meisjes verzorgen het graf van een engelse piloot Redux

Leo Potten who lives in Ysselsteyn, in the Netherlands  wrote me the story about the plane crash that killed Arthur Horrell and Paul Émile Piché.


After sending you the pictures of the field graves, I have asked some older people if they knew still something from the airplane at the Deurneseroad(weg) in October 1944.

As the official side tells us, they (Piché and Horrell) had to go from Grave to Antwerp (Belgium). They could have been flying through liberated areas because west of Ysselsteyn there were liberated areas since Operation Market Garden.

It seems to be that their navigation was not good or was it because they were flying in an other plane? However they were flying above occupied areas because the village Ysselsteyn had not been liberated until 17 October, 1944. They were searching for the right destination I think because they were flying very low. Maybe they also thought they were flying above liberated areas.

Auster 4

Therefore it was easy to shoot them down. And so it happened because there were many German soldiers, “moffen” as they were called in Holland, in our region because the frontline was nearby. There were even German soldiers  who settled on kind of houses build up with cornsheafs called “mijt” in the Netherlands. They were shot by artillery. Their plane caught fire and crashed to the ground nearby the farm of the Jeurissen family which is still living there today.

On this farm there were German soldiers who went immediately to the plane. The father of Theo Jeurissenm, who lives nowadays at the farm, told him. “The German soldiers couldn’t get nearer the plane because of the danger of explosion. Jan Jeurissen, the father of Theo, didn’t know if one or both of the pilots Mr. Horrell or Mr. Piché were still alive when they crashed to earth.

Therefore the German soldiers shot on their bodies to take them out of their horrible misery.  Other people told us they were dead when they crashed on the ground.  However it is a terrible death they found in flames while they were doing there job.

 All this is told about 70 years after this terrible accident. Stories can change with time.  However we heard this story from different people.

Theo Jeurissen tells that his father told him that the German soldiers who had their quarters near by the farm of the Jeurissens did not like the war. They also hated it. They were afraid of SS soldiers who layed near by a farm about 300 m. It’s something like the old story of the one controling the other and no one dares te be disobedient because then he might be executed.

After the accident, the German soldiers were very still and were impressed about what had all happened. Some of them couldn’t hold their food in their body and they vomited.

There was also a very young soldier among the Germans. They called him their secret weapon (pun intended related to Hitler’s secret weapons according to Leo’s interpretation). He was very young, didn’t eat much and was homesick. Oma Jeurissen sometimes gave him some food to eat.

The two pilots were buried first in graves near by the farm as you can see on the picture I sent with simple birchwooden crosses.

Arthur Horrell

The sisters of Jan Jeurissen did make them nice with white stones.

meisjes verzorgen het graf van een engelse piloot3

Afterwards they were buried in the British War Cemetry in Venray about 10 km from the place where they found their terrible end from their young lives.

Knowing also all this, we are glad that we erected a monument with the names of all these brave men who gave their lives for our freedom. Something which we will never forget.


After reading this terrible story, war is always terrible, we hope you will still able to have a nice Christmas. Christmas means something like peace. Peace for  us  made possible  by these two young man in the craft of their lives in a future which there never was.

In the spring, we will  visit their graves and put some flowers on their graves. Great thanks for these brave men.

If there is anything you want to now and if you have more other questions let me know.
We wish you until this story a nice Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Leo Potten,
Ysselsteyn, the Netherlands  

meisjes verzorgen het graf van een engelse piloot

meisjes verzorgen het graf van een engelse piloot3

Arthur Horrell

From Fred

Pictures of the first grave location of Arthur and Louis.
They where buried near the place of the crash.
The grave on the right is a German grave…..
On the other picture two Dutch girls taking  care on the grave of Arthur or Louis.

Fred wrote back with the translation of the title.

Hello Pierre.
2 Dutch girls take care of the grave of an English Pilot.
It was the most common text on a fieldgrave.
Both, Allies as Germans suffered huge losses in this area during “Aintree”
It was complete chaos during and after the battle of Overloon/Venray.
The casualties were hurriedly buried. Only a quick registration.
Casualties were buried by civilians, Germans, or Allies….
I’ve no reason to believe that’s not the grave of Arthur or Louis.
Kind regards,


Lest We Forget

I got this message from Fred this morning.

