Dutch Brewster Buffalo Replica

The Dutch National Military Museum was opened on December 11, 2014,by His Majesty  Willem Alexander, King of the Netherlands.
Since then the museum has been a resounding success – visitors of all age groups crowd the spacious halls and grounds. The museum is situated at the former Soesterberg Air Base once the home of the ‘Wolfhounds’, the USAF 32nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

The museum offers a large collection of army and air force exhibits and it is heart-warming  to see the gleam in the eyes of older people when they explain the workings of a truck or a piece of equipment to their kids or grandchildren…

The museum has taken over the collection initially exhibited at the former Air Force Museum at Camp Zeist. Not everything is on display but to my joy there is a special corner for equipment used by the Dutch East Indies Air Force and Navy.

TFR03 004

And here you’ll find a wonderful replica of a Brewster B339D ‘Buffalo’  in the markings of 2-VLG-V, complete with squadron badge.

The name ‘Bruggink’  stencilled on the nose indicates one of the four pilots that flew the last operational mission with Buffaloes against Japanese invaders on March 7, 1942.
Sergeant (later 1st Lieutenant) Gerard Bruggink managed to evade the standing Japanese fighter patrol over Andir airfield and, together with Captain ‘Piet’ van Helsdingen , reach the Lembang area. They were soon dogfighting six Zeroes and van Helsdingen was shot down and killed. Bruggink managed to escape into the clouds and returned to Andir airfield in a tropical rainstorm. (See also my post ‘Dutch Buffaloes – the last fight)

Bruggink was made prisoner by the Japanese and was later sent to work on the infamous Burma railway. He survived the atrocities and served in the Dutch air force until 1955. That year he emigrated the US where he worked in Texas as a flight instructor and accident investigator. He died in 2005.

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About Kingsleyr

Thank you for visiting my blog! The posts you find here are a direct result of my research into aviation and military history. I use the information I gather as a foundation and background for my books. You may call the genre historical fiction, a story woven into a background of solid and verifiable historical facts. However, the period and region I have chosen to write about (late 1930's - 1950's in South-East Asia) are jam-packed with interesting information and anecdotes. If I'd used them all I would swamp the stories. So this blog is the next best thing. It is an "overflow area" in which I can publish whatever I think will interest you. And from the reactions I get, I deduce I am on the right track. A lot will be about aviation in the former Dutch East Indies. This, because my series of books ("The Java Gold") follows a young Dutch pilot in his struggle to survive the Pacific War and its aftermath. But there's more in the world and you'll find descriptions of cities, naval operations and what not published on this blog. Something about myself; I am a Dutch-Canadian author, living in, and working out of the magical city of Amsterdam. My lifelong interest in history and aviation, especially WW2, has led me to write articles and books on these subjects. I hope you'll enjoy them!
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4 Responses to Dutch Brewster Buffalo Replica

  1. gpcox says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It lifts my spirits to hear that a museum has been well received!

    Like

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