The Men



Service No:
Date of Death:
Grave Reference:

Flying Officer
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve   233 Sqdn.
I. D. 10.

Additional information:

Michael was a crew member of the RAF Dakota KG399 (c/n 12434) of the 233 Sqn. This crashed on September 21, 1944 in Arendonk, Belgium. The plane was shot down by an Fw 190. The other crew member who died in this crash was pilot George Kenneth Dorville, who is also burried at the Valkenswaard War Cemetery. Ades and Dorville were both buried at Voorheid initially

Frederick [Fred] Stephen William DYER RAAF 417820
Flying with 233 Squadron RAF from Blakehill Farm


(Written for people to whom I’d promised the story when security no longer
necessary) [Square brackets indicate written comments later added to the original 1944

tpescript by Fred]

We were engaged on a Resupply operation to Arnhem on September 21st, with a load of oil and mortar bombs in 16 panniers. We had 4 Army men aboard to put the load out when we reached the Dropping Zone “(D.Z.)” , so there were 8 men aboard, Mike Ades and Ken Dorville (pilots), myself (navigator), and Jack Hickey (wireless operator). Everything went 0.K. until we reached the D.Z. at 4.06 p.m., where we had to run through a lot of light flak. I think we were hit, but not seriously, and we began the return trip. About 10 minutes after leaving Arnhem, at 5,000 ft., we received several hits from an Oerlikon gun on the ground, being hit in the port wing and in the fuselage, one shot came through the floor just in front of Mike’s feet, and out through the top of the cabin. Several minutes later, the army men drew attention to flames coming through the floor, and after telling Mike, I tried to put them out with the fire Extinguisher, but they had a firm hold by that time and I had to abandon the extinguisher. Mike decided to try to reach the British lines before crash landing, and when we were down to 2,000 ft. told me to get the Army chaps into crash-landing positions. Before going aft to do so, I clipped my parachute pack onto my harness.

I went back to the aft door, where Jack was standing reassuring the Army men, and told them we were going to crash-land. They said it was too late, and pointed over my shoulder. I turned, and saw that in the last few seconds the forward part of the fuselage had been enveloped in flame and smoke. Jack and I decided the time had come to abandon aircraft, and told the Army men to Jump with us. I went out, and Jack followed, but the others failed to do so. [Years later I discovered that the Army men did jump, and became P.O.W.s] The pilots were trapped by the flames, and died of burns near the crash By the time we jumped, we were only at about 800 ft., and so it only took us about 20 seconds to reach the ground. Just as we left the aircraft, it was engaged by heavy machine-gun fire from a position about half a mile away from us, and when the aircraft drew out of range, they fired a few bursts at us, but did not hit either of us.

We hit the ground at 4.40 p.m. about 50 yards apart, in a small clearing in a large forest, both landing unhurt, We hid our parachutes and Mae Wests in a ditch, and ran off in a westerly direction in order to get away from our landing position as quickly as possible. We heard rifle shots from the direction of the machine gun, and heard a couple of hits in the trees near us, but after about an hour things quietened down, and we hid in some thick undergrowth to work out a plan.

Since the above was written, Ihave heard from our Dutch friends that our aircraft crashed about two miles from Hooge Mierde. The two pilots were found by the Belgians, who tried to give them first aid and a drink, but “it was not permitted”, apparently the Germans also found them. The British Liberation Army found their bodies by the aircraft on September 25th, and a Padre burled them nearby. Since then they have been – moved to a British War Cemetery. No mention was made of the four Amy chaps, so it appears that they also bailed out.

On the spot of the initial burial at Voorheide, Belgium, this cross can be found.

Original gravesite at Voorheide.