I was born on November 28th 1913 in Oegstgeest
and deceased on march 27th 1984 in Leiden, The Netherlands. After
6 months of being a recruit in the army I finished my military training
and had achieved the status of marksman 1st class with Canon, machinegun,
carabine and pistol. I was also qualified as a gas desinfector.
During the pre mobilization I was stationed on
the, the de Kooy - Fort Erfprins airfield in Den Helder. The last
place I was stationed was the secret airfield in the municipality
Slootdorp in the Wieringermeer area. That is where this story took
place. We started mounting and setting up the machineguns at 05:00
am, because we had never actually fired this type of machinegun
(Spandau 1914/1918) before, we first had to adjust the springs.
After fifteen minutes the springs had been set and the machineguns
At 10:00 am we received orders to move out to
Friesland. I was send to the blacksmith of the village to have our
bayonets sharpened like razors and to have the Dutch lions removed
from our helmets. This was done because experience learned that
the most lethal shots came from bullets that were aimed at the lions.
The staff from the Won's barrage had arrived and what had been left
behind was a sergeant who was in charge of a handful of men that
stayed behind. No German had been sighted so far at least that was
what the remaining soldiers told us.
Sixteen soldiers a sergeant and a 19 year old
standard bearer, all packed up our things and moved to Friesland.
I was riding on an ammunition truck loaded with 4 tons of ammo.
At the 'Afsluitdijk' we waited until dusk and crossed it with all
our lights turned off. We radioed in our location and that we were
on the way over. The bridge had already been blown up and the Afsluitdijk
was littered with bits and pieces of equipment from the forces at
the Won's barrage who had to retreat. The new DAF artillery tow
trucks build on Ford and Chevrolet chassis had been driven off into
the sea and the docks. I had read in the material overview that
we were supposed to be low in equipment and vehicles, but this massive
display of abandoned equipment was totally new to me. At 01:00 am
our platoon entered the barrage.
The machineguns were placed into position in the
second line of defense and the guns were mounted in the first line.
The Swiss made guns, the 20mm caliber Oerlikon's, came from the
voluntary anti aircraft artillery of Leeuwarden, and paid for by
the inhabitants of Leeuwarden.
In our second line of defense were trucks and
busses which later turned out to be filled with moneybags that came
from various banks in the surrounding area. The infantry took care
of making foxholes and had camouflaged them with green bags so that
they could not be seen from the sky. The Germans did not know what
hit them when the first one came into firing range of our machineguns
at 05:00 am that next morning. The first shots struck gold. Right
from the start two German planes went down in the Wadden Zee, and
two more circled down in the direction of Leeuwarden followed by
thick white smoke coming out the planes. Their next attack was done
in a different way a few from the North and a few flew in from the
South. Like a fine tuned clock and without previous planning, the
Oerlikons took out the planes coming in from the North, and we took
care of the planes flying in from the South. Three more planes went
down in the Wadden Zee and one returned heavily damaged towards
Leeuwarden. At the same time the infantrymen had not stood still.
They made a complete fake battery in the bunker of stovepipes .
These could turn and even emit smoke.
Above our heads a reconnaissance plane flew over
and transmitted the coordinates of the fake Battery and seconds
later four German planes drew near heading for the coordinates of
the so called target resulting in two more planes in the ZuiderZee,
and two more fleeing, because they did not know where the fire was
coming from. Meanwhile there had been a big attack on the Afsluitdijk,
but we did not see any of it, although we did hear the noise! The
Germans soon realized that the attack was not going anywhere so
they changed the front of the attack towards our field artillery
and our bunkers. It has to be said that they fired with pinpoint
precision into the firing gaps of the bunker, at no avail, for we
simply closed the gaps with thick ironbolted sheets of metal. The
captain called the Palace in Den Helder and straight after his call
we got artillery and air support from a figtherplane from the navy
who was stationed near by.
Then, the order came for the cease fire.It was
over. I gave the driver of a taxi from the Eltax Company in Leiden
who was there at the time, a note for my wife, to let her know that
everything was okay, and that I was still alive! We had to withdraw
from the Wieringermeer area. But how? For we did not have any means
of transportation. My sergeant send me back to our first line of
defense to see if I could organize some sort of vehicle. I slipped
quietly over the docks and there to my surprise I spotted a Ford
V8 truck belonging to a potato firm from Leeuwarden with a German
behind the wheel. I yelled as hard I could: "Troop Transport!"
the German looked up leaped out of the truck and ran for his life,
thinking a whole platoon came back to get their equipment. I got
behind the wheel and drove over the docks to our troops. After everybody
had got onboard we left for the Island of Wieringen.
There we were stationed in a school. The next
sunday my wife, father and mother came to visit me. The following
day I surprised the whole family by stepping of the citytram in
the Dorpstraat in Oestgeest, I was home! I felt lucky, I had made
it back in one piece, the war was over for me. My wife was pregnant
and our son Willem Teunis Hoogerdijk was born on october 21st 1940
I had been truly blessed.
His son, Willem Teunis Hoogerdijk