A Canadian history buff is hoping to learn more about a north-east airman killed when his plane was shot down during the Second World War.
Bob Van Wyk, who is of Dutch descent but lives near Woodstock in Ontario, says his dad never forgot the morning he was sent to the wreckage of a stricken Lancaster plane in a field near his farm north of Waverveen in Holland on March 30, 1943.
The entire crew on board was killed and Mr Van Wyk,’s late father, Ted, was among a team of local farmers who were called upon by the occupying Germans to find the remains of the crew and transport them with horse and cart for burial under Nazi escort.
In the years since, the family of almost all of the crew have been traced by Mr Van Wyk and Waverveen historian Chris van de Linden – apart from the relatives of one man from Aberdeenshire.
Sergeant Frank Alexander Bandeen (RAFVR # 1374522) was the son of George and Elizabeth Bandeen, of Garlogie.
His remains were buried in a double casket alongside the rest of his crew in Waverveen before being exhumed after the war and moved to the Canadian war cemetery at Bergen-op-Zoom.
But little else is known about the north-east native.
“My Dad never forgot that event.,” Mr Van Wyk said.
“I was fortunate to make friends with a local amateur historian, Chris van der Linden, of Waverveen.
“Through his dogged research, he found family members for five of the seven crew and we are now a little family because of his efforts to remember their sacrifice.
“Regrettably, Chris was unable to find a living family member for Sgt Bandeen before dying of cancer in August 2019.”
Sgt Bandeen was the flight engineer for an Avro Lancaster from 57 Squadron of Bomber Command, DX-Z.
The squadron was briefly based at RAF Elgin in 1940 before moving to Feltwell then Scampton in 1942, and then East Kirkby in 1943 where it saw out the remainder of the war until disbanding in 1945.
Sgt Bandeen’s photo appears on a memorial plate near the crash site at Waverveen.
Mr Van Wyk added: “An interesting recent twist to this story is the Short Stirling RAF Bomber from 218 Squadron, currently being recovered from the Markermeer lake in the Netherlands, was shot down on the same night as Sgt. Bandeen’s Lancaster.
“Both aircraft were mortally wounded by the same German night fighter pilot, Leutnant Werner Rapp.”
Mr Van Wyk is hoping to complete Mr Van der Linden’s project and find Sgt Bandeen’s descendants possibly still living in Aberdeenshire.
More information can be found on the crew of ED761 online at luchtoorlogww2.wixsite.com/waverveen/30-03-1943-1 and anyone with information can contact him by email on: email@example.com.