Beesel (old) cemetery Contains one Commonwealth War Grave, that of tail gunner (tail end charlie) Flt/Sgt Henry Hiscox RAFVR.
His Avro Lancaster B.I bomber (code name AA-Q, fuselage No. Hotel Kilo 569). of 75 (NZ) Squadron RAF, took off from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire, England, on its way to bomb the Fischer Tropsch oil refinery/aviation fuel producer in Homberg, Germany with a full load of bombs on the 21st of July 1944. It was attacked by a German night-fighter over Heibloem, Limburg, The Netherlands on its way to the target.
The pilot, a 21 year old New Zealander, Flt. Sgt. Neil Douglas Davidson RNZAF flew the badly damaged and blazing aircraft on over the River Maas towards Reuver (Beesel council area) but turned and tried to land it in the river, he succeeded but it hit the river bank and exploded. The bomb aimer, Sgt. T.G. Little RAF, had managed to bail out on his parachute but it failed to open fully and he was badly wounded when he fell into the garden of a house in the village of Kessel. He was taken to a hospital, subsequently made a prisoner of war (POW No. 52469) in Muhlhausen POW camp and survived World War II, passing away in 1990.
The tail of the aircraft fell away from the fuselage into a field just before impact on the river. Flt/Sgt Hiscox was in his tail machine-gun turret and fell with it into the corn field. It is thought he died a day or two afterwards, was found two weeks later by a Dutch farmer's labourer, Sef Willems, who turned out to be a member of the Dutch resistance movement under cover. Henry was buried in the Beesel grave yard. The grave digger had a bunch of flowers with him, the German soldiers threatened to shoot him if he laid them on completion of the burial, He passed the flowers on to local people who in the dark of night threw them over the cemetery wall onto the grave !
No remains of the pilot and the rest of the crew were found and they are presumed missing in action. A memorial plaque to the 6 crew members who died has been put up close to the scene of the crash in the town of Kessel. That took place with many notables attending on 21st July 2011, exactly 67 years to the day and unveiled by the Brother and Sister of the Pilot. They came all the way from New Zealand specially for that. Family members of Sgt Goddard and Sgt Sloman also came to the unveiling from England.After the war the people of Beesel looked after Henry Hiscox’s grave erecting a wooden head piece, with propeller on it and Henry's flying helmet hanging on it, until it was given a standard Commonwealth War Graves head stone.
Since the 1960’s Mrs. Tiny Claessen has voluntarily tended the grave on a weekly basis, winning the admiration of many visitors. On Dutch Remembrance day 4th May 2006 Tiny was presented with a plaque of thanks by the Mayor of Beesel, coinciding with the first visit of Henry's Daughter, Grandson and Great Grandson to his grave (they knew he was buried in The Netherlands but not where until found by retired Sgt Pilot A.A.C. Barrie Davies. That was the first ‘thank you’ she had ever received for over 40 years of work. To date she is still tending Henry’s grave.
Every year the local school ‘last term’ children have a ‘Sgt. Hiscox’ project and led by the Mayor hold a remembrance ceremony on the 4th of May, at the grave side. To the people of Beesel this grave and a recently erected civilian memorial close by is the focal point on the Dutch Remembrance day of 4th May.
The crew of HK 569: Pilot: No: 422057 Flt/Sgt Neil Douglas Davidson (21) RNZAF of Porangahau, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand Flight Engineer: No: 994220 Sgt. Robert Gerald Sloman (24) RAFVR of Snodland, Kent, England Navigator: No: 1323147 Sgt. Arthur Ernest John Goddard (22) RAFVR of North End, Portsmouth, England Wireless Operator: Air Gunner: No: 1501099 Sgt Douglas Corris (25) RAFVR of n/k England Mid-Upper Gunner: No :1896528 Sgt. Raymond Stanley Lang (32) RAFVR of Streatham, London, England Air Bomber: No: 1459875 Sgt T.G. Little (25) RAF(?) of n/k Tail Gunner: No: 928092 Flt/Sgt Henry John Hiscox (35) RAFVR of Newport, Wales
The 1st photo is of Henry's Mother and Father when they visited his grave in 1945 or 46 when it had the locally made headstone:
Placed on the grave by a member of the Dutch resistance during the WAR was a poem with an English translation below:
Original poem: Gevonden bij het graf van de Engelse vlieger Flt/Sgt. Henry John Hiscox neergeschoten in Beesel, 21 July 1944:
'Engelse vlieger, wij staan rond het graf aan jou in den vreemde gegeven, Jouw kostbare leven gaf je als pand opdat wij eens vrij kunnen leven. Nu lig je hier rustig te slapen, terwijl men in ‘t vaderland wacht, je kind vraagt misschien aan zijn moeke waarom zij om hem niet meer lacht. Je bent in ons midden gekomen, vechtend voor een mooi ideaal De vijand heeft je begraven zonder eerbetoon, zonder praal. Engelse vlieger, wij zullen je graf met eerbied en bloemen omgeven en vragen tot dank aan den algoeden God jouw geluk in het eeuwige leven.'
Ciske de Zigeuner (onderduiker in Beesel) echte naam: Frans v. Marissin
English translation: Sorry for the poetic rhyme that is lost in the translation, the story it tells is not:
'English airman, we stand around this grave of yours in this foreign place. Your valuable life you gave in forfeit so that we can live in freedom. Now you lay here quietly to sleep while people in your homeland wait, Your child maybe asks his Mother why she can't laugh with him any more. You arrived here in our midst, fighting for a beautiful ideal. The enemy have buried you without honour, without glory English airman, we will surround your grave with respect and flowers - and ask with thanks, our good God for your happiness in the everlasting life...'
Below is a link to a site that is dedicated to all men that fought during operation Market Garden and for those that lost their lives during the operation for the freedom of Europe. www.market-garden.info/