Meeting with the Jolly Duck researchers

The King Size and it’s crew is not the only B-24 that has ever been researched. For years I have been following Maarten Havinga and his team while they were researching The Jolly Duck, a B-24 which crashed near Zoetermeer/ Netherlands on 22 February 1945.
Maarten started his research on 22 October 2005.
The story of the Jolly Duck is a total different one than our King Size, but absolute worthy to know it!

On that day the Jolly Duck crash landed at the Geerweg near Zoeterwoude after being hit by Flak. The whole crew survived and 4 of the men became POW, 5 of them were evaded and were hidden by the Dutch resistance. Right Waist gunner John McCormick joined the Dutch Resistance. One month later, on 29 April 1945 he was KIA during a firefight with German Wehrmacht troops. John is burried in the Zoetermeer Cemetery.
Th story has a dark side. On 26 Februari 1945 Spitfires from the RAF tried to destroy the B24, so Germans couldn’t use the equipment. During the shooting 4 civilians were killed: 2 children who were playing in the plane and two civilians who were in the direct area. Three childeren got wounded.
One German soldier was killed near the plane.

During the years Maarten and myself exchanged many materials about findings we did. It was a great to see the excavations on the Jolly Duck terrain and it was very clear Maarten and his team are very dedicated in finding more pieces, but also new documents, pictures, etc.

Last weekend Maarten and two of his teammembers, Jeroen and Lesley,  visited this area to tour around and pay their respects tot he King Size crew. It was an absolute great day. 4 enthousiastic guys who stumbled over eachother to tell stories.
For me it was a memorable moment: finally meeting the crew who were so dedicated to find every piece of evidance of the Jolly Duck and now they were standing on the sacred ground of the King Size.
A moment I will never forget.

A few days later, while writing this story, I was reading bits of Maartens website.
I was totally surprised! The Jolly Duck and the King Size have a connection. John McCormick and Henry G Maxham flew in the same plane: The Wabash Cannonball. On 11 September 1944 John and his buddy John Lingle  got wounded during the mission. The Wabash Cannonball flew another 7 missions with the crew.
What an incredible coincedence!
I will try to find out if they were in the plane at the same flights. For a start: I have a newspaper article mentioning the plane and Henry’s name. The date is 14 September 1944.

The Jolly Duck
Jeroen, Bob, Maarten and Lesley at the King Size monument

Bob has been researching the B-24 crashsite from june 2013 till november 2017. He runs a B&B in the hamlet of Grandmenil since 2008 and researches the events of the Battle of the Bulge. www.grandmenil.com www.battle-of-the-bulge.be