The route

The Route

The route of the two ships

After about 3 weeks of exhausting and time-consuming preparations, we leave at 10.55 am; we, i.e. Jan Batelaan with Henk, escort me to Waddinxveen. We are about the last to arrive in Waddinxveen: I summoned everyone at 11 am!

(click on the starting point)

De Route
Vertrek Loswal Waddinxveen 19/3/1945 Maandagmorgen Boskoop- Alphen a/d Rijn Leimuiden-Schiphol Amsterdam Maandag 19/2 Dinsdagmorgen 20/3 Dinsdagmiddag 20/3 Woensdagnacht 03.00 21/3 Woensdagochtend 21/3 Woensdag middag 21/3 Woensdagavond 21/3 Bevrijd Nederland in Maart 1945 Inundatie Betuwe

Embarkation Waddinxveen 19/31945 Monday morning

The ships are ready, the children and their belongings are loaded. I forgot to provide drinking water, and my heater also appears to have fallen into the hold and is broken as a result. Fortunately, the skipper's is good enough for cooking and heating. When everything is ready, I invite parents and other interested parties (Dr. Batelaan, ds de Lint and ds Roelofsen, cpln. Middelhof, sr ten Have, Mr. Vergeer), and the two skippers with their personnel in the hold. I read out the attendance list and record that 45 children will make the trip. Then Rev. de Lint addresses everyone about the sad necessity of separation and the dangers of the journey, also about the possibilities of a better existence in the east, which the parents are grateful for. Finally, he prays with and for us. After a final hug and handshake, the ships set sail at 12:15 PM. I poke my head through a deck hatch and exchange, pro omnibus, a good-bye with those left behind.

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Boskoop- Alphen a/d Rijn

In the meantime we have passed Boskoop, and Laterveer, who forgot the pedigrees of his children, and went to get them from Waddinxveen at 12 o'clock, was unable to hand them over on the way. Soon the last steel lift bridge comes into view, that of Gouwsluis, and we turn onto the Rhine. We take an unexpected route, not Aar, Drecht and Amstel, but the more westerly located Ringvaart around the Haarlemmermeer. Too bad for the boys from Rigter, who have a letter in a bottle ready to throw at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel to their grandfather, who is always on the side of the water and would fish out the bottle. But now that we don't get by there, the correspondence is lost.

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Leimuiden-Schiphol

After Leimuiden comes the Brasemermeer, then the elongated Aalsmeer. There are a few barges half sunken in the canal, reminding us of the danger of shelling. We call a puddle on the right the Geelpoel, says van Dam, but soon you will see Schiphol: an astonishing sight indeed, a destruction of buildings and runways, not to be repaired in years; and it was so spacious and rich, the pride of flying Holland, especially of Amsterdam. But this is the only thing we notice about war: we no longer see planes after our bike ride to Waddinxveen. We have an unusually prosperous journey as far as Amsterdam!

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Amsterdam Monday 19/2

Amsterdam ± 6 o' clock. We had already seen the tower of the Westerkerk from a distance, now we are in front of the station. But we have to wait a long time, at 7 o'clock there is electrical power for the locks and German ships are ahead of us. Here come Messrs Vreugdenhil and de Jager. They carry the final papers. We moor at the Kostverlorenkade for the night. – Coffee is served in the cabin, the day is discussed and the options for the coming days are considered. If things continue to go well, we might be home before Easter. The skipper is already looking forward to the Easter eggs, and I promise to treat him if it is true, inwardly startled, because I thought I would be back a few days before Easter. But that turns out not to be a possibility at all, things will have to go very smooth for us to be finished in a fortnight.

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Tuesday morning 20/3

I am getting up at 6.30 am, the skipper is already upstairs, and while I dress and shave (the latter in the kitchen, where there is only water and a mirror) we sail through the outer canals of Amsterdam to the north, where we find a berth for Tuesday before the last bridge to the Houthaven, at the Zoutkeetsplein, corner Houtmankade.

(…)

The storm of the previous night makes the skipper nervous. Reports have come in from 2 ships that have broken loose from their tow, one must have sunk, and, says the skipper's lingo, "there is still a big smear of wind".

