Bleskensgraaf – Sunday German bombers have hit hard the center of Bleskensgraaf. Least seven people have been killed, including five people in Oud-Alblas.

Devastation in Bleskensgraaf after the bombing of 12 mei 1940. Foto: Regional Archives Dordrecht, collection Graafstroom

The village in the Alblasserwaard has not just been criticized by the Luftwaffe. Ammunition Wagons of the Dutch army had settled in the village and had parked in a part of the military vehicles around the church.

The ammunition column of the Second Regiment Hussars-Motorcyclist was Saturday arrived in Bleskensgraaf. Lieutenant Colonel A.J.E. Mathon was with his troops from Brabant en route to Dordrecht to join the Light Division. The aim was to secure the island of Dordt and to advance to airfield in Rotterdam.

But the military column could not reach Dordrecht. German planes had just bombed Alblasserdam. It was a huge mess in the polder roads because of the people who fled the Damdorp. One of the villages where Alblasserdam Mers sought a safe haven was Bleskensgraaf.

Havoc in Bleskensgraaf after the bombing of 12 mei 1940. Foto: Historical Society Binnenwaard

Especially the dozens ammunition wagons of the regiment came not hold on through the flow of refugees in the Alblasserwaard. The commander then decided to spend the night in Bleskensgraaf and move on Sunday. A decision with disastrous consequences.

"In the evening it was full everywhere in the village", Baker says Jan Baan. "They had trucks driven by farmers inside, so the German planes would not see them. Otherwise they went to throw the bombs. "

But the convoy consisted of as many trucks that vehicles could not all be hidden up. At sunrise German reconnaissance aircraft flew over and had the presence of the Dutch army soon realized. Soon came bombers.

Vlucht

The inhabitants of Bleskensgraaf were already alarmed at the arrival of the first aircraft, especially after the stories of Alblasserdam inhabitants who had fled to the village. Baan: "You dressed up and went out as soon as possible. The planes flew so low that you could see the pilots just sit. "

"Three rounds they made up the village. They shot first with machine guns. When we rolled the broken tiles so through the skylight inside. Not long after the first bomb fell, I believe in the family Verlek. Then shook our whole house. " (Eyewitness Jan Baan)

Quickly burned the village to the west and the east.

The family fled the alley polder, to the darker and in the adjacent village Brandwijk. From there they saw the village ablaze. There's still Course, with more residents of Bleskensgraaf. They dare not attend to the village.

Commanders overlook the destroyed part of Bleskensgraaf. Foto: Historical Society Binnenwaard

balance

A commander of the Dutch army has now arrived in Bleskensgraaf to the balance. A couple and three children in Oud-Alblas that had fled to the village, did not survive the bombs rain. Also, two soldiers were killed. Six people were injured and were taken to hospital.

About thirty shops and houses, five farms and public school destroyed. The church, the rectory and the hall - no more than a room that was built at the church - are so damaged that they must be demolished. One hundred and thirty people homeless. It is estimated that for 320 guilders damage to buildings and 165 guilders damage to furniture, inventories and supplies.

The damage could have seen much more, given the large number of ammunition wagons in the village. Also, the fact that the bombs fell around the time that the cows were milked, has many victims gescheeld. Several hours later, the church full of people had sat and had not been incalculable suffering.


Hoe ging het verder

Immediately the next day began with rubble in the village. Many people who had fled returned back into the polder. Buildings were collapsing, be immediately demolished. Especially demolishing the church was a dangerous job (see photo below). The spire was so shaky, that threatened to fall in church. Therefore, the top of the tower was removed.

The demolition is largely carried out by Dutch soldiers. Initially happened commissioned by Dutch commanders, but after the capitulation put the German authorities prisoner of war in. There also emerged a temporary church and emergency stores.

In spring 1941 German soldiers are still searching for unexploded bombs in the village, but which are no longer found.

An architect immediately went to work to create a plan for reconstruction. A new bridge was, the road a piece is increased and the village came straight out of 'a rather messy building with indoor residential and commercial buildings, which still long time would be maintained in normal conditions. '

Part of the reconstruction, spacious 10 guilders, is in 1941 paid from the restoration fund of the Ministry of Finance.

The plan specified that the people who were made homeless, rebuild their home. Often it was a very different place. Farmers were allowed as many return to their old spot. The church was rebuilt after the war and in 1948 into operation. Also, a new town came, that 1955 finished.

Incidentally fell on 10 februari 1944 again a few bombs on Bleskensgraaf, this time American. They ended up at the farm of William Switch. The damage was limited to blown glass and a berth hall ', one with the sun rotating space for TB patients.

Sources:

Documentary Bleskensgraaf in the Second World War ' (Aries van Meeteren)

Operations of the field army and the eastern front of the fortress Holland (mei 1940)

Brief overview of the military operations of the Royal Army 10-19 mei 1940

Facebook Page Old Bleskensgraaf

Historical Society Binnenwaard

 

Author: Drs. A.P.B. van Meeteren

published: 26 augustus 2018

story number: 94

The situation surrounding the church had become so dangerous, that one set warning signs. The man on the bicycle is probably A. The Reasonableness of Ouderkerk aan de IJssel, which was kind of pastoral worker. Bleskensgraaf had at that time not own pastor. That would change after the Second World War. Foto: Historical Society Binnenwaard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.