BRIELLE – At least seventeen children were killed in Brielle this morning when bombs from an American bomber fell on a school on the Langestraat. Five children are seriously injured. Ten children and two women are still being sought.

The bombs were falling 10:20 hours at the Girls Vocational School and the Craft School, where lessons were being taught at the time.

Rescue workers are busy searching the rubble. The authorities do not think there is a great chance that victims will be removed alive from under the rubble.

The deceased are laid out in the gym on Geuzenstraat.

Bombs

The mess in Brielle is huge. In total, at least five bombs have landed on the town. The first bomb fell in the harbor, near a cement vessel. Cement and dust have settled in the distant vicinity of the impact.

A bomb also fell on Dijkstraat. Four homes were destroyed and one victim was killed. In one of the collapsed houses, a resident and her cat were rescued.

Three bombs fell in the Langestraat. Two bombs fell on the school: one at the Girls' Vocational School and one at the Craft School. At least fourteen bodies have already been recovered in the Craft School.

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Woede

The authorities speak of a terror attack and a child murder. They further point out that the bombing was carried out with "a very good view" of the "militarily and war-economically completely insignificant town of Brielle".


Hoe ging het verder?

The death toll from the bombing eventually amounted to 21 children and 1 adult.

The bombs came from an American B17 bomber, who was on his way to Hamm in Germany. On the way it became clear that the weather conditions were not good. It was then decided to return.

On the way back the bombers were intercepted by German fighters. The B17 was hit with one of the engines. The pilot still wanted to reach England, but had to get rid of ballast. The bombs ended up on Brielle. (It was also necessary to get rid of the bombs for a possible emergency landing, to prevent them from exploding on landing).

The plane eventually crashed into the sea ten kilometers west of Hoek van Holland. One of the crew, bombardier George Frederick, was washed up and buried. The other eight crew have never been found.

At the site of the two schools, at the Burgemeester Van Sleenstraat in Brielle, now stands a small monument that refers to 4 maart 1943. On the monument is the text "In memory of our administration and students in it 1943 were killed by the war ".

The Historisch Museum Den Briel has in 2020 another exhibition dedicated to one of the victims, Maaike van Rietschoten from Rockanje. She was 13 years when she was killed in the bombing.

Sources:

Traces of War – Bombing monument 4 maart 1943

AD-Voorne Putten – 08-03-2020 – Brielle was accidentally bombed, but the consequences were dire

Author: Dave Datema

published: 03-03-2021

story number: 237

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