Steenbergen, Barend (Beer) van.

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Steenbergen, Barend (Beer) van, born 23-03-1909 in Soerabaja, East Java, Dutch East Indies, the son of Barend van Steenbergen and Petronella Susanna Berkhuijzen. Back in the Netherlands, he after his training as an observer, was appointed Reserve 2nd Lieutenant-observer of the Weapon of Military Aviation on 06-09-1932. Reason enough for Barend to have a “state photo” made for the home front in his new uniform. In September 1935 Barend got engaged to Elisabeth (Lies) Visser. A year later, on 06-09-1936, Barend was promoted to Reserve 1st Lieutenant.taker. The youngsters gave each other on Saturday 30-10-1936 the yes in The Hague. From this marriage on Wednesday 02-03-1938 their son Pieter Daniel was  born. However, the happiness of the young family does not last long … On Saturday 30-04-1938 Lies passed away in Wassenaar. Barend stays behind with Pietertje.

Pre-mobilizations in 1938 and 1939 in the run-up to the mobilization and war days. The first “External Security Special Convocation” (BOUV) of 28-09-1938 brought about a relocation of the existing aircraft reconnaissance groups. The shortage of Fokker C-Vs also came to light. A large number of these aircraft were not deployable. At the Aviation Company, no fewer than 15 were under overhaul. In the aftermath of this first BOUV, it was decided to repaint the national tricolor on the rudder in camouflage green. The tricolor on the rudder was too noticeable.

On 07-04-1939, following the Italian attack on Albania, the second BOUV came into force. Now the existing aircraft reconnaissance groups were almost at full capacity in accordance with the prescribed numbers.The IVth Reconnaissance Group of the 2nd Aviation Regiment (IV – 2 Lv.R.) was founded on 10-04-1939 on Soesterberg. The IVth Reconnaissance Group (Verk.Gr.) was at the disposal of the IIIrd Army Corps, which was originally to operate in North Brabant in the event of hostilities. On April 12, all groups were ready. The IV Sales Gr. remained stationed at Soesterberg.

 1st Lieutenant Van Steenbergen (2nd from the right) with colleagues

On Friday 23-06-1939 Barend married Anna Geertruida (Anneke) van Iperen. Barend with his wife Anneke

The IVth Sales Gr. was commanded by captain-observer Albert Cornelis de Ruijter van Steveninck. The group stayed at Soesterberg from 10-04-1939 to 29-8-1939. After the General Mobilization was announced on this day, the IV Verk.Gr. to Welschap (Eindhoven) where she remained stationed until 10-04-1940. Then they left for Haamstede.

The photo below was taken during the mobilization on 21-04-1940 at the billeting address of the pilots in Haamstede, at 42 Burghseweg, the home of the then residents of the Marius W. Landegent family and his wife Maria P. Landegent-Geluk.After taking the photo, the Verk.Gr. left on 22-04-1940 for Gilze-Rijen (NB). On the left unknown colleague, in the middle Maria P. and on the right Beer The Sales Gr. stayed after Haamstede until Friday 10 May 1940 at her home base Gilze-Rijen. The group then consisted of 8 Fokker C-V aircraft and 5 Koolhoven FK-51 aircraft. On May 10, 1940, during the German bombardment and shelling, from approximately 04.10 to 04.45 hours of the air park at Gilze-Rijen, three Fokker C-V aircraft and a Koolhoven FK-51 aircraft were damaged to such an extent.that they had been disabled for further operations. At 08.00 hours the Commander-in-Chief of the Land and Naval Forces ordered the transfer of all combat-ready aircraft from Gilze-Rijen to Haamstede airfield on Schouwen-Duiveland (ZL).Between 09.02 and 09.28 hours, five C-V aircraft and one FK-51 aircraft departed for Haamstede, where they arrived between 09.25 and 09.53 hours. Barend van Steenbergen flew in the C-V, no. 636, as a passenger with the captain-pilot J.C. Boogaard.At 11.15 am, the Commander Air Defense received the order by telephone: to carry out a mine bombardment with all C-V aircraft on the Waalhaven airfield near Rotterdam. No fighter protection was available for this assignment. Since only two observers were available at the time, the others were assigned to the motorcades still en route, only two aircraft could take off for this bombing.bardement. It took some time to roll the planes to the landing area. The lieutenant observer W.H. Meulkens was initially with lieutenant pilot Willem Rooseboom in the C-V, no. 606. Just before the take-off the field was bombed. After the bombardment, Captain Boogaard had the observers ofswitch device. The reason for this could no longer be ascertained.The two aircraft departed at 12.13 pm. The C-V, no. 606, with pilot Lieutenant W. Rooseboom and observer, also squadron commander, Barend van Steenbergen. The C-V, no. 614, with as pilot sergeant K. Zwarthoed and as observer lieutenant Meulkens.

Death and burial ground of Steenbergen, Barend (Beer) van.

The bombardment had to be carried out at an altitude of 2500 meters. Flying at this altitude in relation to the island of Rozenburg, both observers from the seaward saw three Messerschmitt Bf-110 (Me’s 110) fighter cruisers approaching, flying several hundred meters higher than their own aircraft.len. To avoid the foreseeable unequal battle with these enemy aircraft, both pilots sought shelter from a cloud further south and lower. However, the C-V, no. 614, failed to do so. In a steep dive to avoid the enemy fire, the pilot made a successful emergency landing south-west of Middelharnis on Goeree-Overflakkee at 12.39 pm. Both occupants were able to safely exit their aircraft before it was set alight by the attackers, detonating the suspended bombs and destroying the aircraft. The crew of the C-V, no. 606 was not so fortunate. The lieutenant-observer Adolf Jacobus Vrijberghe de Coningh, commander of the radio section, and the sergeant-pilot Kuiper, both from IV – 2 Lv.R., who – en route to the Haamstede airfield – had just arrived at the ferry at the Zijpe (ZL). passed, could have followed the battle between the crew of the C-V, No. 606, and two Me’s 110 and later reported on the progress. While the third Me 110 was attacking the forced-land C-V, no. 614, two Me’s 110 had gone after the C-V, no. 606, which they overtook at Nieuwerkerk on Schouwen-Duiveland. Lieutenant Rooseboom managed to avoid the fire of the two attackers for 10 to 15 minutes by exploiting the greater maneuverability of his aircraft and by constantly hiding in the cloud over the eastern part of Schouwen-Duiveland. However, when the cloud dissolved, the matter was soon settled in theadvantage of the attackers. The C-V, no. 606, suddenly went into a steep dive, Barend breaking free from the aircraft and landing at Nieuwerkerk with the help of his parachute. Hanging from his parachute, he was heavily shelled during his fall. Seriously injured, he had to be admitted to the hospital in Noordgouwe. Barend van Steenbergen died in Noordgouwe on Sunday 19 May 1940, age 31, from his injuries (gunshot wound left arm and abdomen). Lieutenant pilot Willem Rooseboom (23 years old) was killed in the crashed plane. Barend was buried on Wednesday 22-05-1940 in Noordgouwe (ZL) at the General Cemetery in a military grave. Van Steenbergen 1st grave in Noordgouwe  Bart was born on Saturday 10-08-1940, the son of Anneke and Barend.

Barend was reburied on Monday 12-08-1940 in The Hague at the New Eykenduynen Cemetery at Kamperfoeliestraat 2A. Barend van Steenbergen was reburied at the Grebbeberg Military Field of Honor in Rhenen (UT) in Row 14, Grave 3.


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