Fire at Hendrik van der Kragt’s farm house

War conduct in Loenen during WO II

Loenen was subject to severe war conduct. During the bombing of Hotel Boschoord 36 people were killed. The bombing was supposedly a mistake made by pilots. Volunteers were needed to rescue the survivors from the debris and to recover the bodies of the deadly victims. The sight of infirmed bodies caused a shock for many of those volunteers.

The V1’s, used by the Germans to bomb London and Antwerp, were frightening. They were unmanned airplanes, simple in construction and called flying bombs. A jet motor was mounted on top, but not the kind we know today. It was more like a long pipe with a lid system that opened to let the air in and then closed after which the injected fuel burned, letting the flames out of the backside of the pipe. Overall it looked like a giant paint stripper.

They were controlled by a pre-installed altimeter and a gyroscope. It used pressed air, kept in a metal ball with a diameter of approx. 75 centimetres. These balls of crashed V1’s were very much sought after, people used them to mark their driveways.

The flying bombs were very unreliable. Their engines would suddenly collapse followed by a moment of silence and next an enormous bang. In Loenen a V1 crashed on the Hupkes factory and house (later Beloe and Holwij). People were killed and windows cracked in the whole area. During the night people would listen to the sound of the flying bombs and they would feel relieved when the sound diminished, meaning the danger was over.Lots of these flying bombs came down in the woods surrounding Loenen after being brought down by an English fighter. The fighters followed the flying bomb,gave it a short salvo to disable its motor, causing it to crash. Half of all V1’s hit their target.

Later on the Germans used the V2. Those were real rockets, developed by Werner von Braun. They could reach a high altitude, and all one could see was a white dot followed by a contrail. Right after the war von Braun moved to the United States where he became the leader of the US rocket development program. Several people were killed at the liberation of Loenen on April 16, 1945, including a 16-year old girl. She was the daughter and pride of the widow Bredenoord. She was hit by wreckage from a Canadian tank that was set to fire after being hit by German artillery, fired from a window at the first floor of Lammers’ butcher shop (in those days).

Across the street the farm house of Hendrik van der Kragt caught fire. It was hit by a German granate from a canon that was positioned at the Groenendaalseweg. The fire turned the farm house into a smouldering ruin in ten minutes time.

After the liberation it took the inhabitants several months to pick up their everyday lives. Celebrating was part of that and there was reason enough to celebrate after the difficulties of war that had lasted for years. All over Loenen community centres were formed and people celebrated. During these festivities the traditional dispute between the different religions were ignored. Those who felt somewhat reserved were persuaded to join. Many nights were spent to decorate the celebration halls and prepare festivals and children’s games. This resulted in a close relationship between people who hardly knew each other before the war. The preparations led to a new discovery, namely that those who belonged to a different church appeared to be nice. In the first few months after the war, due to all this celebrating a new Loenen arose.

Source: Vereniging Veluwse Geslachten, 31e jaargang nr. 1 jan / feb