September 1944


Over the past years, many veterans have come back to Eerde. To the people of Eerde it is an honour and a privilege to be able to welcome and meet their liberators. 

June 2012 John Nasea
On June 14th it was time for the children of the 8th grade to give over their task as adoption group for the Geronimo monument to the next group.
For this event, the Airborne Committee had organized an entertaining and instructive day, in cooperation with Warwheels '40-'45.
Authentic WW II Army vehicles transported the children to different locations, where they learned about the liberation of our region in 1944.
The actual transfer of the adoption was carried out by veteran John Nasea (321 GFAB), by pinning on torch-pins on the children's cloths.

September 2011 Windmill re-opened by Bobby Hunter and John Primerano
John Primerano, Bobby Hunter, Ray Nagell, Helen Nagell, Wim van de Donk
The weekend of September 17, 2011 was marked by the reopening of the St. Anthony mill in Eerde. This windmill was badly damaged in September 1944 and has since stood as a disabled veteran on the outskirts of the village.
After a 10-year restoration project, the mill was opened by Mayor Adema of Veghel and the Commissioner of the Queen, Wim van de Donk.They did this together with Bobby Hunter and John Primeranoveterans of the 501stParachute Infantry Regiment, which freed our region in 1944. The special relationship between the windmill and the history of war was expressed by a re-enactment camp near the mill and by the dropping of dozens of paratroopers on the same fields where hundreds of Geronimo's landed on September 17th, 1944.

Watch the video for an impression of the festivities

September 2010 John Primerano, Ray Nagell

Ray Nagell signeert shirts
Sixty-six years after the liberation, many veterans still have a strong bond with the land they liberated in 1944 from German occupation. This certainly goes for John Primerano who had returned to the Netherlands for the 20th time. Over the years John made many friends here, including the children of the adoption class (although there are other children every year of course). So a visit to the primary school in Eerde was part of John's programm when he visited in September.
Together with Ray Nagell
(321GFAB) he received a very warm welcome in the classroom, where the children listened breathless to their stories about 1944.
John and Ray brought some presents for the children, including T-shirts with the logo of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. Many children asked the veterans to put their autographs on the shirt.

June 2010 Carl Beck

Carl Beck
Carl Beck was on a trip to Normandy and he came all the way to Eerde to refresh memories, to visit friends and to find answers. Of course a visit to the adoption class was on his list. He told the children - at times quite emotional - about how is had been fighting here in 1944. He tried to explain to the kids how terrible war is. The class listened speechless.
After the inevitable group picture, there was still time for more personal contact, which everyone enjoyed very much.

September 2009 Bert Collier, Bobby Hunter, John Primerano

Bert Collier, Bobby Hunter, John Primerano
The 65th anniversary of our liberation was a great event. The veterans who were here will have a lot of good memories of it.
Bert Collier, Bobby Hunter and John Primerano layed a wreath together at the commemoration on 17 September.

September 2008  Robert Wright, Jack Summers, Ray Nagell

Jack Summers, Robert Wright

The commemoration on September 17th was again a very attractive meeting. A large and interested crowd was present at the Airborne monument. Special guests were Ray Nagell and his wife Helen, who we welcome in Eerde every year in September. Also present was Robert Wright, the well known medic of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. From England veteran Jack Summers attended the commemoration.
This year's commemoration was especially impressive because members of the
Living History Group Holland fired salute shots in honour of those who died for our liberty.
June 2008 Carl Beck

Erwin Janssen, Carl Beck

In june Carl Beck (501 H-Co) was in the Netherlands. Of course he took time to spend a day in Eerde. Together with members of the Airborne Comité he visited places where he had been fighting in 1944. Carl also paid a visit to the adoption class.
After a quick lunch we went to the windmill in Uden.
Erwin Janssen is not only a member of the Airborne Committee Eerde, but also a qualified miller. He explained to Carl how everything works and together they operated the windmill.
September 2007 John Primerano, Ray Nagell, Bobby Hunter

John Primerano, Ray Nagell, Bobby Hunter

In the morning of September 17th John Primerano and Ray Nagell visited the Petrus en Paulus school, where they shared their memories of the war with the children of the adoption class. Later they joined the group of Americans who were making a tour through the region which was liberated by the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment in 1944. Despite the tiring day, they attended the anual commemoration in Eerde that evening. Together with Bobby Hunter they laid a wreath on behalf of all veterans of the 101st Airborne Division.
September 2006 Bobby Hunter, Bert Collier, John Primerano

