Gerrit Jan Kuenen




Is 26 jaar geworden

Geboren op 13-01-1918 in Aalten 

Overleden op 01-06-1944 in Gilze en Rijen 

Militair onderdeel





De volgende bijdragen zijn door bezoekers toegevoegd:

Foto Gerrit Jan Kuenen

Uit het archief NIMH

Bron: Collectie Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie

Geplaatst door jghk op 09 maart 2023


Gerrit Kuenen, SOE-trained sabotage instructor

When the RAF renewed its flights to Holland, on 31 May/I June 1944, twenty-six-year-old Sergeant Gerrit Kuenen, a railway sabotage instructor, code-named Football, and twenty-four-year-old Cornelius Dekkers, code-named Poker, were sent to... Lees meer
When the RAF renewed its flights to Holland, on 31 May/I June 1944, twenty-six-year-old Sergeant Gerrit Kuenen, a railway sabotage instructor, code-named Football, and twenty-four-year-old Cornelius Dekkers, code-named Poker, were sent to Tempsford for their flight. Kuenen, born in Aalten in January 1918, was working as an engineering draughtsman in a machine factory in Beverwijk when he was called up for military service in 1938. A knee injury allowed him to retire as a corporal gunsmith and when war broke out he was working as a mechanical engineer at the Hoogovens in Ijmuiden. He and a friend, Kees van der Poel, found numerous ways to annoy the German occupying forces and in November 1940, with the assistance of P. Servatius, came up with a plan to steal a Messerschmitt in Bergen airport and fly it to Britain. When this plan failed, on 20 April, with ten others, he left in a sailing boat Wijk aan Zee. However, when rough weather threw him overboard, the plan was aborted. He was arrested in May, interrogated and, following his release, he decided to escape through France with van der Poel. After a long journey via Spain, Curacao, the United States and Canada, he reached England in late 1942. (Bruin, Jan and van der Werff, Jan, Vrijheid achter de horizon, 1998; After his debriefing at the Royal Patriotic School, he joined the Dutch Army as a Second Lieutenant in December 1942. Gerrit Kuenen, Dutch saboteur killed in an air crash on 1 June 1944. (TNA HS9/866/4)Given the cover name of Gerrit Koops, he was sent to Stodham Park (STS 3), near Liss, Hampshire, where in early April, Sergeant Mendes reported on his background and character. ‘Very determined fellow with plenty of willpower. Carried out instructions with regard to security (viz. identity, cover story etc.) with understanding. Pro-English and American sympathies. Past History: born 13.1.18 Aalten. Technical School (Middelbaar Technisch Onderw) Haarlem. Profession Technical designer – Inspector of the foundries at Ymuiden after the invasion; left Holland 5.6.41 alone via Belgium and France. Was 6½ months in France especially Toulouse and Perpignan. (Hollands Huis) Left France end of Dec. 41 without papers for Spain. He was caught in Spain and sentenced to 1 month imprisonment and 2 months concentration camp. Was free in Madrid for 2 months. Left Spain on 5.6.42 on the labo de Bono Esperanta for Dutch W. Indies. Arrived there 27.6.42 (Curacao) and stayed there 10 weeks – as Sgt. Instructor W.T. Went afterwards via New York to Canada to the Dutch Camp at Guelph. Left Canada 12.12.42 for U.K. Rather good example of his character: His fiancée – Dutch girl, who he knew since his schooldays in Holland – is now living with her Mother in the States (New York). The girl is coming to England end of June as they had planned to get married. All the same, Nol hopes to be sent away before then to avoid making the subsequent parting too painful. Also: He is not advising her to stay in the States as he would have to give reasons for advising this, reasons which might endanger security of movement. (TNA HS9/866/4, 7 April 1943) As regards his security mindedness, it was pointed out that the only danger was that he was inclined to talk too much and it was recommended that he learned to stay in the background. His habits were regarded as temperate, ‘drinking and smoking in moderation. Quite intelligent and resourceful. Emotionally a little highly strung […], very quickly flustered and agitated when he feels he is under observation. Hands become shaky and speech broken and uncertain. Otherwise lively disposition.’ (Ibid. 30 April 1943) Whilst on parachute training at Ringway, he stayed at Dunham House (STS 51a) where his instructor made similar points: ‘he tends to blurt out things under provocation. He is very excitable and then will lose control over his nerves. He is aware of this shortcoming and maintains that his nerves have been in a bad shape ever since the days of his internment in the Vichy Labour Camp and the Spanish concentration camp. (Ibid, 7 May 1943) The only mention of training was him practicing using the ‘leg bag’. This was usually a sack of sand attached to a parachutist’s leg to get him used to having a heavy wireless set wrapped in protective material and put in a sack that would hit the ground before him. There were no reports from his training instructors at Beaulieu or Brickendonbury but his file indicates he spent a month at the former and four days at the latter. He also spent time at the Averard Hotel in Bayswater and Green Park Hotel when on leave in London. He also stayed at ‘St Agnes’, which very likely was a flat used by N Section in St Agnes Place, Kennington. (Ibid.) . In early October, SOE sent him to Howbury Hall (STS 40), near Tempsford, where specialist radio ground-to-air communication was taught. Sgt. Hartog, his instructor, commented that Kuenen had worked as a volunteer with his father on the Dutch State Railways. ‘He has shown great interest in this course dealing with the “S” phone and also the Eureka-Rebecca, but notwithstanding he has set his mind on demolition work and does not want to go in for reception committee work. […] He is very disappointed that he has been waiting all this time as he has been promised to go over some time ago and it is now October and he is still in England.’ (Ibid, 14 October 1943) On 17 November he was at Gaynes Hall (STS 61), suggesting a flight had been arranged but it must have been cancelled as he was back in London three days later. Intriguingly, he was reported at sea on 21 November. Whether this was an attempt to infiltrate him by boat is unknown but he was back in London on 23 November and over the following six months, apart from a second visit to Ringway at the end of April 1944, he was accommodated at Stodham Park, Dulwich, Gorse Hill, Dulwich, Hayes, the Averard Hotel and on some occasions he found his own accommodation in London. The long wait led to him getting into trouble, ‘misbehaving himself in West Dulwich’ where Dutch agents were looked after in a hostel. On 27 March, in a note, probably by Johns, he informed Seymour Bingham that,Your ex-agent who was taken over by us is still in our service at the present time. We are, however, thoroughly dissatisfied with him, and have only been waiting for the problem of the personnel on the Dutch S.O.E. side to be settled before taking up with them the question of this man’s disposal. I will see that this matter is put on the agenda for one of our next meetings with our Dutch opposite numbers, and we will then decide whether he should go to the Cooler, or whether the Dutch can take him back and ensure that he does not endanger either your or our services by his indiscretions. (Ibid.)A pencil-written note on Johns’ memo identified Kuenen as ‘Koops the VD merchant who we intend sending back to the Dutch or Cooler.’ (Ibid.) VD almost certainly refers to venereal disease, a sexually transmitted disease, which suggests that he had relationships with a number of women during his periods of leave and was accused of spreading it. It might explain his visits to hospital in February and March. One of the accompanying officers at the West Dulwich hostel stated that,On Saturday, 18th March 1944, I went to The Grove [Public House], West Dulwich, with Sgt. ‘A’ and Sgt. ‘B’. At about 9.30 p.m. I saw the ex-B.I. agent, Kuehnen, enter the saloon in civilian clothes. He was obviously drunk and jovially greeted several British persons sitting down at tables. I instructed the agents, Sgt. ‘A’ and Sgt. ‘B’, to go back to our establishment. Since I thought it would not be at all dangerous to talk to Kuehnen myself, I decided to speak to him. In the meantime, Kuehnen had gone to the adjoining bar and I waited in the passage for him, as I knew it was one of his favourite occupations to loiter between the two bars and to contact various females in the two bars. When he appeared I spoke to him. He was startled and, seizing my hand, cried: “Piet, old boy, let me see how many pips they have given you” and, suiting the action to the word, he felt at my collar to find how many stars I had. After having asked him, he told me that he had already learned about my return some time ago. He had heard from Mrs Bates, an ex-domestic help in our establishment. This woman saw me about a week after my arrival at the Dutch H.Q. at 71 Park Street, as I went from one room to another. Kuehnen had already told me, on my enquiring, that he was now working for the British, since Lieftinck [?Dutch official] saw no way of getting rid of him, and they were now doing things above France; but that he and six other lads were trying to get sent to Holland. He then asked about Johnson [?] and I told him that he was all right. He also told me that he continually went to The Grove because he still had an affair with the same woman from West Dulwich. An R.A.F. man came out of the saloon at that moment, a