Spitfires at B.88 Heesch

Spitfire Site

Click to enlarge image Spitfires Mk. IX of No. 412 Squadron RCAF taxi for takeoff on a PSP-covered strip at B.88 airfield in Heesch, ...

Click to enlarge image

Spitfires Mk. IX of No. 412 Squadron RCAF taxi for takeoff on a PSP-covered strip at B.88 airfield in Heesch, the Netherlands, 22nd March 1945.

During the winter of 1944/1945, Heesch became the home of five Spitfire squadrons of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. Among them was No. 126 Wing RCAF which was stationed there between 6th December 1944 until mid-April 1945. Among the Canadian units was No. 412 Squadron, code letters VZ.

The B.88 strip was characterized by abundant use of PSP (Pierced Steel Plank) surfacing due to the severe drainage and mud problems during the winter season. The characteristic “sandhill” in the background is a result of digging ditches at the periphery to get rid of the superfluous rain water – a primitive but apparantly effective form of drainage.

Judging from the direction of the shadows, the aircraft are lining up at the northern part of the (0-18) landing strip. [Library and Archives Canada]

Many thanks to Joop Thuring, 126 RCAF Wing and 437 Husky Squadron promotor living at the community of Heesch, NL, for providing this detailed information

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By Richard Harvey  |  2013-05-17 at 16:34  |  permalink

My dad took off from airfield B88 in a Spitfire MK XIV on the 25th Feb 1945.After attacking a munition train near Haltern he was hit by 20mm flak in the engine and wing he flew to about 7,000 feet but the his engine seized and caught fire he lost height and baled out at about 4,000 feet he parachuted down into a field N/E of Heiden.He was captured by the Germans but managed to escape and was reunited with his squadron with the help of the Dutch resistance. His name William Stuart Harvey.

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