TRANSCRIPTION FROM HS9/1419/9, GERARD de STOPPELAAR.
REPORT OF LIEUTENANT STOPPELAAR @ SPOEL @ LUDO @ MONOPOLY.
On 22nd September, 1944 we LUDO (Gerard de Stoppelaar), BEN (Maarten Cieremans), DOUWE (Paul Polak) and WIM (Wim Hoogewerff) were dropped on WHISKEY. We were received by the reception committee; all our landings were alright and we joined the ground crew in collecting containers, parachutes and other material. Weaopns were loaded on to a farm cart and hidden in a farm. After this we were housed in small hours in Berkel. The same day the weapons were transported by mail van from Berkel to Rotterdam. I joined this transport to Rotterdam.
I was brought to the headquarters of te KP where I met FRANK (Arnold van Bijnen) Commander KP and THEO (local commander KP). Owing to the fact that FRANK asked us what was the purpose of our visit I got the impression that he did not know exactly what to do with us. (Remember that Bert de Goede, RUMMY and Arie van Duyn, NOL WT Operator, were also already based in Rotterdam). Therefore I asked FRANK to go back to ground WHISKEY the same day to try to improve the lighting system as I thought it was not strong or accurate enough. When I explained to him that we had circled over the target for one hour because of the bad lighting I was taken back to WHISKEY by the same mail van. The only papers I had was my pay book so I could not do as I liked and he promissed to rectify this for me. I stayed six days in Berkel and received there two or three droppings.
The first two droppings were successful but the third dropping failed because of Germen light flak in the area. We extinguised our reception lights and shortly afterwards the Germans sent up flares lighting up the whole ground. After this we withdrew from the ground.
When we reached the farm we posted sentries around the building in order that we might be warned of any possible approach of the Germans. Nothing more happened that night. My opion was that we could not use that dropping ground anymore for the time being. I informed FRANK about this and the next day a telegram was sent to England cancelling ground WHISKEY.
The next day BBC messages were repeated for this ground and one of our men who knew the meaning of this message went on his own initiative with his men to this ground. They received a full load without any interference and the same with the next dropping. After these droppings the field was completely blown and the morning after the last dropping the Grüne Polizei (300-400 men) occupied Berkel, one member of this reception committee was shot and his farm was destroyed by fire. However, nothing was found by the Germans in Berkel, although they destroyed a great deal of the property.
One of my first days in Rotterdam I met GERARD (local commander RVV) and I told him that he should have all instructions for us, we had previously been told this in London and to report to triangle in Rotterdam which unfortunately had not been formed.
BEN and DOUWE had already left (Douwe for Amsterdam and Ben for Apeldoorn) and WIM and I stayed in Rotterdam. I asked (redacted) to arrange that WIM and I should be given work in Rotterdam as we understood that there was a lot of work to be done there. Everything was arranged after a meeting with FRANK and LEO (Bert de Goede) but in the meantime we received our correct papers. I went to live with the family (redacted).
As regards instructing, WIM and I were put in touch with PAUL (Samuel Esmeijer) Commandant KP Rotterdam. We arranged with him that he should organise a meeting once or twice a day in order to give instruction but it was very difficult because many people lived at unknown addresses. Therefore, they were either late or did not come at all. because they did not receive the messages in time. We had to wait on street corners and other places so security was very bad and owing also to the advanced of the Allies, the people became very careless.
We talked about this with PAUL and tried to convince the boys of the nessasity for strict disipline and security measures, and therefore we gave security lessons with each weapon instruction. After PAUL had discussed those measures with his sub-commanders everything went on much more smoothly and we instructed daily about thirty persons. I agreed with WIM that we should take some of each group (5 or 6 men) for sabotage concerning the use of railway charges, limpets and charges for vital points and the handling of incendaries (see Annex 1 and 2 attached).
