Operation Manna

Canadian liberators in the Haque, collection Han KettingOn May 5 the fighting parties signed the surrender papers of the German Army in Holland. The surrender was signed in hotel "De Wereld" in Wageningen. Now the Allied army could enter Holland and make a start with the opening of the harbor of Rotterdam. For operation Faust the German surrender mend that the Allied truck drivers no longer needed to stop at Rhenen to let the Dutch truck drivers take over their load. They could now drive on towards Rotterdam. In Rotterdam the food was gathered prior to distribution. This seaport was the place where the food was brought that was gathered on the drop zones and the food that was brought in by the Rhine barges. Once the people in occupied Holland heard that the German surrender in Holland was officially a fact, the public celebrations became bigger than before. All those that had had some doubt about cheering at the allies under the face of the Germans were now no longer afraid. This public display of joy comes to life in the trips down memory lane from Bob Belgam and Delfed Kraske.

Bob Belgam

Remembers the following of his flight on liberation day:
My second Chowhound mission was on May 5, 1945 with the Drop Area near Utrecht, Holland. This time we flew single plane (no formation). After our drop I continued on to Amsterdam as this was a big day for the people of Holland. We understood that a few hours before we came over Holland, the country was liberated. I flew up a main street in Amsterdam, and I quote from my Bombardiers notes "we pulled the most terrific buzz job that I have ever witnessed". My tail-gunner shouted that a man just fell out of the window looking down at us. We saw lots of flags and parades-lots of smiling, happy faces. We knew the people were cheering by their antics-of course we couldn't hear them.

American bombers flying over Amsterdam while liberated people celebrate their freedom in the streets

May five was the day of the first food drop mission for Delfred C. Kraske of the 96th BG. At 10.00, one hour after take off from his base (station 138) near Snetterton Heath, he flew over a small airfield near IJmuiden. (Bergen) This was their target. Along the East side of the runway was a row of red brick buildings, about four stories high. From every window in these buildings was a person waving a Dutch or American flag. For Kraske and his crew, this was a very inspiring sight which made them proud to be Americans.

On May six the Americans flew 380 B-17's to Holland while the Lancaster's of Bomber Command stayed on the ground due to bad weather.


<< BACK     FORWARD >>

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."