Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day Anniversary

Martin Wisse wrote five years ago about the Dutch contribution to D-Day:

At D-Day, Dutch B-25's bombarded targets in Normandy, including the headquarters of a German armoured division; eight of them were lost on operations in June 1944. The Dutch gunboats Hr. Ms. Soemba and Hr. Ms. Flores supported the invasion, targeting German positions on the landing beaches; they were valued so much by the British they gave them the nick name "The Terrible Twins". To counter the threat of German torpedo boats, the dreaded "Schnellbote", Dutch motor torpedo boats were active, while Dutch minesweepers were making the Normandy coast safe, one of which, the Hr.Ms. Marken was destroyed while doing so on 20th May 1944, sinking with only one survivor. A Dutch cruiser, the Hr. Ms.Sumatra was deliberately sank as a wave breaker for the two artificial harbours the Allies constructed at the Normandy coast. (Some of the caissons built for the construction of those harbours and not needed for them were later used to mend Dutch dykes damaged by Allied bombardement later in the year, as well as after the 1953 flood.) Finally, a large number of Navy and merchant marine people and ships were of course used to transport Allied soldiers and supplies to the beaches.

Today, he writes

Most of the attention today has justifiably been on the English, Canadian, American and French contributions to the invasion, but the other countries that took part in it should not be forgotten: there were Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Czech, Commonwealth soldiers who died that day as well.

And as we remember the Holocaust and D-Day and the victims of 65 years ago let's also remember today's victims of wars of aggression.

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