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Cycle route Helmond point 8

Airport B.86
Operation Market Garden failed at the end of September 1944. After this, the Allies search for suitable locations to construct two airports in the eastern part of Brabant. British scouts soon find a useful area opposite Mission House Christ the King at the current recreational lake Berkendonk.

The 13 Airfield Construction Group starts on October 19, 1944 with the construction of an all-weather airfield of 350 hectares with one runway of 1,400 meters in length and a width of 42 meters. The track runs parallel to the Deurneseweg.

The airport will be given the code name B.86 (B for "British" and 86 for the 86th airport that will be used by the RAF on mainland Europe).

Clinkers are used for the pavement, which are supplied from all over Noord-Brabant. Perforated steel plates (PSP) are used for the taxiways. In addition, the airport also has an improvised control tower (a balcony of a farm at the Rakt, now Dr. Knippenberghof) and various wooden chains and alcoves. The staff will be housed in the Mission House of Christ the King.

On 9 January 1945, the airfield was completed to such an extent that the first Hawker Typhoon fighter-bombers of the 124 Wing could be stationed from Eindhoven. Until early April 1945, the aircraft of this Wing attacked numerous targets in Germany and the Netherlands. In addition, the Typhoons support Operation Grenade and the combined operations Plunder and Varsity. The airport is already protected against air attacks by British anti-aircraft artillery during construction.

On July 14, 1945, the Allies deleted B.86 as an active airfield. The land is returned to the original owners in 1947.

The bicycle route in Helmond is a collaboration between Death Valley De Peel of the Museum Klok & Peel, Heemkundekring Helmont, Stichting Helmond September 25, 1944 and TracesOfWar.nl. The route consists of a number of points, not all of which have a sign.

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  • Text: TracesOfWar.nl
  • Photos: Jeroen Koppes (1, 2), Death Valley De Peel (3)