At the same time the RVV was instructed too and we made the same arrangements with them as we did with PAUL. These were big groups (90 to 130 men) so the instructing of these was carried out in gymnasiums and special weapon training was given to them in a smaller adjoining room while PT classes were held for the local population, thereby providing a good cover in the event of an enemy raid on the building.
As some groups had already been instructed by LODEWIJK (Joop Luykenaar) they knew something about weapons. The assembling of people for instructing went smoothly and co-operation between the pupils and the instructor developed. The weapon stores were widely scattered and we worked with confidence although we could not do more because OD Rotterdam and resistance in Vlaardingen, Schiedam, Westland, Den-Haag, Dordrecht, Bleiswijk, Leiden en Rijnsburg needed instructors. LODEWIJK, WIM and I held a meeting about this and decided to train 21 instructors only on weapons. This training lasted for four days and then we distributed the training instructors in twos over the areas mentioned. WIM and I continued to train the original groups in sabotage, street fighting and weapons.
In January 1945 I became ill and was in bed for five weeks. This unfortunate occurance did not hamper progress as the instructors carried on in my absence. During this time a great many of my assistances were arrested including EDU (Richard Barmé), WIM (Hoogewerff), redacted (Arie van Duyn?) and redacted (Bert de Goede) and LODEWIJK (Joop Luykenaar) went to England; it was impossible for them to stay in Rotterdam as the Germans were continually searching for them. Therefore, I was the only autorised instructor left.
After my illness ROB (Marinus van der Stoep) came from England and asked me to continue my work and although I felt very weak he looked after me and supplied me with rations, etc. I looked to ROB as someone I could work in partnership with specially in arranging all types of instructions. After ROB was arrested I was alone again until I asked FRANS (one of my personally instructed people) to work with me.
A month before zero hour some instructors arrived from England but because everything was already organised it was difficult to put these men in contact with my own men and therefore ROLF was sent to The Hague and there met great difficulties because of infiltration of SD. Another instructor called HEIN became redacted adjudant; redacted was already Commandant of Maasbruggen. ALBERT became liaison officer of FERDINAND (F.A.M. Dijkshoorn) after ROB died.
Some KP groups were trained during the night with live ammunition. Those groups consisted of BS men under the commant of HEIN, and they learned to jump with full kit from a height of ten feet.
In the meantime pantser column was formed consisting of two amoured cars with 22 men with the instruction of assisting armed resistance at critical .... so Rotterdam was completely prepared for organised resistance with 2500 armed men.
About ten days before the capitulation all groups were concentrated and were told to be ready every hour of every day. I personally was with the pantser column and 22 men in one house. We stayed there and girls provided food and contact with other groups. We came into motion after the official capitulation of West-Holland, but as the Germans were still armed and therefore still dangerous all we could do was to try and keep them in their barracks.
We patrolled the streets in our two armoured cars and the following incident occurred. We attempted to 'Halt' a large saloon car which failed to stop and instead opened fire on us, so we returned fire and the car was completely smashed. Some minutes later another car approached and the same thing happened. During this engagement one of our men was seriously injured.
When the Canadians we got order that no Germans were allowed to leave their barracks but there were some difficulties because the Germans were still fully armed. After that I was fully occupied in arresting the NSB, Dutch SS, Black Marketeers and so on.
My mission completed; I reported to Captain de Graaf at Utrecht and also saw Colonel Dobson there. Colonel Dobson went with us to Rotterdam and saw all the principal resistance people. He made several speeches and asked me to ask all the boys to make a report on their resistance work.
After reading this report it is important to note that there were many difficulties to cope with such as shadowing of our instructing places, infiltrations, arrests and changing of addresses and razzias. Radio Oranje made things difficult for us after the big raid on Rotterdam when 5000 people were picked up as they broadcasted that the Underground was still in Rotterdam and this caused much more trouble for us. The second example was when Radio Oranje broadcast that parachutists were dropped near Rotterdam and had contacted the resistance. This happened some days after we were dropped according to ... redacted (LO & RVV)