2003 Memorial to fallen Canadian soldiers, Edwin Merks

Translation with the help of Google translate.

Stationsstraat near 15, Wilnis, The Netherlands

Mon v omgek Canadese Militairen-Edwin Merks 1

This monument was erected after the salvage, in 2002, of a bomber that crashed on May 5, 1943 in a meadow, two kilometers from the site of the monument. During the salvage of the Vickers Wellington, the remains of two Canadian crew members were found. A third crew member had been buried since 1943 in the cemetery behind the church, the entrance of which is next to the monument. The three men, Robert Moulton, Joseph Thibaudeau and Joseph White, now rest one after the other in the cemetery.


The monument is a cube of black natural stone, the top of which is chamfered to one of the corners. A mirror is fitted within the black edge of the upper surface. Above the mirror float three bronze maple leaves, the national symbol of Canada. In the edge of the upper surface, the text FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM is written in four languages: Dutch, French, English and Latin. On one of the sides are the names of three Canadian soldiers who died. On another side are the type and registration number of the aircraft and the date.
The monument is placed so that the highest vertex points in the direction of the place, two kilometers away, where the plane crashed. The statue stands in a bed of white gravel. This white field is flanked on two sides by strips of red stones between which red low bushes are also placed: the white and red from the flag of Canada.


wrakstukken in monument

Wreckage in monument

Some parts of the wreck are preserved in the monument. The bronze maple leave leaves are attached to pins and hang above the steel mirror plate. The passing clouds are visible in it: the sky and clouds, the domain of aircraft with their crews.

Mon v omgek Canadese Militairen-Edwin Merks 3 -detail met spiegeling

Mon v omgek Canadese Militairen-Edwin Merks 4-detail

Monument details

Along the four sides of the mirrored surface is the text in four languages (Dutch, English, French and Latin):





The text on the left reads:





The text on the right reads:

5 MEI 1943


HE727 NA-K

The text on the back left:

Edwin Merks – 2003

In connection with this memorial…

On the right in the cemetery of the NH church:
1. The graves of three Canadian crew members of the Vickers Wellington  (pictures at the far end of this page).
Halfway to the scene of the accident:
2. The Robert Moulton path, the walking path over the railway embankment named after the pilot (April 2019).
Near the scene of the accident:

Memorial summary

name Edwin Merks
website  website no longer exists, the artist has emigrated
title Memorial to fallen Canadian soldiers
unveiling / commissioning
March 29, 2003 – The monument has been unveiled by Mayor Marianne Burgman and His Excellency Serge April, Ambassador of Canada. Prior to this, wreaths were laid at the graves of the fallen crew members in the cemetery behind the N.H. Church.
Base 105 (square), ascending top surface 127 (square). Altitude increasing from 38h (front), 86h (middle) to 130h (rear). Mirrored plane 105 (square). Maple leaf 70w x 80h
Impala granite, bronze (maple leaves and letters on the upper surface), polished steel (mirror).
A black natural stone memorial, the top of which slopes up. On the top is a mirrored surface with three maple leaves. The maple leaf is the national symbol of Canada (and also appears in the flag of Canada). The monument stands in a bed of white gravel demarcated with red bands: the colors from the flag of Canada.
Some parts of the wreck are preserved in the monument.
address Stationsweg near 15
places Wilnis
client Municipality De Ronde Venen
2007-11-06 Edwin Merks_9581-foto Henk Butink

Edwin Merks

History summary

The images below are from the artist’s website “www.edwinmerks.nl” (but this website no longer exists, the artist has emigrated).
The Vickers Wellington was on its way back to its home base in England after a bombing raid on Dortmund. Two Allied soldiers (the English radio telegraphist sgt. Harvey Hoddinot and the Canadian navigator sgt. Gordon Charles Carter) were able to leave the aircraft in time with the help of a parachute. They were later handed over to the occupier and taken prisoner of war. They survived the war. Pilot Moulton, who tried unsuccessfully to make a landing, was killed. Two other crew members had already been killed by the night fighter during the shelling. Some of Moulton’s remains were buried with military honours in the N.H. cemetery (to the right of the monument) with the permission of the occupier.
Thibaudau and White were found during the September 2002 salvage. Moulton’s remains were also found that had been left in the wreckage in 1943. Moulton was reburied along with Thibaudau and White on 27 November 2002. A large ceremony with military honors with a final salute by four aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.




Joseph White


Joseph Adrien E. Thibaudeau


Robert Moulton


A Vickers-Wellington bomber


The flight on 4th and 5th of May 1943.



Just northwest of the roundabout in the N212 / Mijdrechtse Dwarsweg (behind the parking lot) the bomber crashed.  On November 6, 2018, a Memorial Column and an engine of the aircraft were placed to the left of the entrance to the parking lot.

Funeral Robert Moulton on May 6, 1943, 7:00 p.m.

Source photos: Piet Kroon collection. Drawing and explanation: Aales van Leeuwen.
There are two photos of the funeral taken by Tonny van Soest, later pastor, brother of Herman W. van Soest, both still living at home at the time. According to my older brothers Thijs and Jan van Leeuwen, then 10 and 7 years old, the funeral took place at 7:00 in the evening.
Aales van Leeuwen made a situation drawing on his own initiative. NA. Realize that the Stationsstraat then continued to the Wilnis railway station in the polder. In this drawing the photo angle of the two historical photos is indicated (HB).
Information from Herman van Soest/Floor Groenendijk: J.T. van Vliet was head of the local air protection service and sexton and manager of the N.H. cemetery. He managed to give Robert Moulton a funeral with military honors. Two German soldiers fired salutes and the “Lord’s Prayer” was prayed a German officer. The current ban on gatherings did not prevent the cemetery from being full of people.
Click on the images to enlarge.

Photo angle of the photo below. Drawing by Aales van Leeuwen.

Funeral procession on 6 May 1943 in the Stationsstraat. Behind the carriage a German soldier. In the background the Christian Primary School of Wilnis. The hearse (from fa. Hoek , Woerden) went from the Stationsweg to the Kerkstraat through the former park, where the Irene bank now stands.

Photo angle of photo below. Drawing by Aales van Leeuwen.

The bar, followed by a German soldier (helmet), in the Kerkstraat under the window of the sexton’s house.

The arrow indicates the position of photographer Tonny van Soest. Detail from the drawing.

Annually on May 4th

Mon v omgek Canadese Militairen-Edwin Merks 2-op 4 mei

After the ceremony at the Resistance Monument at the former town hall of Wilnis, all go to the cemetery in a parade. The Canadian flag flies on the special flagpole behind the graves. Wreaths will be laid and attendees will sing the Canadian national anthem accompanied by a band.

x Graven Canadese militairen - totaal beeld met Canadese vlag

x Graven Canadese militairen - drie grafstenen

5 May 2020 – 75 years of Freedom

Due to the COVID-19 (corona) crisis, tributes were paid in a very small circle on May 4, 2020. Here are the pictures on the day after.

5 May 2020

Rear Gunner Adrian J.E. Thibaudeau

Pilot Robert B. Moulton

Air Bomber Joseph White

5 May 2020


Image “Volunteer of the year Municipality of De Ronde Venen”

Edwin Merks was also the designer of the sculpture that received the Volunteer of the Year. It was first awarded on 6 November 2007 and then for several more years.
It is a circular image (photo) with hands extending from the edge to the center, towards each other. The volunteer work symbolically represented by giving and receiving hands

y Beeld Vrijwilliger vh jaar-Edwin Merks-de kunstenaar vh Monument