Upcoming Events

Saturday October 28, 2017: Stratford outing: lunch in Revival House Stratford followed by performance the Musical Guys & Dolls

Saturday December 2, 2017: Sinterklaas/Christmas luncheon Novotel Toronto Centre, 45 The Esplanade, Toronto.

Press Release



GRIMSBY, Ontario. From April 29, 1945 to the end of World War II in Europe on VE Day, May 8, 1945, Avro Lancasters

from the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force participated in ‘Operation Manna’ dropping a total

of over 11,000 tons of food into the still not liberated western part of The Netherlands, with the acquiescence of the

occupying German Forces to help feed civilians who were in danger of starvation in the Dutch famine. The Germans

knew that the war was lost. ‘Operation Manna’ not only saved lives but it gave hope and the feeling that the war

would soon be over.

Among many, Johan Opdenkelder and Jan van de Weg were present at the river De Rotte, just outside of the city of Rotterdam,

where one of the drops took place. It made such an impression on Jan van de Weg (1912-1960), a well-known

graphic artist, that he made a large pen drawing of the drop. Johan Opdenkelder acquired one of the original prints of the

drawing in 1945 and the print was passed on to his son Bas after he died.

At a ceremony at the Royal Botanicals Gardens following a ’Dutch Heritage Month’ function of the Netherlands Luncheon

Club with Fred Eisenberger, the Dutch-Canadian Mayor of Hamilton as the keynote speaker, this rare 1945 ‘Operation

Manna’ print depicting a number of the low flying Lancasters dropping the food without parachutes, has found a home in

the Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, which has one Lancaster still in operational condition.

Bas Opdenkelder, now Publisher of ‘De Nederlandse COURANT’, the Dutch-Canadian newspaper, presented his

father’s ‘Operation Manna’ print to Erin Napier, Curator of the Warplane Heritage Museum in the presence of

Mayor Fred Eisenberger; WWII Lancaster crew veteran Fred Davies and Anne van Leeuwen, Consul General of

the Kingdom of The Netherlands. To commemorate this event a limited edition of the ‘Operation Manna’ print was

signed by Fred Davies and the number 1 of the 50 commemorative prints was presented to Mayor Eisenberger.


For information please contact:

Erin Napier, Curator, Warplane Heritage Museum 905-679-4283

Theo Luykenaar, Netherlands Luncheon Club 705-349-8337


Fred Davies (94) was an RCAF Pathfinder, with the 408 then 405 Squadrons, flying Halifaxes, and then Lancasters,

as part of Bomber Command.

His Lancaster, LQ-M, was shot down during the night of May 24/25, 1944 on its way home from a bombing raid over

Aachen and crashed on the outskirts of Goirle in The Netherlands. Fred and a fellow crew member landed by parachute a

few kilometers north of the Wilhemina Kanaal, near the town of Biest-Houtakker. With the aid of the Dutch and Belgian

resistance, they made it to Erquennes, Belgium before being captured June 16, 1944 and became POW until liberated in

April 1945.

Fred’s official memoir was printed and rests in the Library of Parliament, Ottawa. Because Fred had been shot down his

flight log for that final flight in the Lancaster was never signed off. For his 80th birthday in 2003, his family hired the Lancaster

at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum to take Fred Davies on a flight. Returning from his flight in that Lancaster,

the pilot signed his log book to complete it.