Visit to relatives

In January 2023, Ad van Uffelen, the chairman of our foundation, visited Canada with a number of relatives of the crew members who crashed their planes in our municipality during World War II. Some of them have died, as you can read in the descriptions of these crashes on this site.

Ad briefly reports on this trip below.

In preparation for the unveiling of the monuments and the commemoration of these crashes, my girlfriend Conny and I traveled to Canada on January 13 to meet the relatives and invite them to the unveiling of the monuments on June 22, 2023.


First of all, we met two cousins, Phyllis and Betty, of Joe Holland (Joe was their uncle) at our hotel in Toronto.

After a wonderful train journey to Ottawa on January 16, we were welcomed by Donna Walsh at her home. Donna is a daughter of Jack Dougherty (survived the crash on the Nederheide in Schijf).

The next day we drove to Renfrew with Donna and her husband Terry to meet her mother Margaret and the other family members. Margaret (94 years old) has prepared a delicious lunch.

We got to know everyone at length and spent the rest of the day talking about Jack Dougherty, Ed Downing and everything that goes on at every family gathering. Laurie, Donna’s sister, scanned an enormous amount of documents, photos, letters, reports, etc. for me and put them on a memory stick. All this information has given me a picture of what Jack and Ed experienced during the war. Much written down during their stay in England, the crash and their captivity in Germany. Information that is invaluable for the book that Frank van Overveld and I are working on.

In the early evening we drove back to Ottawa, where the eight of us had a delicious meal.

The next day, David Berezowski came to visit our apartment. We brainstormed together about the unveiling of the monuments and the commemoration on 22 June. David, a retired army chaplain will do his part on June 22. He knows the protocols that must be followed in these types of commemorations.

On January 19, we went back to Toronto by train, after which we started our return journey in the early evening of January 21. A return journey that did not go very smoothly because we got stranded in Iceland in a very heavy snow storm and returned to Rucphen a day later on January 23.