good friend of Kuehnen, who was also very drunk, and who interrupted us and asked us both if we would buy him a drink: whereupon Kuehnen offered him a pound to go and buy a drink for himself, which was refused. In connection with the previous report from Lt. Cmdr. Child concerning a Dutch officer who is said to have told a certain Mrs. Trevor (?) in The Grove that I had not gone to Australia, as had been my cover story, but had been to Holland and had come back; it appears that this must have been Kuehnen, since the personal descriptions tally. It appears to me that this is a very clear case of insufficient security which must not be allowed to continue, certainly as regards Kuehnen, taking into account the fact that our new agents are still being housed in West Dulwich. The British and Dutch authorities in question should take the necessary precautions. (Ibid. March 1944)There is no evidence that he was sent to the Cooler but one has to imagine that he would have been reprimanded about his lack of security. According to his file, he was in London from on 5 April, spent four days in St Agnes, two in Dulwich, nine at Gorse Hill, seven at the Averard Hotel, two in the ‘flat’, four at Ringway, eleven at the flat, nine in Hayes, six in the flat and then one at Gaynes Hall. It needs to be remembered that as the RAF had banned flights to Holland, Dutch agents had to be occupied so as not to let them get too bored. The location of the flat is unknown but it was probably where he stayed whilst he was in London, meeting with SOE and BBO officers, being provided with Dutch clothing, visiting a Dutch barber and dentist, learning his cover story, writing his will and given the orders for his mission. Such orders are rarely found in an agent’s personnel file but his, stamped TOP SECRET in red ink, are worth including to give one an insight into what information agents were provided with and how SOE had learned from its mistakes over the North Pole fiasco.1. INFORMATION In preparation for and during the invasion of Western Europe by the United Nations there are many useful and important tasks which can be performed by loyal patriots in HOLLAND. For the execution of many of these tasks members of organisations already existing, and of the general public, can be usefully employed. The task of sabotage instructor can be considered highly important. a) Operation Name The name of your operation is FOOTBALL and you will be known by this name at the station of your departure. You will never use this name when you are in the field. b) Code Names in the Field (i) Your field name will be WILLEM. This is the only name you should use in messages from the field and it is the name by which you will be known by other members of the organisation. (ii) The operational name of the W/T operator going with you is POKER and his name in the field and in telegrams is KEES. 2. INTENTION You will go to HOLLAND for the purpose of instructing members of the organisation in sabotage and the general use of explosives and incendiaries. For the time being KEES may use you as reception leader [for container drops] but this is left to his judgment. KEES will have with him Hfl. 25,000 and three directives to pass to the organisation. KEES may use you also to make contacts for him. 3. METHOD You and KEES will be dropped together in HOLLAND by parachute on the first favourable night during the June moon period, at a point which will be shown to you prior to your departure. Immediately upon landing you will bury your parachute and equipment; the parachute leg-bag must either be destroyed or buried, and on no account must it fall into the hands of the enemy. The wireless set and accumulator which are in your leg-bag you will bury separately and, if possible, in such a place as can easily be recognised so they can be collected by a fourth party if necessary. If you wish, you may bury your revolver with the W/T set; this W/T set must be handed over to KEES as soon as is convenient. When you have done this you will proceed to a safe house indicated by KEES. Residence At your own choice. In case of emergency you may use the address in France. […] It is important to note that before an address is used it would be well to have it checked by us in LONDON. 