< 17 MEI 1940 | Fragment 2 >

The writer of this letter was an engineer with the Dutch Holland America Line, studying for one of his exams. His account, written in 1990, starts on May 13th with some pre-war information but soon jumps to what happened on May 17th 1940 in Middelburg. He mentions 3 German planes over Middelburg at the end of the morning and very heavy A.A. Those planes came from Flushing and went in the Veere direction. In the town centre, close to the railway, bombs came down and exploded. It's possible that those were the same planes which earlier that morning saw action above the river Scheldt.

His Father, a butcher, came home from the tax-office and told him a grenade had hit that office at about 13.00 hours. It appears grenades hit the town centre even earlier that day, but from 16.00 hours onwards a real artillery barrage on Middelburg had begun. As a result of that barrage a major part of the heart of Middelburg was destroyed. Some German planes, he calls them 'Messerschmitt planes', were seen above Middelburg. In my estimation those were air-observers registering the results of the Artillery bombardment. Several detailed aerial photos were offered to me in 1964 as an employee of the Provincial Library, which show a burning town centre during that afternoon and corroborate this assumption.