Seppe Air Base commemorates Market Garden: ‘It’s special that it still flies’

While visitors enjoyed what could easily have been the last day of summer, the old fighter and training aircraft took off from Seppe Airport with a loud hum. The same hum sounded in September 1944, during Operation Market Garden, one of the largest rescue operations by the Allies. This operation was commemorated on Saturday from the Seppe Flying Museum in Bosschenhoofd.

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“That must have been a special feeling for the people who heard those planes flying over here at the time,” says Piet Luijken, chairman of the Seppe Flying Museum. The rescue operation mainly took place around Arnhem and Nijmegen, but the planes flew over Brabant at an altitude of only five hundred meters.

“Unfortunately, of the many planes that flew over here, planes also crashed and were shot out of the sky,” says Luijken. These people were commemorated with a memorial flight, during which they flew over the graves of the pilots. “It is thanks to them that we are here now. It is good to reflect on that.”

“I’m really looking forward to takeoff. This is not just any airplane”

After the memorial tour, visitors can take a ride in one of the old war planes. Peter Keulen from Roosendaal seizes his opportunity: “I’m really looking forward to taking off. This is not just any airplane, it’s from the 1930s,” he says enthusiastically from the window of the ‘P6 Texan’, a training aircraft from the Second World War. World War.

Airplane enthusiasts have plenty to see with the old aircraft flying in and out, but visitors say the beautiful weather and the pleasant atmosphere are also good for visitors.

Those who were there last year speak of a world of difference: “Last year it literally and figuratively fell into the water, today the weather is just right,” says visitor Frans.

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Peter flies around in one of the old training planes
Peter flies around in one of the old training planes

Stan is standing next to Frans looking at the planes: “I really enjoy those beautiful planes that pass by,” he says. Jean-Pierre and his son Sem are also watching the scene: “It’s really special that it’s all still flying,” says Jean-Pierre in disbelief.

Operation Market Garden, a plan by British army leader Montgomery, aimed to quickly and en masse capture the bridges over the major rivers in the Netherlands and then quickly advance to Berlin via the city of Wesel.

The plan was that the airborne landings (Market) of the Allies would be supported by a large advancing ground army (Garden) from Belgium. In total, more than fifty thousand British, American, Polish and Dutch soldiers were deployed in the operation.

Vince Speranza (97) and his buddies honored with a parachute jump during Market Garden

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One of the old fighter planes takes off
One of the old fighter planes takes off

Memorial flight from Seppe International Airport
Memorial flight from Seppe International Airport