4. ADMINISTRATION You will carry with you the sum of Hfl. 5,000, also 2,500 French francs and 2,500 Belgian francs for your own use should you require it in case of emergency. KEES will have Hfl. 25,000 for the organisation Package – Equipment – Camouflage a) Your personal baggage will consist of one brown paper parcel. b) You will be supplied with Hfl. 150.00 in small money for your immediate needs. c) The remainder of your personal money is camouflaged as follows: - Hfl. 4,850, FFrs. 2,500 and Bfrs. 2,500 in a money belt. d) KEES will also have the sum of Hfl. 5,000 on his person and Ffrs. 2,500 and Bfrs. 2,500 for his own use. e) Your code (One Time Pad) and reserve poem will be camouflaged […] f) In KEES suitcase with W/T equipment there is a silent .32 with 50 rounds. He will hand this over to you as soon as possible. Cover Story (See Annexe V [not included] Clothing You will have received these in accordance with your requirements. Equipment You have been interviewed as to your requirements for the field and will receive these, plus your parachute equipment, at the station of departure. Documents You have been issued with a Dutch identity card [in the name of Gerrit Boerendams]. Return to this Country You have been interviewed by an officer with regard to routes and have been given all the necessary information. 5. COMMUNICATION a) In the Field You will use the various methods which you have been taught for communications between yourself, the W/T operator and other members of the organisation – postboxes, cut-outs etc. You may also arrange various danger signals. b) Wireless The W/T operator will be in possession of his own code and equipment for the maintenance of two-way contact with LONDON. You will do all the encoding and decoding of our messages to you; this must be strictly adhered to for the security of all concerned. The W/T operator will only send messages to us concerning technical matters relating to his mission and/or the acknowledgement of messages which we shall broadcast by W/T. c) Messages by W/T In order to maintain the security of the W/T operator, it is essential that your messages should be kept as short as possible and limited to important information connected with your mission. Records of messages exchanged should not be kept. d) Innocent Letters (i) Code. You will use the convention which you have been taught: […] (ii) Address: You send your Innocent Letters to an address […] (iii) Signatures: You will sign your Innocent Letters WILLEM and we shall sign DORA. e) B.B.C. Messages On the first, second and third days and on the two following Sundays, we shall broadcast […]. This will serve to prove your bona fides if necessary. f) Emergency Address It is important that we should remain in contact with you, and if possible you should give us an address before you leave for the field. If you are unable to do this, you should let us have at the first possible moment by W/T. […] Should you and KEES lose each other on landing, you should meet every day in order to regain contact. g) Security If we have reason to suppose that you have been arrested and that the Germans are working your transmitter, we shall ask you an “innocent” question. If you are safe you will give us the correct answer, but if we do not receive the correct answer we will presume that you are in enemy hands. 6. FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS Your rank on leaving this country will be Sgt. and your salary will be credited to your account with the Dutch government. (Ibid. 26 May 1944)Kees was the cover name of Cornelius Dekkers, sometimes spelt Duiker, whose personnel file revealed that he was born in Breda on 25 January 1919, was one of ten children and spoke eight languages, three of them fluently. Like Kuenen, he escaped via Perpignan, spent time in a Spanish prison and reached England via the United States. After joining the 6th Infantry Regiment in the Dutch Army, he was recruited by SOE in July 1943. Using the cover name Kees van Duin, he was assessed at grade C after four days at Winterfold (STS 7). His instructor described him as ‘A highly intelligent man with a quick active mind and ample energy. Cheerful, friendly and loquacious. Has a good practical sense and a great desire to do well. Is, however, over confident which inclines him to be slapdash and at times careless in planning. It is felt that his shortcomings should be remedied in training. Will probably make a good instructor. (TNA HS9413/8, 12 August 1943) After four days at the flat, and ten days at West Court (STS 6), Sgt. Hartog described him as having a ‘Pleasant personality, no bragging – told me of his escape through France and Spain and seems to have plenty of courage when put to the test. His correspondence consists mainly of members of the Dutch Forces. He shows great interest in the whole course and is very keen on W/T operating. On knowing this student a little longer, he proves to be of a steady type, handles his money well and does not squander it. He is very intelligent and possesses plenty of common sense. He thinks first before he acts. He is security minded and behaves accordingly. […] The other day when they had a few drinks at the local Inn, and M.7 was decidedly getting a little under the weather and singing loudly on the way home, he pointed out to him, that