Interview with Maarten Koudÿs


Interview with Maarten Koudÿs


Maarten has a keen interest in the Second World War which wants to pass onto children. He visits crash sites interviewing elderly people and research aviation history. Maarten tells of a Halifax which was shot down on 12/13 June 1943 and crash-landed. The airmen climbed out burning alive. Maarten went over the site with a metal detector, finding glass, a parachute harness, radio aerial, money and smelted aluminium, among many other pieces. The aircraft was then taken away by the Germans. Maarten made a YouTube video and created display boards which were paid for by the government and displayed around the village. Maarten felt proud that he had been able to tell the story of the Halifax and the young airmen to children. He said the war and Bomber Command are still remembered in his country.




Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage





00:18:40 audio recording


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DE: Right. So that is recording. This is an interview for the International Bomber Command Centre Digital Archive. My name is Dan Ellin and I am interviewing Maarten Koudӱs and Urna [unclear], and it is the 18th of May 2016 and we’re at Riseholme Hall. Maarten, just very quickly could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do and why you’re interested in, in the RAF and the crashes?
MK: I’m fifty years old. I work in a bakery factory in [unclear] and I’m interested in metal hobby and World War Two. This, I find the story behind the story behind pieces of crashes and I want to tell children about it. Children forget it. Children heard nothing about World War Two.
DE: Smashing. How did you find out about the, you mentioned earlier about several crashes in your area. How did you find out about them?
MK: I find, I find it on internet. I contact people in England. I go to the Archive. I go to the boys of [unclear] and the stories came behind me. I go to start it up. I come to find places with a metal detector. Yes.
DE: How have, how have these sites been remembered locally? Do, do people know about them?
MK: No. I hunt. I heard it from old people. They are old people. Seventies. Seventy five. Second generation. She said, ‘Oh, I heard from my dad. I heard there were some plane crashes. I don’t know. I don’t know.’ She never can tell me what is —
UO: What the war story was.
MK: Yeah. Because I’ve —
UO: Just pieces of —
MK: Pieces of the story. I go with the metal detector. I find. I find. I find. In a hole a [unclear]a navigator, bullets, planes of the plane, pieces of the plane
UO: Glass.
MK: Glasses. Parachute [unclear]
DE: Parachute harnesses.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Yes.
MK: I must find it. What’s the story from the Halifax was and I contacted the internet. I find Julie and Julie has the story.
DE: Ok. So, can you tell for the, for the tape can you tell a little bit about the story of the Halifax and—
MK: Oh, the Halifax is fifth of the planes a raid on Bochum. On the night —
UO: In Germany. Bochum is Germany.
MK: On the night of 12th of 13th June 1943 the Halifax came back and the Halifax was shot down with flak. It was no gunning, no gunning [unclear]
UO: He had to put the plane on the ground.
MK: Yeah.
DE: He crash landed.
MK: Yeah. Crash landed. First of all we requested the facts and the Halifax is shot down near the Ijessel.
UO: Ijsselmeer.
MK: He broke. He broke. And three of these men cannot going out. They are burning alive and is buried in [unclear]
DE: And you found the site where the crash was and you detected it.
MK: Yes.
DE: What sort of pieces did you find?
MK: Bullets. Glass. Harness caps from the parachute. [unclear] [pause] antennae. You know antenna?
DE: Radio aerials. Yes.
MK: And money. I gave it to Chris.
DE: Yes. I’ve seen it. Yes.
MK: Smolt aluminium. Burnt aluminium from the plane.
UO: Melted aluminium
MK: Smelted aluminium.
DE: Yes.
MK: Many. So much there.
DE: Yeah. They’re big aircraft.
