Elk, Faas van.

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Elk, Faas van, born 27-08-1912, in Woerden, Province of Utrecht., the son of Jan van Elk and Neeltje Lokhorst. The Reformed family consisted of a total of ten children, of whom daughter Johanna passed away at the age of 1. Faas was the fifth child and second son in the family. Later two more sons were born. Faas completed primary school without any problems and was even allowed to go to the Ulo. Special for a child of a worker. When he obtained his diploma at the end of the twenties, he went to work at Municipal Companies Woerden. Later he went to work at the insurance office United Insurance Companies at the Maliebaan at no. 46 in Utrecht.  Faas became proficient in bookkeeping and taxes and also earned some extra money, in view of an advertisement he placed in the Woerdensch Weekblad in February 1936. Faas rose to become sous chef of the department where he worked. Faas suffered the fate of all Dutch young men: he had to deal with the Ministry of War. On 21-03-1932 he was conscripted into the 4th Infantry Regiment, class 1932 from the municipality of Woerden under number 112. After training and a ready time of several months, he was given Great Leave on Sunday, 04-09-1932. He had probably already forgotten the military lessons, when he repeated his training from Thursday 10-09-1936 to Sunday 27-09-1936. had to. As if it wasn’t enough, he had to show up again less than a year later: from Thursday 15-09-1938 to Sunday 02-10-1938 he was allowed to repeat again due to. the Sudeten crisis. On 29-08-1939, the general mobilization of the Dutch armed forces followed and Faas was called back to arms. Faas was assigned to the 4th section of the machine gun company under the command of reserve captain L. Verleun.This machine gun company was part of the 3rd battalion of the 4th Infantry Regiment with Major J. Mallinckrodt as battalion commander. (4 – M C – III 4 R.I.) The 3rd battalion to which the unit of Faas was assigned was located in the vicinity of the Valkenburg airport near Katwijk (ZH) and was charged with security services at the airport under construction.

   A march of the 4th section M.C. – III 4 R.I. in the vicinity of Leiden.

When Faas was on leave, he generally came home, his youngest sister Adrie recalls. “Then he came by, then he came home. That was his home.” But he had also rented a room in Katwijk with the Reformed Schoneveld family. There he was able to study on a course in the administrative field for his work. Adrie also described her brother as an intellectual “who read everything…was loose and stuck”. Faas also walked, as she describes it, “in the footsteps of the fathers”. It is not surprising that the church life did not let go of Faas in his mobilization place. He became a valued member of the Young People’s Association on a Reformed basis, in Katwijk.

Faas’ machine gun company was billeted in the R.K. Katwijk seminar. On Friday 10 May 1940 Faas was assigned to the detachment that guarded the airfield with the 4th section of the MC, under the command of Adjutant Non-Commissioned Officer Instructor De Jong.

Valkenburg (ZH) airfield was located at a distance of approximately 1000 meters south-west of the village of the same name. It had not yet been put into use in May 1940 because the ground was too soft for normal use. The airfield therefore did not appear to be an attack target, but had been guarded since 20-04-1940. Not many of the buildings on the edge of the large lawn were in use yet. The course of the battle for Valkenburg is known. Bombs were dropped from 4.15 am and from approximately 4.30 am German paratroopers landed in the vicinity from where they advanced to the field and partly in the direction of the villages Katwijk aan de Rijn, Katwijk aan Zee and Valkenburg. Some of the paratroopers also advanced in the direction of Wassenaar and the Haagse Schouw.

Death and burial ground of Elk, Faas van.


German aircraft after landing at Valkenburg airport May 10, 1940 However, it is unclear where and when Faas was captured by German paratroopers, along with many other soldiers from the airfield security unit. The Germans brought their prisoners of war to, among others, the Reformed Church of the village of Valkenburg, which was occupied by them. Shelling by own artillery on the village of Valkenburg in response to the German occupation. The prisoners of war, 200 to 300 men, including Faas, made an escape attempt during this shelling by their own artillery. Faas is probably at that attemptwas hit and died on Saturday 11-05-1940, age 27,.Immediately after the fighting, one of his fellow soldiers wrote on aminuscule note how Faas had died and that he just beforehe died “had made all right with the vicar”.The note was, probably for lack of an exact address, addressed to the Woerden municipal police. One of the agents brought the note to the Reformed pastor, Reverend C. van Reenen. This one had the difficult task of getting to the storefrom mother Neeltje aan de Rijn and to hear the newsto tell. His younger brother Gijs traveled to the house as the only man living in the house to Valkenburg for identification. “They were in a mass gravebury”. Gijs was the only one who could do that. Bram Brinkman was in Valkenburg who said to Gijs: “Gijs, you shouldn’t look at that. It’s him….””On Faas’s coffin lay his fountain pen and some other things fromit. That’s so terrible. You will never lose that again. . . .”How Faas his then girlfriend, farmer’s daughter Mijntje Verburg,was told that he was killed is unknown. Initially Faas was taken in the garden behind on 15-05-1940 buried the old rectory in Valkenburg

. The family was given the option to have Faas buried in Woerden, but mother Neeltje consciously chose to leave Faas’s remains in Valkenburg. According to her youngest daughter Adrie, mother Neeltje said that she could not handle the funeral. Adrie remembered that Neeltje regularly visited the grave in the village of Valkenburg. A second temporary grave followed on Friday 02-08-1940 in grave 7 behind the Noodkerk (Hulpkerk) Faas finally received his final resting place (3rd grave) on 23-10-1961 in grave no. 8 on the Military Field of Honor near the Reformed Church in the village of Valkenburg, in the midst of 34 other fallen soldiers.

There is a Monument for Woerden War Victims The name of Faas van Elk is mentioned on the monument for the war victims from Woerden. The name of Faas is also his oldest brother Jan van Elk, born 26-11-1906, his oldest listed on the memorial. Jan member of the resistance was arrested on 25-08-1943 and is due to hardship on 25-02-1945 in Dachau concentration camp deceased. The monument is placed at the General Cemetery, located on the Meeuwenlaan in Woerden.


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