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Crash sites outside of border whose airmen are buried in Belgium
Heckhalenfeld (D)

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Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence


* To the 350 Squadron *
* To the crew of NH711-MN-? *
* To the monument erected in remembrance *
* Cemetery where rest the crew *

Crash site of Spitfire NH711-MN-?
23/01/1945

aircraft
crest raf squadron
Unit: 350 Squadron
Aircraft: Spitfire
Code: NH711-MN-?
Base: Y.32 Ophoven, Belgium
Mission: Armed recce
Crew officer: Fl/Sgt Huens Nicolas
Incident: Shot down by German fighter

Location: (Prov. Luxembourg)

crash

Facts

Aviator Sergeant Robert Huens was shot down by the 'Flak' (German air defense) at Heckhalenfeld, near the Belgian border, on January 23, 1945. He was 25 years old.
Son of Alphonse Huens-Materne, Robert was born in Rixensart on September 12, 1919 and lived there rue de la Station 8. He was already a member of the Belgian Military Aeronautics before the start of the Second World War. In fact, a student pilot belonging to the '78th Promotion September 01, 1938 in Wevelghem', he obtained the elementary certificate on May 15, 1939 and on August 18 of the same year, the military certificate. In September 1939, he was assigned to the 6/3 / 2Aé. The 2Aé is hunting with twelve 'Hurricanes' and the less modern, the 'Gladiators' and the Fiat. Its land is located in Schaffen and Nivelles.
On May 10, 1940, he was sent from the Zoute to Vissenaeken (3) and suffered on May 13 following the bombardment of Vissenaeken. He fell back on Moerbeke-Waes. On May 14, he was seconded to reinforce 3 Aé in Aeltre, and on 18 of the same month he left for France to join 2Aé in Frejorgues (Montpellier).
We also know that Robert Huens joined Great Britain and that he was incorporated into the Royal Air Force (RAF 1899804) on July 29, 1943. From August 7, 1943, he trained as a fighter pilot at RAF College by Cranwell. He was found on January 31, 1944 at the 5 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit at Ternhill. As of April 3, 1944, 'Bob' completed his training with the 53 Operational Training Unit, based in Kirton-in-Lindsey. On June 12, 1944, he was assigned to the 350 'Belgian' Squadron of the RAF, the famous Belgian squadron on Spitfire, which operated from Westhampnett in West Sussex. As early as August 1944, many pilots of the 'Three - Five - O' distinguished themselves by also destroying many V1 flying bombs.
The pilots of the 350 'Belgian' Squadron of the Royal Air Force and a Spitfire Mark XIV + 'Bob le Teuton'
In December 1944, the squadron moved to Belgium and provided offensive patrols during the Battle of the Bulge. During a reconnaissance mission ('armed recce'), 'Bob' Huens, nicknamed 'Le Teuton' by his fellow pilots, was shot down on January 23, 1945 on Spitfire Mk XIV n ° NH711 by the German anti-aircraft defense, near Saint-Vith.
According to Albert De Cock, he was at the center of a formation of three Spitfires, when his aircraft was hit by the flak during a strafing mission of a retreating German column. Robert Bladt, who was following him, thinks he was killed instantly. His plane crashes in Heckhalenfeld, near the Belgian border. The family are told that 'his device has been shot down and it is hoped that he has no other misfortune than being taken prisoner. The Belgian Embassy in London has been informed of the death of Robert Huens, in order to warn the relatives, but it does not follow up and the family is left in suspense and uncertainty. It was only on February 28, 1946 that his family would be officially notified of Robert's 'presumed death'. The certainty will not be acquired until May 1947 thanks to the intervention in London of the Count of Laurens, with whom Robert had stayed in Castelnaudary in 1942, but the official opinion of the Ministry of National Defense will not reach the family. that November 27, 1948! Robert's father went to his son's grave in Heckhalenfeld and found it maintained and decorated with flowers by the wife of the local Mayor, a mother who hoped that the same had been done for her two sons who had disappeared on the eastern front. After the British had gathered the bodies of their fallen soldiers in Germany, authorization was given to repatriate Robert Huens to Belgium. Robert's father went to his son's grave in Heckhalenfeld and found it maintained and decorated with flowers by the wife of the local Mayor, a mother who hoped that the same had been done for her two sons who had disappeared on the eastern front. After the British had gathered the bodies of their fallen soldiers in Germany, authorization was given to repatriate Robert Huens to Belgium. Robert's father went to his son's grave in Heckhalenfeld and found it maintained and decorated with flowers by the wife of the local Mayor, a mother who hoped that the same had been done for her two sons who had disappeared on the eastern front. After the British had gathered the bodies of their fallen soldiers in Germany, authorization was given to repatriate Robert Huens to Belgium.
The religious funeral and burial in the family vault at Rixensart took place on April 18, 1949. Military honors were returned to him by a detachment of the Belgian Air Force.
On June 18, 1949, the Rixensart Municipal Council decided to name the part of Rue de la Station between the railway bridge and Place Jefferys 'Rue Aviateur Huens'. Robert Huens was born at number 8 on the street that bears his name ”.

Sources:
KIA-MIA Project
The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Aircrew Remembered
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