06.03.1945 64 Squadron Mustang III KH451 Flt Sgt. J. B. Jat van Mesdag
Operation: Night Flying sortie
Date: 6th March 1945 (Tuesday)
Unit: 64 Squadron
Type: Mustang III
Base: RAF Bentwaters, Suffolk
Location: Bury Road, Lawshall, Suffolk
Pilot: Flt Sgt. Johannes Bartholomeus Jat Van Mesdag 195516 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The Squadron was detailed on a night flying sortie and Flt Sgt. Jat van Mesdag's Mustang was one of two crashes this night. The second pilot, Flt Sgt. White, was only shaken up when his aircraft overshot the runway after an engine failure.
Very little is known regarding this loss. It is reported that the aircraft dived out of cloud into the ground on Bury Road, 7 miles NW of Lawshall. Cause unknown.
Prior to war breaking out Johannes was studying in the USA. During that period he lived in Ardsley, Hudson, New York. Then joined the Dutch forces in Canada before being sent to the UK, arriving on Monday 17th August 1942. Gaining his wings on the Friday 26th November 1944.
He joined 64 Squadron on the 28th December 1944. During service with the Dutch airforce his rank was 2e Luitenant (Fg Off).
Sgt. Van Mesdag whilst flying with 64 squadron was credited with destroying a Fw 190 NW of Frankfurt on the 14th January 1945.
Flt Sgt. Johannes Bartholomeus Jat Van Mesdag. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave No. 15561. Also commemorated on the Het Nieuwe Lyceum Memorial, Hilversum, Netherlands. Mill Hill Memorial Table, London. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J.S. van Mesdag, of Hilversum, Holland. Grave inscription reads: ‘Den Vaderlant Ghetrouwe Blijf Ick Tot In Den Doet’. (Written in Old Dutch we understand from Johannes that it means "I remain married to the Fatherland even in death." Born on 3rd October 1923.
Nancy McQueen informs us that Jat Van Mesdag met her mother, Mollie Cruickshank, at some point when he was training in Saskatchewan, Canada before he was sent overseas to England. It was her understanding that they became engaged before he left for England, but he was killed before they were married.
Memorial at All Saints Church, Lawshall, Suffolk (courtesy Geoffrey Gillon - January 2017)
Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) for the relatives of Flt Sgt. Van Mesdag in the hope that they view this memorial - Johannes B van Mesdag, nephew of the pilot, contacted us in August 2015.
Thanks to John Gibson for the great memorial photos and for bringing this loss to our attention. To Rob Philips for research material, Also to Geoffrey Gillon for memorial photograph. Thanks to Nancy McQueen for the story regarding Johannes and her mother (Jan 2022). Updated narrative by Ralph Snape, Aircrew Remembered (Jan 2022).