In Memory of Sgt James Kiltie
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Photos below from Memorial Service held May 4th 2013 in Goudriaan, Holland. Click on photos to view full size.  See story below.

Sgt James Kiltie's name third from the top

Memorial, Gravestones and wreath

Invited BRITISH LEGION representative with standard


Many people came to the memorial unveiling. Nearly every May 4th there is such "crowd."

Hanging the wrathes and laying the flowers. Left to right - Plil - Eileen Walker - Jerome - Mayor.

Jerome, Eileen, Phil and Mr. Vat the Mayor and the two grandsons from Klaas Jongeneel in front of their own memorial.




Unveiling: the Mayor, Esmeralda and Greet. Esmeralda is the chairwoman and Greet is the secretary of the "Oranjevereniging", responsible for the organisation of this remembrance.

The two British ladies busy with the unveiling of the memorial.

Eileen, left, in front of the memorial.

On May 4, a new memorial was unveiled in Goudriaan, a small village in the southern part of Holland. On that memorial is the name and photograph of a Maybole man who was killed in the Second World War, Sergeant James Kiltie. James’s photograph was only found after a world-wide search which traced him back to Maybole, local newspaper archives of the Carnegie Library in Ayr, and descendants of the family.

Sergeant Kiltie was a wireless operator/gunner and he and his fellow crew members were in an RAF Lancaster which was shot down in the night of May 21 – 22, 1944 as they flew over Holland on their way home after bombing Duisburg in Germany.  Five of the crew, including James, were killed that night and are resting in the graveyard in Goudriaan; Two others were captured and held as prisoners of war.

Andries van der Graaf, 77, told our local correspondent when he was searching for a photo, “The people of Goudriaan always took good care of the graves and because there are, year after year, less people who where there we decided to make a kind of memorial with the story of them.”

On May 4 the people of Holland hold their Commemoration Day to remember all the victims of the World War. Local newspapers had the story of James death but it only appeared a year later possibly due to not being confirmed at the time.

Our David Kiltie contacted James’s niece Eileen Walker who supplied an original photograph which was duly sent to Andries. He replied to everyone who had helped, “Mission accomplished!! “I think we all did a wonderful job, helped by technical things such as computers.

We all together were able to make it possible to create a memorial for the heroes of the Lancaster ND 956 AS-I. “Without your help I should not have been able to make a memorial half as good as we have now. When they asked me to help with information about this memorial the “youngsters” did not know I had much material and information about this tragic crash.

“But not as much as I wished. I knew that I only had three photos of the crew members. I thought I can ask the R.A.F. for more information but that was a little too easy. I was searching on the Internet and even there I couldn’t find information and photos of “our” Lancaster. “With your kind help and drive we succeeded and can be proud of that. On the 4th of May 2013 the people of Goudriaan and the world will get a stylish and informative memorial. I thank you all, you have worked so hard.”

At first it was thought that three crew members were killed. For that reason there were only three crosses during the commemoration in 1946.  Text on the new memorial says, “On Sunday the 21st of May 1944, around 22.30 o’clock, 708 bombers take off from several airbases in Southern England for different raids on Nazi-Germany. As ever their mission is to bomb strategic targets. On this particular night these are Duisburg, Hannover and a Belgian airport. So-called “Intruders” fly with the bombers for protection and to bomb airfields with German fighters, intending to keep these out of the sky.

“Our” bomber, a four engine AVRO Lancaster MK III, with a wingspan of 34 meters, is part of the 166th squadron of the R.A.F., which is stationed on airfield Kirmington, about 28 kilometres northwest of Grimsby. The crew consists of a pilot, a bomb aimer, three gunners, of whom one is also wireless operator, one navigator and a mechanic. Seven young men who fulfil their mission each with their own different motives and ideals. Each with his own pleasures, fears and beliefs.

The Lancaster reaches its target the town of Duisburg, marked earlier by torches and marker flairs. They drop their bombs and hit the southern part of the city. 124 people are killed on the ground, 350 buildings are destroyed and 665 are seriously damaged.

When the mission is fulfilled the plane curves back to the west, back to base, back to England. But there is no time for relaxation. The Lancaster is still flying above enemy territory. Not only do the anti-aircraft guns (flak) pose a serious threat, but the Germans also have very effective combat fighters. In contrast with the American bombers, the so-called “Flying Fortresses”, the Lancasters do not have a turret with machine guns on the bottom of the plane. If a German Messerschmitt BF-110 manages to reach a spot below the Lancaster unseen, the situation is very dangerous.

The bombers fly on an altitude of approximately 6000 metres when an enemy Messerschmitt manages to intrude into the formation unseen. When it flies about 50 metres below the Lancaster it shoots, with the machine gun, a salvo at an upwards angle. It is a direct hit; heavily burning the plane crashes. It comes down in the polder Zuidzijde, behind the house of the then Mayor R.D.C.M. van Slijpe, 134 Zuidzijde Goudriaan. 

