after taking part in a bombing raid on Bottrop Posper Benzol Plant, Germany on the 3rd of February 1945.
The bomber took off from North Killingholme at 16:31 hours and was part of a wave of 192 Lancasters and 18 Mosquitoes. The main force bombed in 11 minutes between 19:31 and 19:42 hours. 8 Lancasters did not return, one of them Lancaster PD221 which is believed was shot down by a German night-fighter. The main crash location was onto farmland at Koehardstraat - Nieuweweg (some pieces of debris which were found on the crashperimeter verify this). The tail section of the aircraft is believed to have crashed near a street called 't Zand, also in Westerbeek.
COMMEMORATION 3-5 MAY 2005 WESTERBEEK THE NETHERLANDS
3rd May 2005.
Relatives of navigator sergeant Jack Holding (England), wireless operator warrant-officer William J. Howson (England) and Canadian rear-gunner Lorne C. Taerum, together with 550 squadron representative Wing Commander J. Harris OBE DFC ret. (RAF 550 squadron association secretary) and his wife and two other friends arrived in Westerbeek. A nice fondue was offered to them.
4th May 2005.
Visiting the graves of the crew and laying flowers at Westerbeek Roman Catholic Churchyard. The Mayor of Sint Anthonis municipality and his wife participated the ceremonies. Afterwards participating the ceremonies in Sint Anthonis (church and town-hall) and laying wreaths at the monument "Sun of our Hope".
5th May 2005.
Ceremony at Westerbeek church with a local choir and band, afterwards putting wreaths at the Westerbeek Memorial. After visiting the crashlocation a nice brunch was enjoyed, offered by Westerbeek people. Together with Lorne's relative, we visited the Möhne- and Ederdams in Germany on 6 May as Lorne's brother, Harlo Taerum, was W/C Guy Gibson's navigator in operation "Chastise". (Harlo was also KIA, in 1943).