Bobby Hunter, Bert Collier, John Primerano

They have become familiar faces in Eerde, Bobby Hunter, Bert Collier and John Primerano. In September 2006 they were again our guests. Bobby even got a small role in a TV show about the windmill in Eerde. (Click here for video
This picture is taken at the railway near Bastogne where we went to visit the scene of the Battle of the Bulge.
Besides this trip to Bastogne, some highlights of their trip were the day with the group of "Operation Torch" and the commemoration on September 17th.
September 2005 Bobby Hunter, Bert Collier, Ray Nagell

Ray Nagell, Bobby Hunter, Bert Collier

Ray en Helen Nagell visiting the school
When Bobby Hunter told Bert Collier about his trips to Eerde, the two veterans decided to go back together to that place where they landed 61 years ago as paratroopers. At that time, Bert Collier was Bobby's platoonleader and Bobby was Bert's radioman.
While visiting in 2005, they stayed in the homes of Dennis van de Heuvel and Erwin Janssen. Of course they visited the Island and Bastogne and the American military cemetary at Margraten. And they spent a lot of time in Eerde, visiting the Airborne Camp and attending the commemoration.
On September 16th they met Ray Nagell (321GFAB) at the memorial. Ray had come to Eerde to tell the adoption class about his experiences in 1944. His stories were very interesting and the children asked a lot of smart questions. In the afternoon, Ray and his wife Helen picked up the children at school and together they visited the Airborne Camp near the monument.
May 2005 Bobby Hunter

Bobby Hunter

Bobby Hunter was in the Netherlands the last two weeks of May, together with his children and grandchildren. They visited many places in Holland and Belgium where Bobby had fought in 1944. They were guided by Erwin Janssen and Dennis van de Heuvel of the Airborne Comittee Eerde, who were amazed by the many details Bobby was able to remember.
On Monday May 23rd Bobby and his family interrupted their battlefield tour to pay a visit to the adoption class of our primary school. The children were very surprised, as they were not told that they would have a guest that afternoon. Bobby answered all the children's questions, which were a lot.
May 2005 Bill Sefton en Richard O'Brien

Bill Sefton, Richard O'Brien

On May 6th Bill Sefton and his wife Beth came to Eerde together with a film crew of Storytelling Pictures, to shoot film for a documentary about the Dutch resistance during WWII, which will be published in autumn 2005.
When Bill arrived at the windmill in Eerde, he met Richard O'Brien there. Both were surprised to meet eachother. Richard was on a trip which involved visiting the commemoration at Margraten Cemetary on May 8th.

September 2004 Who wasn't here?

John Primerano

Ralph Manley laying a wreath

Many veterans and relatives were our guests to join us in celebrating the 60th anniversary of our liberation. It is impossible to name them all, but some deserve to be mentioned here.
On the morning of the 17th
John Primerano paid a visit to the children of the adoption class, which impressed them very much. It was a beautiful start of the celebrations for them. John had T-shirts for each of the kids, which they wore proudly during the commemorations.
Another special guest was Ralph Manley. Ralph and his World War II Airborne Demonstration Team made the celebrations of Sunday 19th unforgettable, not only because of the magnificent dropping of paratroopers and their contribution to the ceremony at the monument, but also by the way they made a big success of the party that evening. People in Eerde still talk about Ralph's indefatigability.

Mei 2004 Carl Beck

Carl Beck, Erwin Janssen, Piet van Riel
Carl Beck combined a visit to Normandy with a trip to Eerde. Carl was looking for a particular spot where his friend pvt. James E. "Bones" Watts was killed. He got some help from Erwin Janssen and Ad van de Laar of the Airborne Committee and from Piet van Riel.
After visiting Adriana at the windmill we went off searching the area east of Eerde. It was already evening when Carl found the ditch he was looking for.
September 2003 Ray Nagell

2nd from the right: Ray Nagell
Ray Nagell (321GFAB) and his wife Helen attended the commemoration on September 17th 2003. They arrived quite early, which gave them the opportunity to eplore the St. Antonius windmill and to learn about the fights that took place in Eerde in 1944. 

Eugene Cavanaugh, John Primerano, Bennie Larkin, Richard O'Brien, Bill France, Steve Husak, Henry Ochse, Werner Meier
Eerde was pleasantly surprised when these veterans visited our village. As guests of the Dutch Association of Airborne Friends they were present at the annual commemoration of the liberation.
Earlier that day, John Primerano paid a visit to the adoption class. He also spoke a few words at the ceremony, in which he thanked the people of Eerde for the way they honour those who gave their lives for peace and freedom.