At the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Zeeland (North Brabant) are two Commonwealth war graves.
These are the graves of:
Flight Sergeant (Pilot) Dennis Harry Ralph Plear, RAF 658895, age 26
Pilot Officer (Pilot) David Arthur Webb, RCAF, J/90424, age 22
In September 1944, during Operation Market Garden, flights were performed by the RAF to supply a LZ (landing zone) in the Oosterbeek area, with the goal to supply the British 1st Airborne Division. These flights were conducted with Douglas C-47 Dakotas. One of the Dakota's, the KG579 departed on September 21, 1944 from Down Ampney airfield toward the LZ in Oosterbeek. The aircraft was shot during this flight by German fighters and was so damaged that the crew had to bale out the aircraft. Six of the eight crew members left the aircraft with a parachute. Of these six, two (Gordon Birlison and James Pilson) were killed when they were shot at by the German fighters. Both men are buried in the Commonwealth War Cemetery Uden. The two pilots (Plear and Webb) have never left the aircraft, the Dakota attempted to land at Volkel Air Base, but when this attempt failed, it crashed at the runway. The two pilots were killed in the crash and were buried in this cemetery in Zeeland.
Thanks to Antoon Verbakel of the Foundation Uden War Cemetery.
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- Text: Paul Moerenhout
- Photos: Jeroen Koppes (1), Paul Moerenhout (2)