William McVie, Ilpendam, Holland

In addition to the formal war cemeteries and graveyard plots maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, there are a great many local memorials in the formerly occupied countries in a wide variety of styles.

Memorial to McVie, Ilpendam, near Amsterdam, Holland

The cross above is to the memory of William Alexander McVie, a Hampden pilot, who died on 16 May 1941, near this spot, and who is now buried at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery.

Pat van den Berg, who sent the photograph of the cross, wrote to me on 13 August 2012:

A long time ago, don’t remember when, I was driving my motorcycle along the Dutch countryside not far from where I live.When I was driving by some farms that I had never seen before, I came across a nice white cross bearing the inscription “Here fell WA McVie 16th of May 1941” in a stream. It was obviously a privately erected monument. A couple of weeks later during Memorial Day, my partner and I returned with a bunch of flowers to be placed at the foot of the cross. When we stood there, the farmer approached us in a friendly way and briefly explained what had happened there in 1941.

It was his father who, in 1941, found the body of an English airman underneath his torn parachute on that exact spot. One of the other crew members was found dead in the Ijsselmeer not far away, but the two others managed to bail out successfully. The plane itself crashed on a nearby farm-field.

The crew member found dead in the Ijsselmeer was Stanley Leonard Bailey, who now lies at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery.

Sergeants J K Scouller and C Carter survived to become prisoners of war.