LQ-M FOR MOTHER
The story documenting the relationship between the Dutch and the Canadians has been very well documented over time. The Dutch have been forever grateful to the Canadians for their freedom and for liberating the Netherlands in April 1945. Following the War this relationship grew stronger as many of those young liberators brought their Dutch wives home. Many young Canadians never returned home and continue to be looked after by the Dutch.
The story of LQ-M for Mother is just one of those stories, a story that has become very dear to our heart. LQ-M was a Halifax bomber attached to the Canadian 405th squadron that was part of the legendary Pathfinders. The Pathfinders would be the first bombers sent out to mark the intended target for the following bomber streams. Only the best of the best were invited to join the Pathfinders and the crew of LQ-M for Mother was just that, the best of the best.
On the night of July 25/26 the crews of LQ-M were on a mission to mark that night’s intended target of Essen. The night was incredibly clear and the Northern Lights had the sky ablaze of colour. The Halifax bomber was off course and soon over the Northern Dutch city of Groningen. Anneka would have been just 2 years old and asleep directly below them. A German night fighter piloted by Major Paul Zoorner was guided to the Halifax and on the second attempt, set the starboard wing and engines on fire.
Out of the crew of seven, only one made it out, was captured and spent the rest of the War in Stalag Luft III. F/O Alexander Sochowski would become a part of the Great Escape before returning home to Canada after the War. The remaining six crew members gave their lives that night as part of a generation sent to fight for our freedom. They are buried in the local Protestant Cemetery in the small farming community of Ten Boer.
Not many know of the crew or their mission, yet the people of Ten Boer adopted them the night they fell from the sky and continue to look after and care for them today. In effect, the crew has become part of the community.
The story behind the crew and how our family was introduced to them is amazing and the story continues to unfold.
As the crew and LQ-M for Mother were as far as we know, the only Canadian Bomber to be shot down over Groningen (Anneka’s home city) during the war and the crew now a part of the town of Ten Boer, we felt we should say thank you to them and the people of Ten Boer in a special way. We also wished to pay our respects to the families of the crew as they have also become like close friends through the many letters found in a small case that contains the memories for the McCracken family.
You see we came to know this story through a good friend and guest, Frank Moore. Frank has become the beneficiary of a small case that contains all the memories of the McCracken family, a family where the father was a Veteran of the Great War and the two sons’ volunteers of the Second World War. F/O Alex McCracken was the navigator on the crew of LQ-M for Mother.
Our family has commissioned a talented artist; Doug Bradford to do a painting of the night and moment LQ-M for Mother fell from the sky. This april, during our Waterways of the Netherlands & Belgium Journey, we will present the first of a very limited number of prints made from Doug Bradford’s painting to the people of Ten Boer to Thank them for all they have done in looking after the crew.
The remaining prints will be sold with 100% of the proceeds, every penny; will go to National Service Dogs to assist them in their program to match our Veterans suffering from P.T.S.D with a Service Dog.
We are very honored to share this story with everyone and plan to share more as the year progresses. On a recent get together with one of our favourite Canadian Authors, Ted Barris became very excited about the story and will have an article featured in an upcoming issue of Air force Magazine.
If you would like to learn more about LQ-M for mother, please feel free to contact Jeremy Van Dyke at any time; Jeremy@jerryvandyke.com