Australia War Memorial CanberraNijmegen.
I should not have been surprised really to find that I have a war graves cemetery very close by. In fact less than 10 minutes walk away from my apartment. This is the Westduin Cemetery, today I took the short walk to the cemetery to pay my respects.
The Westduin Cemetery links back to Australia as there are representatives from the colonial forces buried here in addition to British servicemen.
Westduin Commonwealth Cemetery
The majority of the graves are of aircrew, often the 5 man crew of a bomber who perished together as comrades in arms.
There is of course a story behind every gravestone, one of which was 561257 Sgt Victor Spurr, 40 Sqn. RAF who perished with all of the crew when their Bristol Blenheim IV was shot down on 10 May 1940 returning from a bombing run on Ypenburg aerodrome in the Hague. The Blenheim stood little chance against the well armed Messerschmidt 109's which harassed them constantly.
The was pilot Sgt Thomas Downes and his crew who flew in a Handley Page Hampden for Bomber Command. Their plane came down in poor weather off the coast of The Netherlands on 12 February 1942 following an unsuccessful attack on the two German ships the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
Johan Stijkel (1911-1943)