Jagt, Johannis “Han” van der.

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Jagt, Johannis “Han” van der, 11-08-1917 in Middelburg the son of J.J. van der Jagt and his wife J. van der Jagt, born Stofkoper, and lived at the Wijnbergsekade in Vlissingen. He was engaged to Nel Hozee and had a brother Wim. During the mobilization Han was seconded as a pilot to Waalhaven airfield. His niece Mrs. Stofkoper was eleven years old at the time and lived in Rotterdam West and still remembers this period well. Han regularly came to eat with his aunt Marietje. When the bell rang at the house on the corner of Schiedamseweg and Willem Beukelszoonplein around 5.30 pm, it was certainly Han, who came in like a pleasant whirlwind and asked his aunt: “Aunt Marietje, what are you eating today?” This young man of less than 23 years and already reserve 2nd lieutenant pilot, who was stationed at Waalhaven because of the mobilization, was therefore one of the last to take the air with his G-1   when the Germans attacked Waalhaven airport. During the attack on the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, KG4,  “General Wever” Kampfgeschwader 4 under command of Oberst Martin Fiebig, was used to shape the first attack wave of the Luftwaffe on Dutch airfields. On 08-05-1945, Fiebig was initially captured by the British, but was transferred to Yugoslavia on 06-02-1946, where he was found guilty in a war crime trial on September 10 and sentenced to death. The judgment was enforced on 23-10-1947. Fiebig died 23-10-1947 (aged 56) in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Eventually they would attack Waalhaven, Bergen, Schiphol, Ypenburg, Gilze-Rijen and Welschap near Eindhoven. The aircraft of KG.4 flew north of the Wadden Islands towards the west, whereby a connection broke loose between Terschelling and Ameland and with a sudden westerly maneuver attacked Schiphol from the east. The rest of the band had flown on to the west and gradually descended south-southwest along the Dutch coast. At the height of Bergen aan Zee, Katwijk aan Zee and Hoek van Holland respectively, a connection flew to the east, so that the targets on the coast were always flown in from the sea. Also Waalhaven. Due to the lack of transport available to transport the crews to their aircraft, all pilots and their crews had to run across the airfield to their aircraft between attacks. The air gunner, conscript sergeant S. de Vos, who played a crucial role as tail gunner in possible air battles, was fatally hit by enemy fire during the attempt to reach the aircraft. His lifeless body was later found at the airport.

Just before 4 a.m., two bombers flew in very low, from the sea in an easterly direction. Both He-111Ps of the Geschwader Stabsstaffel dropped 50 or 100 kg bombs on the southern sector of the field, on top of the location of the 49th Pel.LuMi. and the machine guns of the MC-III-RJ and machine-gunned the emplacements. This attack, which took the air defense completely by surprise, prompted Captain Hessel Jan Scholtmeijer to immediately order the take-off of his squadron. Unfortunately, the driver of the car that was supposed to bring the pilots to the aircraft turned out to be gone. So everyone ran, with all the dangers that entailed, across the field to the G-1s. Scholtmeyer survived the war and died age 52 on 07-02-1956 in Heemstede.

In total, eight of the ten G-1s managed to take off within fifteen minutes of the first bombs dropping. The first to take off was reserve 1st lieutenant pilot P. Noomen, no. 312, with conscript corporal H. de Vries as gunner. This pilot managed to overtake and shoot down the two He-111Ps that had attacked the airfield. The second He-111, also from the staff squadron, was shot down near IJsselmonde. However, the 312 itself was heavily damaged by the German gunners and made a forced landing at Waalhaven. It could not take off from there again.

Death and burial ground of Jagt, Johannis “Han” van der.

Take-off and dogfight had thus become a very dangerous undertaking and almost bound to lead to tragedy. However, Han did not hesitate for a moment and wanted to support his fellow fighters in the air and resist the German raiders for as long as possible. He, on 10-05-194, age 22, took off, but was no match for the superior numbers of German aircraft and was set on fire shortly after his departure. A spectator on the ground told: Just before reaching Hoek van Holland, Van der Jagt saw a number of German aircraft flying inland over the Nieuwe Waterweg.   JU 52 transport aircraft, which were nicknamed “Aunt Ju” by the Luftwaffe. Except for the speed, which was low, Van der Jagt could find little comfort in it. In a sharp turn, he pulled his G-1 to the right. If it had been a practice flight, he could have determined that the new course had become 120 degrees. Now, however, he only had eyes for the enemy, for he had to catch up quickly. The Germans neatly maintained their formation, apparently oblivious to an approaching Van der Jagt. In fact, the heavily loaded transport planes were no match for the G-1. Until now, Van der Jagd hadn’t been lucky. Now suddenly there was the big opportunity. Possibly it was a feeling of enormous excitement, in any case he opened fire too early. The volley lasted long enough, but the distance was too great to be effective. Now warned, the Germans promptly broke their formation and tried to take refuge in various directions. One JU-52 maintained its original course and continued to fly eastwards over the Nieuwe Waterweg: a major loot challenge for Van der Jagt. One against one! He had to and would take out this enemy. Allen, his ammunition was now exhausted! He had just shot out his last cartridges so that he was now a toolless carpenter. Still, Van der Jagt didn’t want to let his prey slip away. Knowing that this type of aircraft had hardly any combat value, he flew above it. Slowly decreasing height, he apparently wanted to try and push the enemy into the water. It was a daring maneuver that might have had a chance of success had it not been for one factor which Van der Jagt completely overlooked for reasons beyond trace. For, although the JU-52 had practically no combat value, it was always armed with three machine guns, one of which was placed in the top center of the fuselage. And the latter proved fatal to the indomitable Dutch fighter pilot. The German gunner had a very easy target on the G-1 flying right above him. Immediately afterwards, the left wing and engine caught fire and the G-1 disappeared with a left slide into the Nieuwe Maas. The G-1 entered the water approximately where the Benelux tunnel is now located under the Meuse. To this day, the viewer has no idea why the G-1 flew so right above the German plane. Van der Jagt would remain missing for more than five weeks. On 20-06 1940 the uncertainty finally became absolute certainty: on the evening of that day, officer De Graaf of the Rotterdam River Police had the sad duty to report a gruesome find. Boat II had retrieved a body from the water of the river near the Sunlight factory. “On the corpse,” according to the Vlaardingen police report, “evidence was found in the name of J.van der Jagt, born 11-08-1917, reserve 2nd lieutenant pilot.

Johannis “Han”van der Jagt, was buried at the Noorderbegraafplaats/cemetery in Vlissingen.

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