Bram (Bob) Van der Stock, dutch figter ace

Discussion in 'Stories' started by Marcel, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2006
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    #1 Marcel, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
    The Hercules carrying the victims of Flight MH17 was named "Van der Stock" after Dutch warhero and fighter ace Bram (Bob) van der Stock, also known as 'Van'.
    Even here in the Netherlands, he is one of the lesser known warheroes, although he is the most decorated Dutch fighterpilot and the greates Dutch ace. I would like to pull him from obscurity here.

    Bob van der Stock was born in 1915 on Sumatra, Dutch East Indies. He moved to The Netherlands when he was still a child. Being of a rich family, he went to school at an expensive boarding-school in Schwitzerland. He then started studying medicine in Utrecht. He first year however didn't go well and his father suggested he would learn some discipline if he joined the army. He choose to go the the Airforce (ML) and trained to become a fighterpilot. He was known for his daring way of flying, receiving a reprimand for flying underneath the great Moerdijk bridges upside down. After a year he resumed his medical studies, also staying in the airforce as a 'weekend-pilot'.

    In May 1940 he was flying in the 1e JaVA at De Kooij. He participated in the dogfight over that airfield, where 11 D.XXI's while landing were surprised by 12 BF109's. In the following confusion, 5 Messerschmitts were shot down agains 1 D.XXI. Bob accounted for one of the BF109's and one possible.

    After 3 attempts, Bob finally succeeded to go to the UK. For this he went as a stowaway on the he Swiss merchant ship Saint Cerque in 1941. This trip is famous for the amount of escapers that went with it. After a quick course on the Spitfire, Bob was happily accepted as a pilot the RAF, flying with 41 squadron on Spitfires, shooting down a number of German aircraft.
    In April 1942 he was shot down himself over France, ending up in the POW camp Stalag Luft III. Being fluent in German, he was welcomed in the famous organisation X of Roger Bushell and helped to prepare the Great Escape. 82 prisoners escaped through a tunnel. 50 of them were later shot. Only 3 reached freedom, amongst which Bob van der Stock. He escaped through The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain to Gibraltar. Later in England, he rejoined the RAF flying Spitfires in 91 squadron. He was later appointed as squadron leader of 322 (Dutch) squadron and ended the war in that function.

    After the war he was head of the newly formed Dutch Airforce, but he quit after a year, taking up his medicine studies again. He emigrated to the USA where he became a doctor in New Mexico. He later joined the NASA's space lab research team. Being a restless guy, he became a ship's doctor after his pension. He then moved to Hawai where he started to praction again and also joined the Coast Guard. He participated in 162 rescue missions.

    Bob van der Stock died on februari 8th 1993 in Virginia Beach Virginia, USA.
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