Brief Gorris aan William Doherty
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Maasniel, 12 juni 1946

Dear William,

No doubt you will be astonished and puzzled when you receive and read this letter. Perhaps you cannot remember the person who wrote this letter to you. I'll try to refresh your memory
Please go back in your mind some years.
If I remember well you're plane was shot down in 1943/1944 above Noord-Brabant, a province in the south of Holland . You parachuted and had good luck. You where helped by members of a Dutch underground organisation and finally you and you're comrade Frank Killarney arrived at a small village in the province of Limburg in the south of Holland.
This village is called Maasniel situated on the river the Maas , and lying near the Belgian and the German border. The next city is called Roermond.
One day the commander of our organisation asked me if I had got a hiding place for two American pilots. Good friends of mine were immediately willing to help you and thus you came in the house of Mrs. And Mr. Pollaert neighbours of mine. Mr. Pollaert was a printer perhaps you remember. I believe he and his wife were very cordial and hospitable to you and your friend have been there about a fortnight and than you were brought to Belgium .
Perhaps you remember me now don't you?
I was a teacher and you called me Gerald. I still know that I often had an interesting talk with you and your friend and that I tried to teach you the Dutch language!! I still have the letter which wrote you when you departed. On the evening of your departure I was not in our village and I regretted that. I could not say good bye to you and your friend. It was agreed, that , if you would arrive safe and sound in England , you would try to broadcast the following words: “the moon is yellow”. Don't you remember? We often listened in the radio, but without success.
I am longing to learn if you had a happy Burney and now you are going now. If you have time, please tell me something about your adventures.
My friend Pollaert, the printer had had bad luck. He sustained a sad loss. In January 1945, when the English were lying on the other side of the river Maas , our village was still occupied by the damned Germans Every day shells rained on our village on one day brave Mrs. Pollaert crossed the street, she was hit by a shell and she was killed on the spot.
I was not in our village when this happened Mr. Pollaert told me the sad story after the liberation of our country the first time I met him. I had great difficulty in recognizing my good friend; he was another fellow; his good humour had disappeared and he had become an old man. He is now living with his mother at the address: Roermond Kapellerlaan 217. A few days ago I met him and he sends you many good wishes.
We are glad that we are liberated, for we hard times during the occupation by the Germans.
In the month of July 1944 my oldest brother was arrested by the Germans and they transported him to a concentration camp in Germany . In the month of may 1945 he was fried by American forces and now he is in good health.
In the month of September 1944 a part of Limburg and Noord-Brabant were liberated.
In the month of November 1944 I was seized by the Gestapo in the city of Roermond . Comrades of mine helped me and I broke prison. After my rescue I fled and happily reached my liberated countryman. I then joined the C.J.C. and worked as an interpreter!
The work was very interesting!
In the month of march 1945 Maasniel and Roermond were freed and when I arrived home, I found nobody in our house. The house itself had been heavily damaged and my family my parents, brothers, sisters and their children had been forced by the hatred Germans to evacuate to the north of Holland.
Finally our whole country was liberated in may 1945 and I immediately made my way to look for my family. After a two days' search I found al my folks in a small town in the utter north of Holland you can imagine my gladness when I found them all in rather good health. With the help of American friends I brought them home and there we had a lot of work to be done. Two months afterwards I retired and began my work as a teacher again.
Last week I found a note book in my classroom in which I had written down the names of American and English pilots and French prisoners of war who had been helped by us. In that way I found out your address. In the name of my friends I thank you for the help you and your comrades rendered to the small country that is so dear to us. We'll never forget our American friends.
I wish you well and good luck.

Yours truly


Gerald Gorris
Raadhuisstraat 14
Maasniel (L) Holland

foto van Gerard (Sjra) Gorris