RAF Cardington Camp

Dutch military heads regrouped in London and began making plans to form a National Dutch Air Force when the war came to an end. In early 1945 Holland was slowly liberated and young Dutch volunteers were selected and sent over to the Recruitment Training Centre at Cardington for basic training. These young recruits spent almost 4 months at Cardington before moving on to other centres for specialised training.

"Hello Jane – here is my story

Early 1945 I left home, Nijmegen in The Netherlands, and ended up in Blankenberg Belgium. Here we got a ride in an L C T. There were 6 of us, it was a rough night. We landed in England in the morning, where I don’t know. Dry clothes and a warm breakfast was a good start. We were interrogated for two days. Next stop, Cardington, there I got my basic training. Then a transfer in to the Dutch Navy Airforce, more training in Dundee Scotland. Next a cruise to Shri Lanka then back to a Dutch 321 squadron in the R A F, to get in to Indonesia.
Two years in Soerabaja. Return to the Netherlands. Next trip on a maiden voyage on the Dutch aircraft carrier The Karel Doorman. After a couple of airforce stations in 1949 I got my discharge as a p/o aircraft man OVW. Next two years as a civil servant in the Navy Airforce before I emigrated to Canada and became a Canadian citizen."

Thank you Hank you certainly are well travelled!

Hank Helmink dutch jpeg

Jan ter Doest - RAF Cardington January 1943

We have heard from Ineke ter Doest who is trying to find out more about his father Jan ter Doest who escaped from Holland and made his way to Enlgand and arrived at Cardington in January 1943. Ineke has also sent in his fathers service record which gives us a fascinating record of the movements of a young Dutch serviceman after his arrival in England.

" Dear Jane,

I am currently doing research on the wartime years of my Dutch late father, Jan ter Doest.

My father arrived in Cardington on 20 January 1943, after he had travelled from Holland to England thorough occupied Europe. Within the RAF he was first trained to become a ground engineer on Spitfires and subsequently managed to get trained as a fighter pilot.

1.Jan der Doest service record

From the above* it can be seen just how many postings Jan had since arriving at Cardington in January 1943. The Dutch Royal Air Force regrouped in the UK during the war and Jon seems to have led a rather nomadic existence being reposted almost on a monthly basis. One must assume that this was typical for all the Dutch airmen at the time. His record shows that between Jan 1943 - July 1945 Jan had served at no fewer than 17 stations.

Thank you so much Ineke for the information about your father - if anyone recognises Jan der Duest please make contact. And can anyone tell us what "P. I." means as mentioned by Ineke earlier?

*My apologies for the poor quality of the image I will try to make it clearer - Jane

Jacobus Pieter Zwaan September 1945

4. Dutch Jacobue Swaan 1945

If you have any stories to tell of the Dutch personnel who arrived at the camp in these years please get in touch.

Bent U of kent u iemand die in RAF Cardington gestationeerd is geweest? Wilt u herinneringen ophalen van die tijd? Neem contact met ons op. Wij willen graag van u horen. [email protected]

Jacobus Pieter Zwaan shown 3rd left top row.

4a. Dutch Jaap Aug 1946

Jacobus Pieter Zwaan. August 1946.

This month I was pleased to hear from Jabcobus Zwaan who has sent in some photos of his father Jacobus Pieter Zwaan who was at Cardington in September 1945.

“Please find attached a few pictures of my father Jacobus Pieter Zwaan born 02-11-1926. Although he might have signed up when he was too young? Would you have any information about him? Are any of his mates still alive? The names on the back of the photo could perhaps help in identifying others.
My dad lived in Canada since 1974 and he passed away in August 1998. He later joined the Royal Dutch Air Force in Woensdrecht for training as a pilot and flew Harvards in formation.

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