|Top photo shows two of the relatives of the crew of the MZ 684, JT Marlin (your|
blogger), nephew of Willem van Stockum, and Pamela Turney, great-niece of Fred
Beales. The newly unveiled monument to the 70-year-old crash is in Entrammes.
Two monuments were unveiled on June 10 in memory of the two planes downed that early morning on a mission in the Laval area.
One was at a pear farm in Entrammes, Mayenne. It was dedicated to the MZ 684 Halifax bomber and its crew. The pilot was Willem J. van Stockum, my uncle.
The other was at Saint-Berthevin, dedicated to the MZ 532 Halifax bomber and its crew.
Uncle Willem was the person who brought my parents together. He roomed with my father at Trinity College, Dublin in 1929-32. When my father discovered that Willem had a sister, he set about wooing her.
They were married in 1932, had their first child in 1934 (my sister Olga will be 80 this year), and ten years after they were married they got me (#5 out of 6 children).
When Uncle Willem died in 1944, a light went out in the lives of my parents. It was unspeakably tragic for them and for my Granny who lived with us.
|"Time Bomber", by Robert|
Wack, centered on the life
of W. J. van Stockum.
On the other hand, my uncle is the only one so far of the 14 members of the crew to have a book written about him - Time Bomber, by Robert Wack. I recommend it. The story is based mainly on factual material about my uncle and the life he led until it was ended. The additional elements that have been added to the story, what we could call the sci-fi meta-story, make several important points that are hard to discuss any other way.