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Flying Officer Mike Smith - 112 Sqn pilot - July 1955.
     On the fifth of July 1955 a pilot of 112 squadron, Michael.J. Smith , stationed on the RAF base in Brüggen was killed in a heroic action.   He did not bale out when his Sabre aircraft caught fire above our village.   His plane exploded in the air and Michael was killed, saving very many lives of the local population.   I was one of the eyewitnesses.   In 2014 I came in contact with Michael's widow, Viola Jane Appleby ,and her husband Ernest who live in Yeovil in the U.K.   Every month we sent e-mails, sometimes a letter and photo's.   It feels like we all are very good friends for a long time, although our first contact was only in 2014!   Last summer I visited Michael's grave in the " Kölner Südfriedhof" in Cologne, Germany.   Then I got the idea of a lasting memory of Michael's heroic action.   Now I can tell You there will be a small monument at the place where Michael's aircraft exploded.   Viola and Ernest were invited by the local authorities when the monument was unveiled.   Ton Otten, Roemer Visscherstraat 5, 6416 ST Heerlen, Holland.

     Here are some pictures taken at the dedication of the memorial on 5th July 2016.

     Click to see a video of the dedication ceremony:

     Heerlenaar and inhabitant of the molenberg, Ton Otten has spent many hours in this memorial and has done a lot of work for it.   Today, 5 July 2016, it is at last completed: 61 years ago today, a death occurred on this fateful spot where a fighter jet crashed in 1955.   At 10.30 p.m. the meeting started at the crutserveldweg (Molenberg, Heerlen).   Mr Otten made the opening statement after which Mayor Ralf Krewinkel took over from him.   After unveiling and blessing the plaque, a poem was read out about the fatal crash pilot Michael Smith.   Both Big Band Bernadette and the coriovallum pipe band gave musical support.   The program was closed by a Spitfire flypast at about 12.10 p.m.

Previous person 112 Sqn personnel