Burgwal, Rudolf “Rudy” Frans.

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Burgwal, Rudolf “Rudy” Frans, born on 27-09-1917 in Surabaya, Dutch East Indies. In 1933 his parents came to The Hague, where they lived in the Bomenbuurt. It were boys. Indian boys, In the first place “Indians” were the Indo’s, also called – derogatory – katjangs (Malay for peanuts): Europeans with Indonesian blood. Tens of thousands of them lived in the Netherlands during the German occupation. And they were overrepresented in the resistance, says writer Herman Keppy (59) – son of a Moluccan father and a Dutch mother. They were the largest group of 68 officers and cadets – there were no more – who refused to sign the so-called parole in 1940: the solemn promise to “participate neither directly nor indirectly” in the fight against Germany. They were among the first England navigators – people who escaped to England from the occupied Netherlands. And of the eight Dutchmen who escaped from the Colditz prisoner of war camp, six had an Indian background.

When the war broke out, Rudy Burgwal studied in Delft, the Netherlands, together with, among others, Dutch pilot Abraham Lamertus (Bram of Bob) van der Stok MBE. Van der Stok was known as “war flyer of Orange”, after the name of his autobiography and gained further fame for his part in the spectacular escape from the German prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III, on which the film The Great Escape was later based. After most of the Netherlands had been liberated, Van der Stok finally had the opportunity to visit his family. His two brothers had been active in the resistance during the war but had been arrested and died in the concentration camps of Mauthausen and Neuengamme. The father of Van der Stok was also arrested by the occupying forces in connection with Van der Stok’s escape from Stalag Luft III under command of Kommadant Oberst Friedrich Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau  and was tortured thereby, among other things, he became blind. In the Hague district Leidschenveen there is a “Van der Stoklaan” that is named after the brothers. In 1970 he moved to Hawaii to work for the Coast Guard. Van der Stok died on 08-02-1993, age 77, in Virginia Beach.

In May 1941 skipper Sietse P. Rienksma from Schipluiden and Kees Waardenburg want to go to England. Rienksma has a Westlander called ‘Never Perfect’, with which he transports gravel and sand. Theo Vrins also wants to participate. He has been imprisoned and has just been released. And Bob van der Stok, he has a compass. Rudy Burgwal   is number five, he has fuel. The tour is progressing well, until the ‘Never Perfect’ gets stuck on the Roggenplaat.  The Germans believe Waardenburg and Rienksma when they promise to report to the Ortskommandant in Veere as soon as they come off again, but then they sail to Bergen op Zoom. The attempt failed, but everyone is still free and the boat is preserved. On 03-09-1941, Rienksma, Waardenburg and Burgwal manage to make the crossing with four others with a different boat. Burgwal then joins the RAF and joins No. 22 Squadron under command of Wing Commander Charles Cuthbertson Learmonth on 22-07-1943. 322 (Dutch) Squadron, under command of Major K.C. Kuhlmann, Service Number 113893 and becomes the top scorer with 20 and 3 shared shot down V-1s. including five in one day. The Dutch Squadron, Burgwal in the middle, at that time there were 25 pilots and 8 of them were Dutch. In the period after that many England sailors were included in the squadron. Wing commander Charles Cuthbertson Learmonth plane, on 06-01-1944, aged 26, near Rottnest Island crashed into the sea, killing Learmonth and his three crew members.

Death and burial ground of Burgwal, Rudolf “Rudy”Franz.


On 12-08-1944, age 26, he dies, by enemy Flak, in action when he escorts a Lancaster attack over the Departement de la Mayenne, Pays de la Loire,. Rudy Burgwal, just a hero, is buried at Orry-la-Ville Netherlands Field Of Honour Orry-la-Ville,  Departement de l’Oise, Picardie, France. Section A. Row 1. Grave 3.

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