At about 2.00 o’clock that night inhabitants hear heavy machine gun fire and see the burning plane coming down close to the houses. Due to the tremendous heat coming off the wreck it is impossible to come closer to it than about 150 metres. After a short time soldiers of the German Feldgendarmerie arrive to fence off the terrain. A worker of the municipality Teus den Dikken is assigned, later that day, to search for the human remains. On the same day, at about 19.00 o’clock, the victims are buried in a provisional grave on the graveyard in Goudriaan.

In addition to this Lancaster the R.A.F. lost another 30 bombers and fighters that night. Ten crashed in the Netherlands. Planes that brought hope for liberation, manned by young men, who again and again put their lives at stake under enormous pressure. One hit of the artillery or a grenade from an unobserved fighter would mean a certain death . But they went, … so we should be free.”

James Kiltie – Maybole Hero
By Jane Knox-Kiepura

When Andries van der Graaf wrote "I am Andries van der Graaf, age 77, retired Chief Inspector of the Police of the Netherlands and a little desperate .." I decided that this was indeed a very urgent call. The urgency was that a monument was being unveiled in Goudriaan and Andries was missing two photographs from the crew of ND956, AS-1 Sqn 166, shot down on May 22 1944.

However, he would never know the enormous work and dedication that so many of us were willing to go through to find those photos in answer to his plea. Thanks to our team effort we managed to find the missing photo of Bruce Forrester Bird, who had survived the war thanks to hard work and some professional help, and then we turned our attention to James Kiltie as the thought of a lonely dark silhouette instead of a picture at the gravesite in Goudriaan seemed so sad and not an option for a fallen hero. Time was not on our side though as the unveiling was imminent.

Howard Heeley, Neil Webster and myself all went to work. Through the basic available information, we learnt that James Kiltie was probably from Maybole in Ayrshire Scotland as the War Memorial in the town centre listed two James Kilties. Both father and son were apparently killed in WWII and we were quickly able to identify that one was indeed the James Kiltie from 166 Sqn. So now we knew that he was connected to Maybole but that did not help us find a picture. This experience was a stark reminder that there are thousands of monuments around the world dedicated to our fallen heroes, however, there is no guarantee that there will be any more information about them than the fading lettering in a Town Centre. What a missed opportunity for a school history lesson or a Town project!

I contacted the Ayrshire Post and asked them for their help. They were indeed very responsive based on this announcement. 

“Looking for photo of Maybole hero 

We are urgently looking for a photo of Maybole hero Sergeant James Kiltie, wireless operator from a RAF Lancaster ND956 - 166 Squadron. He and his crew were shot down in the night of May 21 - 22 1944, over Holland, as they returned from Ops over Duisburg in Germany.

Andries van der Graaf and the people of Goudriaan are unveiling a Monument to the 7 crew Members on May 4 2013 - Five hero's that were killed that night, including James Kiltie, are resting in their graves in Goudriaan, a small village in the southern part of Holland. Two men were captured and were taken as P.O.W. in Stalag Luft VII in Germany but came back to Great Britain after the war, five never did. Andries van der Graaf explains:"

"The people of Goudriaan always took good care of the graves" Now memories fade and those who have been tending the graves are themselves ageing. It is time to make future generations aware of these heroes so that they will always be remembered." Andries has located photos of all the crew members (including Bruce Bird) only James Kiltie of Maybole remains missing.

A fellow crewmember Jacky Moffatt is connected to Jane Knox's family through marriage. He was from Edinburgh and it is in this connection that she is involved and determined to find the missing picture .. 

During this time David Kiltie of Maybole was unfortunately without email communication but came to our help as soon as he heard of our quest. Within a couple of weeks David Kiltie put us in touch with a niece and a cousin Linda Kiltie Stewart also gave much of the family background.

What can we all say but an enormous thank you to the Ayrshire Post, David, Linda, Eileen and everyone for their dedication and perseverance in going to such lengths to get this photo. I just felt that Andries had come to me as a complete last resort and I did not want to let him down.

We now know a little bit more about James Kiltie that his parents were from Glasgow; that he was a waiter at the Turnberry Hotel and that he had attended Carrick Academy. His address was confusing as the newspaper article of April 12 1945 gave his address as Weaver Vennel, Maybole.This was renamed as Ladywell Road, Maybole. However, the letter addressed to his mother shows 15 Seaton Place, Maybole, Ayrshire.

A poignant note to this story was the letters received by James Kiltie's mother, Janetta nee Mechan of 15 Seaton Place, Maybole Ayrshire. Janetta lost both her husband and son during the course of the war (Janetta died in 1985 in Maybole aged 91). A note from Buckingham Palace was poignant "The Queen and I offer you our heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow. We pray that your country's gratitude for a life so nobly given in its service may bring you some measure of consolation.. signed George R.I.”

The ME846 family were so happy that Jerome Knox and his mother Phil Knox nee Moffatt were able to attend the Memorial event in May to honour Jackie Moffatt and his fellow Scotsman James Kiltie both killed on the night of May 21/22 1944 and now buried side by side in Goudriaan Holland. Jerome dedicated this song to his gt uncle in 2006 while attending the unveiling of his own grandfather Peter Knox of ME846. In attendance was Jackie Moffatt's brother and here he is accompanied by his grandmother and brother Alex Knox. We honour those "Scottish soldiers" via this weblink: