May 25, 2019. For those readers who are intending to go to The Netherlands in October for the unveiling of the memorial panel to honour the crew of Halifax L9561, piloted by Flight Sgt Elmer Muttart, this is a brief update we received from the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation.
A quick summary: WWII pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART lost his life on October 12, 1941 when his plane was shot down by a German nightfighter, and crashed in a field right outside the village of Wons in The Netherlands. Before the crash, Elmer was able to ensure that his crew bailed out and he managed to steer the burning plane past the village. Over the past 1 ½ years a fundraising project in conjunction with the Tryon and Area Historical Society here in Canada, and the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation in The Netherlands, has been raising funds towards a memorial panel near the crash site in Wons to honour Elmer Muttart and his crew. (See The Elmer Bagnall Muttart Story and On the War Memorial Trail ….. At Harlingen General Cemetery and On the War Memorial Trail ….. At The Politiek Farm In Wons)
The Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, which is organizing and coordinating the memorial panel installation and ceremony, have provided a bit more information, prior to the official invitations being sent out. Here is what we know:
Date of the event: Saturday, October 12, 2019.
Hotel: Oranje Hotel Leeuwarden in Leeuwarden, which is near the train station. When you receive your invitation and program, a booking code will be provided for a group rate, and we suggest you book for 2 nights. Here is the link if you want to take a look at the hotel facilities: https://www.oranjehotelleeuwarden.com/en/about-the-hotel/facilities/
Train from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam: There is a train station at Schiphol Airport and you can take a direct train to Leeuwarden. Please note that purchase of tickets is done electronically (there is no ticket counter) and can be purchased either ahead of time or at the train station. Direct trains to Leeuwarden leave hourly from the airport at 34 minutes after each hour. NOTE: There is a second train leaving hourly, but it is NOT direct and requires you to change trains, so we don’t recommend that you take it. For more information see https://www.schiphol.nl/en/page/by-train-from-schiphol/.
The train journey is about 2 hours. Here is a link advising of the cost, departure and arrival times, and the platform at Schiphol that the train departs from: https://www.ns.nl/en/journeyplanner#/?vertrek=Schiphol%20Airport&vertrektype=treinstation&aankomst=Leeuwarden&aankomsttype=treinstation&type=vertrek&tijd=2019-10-08T10:09&_requesttime=1558703389845
If you are intending to tour around by public transport, here is a link that may be of interest: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/page/public-transport-and-the-public-transport-card/.
Car rental: You can also rent a car from Schiphol Airport.
You are responsible for your travel, accommodation, and meal expenses. On October 12, 2019, complimentary transport will be provided by the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation to Harlingen and to Wons. A bus will pick us up from the Oranje Hotel in Leeuwarden, with the first stop for an event at Hannemahuis (a museum) in Harlingen. For those who can read Dutch, here is the link: http://www.hannemahuis.nl/. Harlingen is where Flight Sgt Elmer Muttart is buried, and we will be visiting the cemetery.
From Harlingen we will travel to Wons for the unveiling of the memorial panel near the crash site. The bus will then take us back to the hotel.
Members of The Netherlands branch of the Royal Canadian Legion will be in attendance in both Harlingen and Wons.
Full details will be provided by the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, who will send an invitation and program to those who’ve indicated they would like to attend.
Harlingen, Wons, and Leeuwarden are all in the Dutch province of Friesland. See https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/destinations/provinces/friesland.htm for more information.
While the Canadian fundraising project is closed, anyone who wishes can still donate directly to the Foundation in The Netherlands. How to donate: Bank transfers may be made to Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, Bank Account # (IBAN) NL35ABNA0569579856, and state in the subject line “Attn D.S. Drijver for Halifax L9561”.
If you have a memory of any of the crew members of Halifax L9561 to share, please send an email to email@example.com or comment on this blog.
© Daria Valkenburg