Fred is living in the south of the Netherlands, near the German border. He is surrounded with War Cemeteries. He told me that where he lives was the German defending line before the Allies entered Germany by crossing the rivers Rhine and Maas.

Nicole Morley, Arthur Horrell’s grandniece, wanted me to contact him.

Hello Pierre,
The Horrell/Piché’s Auster was shot down by German FLAK. The Auster was out of course and flew over a battle area at that time.
Operation “Aintree” was going on at that moment. Overloon/Venray are very close to Deurne.

If you need anymore headstone pictures of fallen Canadian Heroes just let me know.

Have you heard about the Canadian war cemetery at Groesbeek, Holland?

Memorials at Findagrave

Ysselsteyn monument in front of the church.


Fred had the information about the incident that happened on October 11, 1944.

The Horrell/Piché’s Auster was shot down by German FLAK. The Auster was out of course and flew over a battle area at that time.
Operation “Aintree” was going on at that moment. Overloon/Venray are very close to Deurne.

Now we know what happened!

I did not know a thing about the battle of Overloon.

The battle of Overloon ensued as the Allies in Operation Aintree advanced from nearby positions south toward the village of Overloon. After a failed attack on Overloon by the U.S. 7th Armored Division, the British 3rd Infantry Division and the British 11th Armoured Division took over. Suffering heavy losses the Allies captured Overloon and moved towards Venray. The advance on Venray resulted in heavy losses, especially around the Loobeek creek, which was swollen due to heavy autumn rains and was flooded and mined by the Germans. Casualties were heavy here among the First Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. During the battle, the village of Overloon was destroyed. In and around Overloon, some 2,500 soldiers died, making it one of the bloodiest battles in the Netherlands during the Second World War. It was also the only major tank battle ever fought on Dutch soil. Dozens of tanks, mainly British, were destroyed.  (Wikipedia)

Nor about the town.

In 1944, Overloon was almost completely destroyed at the Battle Overloon (also known as Operation Aintree), a ten-day tank battle between an American tank division and the German army. The Germans were trying to keep the Allies from crossing the Maas. There were more than two thousand dead. Overloon was liberated on October 14, 1944, but the fighting lasted for some days longer. This is the reason for the establishment of the War Museum, which later became known as the National War and Resistance Museum and then Liberty Park. (Wikipedia)

But now I know why Fred does not want to ever forget Arthur Horrell and Paul Piché.

Lest we forget

Jim O’Toole

Pat Murphy has been contributing to my blog about 403 Squadron.

Last night he sent me this picture of Charles Charlesworth who flew with 443 Squadron.

In a sense this post belongs here but I posted it first on my other blog.

443 Squadron Art Sager Squadron Leader 001

Pat is a subscriber to my other blog and he saw the post I wrote about Chuck Charlesworth.

Remember I had posted it there by mistake.

Pat Murphy wrote this message…

Pierre really enjoying your recent postings and it’s always nice to see the Smith Brothers story again. Here is a picture that Art Sager gave me in 2004 of Charles Charlesworth at the far left, Art in the middle and Lloyd Hunt sitting on a jeep. It was taken in March 1945. Those are the only details I have.

Pat is the contributor who wrote the story about the Smith brothers.

He had more to say and share.

Art also gave me a 443 Squadron group photo probably taken around the same time. We never got around to identifying all those Spitfire pilots but you can see Art second from left, Charlesworth far right and Jim O’Toole is in the bottom row second from right without the hat.

443 Squadron Art Sager Squadron Leader

Pat had even more in store…

Jim lives in Nanaimo and recently celebrated his 90 birthday at the Vancouver Island Military Museum with his family in attendance, Stocky Edwards came down from Comox to say a few words and it was a fun time to see these two Spitfire pilots together. Stocky was the Wing Commander for the last few months of the War.

JIM_O'Toole2-cropJim O’Toole on the left with Stocky Edwards

He had still more…

I’ve also included a picture of Jim O’Toole in his Spitfire.

All 3.9 megs of it!

Jim O'TooleJim O’Toole

It was so beautiful that I could not resist sprucing it up a little.

Jim O'Toole modified

We have a copy of Jim’s log book in the museum and it makes for interesting reading.

Keep up the good work


This is not work.

This is a passion!