Wuisman, Bernardus Petrus Henricus “Ben”.

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Wuisman, Bernardus Petrus Henricus “Ben”, born 16-11-1918 in Schiedam, Zuid Holland, son of Theodorus Henricus Wuisman en Henrica Maria Roeling. Ben was a highly regarded leader of the Voortrekkersgroep, Scouts which he founded in 1935. His entire Voortrekkersgroep transfers in June 1936 to the Scout Group “Franciscus II” in Schiedam. In July 1938 Ben takes his final exams at the Roman Catholic HBS in Rotterdam.

In the years 1938 – 1939 he is very active as a leader in the scout group. He is a shining example of a good scout and camaraderie is of paramount importance.Mobilization in the Netherlands 1939 with the German threat.In soldier life, Ben puts into practice his scoutship, he served……. Ben served as a Conscript Sergeant at 5 – 3 – 17 G.B. (5th Section 3rd Company 17th Border Battalion), under command of kapitein J.A.C. Dietz and was stationed on the Maas near Wessem. Ben was commander of the Flanking Concrete Casemate B 5 on the peninsula between the river Maas and the Juliana Canal, directly opposite Maasbracht.

Death and burial ground of Wuisman, Bernardus Petrus Henricus “Ben”.

At 5 am the first Germans reached the Meuse. At 6.30 am the artillery positioned between the houses of Maasbracht opened fire on the casemates on the peninsula. the barracks Mat S 6, the Porcupine, was put out of action before it could even fire a shot. In addition to Ben Wuisman, the occupation of casemate B 5 also consisted of soldiers Blankenstein and Van Bellen. Ben’s casemate fired flanking in the northerly direction and held out until the moment when two direct hits from 8.8 cm projectiles penetrated between 07:30 and 08:00 and put the occupation out of action. Sergeant Ben Wuisman was killed in this and the soldiers were Blankenstein and Van Bellen seriously injured. Blankenstein later succumbed to his injuries. According to the statement of Section Commander Sergeant Wigman, despite the enemy’s heavy artillery fire, despite the enemy’s heavy artillery fire, the gallant garrison of casemate B 5 has fired incessantly in the northerly direction.ting. The story of the sole survivor, the soldier C. van Bellen, gives a correct impression of the fate of these three brave men.

He writes: “It had become light for some time when I discovered outposts at the church in Maasbracht while on my post. I immediately reported this to Sergeant Wuisman, after which I took my place again in the casemate. Everything in our casemate was perfectly fine. Then suddenly, while no other casemate had fired yet, we discovered troops in our direction of fire. Our machine gun was on the required distanced, whereupon Sergeant Wuisman, while I was acting as an assistant, fired fire, which had a devastating effect on the enemy troops, for we have seen almost all of them fall, which was observed by our spyglass. In addition, a little later, when we had a short fire break, Sergeant Wigman came to our casemate to reload the machine gun; he asked why we were firing. Then, while we were still engaged in the fight, we received fire from the direction of Maasbracht, but very lightly. That did not last long, however, because shortly afterwards a violent explosion followed to empty ourcasemate, so that hearing and seeing perished. In our casemate, which had only been made 14 days ago, there was a lot of cement dust. For a moment we were shocked by this goal, but inspired by the duty we had to fulfill to the Fatherland, we continued. Then came shelling after shelling against our casemate, which didn’t bother us anymore, for we were already battle hardened. It was a pity that we could do nothing against this enemy fire because the guns were not in our direction of fire. It was set up to the side of our casemate, near the church in Maasbracht. Whether the other casemate with her light machine gun could do anything against it, I do not know, as I suspected that they had been knocked out long ago. But still more inspired by this probable misfortune, we fired on, notwithstanding we could not prevent them from advancing very slowly, with the loss of many dead. Then came the accident, in which Sergeant Wuisman lost his life. By a hit, which came in sideways and went out again above the embrasure, he was hit in the head and body and he was unable to do anything more.

Then I took my place behind the machine gun and the two of us would continue on. I would also like to mention that in the time, before Sergeant Wuisman was killed, I already had the machine gun operated. Then, unexpectedly, although the enemy fire was still hammering on our casemate (a veritable bombardment), a hit came. I don’t know why, either through the blast hole or through the wall on the outside. There was a violent explosion, shards flew around.I felt a violent blow to my arm and a splinter in my cheek that I was stupid enough to pull out, and my face was covered in blood in the blink of an eye. I called out to my colleague Blankenstein, because I couldn’t see him because of the dust. He told me that he had severe pain in his hip and thigh. I felt myself becoming more and more dizzy, as later proved by the much blood loss, and collapsed. don’t know if enemy fire was fired after that. When I came to, I was lying outside our casemate behind the peninsula embankment. The time for unconsciousness and awakening was, I think, very short, but I don’t know how I got out. Only that shortly afterwards we had to leave our beloved island, where we had experienced so much, to the enemy…”

Ben Wuisman was buried on Friday 10-05-1940 in Wessem at the Roman Catholic Cemetery in row 1, military grave 10. On Tuesday, 14-05-1940, Ben inn in Maasbracht is in a military grave at the Roman Catholic Cemetery. Since Friday 18-11-1977 Ben Wuisman has found his last resting place at the Military Ereveld Grebbeberg in Rhenen (UT) in row 10, grave 23. Conscript Sergeant B.P.H. Wuisman became Royal Decree of 9 May 1946, no. 6 posthumously awarded the Bronze Cross, with the description:”By courageous conduct against the enemy,distinguished by as commander of the Casemate B 5in the battle at Wessem aan de Maas on May 10, 1940 under the enemy’s heavy artillery shelling and despit enumerous direct hits on the casemate to continue the defence until a direct hit penetrated the casemate and killed him.”

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