Stories from the archive: Resistance weapons come with the air

While Ukraine is now supplied with weapons by various countries, this was done during World War II via air drops.


During the war years, vigilant groups (KPs) had formed all over the country. These sabotaged, liberated prisoners and sometimes carried out armed robberies to obtain vouchers. Bodegraven, Reeuwijk, Nieuwerbrug, De Meije and the surrounding area also had active thugs.

The KPs in the region, like everywhere else in the country, had gradually emerged to commit sabotage and other acts of resistance and had finally become a close-knit national organization. In 1944, at the request of the London government, this organization was transformed into the Dutch Interior Forces, known as the BS for short, to help with liberation from within. They were not modern armed forces, but men in overalls and captured rifles. In Bodegraven Mr. C. Burggraaf became commander and Joh. Hoogendoorn, WJ Dam, WL van Leeuwen and B. Sluijter the subordinate commanders. Versloot was commander of Nieuwerbrug, and it is known that H. Wijk and Rijnveldt were part of the squad. In Reeuwijk, the aforementioned official Van Leeuwen was the leader of the resistance.

Weapons were thrown into our area from the end of September 1944 to get the necessary weapons. These weapons were thrown into the country behind farms in both Bodegraafse Meije and Stichtse Meije. Thousands of weapons were also thrown from planes in Oud-Bodegraven, Boskoop, Reeuwijk and Zwammerdam in the following months.

Drops in the Rhine region

The first fall in the Rhine region took place in Boskoop. A number of Zwammerdam KP members went there to ‘learn’ it. Via Radio Oranje, it was announced by means of code messages that a drop was to be expected after this had only been agreed via the illegal station, which was also located in Boskoop. They gathered in a yard near the drop-off point, and in the pitch darkness they waited for the plane. When it audibly came flying, signal lamps showed the place where the weapon containers were to be thrown out. The colorful parachutes had to be removed immediately as they were too conspicuous, and the men began to drag the containers to a chimney to transport them; despite the danger of discovery, all weapons were found.

In the Reeuwijk area, the Middelburg Polder was the place where most feces took place. The Boskoop opposition was responsible for these stools, but it is certain that Reeuwijkers was also involved in this stool. The first dumping took place in this area on September 22, 1944. A total of 85 containers of weapons were dumped and found.

The Stichtse Meije area in particular was an excellent place to drop. This terrain between the blue grassland, where Fr. Habold lived, was avoided by the Germans because it was so isolated.

puppet theater

To divert attention from an upcoming fall, parachutes with dolls were sometimes thrown in both Reeuwijk and Meije. The dolls were made of jute with explosives or flares on the back. The explosive was ignited with picnic acid and made a lot of noise. In this way, the Germans were misled and a drop could take place elsewhere. Several dolls were found in the Reeuwijk temple. Another copy can be found in the Ancient Room (see photo).

Normally it went well, but at some point Zwammerdam’s drop team was caught. Pieter and Nicolaas Doelman, Dirk van Ommering and Deef Pronk were then executed.

Sabotage and intelligence gathering

It was thus possible to obtain weapons through the weapons droppings, but even before that time it was possible to obtain weapons in a covert manner. Weapons were stolen from wrecked German trucks and from planes crashing into the polders. Weapons were also taken from Bodegraaf police station during a series of actions in which members of the resistance movement were disguised as German soldiers. Many private individuals also had weapons at home, which was obviously life-threatening. Vergeer, for example, had weapons under the floor in his living room in Reeuwijk.

In addition to collecting weapons, BS was active in sabotage operations such as placing splinter bombs. This happened, for example, at Rijksweg 12, which destroyed the tires on German trucks. The Bodegraaf team was also ordered to deactivate the railway so that the transport of the infamous V1 missile weapons to the coast could not take place. These rockets then had to be maneuvered with great difficulty along the country road over the then narrow intersection at Brugstraat and Van Tolstraat.

BS also intervened against some farmers, who took advantage of the lack of food and charged exorbitant prices for food. They removed food for people in hiding there under threats. The team also managed to free various resistance members from the cell. During the liberation and in the subsequent period, BS fulfilled the task of guarding order.

by Cock Karssen

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