MK: I have my metal detector. I go. I only have my hands though so I found navigation.
DE: Yeah.
MK: It was at the time was still for me. I run to the car. I give to Urma. I come too.
DE: And is it a big area that you’ve been, been looking at?
MK: [unclear] of the places and highway now. On a, on a site from the highway.
UO: There’s the, there’s a river. And there’s a green plot.
DE: Yes.
UO: And then you have to hike it.
DE: Right.
UO: And that green plot behind the highway in the river there. It was there.
MK: Yeah.
UO: And part of this was part of the highway.
DE: Yes. What, what do you think happened to the big parts of the aircraft like the engines?
MK: I don’t know. The plane is [weeks] by the crash next to the [pause] four or five weeks the crash —
DE: After the crash.
MK: After the crash the plane is burn. Burning. Ashes. And the German have the plane bringing to that border a place and off the train bring it to Utrecht.
DE: Right.
MK: And there is it destroyed of that.
DE: Yeah. So I’ve seen on, I’ve seen on YouTube the video that —
MK: Yeah.
DE: You made. Who filmed you?
MK: My stepson. I have a Facebook page.
DE: Yes. Why —
MK: Halifax Earthed.
DE: Yes. I’ve seen that as well.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Yeah. Why do you think, why have you made the Facebook page and the You Tube video?
MK: For the children.
UO: For the younger people and the story must be alive.
MK: Children must know what happened there. There the info boards.
UO: Yeah. Info boards.
MK: Yeah. That the plane —
DE: Tell me about the info boards. Yes.
MK: The info board. That is very important. I started when [unclear]
UO: Yeah.
MK: [unclear] but I told the Bürgermeister there I was coming.
UO: In memory.
MK: A remember board what’s happened there.
UO: Yeah. A monument.
MK: We have now three. One, two, three.
DE: Yes.
MK: Remember boards [unclear] Holland.
DE: Right.
MK: One of the Spitfire, one of the Halifax and one of the Hampden?
DE: Wellington.
MK: Wellington. We have three memory boards and people on the bicycle can read it. Children can read it what’s happened on that place.
DE: And who, who paid for the notice boards?
MK: [unclear]
UO: Yeah. The —
MK: The people in the area of the —
DE: So —
UO: I don’t know the word.
MK: Yeah. [unclear] Where we lived [ unclear] the area we all people paid it.
DE: So, it, it was charity donations. People gave money.
UO: No.
MK: No. No. Just government.
DE: Oh.
MK: Government.
UO: [unclear]
DE: We’ll get that translated.
MK: Yeah [unclear]
DE: And who did the research for the stories that go on the boards?
MK: I.
DE: You did.
MK: Yeah. My stepson they got the artwork and I made the story.
DE: Yes.
UO: My son is a graphic designer.
DE: I see. Right. Ok.
UO: [unclear]
MK: [unclear] ok. Now there are three boards there with the story.
DE: So you said you know of the seven aircraft.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Within that small area.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Do you, do you plan to do more then?
MK: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
DE: More boards.
MK: I planned it and I know in [unclear] there is crashed a Wellington of [pause] I didn’t know. There is a, it crashed there in nineteen, next year the village [unclear] we made board there. What’s happened there. That’s seven English people just dying there. Yes. That is [unclear]
UO: The two.
MK: The brothers were there.
UO: Brothers.
DE: Oh right. Yes. ok
MK: Yes [unclear]
UO: Questions about the crashes. Yeah.
MK: Come just the four boards.
DE: Right.
MK: Then was only three to go.
DE: Yes.
MK: Ok.
DE: And you intend to do.
MK: Yeah.
DE: The same for all. Yeah. Wonderful. Have you, have you met or found people who have memories of these aircraft crashing?
UO: No.
MK: No.
UO: Just from the Halifax.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Just from the Halifax.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Ok. So can you tell me a little bit about, about meeting the family members and how that came about?