this was not exactly the way for a Dutch Sergeant to behave in public. This was on the occasion of the surrender of Italy and having been paid on this day, made it an excuse to celebrate but he felt sorry for it the next morning. He shows great keenness as the course progresses and works well when out on schemes. He is enjoying all his training and especialy is very handy and uses plenty of common sense when making up charges etc. on map schemes he is quite good and he told me, that he did plenty of similar work e.g. map reading and field craft when he was with the Scout movement in Holland. He is security minded and if anything very much reserved and keeps what he knows to himself, which is a good sign. He also drinks only moderately and so he has not exactly a dislike for women he is very careful in his selection. (Ibid, 20, 27 August, 3, 10 September 1943) After four days at Ringway he was described as having done very well and enjoyed the course. ‘The Air experience trip was nothing to him as he had done a good bit of flying before. As for the jumping by parachute, he enjoyed it and was sorry when it was all over.’ (Ibid. 1 October 1943). After a fortnight’s leave he was sent to Thame Park (STS 52) for three months’ intensive wireless telegraphy training. Capt. Clitheroe’s comment was that he was ‘Reliable, level headed type. Excellent in every way.’ (Ibid, 30 January 1944) After a few days at the Howard Hotel in London and a trip to Swansea, on 6 February 1944. he was sent to Boarmans (STS 36), one of the country houses at Beaulieu, for clandestine warfare training. His instructor commented that ‘This young man has been well and widely educated and has considerable academic intelligence. He is, however, not very practical, and is sometimes inclined to be muddle-headed, is rather lacking in shrewdness and sound judgement, neither has he much imagination. He seemed quite keen and worked hard, but was inclined to be obstinate and argumentative and to try to justify his mistakes. He is conceited, over confident but did not create the impression of having a very strong character. He is, however, honest and trustworthy within these limitations. His personality is quite pleasant, he is sociable and a good mixer, although, at times, his cocksure manner is rather irritating. He should make quite a capable W/T operator but would require firm handling. He has not much power of leadership. (Ibid, 22 February 1944) As there was no prospect of a flight back to Holland, he was taken to London and Glasgow before spending three weeks at Hatherop Castle (STS 45), near Fairford, Cirencester, and a week at Stodham Park (STS 47 but used to be STS 3). Before visiting the flat for his preparation and briefing, he stayed at St Anne’s and Green Park Hotel. Like Kuenen, he went to Howbury Hall (STS 40) for the ground-to-air communication course with S-phone, Eureka and reception committee personnel before being taken to Gaynes Hall to wait for the flight.Second Lieutenant Cornelius Dekkers, W/T operator killed in aircrash with Gerrit Kuenen on 1 June 1944. (TNA HS9/413/8)Like Kuenen, Dekkers’ mission papers were also in his file. Those instructions specific to him which are worth including: -1. INFORMATION There are several well-known underground organisations in HOLLAND, but as very little success has been experienced in the past owing to arrests, it is feared that most of the larger organisations have been penetrated by the Gestapo. Mr. KLIJZING, who was inspector of Police in THE HAGUE, was asked prior to his leaving HOLLAND to arrange delivery of arms to organisations in the North and South of Holland. It is believed that these organisations may still be safe. […] 2. INTENTION You will go to HOLLAND as a W/T operator and a liaison officer to a man whom you will know as Mr. MULDERS. You will contact Mr. MULDERS direct or through his cut-outs […]. When you are satisfied that you are in contact with the Mr. MULDERS and as soon as he is satisfied with your bona fides, you will hand to him the directives […] which you will take with you in the form of a microphotograph, and explain to him that you have been sent to act as his operator for communications between him and LONDON. You will leave him to decide whether or not he considers the various organisations with which he is in touch are capable of carrying out the directives and safe from a security point of view, or whether he could form a small organisation from the nucleus of his best and safest contacts. You will explain to him that W/T operators and sabotage instructors can be sent immediately, either direct to him or to contacts of organisations which he thinks fit. It would be preferable for you to remain with him and, if possible, outside the sphere of activity so as to form an information centre