In the night of 14 to 15 October 1944, the British Mosquito bomber of RAF pilot Frank Dell crashed near Münster, Germany. Frank fled and walked for days, eventually ending up in Lintelo near Aalten with Jan Ket, the local resistance leader. He slept above a terribly smelly goat stable, but that would keep any Germans away, according to Frank in his memoirs. A while later he moved to the Prinzen family at Somsenhuus farm in IJzerlo, where soon seven airmen were hiding at the same address.
The 21-year-old Frank became the natural leader of the group. They became involved in resistance activities at ‘De Bark’, an uninhabited farm in De Heurne, near Dinxperlo, that from November 1944 served as the base for the combined ‘knokploeg’ (armed resistance group) Varsseveld/Aalten (LKP). It was a close group of 25 to 30 young men from all over the country who met and trained there. Frank helped with the arms drops in the Wolboom area.
When German soldiers briefly visited the farm on 26 February 1945, the group decided to liquidate them. An accident was staged, but the explosion and fire only partially succeeded. The Germans immediately understood what had happened and their reprisals were terrible. On 2 March 1945, 46 men from across the Netherlands were executed at the Rademakersbroek near Varsseveld in the Achterhoek.
The people in hiding remained on Somsenhuus until the liberation, even when a large number of German soldiers were billeted there. In his 2014 book ‘Mosquito Down’, Frank Dell writes extensively about the fatal events that took place in his hiding area and De Bark.