Christmas Eve

2018.12.24 – Christmas Eve – Evening of lights on wargraves.

Welcome everyone.

We are gathered here on a special misson.

May I please invite:
1.Peter Jan van der Giessen, on behalf of Taskforce Lancaster Popeye
2.Wim de Leur, on behalf of the 4th of May Committee
3.Kees de Ruijter, on behalf of the Mayor and Eldermen
4.Edgar Zaagsma, on behalf of the National Wargrave Foundation
5.Pieter van Wijngaarden, on behalf of Keep Them Rolling,
6.Edwin Korsmit, on behalf of the caretakers of this Cemetary,
7.Annette van der Giessen, on behalf of Stichting Dorpsbehoud Papendrecht

We will have 1 minute of silence now.

With these lights we honour and salute:
The Australian airmen:
Flight sergeant Charles Alfred Barlow, R.A.A.F, 19 years old.
Flying Officer Colin Mervyn Clarey, R.A.A.F., 30 years old.
And the English airmen:
Sergeant Douglas Hancock, Wireless Operator, R.A.F., 20 years old.
Flight Sergeant Samuel Edward Kirkland, Air Bomber, R.A.F., 25 years old.
Sergeant Edward John Line, Navigator, R.A.F., 21 years old.
Sergeant Herbert Charles Luton, Flight Engineer, R.A.F., 25 years old.
Sergeant Arthur Walter Middleton, Air Gunner, R.A.F., 21 years old.

Dear Popeye crew,

Exactly 75 years ago was your last Christmas Eve with your relatives and loved ones. No one knew then that half a year later the fatal Crash of the Lancaster Popeye ended that tradition forever

One of the most famous Christmas songs, Silent Night, Holy Night, ends with: Sleep in heavenly piece.
You have been sleeping here in Papendrecht since 21st of July 1944.

All these years we have been watching over you, and we will cotinue to do so,
because you gave your life for our freedom;
because your relatives – who are in our thoughts today as well - lived and live too far away or are not able anymore to be here
because that is what our former Papendrecht generations promised your relatives in 1945:
We will always remember them.

H.M. (Margré) van Wijngaarden,

Chairman of Stichting Dorpsbehoud Papendrecht.