and to report on the security and progress of these underground organisations. They would have to organise Reception Committees to receive arms and explosives and to be ready to act on instructions from the Allied Headquarters which we would send to them. Mr. MULDERS knows of the two organisations mentioned by Mr. KLIJZING who have asked for arms, and you will leave him to decide whether or not it is safe to contact them. You yourself must on no account contact organisations as this will be Mr. MULDERS’ responsibility and beyond your initial contact, i.e. Mr. MULDERS; you ill never reveal that you have come from this country, neither will you reveal you have wireless contact. You will be tempted on many occasions to forget this instruction, but it is imperative for your own safety and that of the organisation for which you work to observe this very carefully. You can always pretend to be an “onderduiker” [person in hiding] but never anything more. You will inform Mr MULDERS that similar directives to those which you have given him were believed to have been delivered to the R.V.V. [Raad van Verzet – Council of Resistance] and the C.S.6 [?], but owing to arrests and disappearances it is not known whether these were delivered safely or not: hence your mission from the British and Dutch Governments with the request that he should try to do everything he possibly can to implement their wishes and thereby assist in the common cause of liberating HOLLAND from the Nazi yoke. Reception Committees A Reception Committee should be made up of persons of whom you should seel absolutely sure. It is imperative that you should bear in mind the security precautions and while recruiting personnel, should one man be arrested, he will not be in a position to give information which might prejudice other people or the organisation. You should never attend a reception committee unless absolutely necessary. [An English-speaking person would be needed to operate the S-phone to communicate with the pilot.] Once this Committee has been formed you will advise us when it is ready to start work, the quantities of containers with which it can safely deal at one time, and also send us for approval at least two suggested dropping points at which Reception Committees could receive stores on any single night: i.e. if several grounds are accepted it might be found necessary to put all the operations on together on one night at the various dropping points. The size of the Committee will be at your own discretion and will depend upon the quantity of material which you wish to receive. Coordinates Normally you will use maps of the Nederlands, scale 1:50,000. If however, you are unable to procure these maps you may use the A.N.W.B.[Royal Dutch Touring Club] maps in the manner in which you have been trained, also giving the distance and bearings of the two nearest villages, towns or places. In any case always give the series number and scale of the map you are using. […] You have been instructed in reception work and as to the type of grounds that are suitable. It is necessary to keep some distance away from enemy anti-aircraft defences and also to avoid zones which are usually patrolled by German night fighters. (TNA HS9/413/8, May 1944)Given the number of Dutch agents captured on landing, the plan was to drop the two men blind. Their DZ was east of Eindhoven but in what Clark described as a Dutch SIS mission, code-name BEZIQUEZ, Fl. Lt. Warren Hale, a Canadian 161 Squadron pilot, flew his Hudson V9155 too close to the night-fighter base at Gilze-Rijen. Hit by flak, the plane crashed just outside the airfield near the water tower at Gilze, about 10 km east of Breda. Five on board were killed on impact, two in civilian clothing, and the sixth died on their way to hospital at ‘s Hertogenbosch. The five were buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Gilze-Rijen the next day but it was unknown where the sixth was buried. One of the civilians, presumably Dekkers, was reported to have had 100,000 Dutch bank notes in a leather belt. ‘Near the aircraft approximately thirty burned carrier pigeons and a few packets of pigeon food were found.’ (TNA HS9/413/8, 1 February 1945; Clark, Freddy. Agents by Moonlight, p.246; TNA HS9/413/8; HS9/866/4, 8 October 1946; Foot, op.cit. p.222;;) Kuenen was reburied with military honours in Duinrust on 22 September 1945 and a street in Beverwijk was named after him in 1959. ( Sluiten
Bron: Source: O'Connor, B. Sabotage in Holland,

Geplaatst door Bernard O'Connor op 07 januari 2016

Jan Kuenen Bureau Bijzondere opdrachten (BBO)

Geplaatst door Stichting WO2 Sporen JvZ op 04 februari 2015


Voeg zelf een monument toe

Log in om een monument toe te voegen

Voeg zelf een verhaal of document toe

Log in om een bijdrage toe te voegen