In September 1944 Jopie Hoveling was an 8-year-old boy. He lived on Wilhelminastraat, the current Stormerdijkstraat. On September 20th - when he was killed - the 315th Squadron Mustangs were returning from the Battle of Arnhem, and one of them, piloted by Tadeusz Jankowski, was shot down at around 2.30 pm. Below is the witness account submitted by Renee Blom from Netherland, who researched this tragic event.


Jopie Hoveling (photo courtesy of Renee Blom)

Jan Zwezerijnen, Jutphaas: "On September 20, 1944, we were harvesting wheat with a couple of men and three horse and carts. It was a beautiful summer day. We lived in Plettenburg. Father leased a piece of land from RWS. It was a piece of cornland and beet country. We always had to be quick with harvests or people from the city would take everything. One car was loaded, one car drove home and one car was unloading at home. I was 17 years old. At the bottom of the embankment, I was waiting with a fully-loaded car. Suddenly, four Allied planes flew over. In the old Houtense Wetering there were two ships, 1 from Vreeswijk and 1 from Groningen. They've been there the whole war. Probably to dam the canal if necessary.
The planes fired on those ships. They flew as low as possible to get under the anti-aircraft guns (FLAK=Flugzeug Abwehr Kanone). One plane was hit by the cannon at the Beatrix Lock. I was terrified and lay down on the ground. It caught fire. Like a torch, it came right at us. Mr. Hoveling was standing on a car in the field, driven by Van den Brink. His son Jopie was also on the field and tried to run away. In front of his father, he was hit by a wing. Jopie died instantly. The horses in front of the car were running wild. The servant managed to quickly disconnect the car. Horses ran right through a barbed wire right past me. The whole chest of a horse was open. It was a terrible sight.
Jopie was very quickly covered with a cloth. The pilot of the crashed plane was half out of the plane, completely burned, and both legs broken. He, too, was dead. The other three planes continued to circle for a while. I checked the plane and saw four bullet holes in the backplate of the seat. They're images I've never lost again."


Sgt Tadeusz Jankowski. He is posing in front of one of the unit's Spitfires MkV flown in 1943. In May 1944, 315th converted to North American Mustang III.

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