MK: Well, but I meet Chris.
DE: Yeah.
MK: Julie.
DE: Yes.
MK: And I meet new graves. New graves is his uncle, his old uncle was Frank Oliver. Frank Oliver was the bomb aimer. Chris uncle was [unclear] and Julie was [unclear] his father [unclear] and I meet her. It’s very nice. Very peaceful. The story is spherical. Is round.
UO: [unclear] we are in contact with [unclear]
MK: Via internet I meet him and now we find.
DE: Yeah.
MK: And first time in England she sorted out everything.
DE: I’ve seen the [unclear] t-shirt. Yeah.
UO: Last year they came over to Holland.
MK: And now we are coming to here.
DE: Yes.
UO: And we took a few days off from work to let them see what, where is what happens.
DE: Yeah.
[unclear] the story [unclear]
UO: So we become friends.
DE: Yeah.
MK: It’s very nice. It’s a big story.
DE: So you know this one event as you say the circle’s complete really.
MK: Yeah.
DE: This one event and it’s brought these people together. Yeah. It’s fascinating.
MK: Yeah.
DE: How, how does it make you feel that you’ve been able to do all of this?
MK: I’m very proud. Why? Children heard about story. The story behind the story. I’m very proud that I can now tell it. What’s happened with boys from twenty years old.
UO: And what happened to Julie’s father.
MK: Yeah.
UO: Chris’s uncle.
MK: It’s very nice to do.
UO: People want to know what happened.
MK: People want to —
UO: Especially —
MK: Want to see what happened. People want to hear what happened.
DE: Yeah.
MK: The boys in the planes were heroes. Boys from twenty years old.
DE: Yeah.
UO: Almost children.
MK: Almost children. And family of that boys she never heard what had happened with their son.
UO: They all have a mother, a father, brothers.
MK: All she heard, she heard my son is killed in action. She never knows what really happened.
DE: Yes.
MK: And that’s, that’s —
DE: And you’ve been able to tell that story.
MK: I will find that out. Yeah.
DE: Ok. Yeah.
MK: And tell it. So the good work to do that. I’m very proud of that.
UO: Gives, gives you a good feeling.
MK: Yeah.
DE: It’s, it’s probably an odd question but how, how is the war and Bomber Command remembered in your country?
MK: Who is the war? And the bomb?
DE: Yeah.
MK: Yeah. We have not, we are the second generation. [There to ‘45] Only the second generation interested them.
UO: Yeah. [unclear]
MK: Oh yeah. Four of my, in Holland we [unclear]
UO: We remember the dead people.
MK: After the second, World War Two. The thought of my, and we think of all the dead. We can [ring] about the boys in the Halifax.
UO: May 5.
MK: Is Liberation Day.
UO: Liberation Day.
DE: Yes.
MK: You know that? In Holland. [unclear] yeah.
UO: We remember all the people who died in the war.
MK: Yeah.
UO: During the war.
MK: [unclear]
UO: [unclear]
MK: [unclear] as many people interesting for the monuments and the [unclear] very good work therefore. I can tell about them. I cannot speak.
UO: Because [unclear] all our people are interested in what happened in their village.
DE: Yes.
UO: Just it’s go on further. It’s not only this story but in our place.
MK: All places.
UO: People think, ‘Oh, what happened in our village?
MK: Yeah.
UO: Let’s see what we can do about it and give them a monument.
MK: Gives monument. Yeah.
DE: Wonderful.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Yeah. So other people are sort of following your example.
MK: Yeah.
UO: Yeah.
MK: [unclear] village. I can know five villages have a memory started.
UO: Yeah.
MK: It’s very nice.
DE: Smashing. Thank you.
MK: Yeah.
DE: Yeah. I think you’ve answered all the questions I have to ask.
MK: Ok.
DE: Thank you very much.
MK: Thank you.
DE: Anything that you would like to add? Anything more that you want to say?
UO: [unclear]
MK: Yeah. Yeah [unclear]
UO: Do you know it?
MK: No. No. Its good.
DE: Ok. Smashing. Thank you.
MK: Ok.
DE: I’ll just press stop.



Dan Ellin, “Interview with Maarten Koudÿs,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 28, 2023,

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