'The boy with the bike'
“Born in 1927, the 15 year old “Boy with the bicycle” from Helmond, who voluntarily and persistently carried out an unsaid guard duty for an exhausted Bren Gun & Anti-Tank Carrier Crew of L/Cpl Jack ‘Tubby’ Pratt, Horace ‘Chip’ Read and Bill Holden, who had just lost, killed, an unreplaced No.3 member on their liberation advance with the Royal Norfolk Regiment into Helmond, demonstrated the spirit of friendship in adversity and the resistance of the people of the Netherlands.
“There was a curfew after 8pm and Jan was lent a Lee Enfield gun with real bullets. Two days later on his bike, he guided the anti-tank half track towards the front line. Jan’s unrecognisable father, after Forced Labour in Germany and a year in Oranienburg Concentration Camp, had been sent back home to die in May 1944, extremely thin and unable to walk, delivered in a barrow.
“Boys such as Jan would often take coded messages in a schoolbook on the train to Eindhoven and return with a different book and coded messages in the evening.” [ARP]
Learn more: Dutch Resistance Museum
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