Every once in a while you encounter a story which puts you in conflict with yourself. You wonder “can I really tell the story?”
For me this is one of those stories. I am not going to use the word ‘Hate’ because that would be too harsh of a description, but I do really, really,really dislike Jan Smit, He is a Dutch ‘singer’ he would be the Dutch equivalent of Justin Bieber but with even less talent and even more annoying.
Thankfully the Jan Snit in this story is not that Jan Smit, but Lt. Claude C. Murray jr. pilot with the Eight Air Force.
Claude C. Murray jr born in Spokane,Washington USA. He graduated in November 1943 at the Wiliams Field Army Advanced Flying School in Chandler, Arizona. He had enlisted after the Pearl Harbor attacks on December 7, 1941.
During World War II he served with the 8th Air Force, 7th Photo Recon Group as a photo reconnaissance pilot, flying P-38s, assigned to Mount Farm, England.He was a crew member, 2nd Lieutenant,of “Dot & Dash” a well known aircraft within the 7 Photo Reconnaissance Group. This because it was used on the so called ‘shuttle missions’, trips from England, over Berlin, landing in Russia for fuel and back again. This until it was shot down by an Me-262 jet and came down in Lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea), in the Netherlands.
After a night at drift rolling along with the waves, Claude C. Murray drifted ashore in his small rubber boat on the unmanned fortress island ‘Pampus’. He took a look in the abandoned bunkers and spend the night there, but left next morning in his dinghy again to the nearby mainland. Underway he encountered a small fishing boat with three young men inside: Jan Dobber, Jacob Dobber and Jan Bijl. He was handed over by them to resistance leader Joh. (Johannes) Rozendaal in Muiden. He spend a week there and received false papers with the name ‘Jan Smit’. A deaf and dumb sales man
In Naarden he was in hiding at Mrs. Dietz-Kluyver’s for 2 months until 15 December 1944. This was on the Paulus Potterlaan no. 35. Because the front line stabilized on the big rivers in the centre of Holland and could not be passed, the resistance had to hide Murray until liberation, that came on May 5, 1945. The last 5 months of hiding was at a farm in village Weesp. This was the farm of Gijs Regtuyt on the Korte Muidenweg C.34, where he wore wooden shoes with his new name on them.
On the 9th of May 1945, Murray was brought to the villa of medical doctor Kruize in Blaricum. Here he met a group of other airmen in hiding and together they joined up with the Canadian troops. The others were 1Lt. John H. Quinn and 2Lt. Mel O. Simmons of B-24 42-95180 “Satans little Sister” 446 BG, crashed south in the Lake 21 November 1944 and Captain Gene Maddocks of B-24 42-51495 crashed in the Northeast Polder on 24 February 1945, Eddy Kryskov (RAF) and Captain Dick Jones (RCAF).
The irony is although the singer Jan Smit was born decades after this, there is some resemblance between the two!
PS .Anyone who knows me. knows what a true sacrifice this is for me even to look at Jan Smit’s(the singer) face, as I said I am not a fan to put it mildly.
Claude C. Murray Jr died age 87 May 13, 2009, in Phoenix, Arizona
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