On this cemetery is one war victim buried. It concerns Cornelis Nicolaas (Cor) Schrama (born 07-06-1909), who died on January 31, 1944. He is shot by German soldiers while on his way to his father's farmland on Rakt 41 by bicycle. The Germans probably confused him with one of the members of an American bomber who crash-landed the day before.
On Monday 31 January 1944, Chief of Police Van den Heuvel of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee hears shots at about two o'clock in the afternoon and sees two people fall at a distance of 200 to 300 meters. The previous afternoon, an American Boeing B-17 F bomber, the "Martha the II", had to make an emergency landing. On the way for a mission to Brunswick in Germany, the plane was hit by a pair of German Focke-Wulf 190 fighter jets. Four crew members are killed. A crew member is soon seized by the Germans, but First Lieutenant Henri D. Steele, Second Lieutenant James R. Settle, Robert F. Anderson, Leopold L. Flores and Sergeant Paul Oakly Welch escape. They were arrested on 19 and 20 March 1944 in Brussels and taken prisoner of war. That Monday afternoon, the search for the escaped men is still in full swing. It is quite possible that the German military fired at two cyclists because they mistook them for crew members of the B-17.
Cor Schrama is seriously injured from a side shot. His supervisor Wim Kuijpers suffers a deep wound on his right forearm. Chief watchman Van den Heuvel reports in his report that Cor Schrama is still well-informed during the drive to the hospital in Helmond, but later he learns from the attending physician that the farmer died at 3:30 in the afternoon. Wim Kuijpers survives the attack.
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.
Do you have more information about this location? Inform us!
- Text: TracesOfWar.nl
- Photos: Jeroen Koppes (1, 2), Death Valley De Peel (3)