It seems clear that the mercy missions were of great emotional value to all parties involved. The veterans that dropped the food had definitely established something great. There is no doubt that they helped to save the lives of thousands. Who wouldn't be proud of such an accomplishment?
The Dutch of coarse were very grateful for the food they received. However it wasn't just the food that these bombers delivered. It was the start of a new era. The bombers brought hope and freedom.

Some of the aircrews got in touch with the Dutch that had received the food almost immediately after the war. The crew of Haven Damar (390BG) was one of these. Paul Laubacher, the radio operator of this crew remembers that the crew made a special package from their own rations. The package contained bubble gum and other sorts of candy. It also contained the names and addresses of the crew-members. The Dutch family that found the package in their backyard wrote the men to thank them for the food. This was the beginning of a correspondence between the Dutch family and the aircrew that still continues after fifty-five years.

Rememberance Postal Card 1945
Remembrance postal card from 1945, depicting an aircraft of the 385th BG dropping food over Schiphol on the 2nd May 1945. You can find much more memorabilia of the food drop missions on this page.

The 'mercy mission' commemorations in Holland

Surprisingly enough it was not until 1983 that the idea was materialized to invite a group of veterans of the Commonwealth Air forces over to Holland to commemorate the mercy missions.

The idea for a reunion of "Manna-veterans" came from former Sgt.Ted Leaviss. He wanted to organize a little get-together in a pub in England. He tried to locate other veterans through an advertisement in Air Mail, an aviator's magazine. This was in 1979.

The Dutch historian Hans Onderwater saw the advertisement. He contacted Ted Leaviss and convinced him to have the reunion in Holland.
The following years were filled with planning for this first reunion. The Food and Freedom association was founded, sponsors were sought and contacts were made.


The Manna Monument at Terbregge

At the exact spot of one of the dropzones overlooking the freeway at Terbregge is the Manna monument located. It symbolizes the belly of an allied bomber filled with food parcels. The monument has been the central location of the Manna / Chowhound commemorations since its unveilling in 2006. One year later the Air Commodore Geddes footpath was opened next to the memorial.

Diary of Norman Coats

May 3 - "Another mercy mission to Holland. We went deeper into Holland today. Very low altitude. I believe I must have waved at everyone in Holland. It is really a shame the ocean being turned into Holland. The great fields of tulips are beautiful. They had, "Thank You" spelled out with rocks. They could see me waving at them because they would point each others attention to it. Some of them had American flags waving them."