17 september 1944: The Mossel farm of farmer Prangsma
On 17 September 1944, a member of the resistance, Memelink, travelled from Nieuw Reemst to the Mossel farm.
A section of his report can be read below:
I realised that I knew the farmer at De Mossel, Prangsma, and I thought it might be a good idea to head in that direction. Moreover, night was falling. Prangsma gave me a warm welcome in the farmhouse bakery. There were also two Dutch SS members, who told grim stories about huge losses suffered by tree snipers, or 'cuckoos'.
They were on the run and had left their guns outside leaning against the wall. I seriously considered taking them out with their own guns, but for some reason I didn't. Perhaps I was too afraid.
I slept in Prangsma's hayloft. It was a stormy night, in contrast to the morning, when suddenly it was strangely quiet with beautiful autumn weather. It was Monday, 18 September, and I walked to Minnen's house, who at the time was the ranger at the Planken Wambuis country estate and lived completely hidden away in the eastern part of Kruiponder. A little while later, I went and sat on one of the hilltops. From there, you could see extremely far, and it seemed like a good base of operations for trying to reach the English.
It had been busy in the air the whole morning. All sorts of things were flying around, friend and foe, big and small. A ‘line’ of aircraft approached from the southwest with an increasingly loud hum. It was a seemingly endless skein of Dakotas of American origin. Flying surprisingly low, they came straight at me. Before I realised what was happening, the parachutists jumped out of the planes. The rear aircraft unloaded their cargo first, then the group in front of them and so on. This was apparently to avoid hitting their own people.
I was literally seated in the front row of the world's stage. I had never seen anything so beautiful and impressive in my entire life. Of course, I did not know then that I was witnessing the greatest air operation of all time, and too much was happening to see and absorb everything. An overwhelming amount of people and equipment came down, which also made for an extremely colourful spectacle, especially due to the variety of colours of the parachutes used for different purposes. You could hardly believe everything that was dropping from the sky: collapsible bicycles, stretchers, first aid kits and other useful items, but also small motorcycles, as small as toys.