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Tuesday afternoon 20/3

But: we are sailing! Along the A'dam harbours, straight through the barricades, sunken barges, destroyed docks, havoc on the quays, solliciting new curses against the Germans, to the Oranje locks. There we quickly pass through the control post and lie near Durgerdam in near dark, coincidentally right next to an ammunition ship, and hear planes pass over, we don't even care much about it.

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Wednesday night 03:00 21/3

The skippers decide make a run for it across the IJsselmeer at night, Wednesday at 3 a.m. Starting in Amsterdam, during the crossing, all the lights on the ships went out. The children report that a large white sheet with a red cross on it was stretched over the deck. Theo Vreugdenhil, who accompanied his father on this journey, said that it made a big impression on him that when the planes flew low and shelling threatened, Reverend Warmenhoven said "We can only hope and pray that God will spare the children and us". Then 'Domi' climbed onto the deck and started praying on top of the flag.

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Wednesday morning 21/3

Up at 6.15 am, sleep hadn't come much since half past three because of the running engine, the restless, loudly beating heart of the ship. I find V. in the kitchen, baking pancakes for half an hour, anyway, now with oil from the skipper, for him and the crew, and the - staff -, who have to stay fit as well, eat it too. The weather is beautiful, but it is still apparent that we are at sea, fresher in the early morning and a slight wobble of the ship. That doesn't stop me from shaving. “Again? asks the skipper, you only did it yesterday!" “Every morning, skipper,” I say. "You are a bit grand, I think, concludes Pols, don't be difficult, you are already hitched aren't you?."

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Wednesday afternoon 21/3

Then there is the final blow: the pilot has headed a little too south, just to be sure. It's still nice that he knew it so well without a compass, but now we have to go straight north for the last Km, so that we get the strong westerly wind completely from aside, and the ship starts ducking and diving, pitching and rolling. Practically no one can stand it: almost all children succumb, even those who held themselves so well, the floor is full of pale, poor, vomiting little people, Jannie Kooy disappears in one corner, close to the toilet, Jannie van Dam is sitting in the other, near the stairs, both incapable of doing anything.

The nurse and I stay healthy, she is staggering around and slides among the comatose to give someone a better place on the floor, I eat my bread with cheese and smoke cigarettes, together we joke half-heartedly at the image of misery before us. V., who is mostly above, can also take it, although the skipper says later that it shouldn't have lasted another half hour, and de Jager on the other ship is not bothered by it either. So we feel good, especially when van Veen tells the story of a sea captain who became seasick on the IJsselmeer.”

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Wednesday evening 21/3

“When dock at Schokkerhaven around 9 am, it's over immediately. Gradually the children improve, the men withdraw, and the nurse with the girls, assisted by Jan in bringing the water, do a big cleanup downstairs. There is plenty of time, there is still 26 km to go on the canal to Zwartsluis, between the N.O.polder on the left and the inland lake, behind which we see Kampen, on the right. Three hours across the plain, not counting the 3 preceding ones at sea, in the clearest weather, a beautiful morning. Excellent flying weather and so the sky is full of planes. We comment on this wondering why we didn't set sail at 10 o'clock in the evening instead of 2 in the morning, but the pilot thought the ship would be faster.

At 11.45, shortly after having passed Genemuiden on the right we moor at the quay in Zwartsluis

(From the travel log of Rev. Warmenhoven)

Liberated area March 1945

The northern part of the Netherlands was liberated in the spring of 1945. This second phase of the liberation began outside the Netherlands with the Allied capture of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen in Germany on March 7, 1945. The US 9th Army and the British-Canadian Army crossed the Rhine at Wesel on March 23 with Operation Plunder. The Canadians turned to the eastern part of the Netherlands. The same day the first allied units entered the east of the Netherlands at Dinxperlo and Elten, where the fighting was fierce. (Wikipedia)

Inundated lands in the Betuwe

After Operation Market Garden had come no further than Nijmegen and Elst, the Betuwe was right on the front line. The British still occupied a strip of the Overbetuwe, from Nijmegen to the Lower Rhine. The Germans kept the eastern and western part of the Betuwe. To prevent a further advance of the Allies, they decided to flood the area. On December 2, the occupiers blew up the Rhine dike near Elden opposite Arnhem. Thanks to the high water level, the river water flowed into the Over-Betuwe with great force. In some houses the water rose up to the gutters. Tree trunks and dead animals floated everywhere. The British were forced to retreat to Elst.

Source: spannendegeschiedenis.nl