Friday, February 09, 2018

Fullbore Friday

No one will attack you. No one has a reason to. You are neutral. You have not armed yourself with anything aggressive that might provoke them.

Your unit is not finished training. You are nowhere near the front. You have plenty of time before you have to confront the enemy.

You are in a modern city full of civilians. There is no reason for anyone to attack you.

You are only 17 in 1940.

You have made it to 2018. You've had a full life - one whose experience is a witness to the false assumptions of others.

If you pardon the rough translation, I give you Corporal William 'Bill' Ramakers, Royal Netherlands Marines, the last veteran of the Battle for the Maasbruggen as the Dutch call it - or the 1940 Battle for Rotterdam in the Anglosphere.

Bill recently passed away after 95 years;
As a 17-year-old marine, Bill and his comrades fought for days against the German invasion force in Rotterdam during May of 1940. Because of their steadfast resistance, the marines, dressed in dark blue uniforms, were nicknamed by the Germans the "schwarzen Teufel": the Black Devils.
What an interesting path he took.
Ramakers became prisoner of war after the battle, but managed to escape a short time later. After the liberation of the south of the Netherlands in 1944, Ramakers left Scotland and Camp Lejeune in the United States for marine training.

After extensive training, with with the Marine Brigade he was supposed to participate in the invasion of Japan if that country did not surrender. With no invasion, Ramakers left for the former Dutch East Indies, and returned to the Netherlands in 1948. In 1951 with his young family, Ramakers emigrated to Canada.
Fullbore Corporal ... and congrats on a long and well lived life.

The pic is from his return to The Netherlands in 2014 with a visit by the King and Queen.

As for the Battle of Rotterdam, this is a great video overview of a brief part of WWII mostly unknown outside The Netherlands.

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