The Brabant village Oisterwijk and Operation Market-Garden

Eyewitness report

A short while after Pierre Gallay crash landed in Oisterwijk a young boy came cycling down the road after he had just left his highschool in Tilburg to return to his home in Oisterwijk.

He was probably one of the first if not the first to encounter and approach the Spitfire that was lying in the middle of the road.

This is what he could still remember of that day in October in 1944.

 

 

“I, then a boy of 14 years of age, lived in Oisterwijk during the Second World War.

During this period I went to high school in Tilburg called the HBS, located at the road called ringbaan-oost.

I remember quit clearly the day of 20 October 1944 when I was following class in Tilburg.

During the morning, after school had started, the air raid sirens had gone on and off almost the entire morning so that we where required to take shelter in our school basement every time these sirens went of.

We could clearly hear the aircraft outside flying low over our area.

Because we where required to take shelter in the basement so many times our teacher was not able to give class in a normal way so instead he send every body home.

Me and my school friend took our bicycles for a fifteen minute ride back to Oisterwijk.

Together we crossed the Wilhelminacanal swing bridge at Oisterwijksebaan and cycled our way back by means of this road leading us al the way to Oisterwijk.

When we almost reached our village we surprisingly stumbled on an aircraft that was lying on its belly in the middle of the road.

The aircraft was just lying beyond the road junction at the road Laagheukelomseweg and was blocking almost the entire Oisterwijksebaan so we had to step of our bicycles.

The pilot of the aircraft presumably chose to land on its belly because of this reasonably flat dirt road instead of on the field left ore right besides the road that were full of ditches and bumps.

The Oisterwijksebaan consisted those day’s out of a dirt road with adjacent a sort of bike trail with now and then a farm along the road.

 

The aircraft was lying with the nose pointed in to the direction of Oisterwijk and the tail to Tilburg and the entire aircraft looked reasonably intact to me.

Nobody seemed to be around so we concluded that the crash had to have happened only a few minutes ago.

Because we saw no civilians and no Germans around we decided to approach the aircraft so we stepped of our bicycles.

When we walked up to the aircraft the first thing I noticed was a aluminium shaped plate lying on the road behind the right wing.

When I approach the aircraft even closer I noticed the cockpit was open and empty and I could hear the ticking sound of the still warm aircraft engine.

When I got to the front of the aircraft I noticed the propellers where missing.

I also saw two machine guns from the wings lying on the ground.

One could see they where torn out of the aircrafts wings presumably by the crash and sudden stop of the aircraft.

Now there where big holes were the onboard machine guns where once mounted.

 

We decided it was for the best to quickly take our bicycle and go home before any Germans would arrive.

But before we left I quickly grabbed the aluminium plate what appeared to be the wheel cover of the landing gear and strapped it under my rubber straps on the back of my bicycle.

We didn’t dear to take the machine guns because when we where seen with that kind of weaponry by the Germans we would for sure end up in jail.

Then we took our bicycles and quickly drove home.”

 

 

This eyewitness also provided me with a sketch that he draw.

In this sketch are the machine guns from the wings and the aluminium wheel cover behind the right wing.

 

 

 

The camouflaged wheel cover of the Spitfire
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