Forgotten history-Battlefield Geleen

I was born in a small town in Limburg, the most southern province of the Netherlands.

The name of the town is Geleen, it was a mining town until 1967. In 1967 the mine Maurits,which was the biggest in the country and up to 1958 the biggest 2 shaft mine in the world, closed. However that is not what the forgotten history is about.

On October 5 1942 approximately 30 bombers of the RAF carried out a bombing raid between 21:55 and 23:10, killing 83 and severely injuring 22 other. Leaving about 3000 people homeless.

The intended target had been Aken just over the border in Germany.

Due to bad weather those 30 bombers which were part of a squadron of 257 bombers had deviated from their direction thus resulting in the bombing of Geleen. Killing 83, wiping out 57 houses, severely damaging 227 more house and causing further damage to another 1728 homes.

A further 13 coal miners were killed in the raid, the Maurits was heavily damaged and it took fire crews from several cities to help extinguish the fires caused by the bombing. There were even fire crews which came from Rotterdam which is about 200 KM away from the mine to help with the fires.

The Maurits was mistaken for the mine Anna, which was near Aken.

Ironically more damage was done by the allies then was done by the Germans during WW2, in Geleen.


  1. Léon Hart says:

    Dirk, the story you tell us above I heared from my mother who was born 4th of January 1942. She told us there was heavy bombing on the Lindenheuvel and she was in a pram that was pushed away just in time in A & C’s store. It was on the corner Burgemeester Lemmensstraat/ Kastanjelaan. Literally a split second later and I didn’t even excist.
    What a coïncidence you come with this story and I read it, or isn’t there anything as coincidence?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dirkdeklein says:

    Great you enjoyed the story. I lived on the Burgermeester Lemmens str.


  3. Peet says:

    Actually, the mine Maurits was located in Lutterade, which is a neighbourhood of Geleen. The bombing you speak of, was this in the city Geleen or was it in the neighbourhood, Lindenheuvel?


    1. dirkdeklein says:

      As far as I know most of it was in Lindenheuvel but other parts of Geleen were affected to


    2. Léon Hart says:

      Peet, for me is the tunnel the border between Geleen (Lutterade) and Lindenheuvel, so the Maurits is definitely Lindenheuvel. The old mine entrance (now some Chemelot gate) is located on the Kampstraat which is clearly Lindenheuvel.


      1. Peet says:

        I agree with your reply. Having said that, my grandfather working at the Maurits, my father worked at the S.B.B. , and both called the location – Lindenheuvel. However, if you look on the website –, they say it was Lutterade.
        Thanks for your reply, at least there are two people who know the true location of the mine 🙂


  4. Harrie says:

    Both Lindenheuvel and Lutterade are quarters of the former city of Geleen, today Sittard-Geleen.


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