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Wesley J. Duiker - World War II

Lieutenant Wes Duiker grew up during the depression, the son of an American Reformed Church minister, and planned on following his father into the ministry until he decided to enlist in the Army Air Force in November, 1942. After two years of intensive training, he became a B-26 Marauder pilot, and flew twelve combat missions over Germany and occupied France in April, 1945. Since he arrived in Europe late in the war, Lieutenant Duiker spent the next year on occupation duty, and during that time observed the horrors of Dachau as well as a day of the Nuremburg War Crimes trials.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

An accident during training

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life, training as B-26 pilot and combat missions in Europe in 1945

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Photos

Caption

A newspaper clipping from a Holland, Michigan newspaper announced the enlistment of a group of Hope College students into the U.S. Army Air Force (enlisted reserve) in late 1942. Wes Duiker is pictured second from the left in the third row.

Where:

Holland, Michigan

When:

Late 1942

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Trainee Wes Duiker in his bomber jacket and goggles, taken during primary flight training at Calero Air Base in Ontario, CA in early 1944.

Where:

Ontario, CA

When:

Early 1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Wes Duiker, along with the rest of Class 44 D, graduated from Primary Flight Training at Calero Air Base in Ontario, CA in early 1944.

Where:

Ontario, CA

When:

Early 1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Lieutenant Wes Duiker after receiving his wings as a B-26 pilot after graduating from flight school, class 44 E, at Stockton, California in 1944.

Where:

Stockton, CA

When:

1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Wes Duiker poses for a picture in front of his home in Owasco, New York while on leave following flight school. The red and white banner with star visible in the window indicates that the family had a son in military service.

Where:

Owasco, NY

When:

1944

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Wes Duiker (on the right) with fellow students and their pilot instructor (center) stand in front of a Vultee BT-13 Valiant trainer. They took their flight training at Calero Air Base in Ontario, CA.

Where:

Ontario, CA

When:

1944

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

This map depicts the route that Lieutenant Duiker and his B-26 crew took to reach Europe. The plane’s limited fuel capacity dictated this circuitous route to the war zone.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1944-1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Duiker was part of a crew that flew the B-26, “Kid Kelly,” on its 100th mission. Top row left to right: Wes Duiker, pilot; J.C. Lane, bombardier/navigator. Front row: A.A. Duran, tail gun; D.C. Knudsen, engineer; and S.L. Le Blanc, radioman.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1944-1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Wes Duiker gets his photo taken with the artwork on the nose of the Lady Eve in early 1945. This was one of several aircraft he piloted while in Europe.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Early 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wes Duiker sits in the cockpit of a B-26 named Wild Willie while he was based in Dijon, France in April, 1945. The black marks on the fuselage indicate the number of missions that the plane has conducted.

Where:

Dijon, France

When:

April 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Wes Duiker is at the controls of a B-26 while flying a combat mission over southern France and Germany in April, 1945.

Where:

Southern France

When:

April 1945

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

A picture of the bombardier, Lieutenant John Lane in a B-26 being piloted by Lieutenant Duiker during a mission over Germany in April, 1945.

Where:

Germany

When:

April 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Even in the last month of the war in April, 1945, the skies over Germany were a dangerous place to fly. This aircraft in Wes’s squadron suffered flak damage but managed to make it back to base.

Where:

France

When:

April 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A captured German Me 262 jet fighter. Duiker’s crew encountered several of these jets during missions they flew in April, 1945.

Where:

France

When:

April 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Wes Duiker and his B-26 crew that flew together while based near Dijon, France in April, 1945. From left to right are Duiker, co-pilot James Jorgenson, John Lain, Sterling LeBlank, Donald Knudsen and Arthur Duncan.

Where:

Dijon, France

When:

April 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wes Duiker saved this list of Do’s and Dont’s that servicemen on occupation duty in Brussels were issued by their chain of command.

Where:

Brussels, Belgium

When:

1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Wesley Duiker saved this menu from a Canadian Officers Club in Amsterdam following the war in August, 1945.

Where:

Amsterdam, Netherlands

When:

August 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Wesley Duiker saved this menu from a Canadian Officers Club in Amsterdam following the war in August, 1945.

Where:

Amsterdam, Netherlands

When:

August 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Wes Duiker takes a friend’s photo while they were in Paris in the fall of 1945, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Wes was fortunate to have an American officer who was fluent in French and well acquainted with the city as his guide.

Where:

Paris, France

When:

Fall, 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Duiker got to observe some testimony at a war crimes trial at the Dachau Concentration Camp, in the fall of 1945. A civilian accused of killing a downed pilot was being tried that day.

Where:

Southern Germany

When:

Fall, 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wes Duiker's temporary pass to visit the war crimes court at the Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany in late 1945.

Where:

Southern Germany

When:

Late 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Wesley and his motorcycle in France, in late 1945. Wes later totaled a different motorcycle in an accident while touring northwestern Germany.

Where:

Northwestern Germany

When:

Late 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wes Duiker in his quarters while stationed in Belgium after the war in late 1945. As an officer, he was fortunate to have his own place to stay.

Where:

Belgium

When:

Late 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

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Caption

Wesley in front of his "Eagle's Nest" that he built himself while stationed in Belgium after the war in late 1945.

Where:

Belgium

When:

Late 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Duiker saw the ovens of the Dachau Concentration Camp first hand while on occupation duty in late 1945. Seeing the horrors at Dachau affected him deeply.

Where:

Southern Germany

When:

Late 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Wes toured France in late 1945 with a fellow officer, a trip that included a visit to Lourdes in southern France, the sacred site where the Catholic Saint, Bernadette discovered ‘miracle waters’ and had a vision of the Virgin Mary.

Where:

Lourdes, France

When:

Late 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Duiker toured the Dachau Concentration Camp while he was stationed outside Munich, Germany, in late 1945. The majestic gate for the camp belied the gruesome realities of the camp.

Where:

Southern Germany

When:

Late 1945

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

This ticket allowed Lieutenant Duiker to sit in the visitors section at the Nuremberg war crimes trial in the spring of 1946. Field Marshal Alfred Jodl was being tried at the time.

Where:

Nuremberg

When:

Spring, 1946

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Wes Duiker sent this telegram dated July 8, 1946 to his parents from Ft. Dix, New Jersey, informing them that he would soon be home, which he did in late July, 1946.

Where:

Unknown

When:

July 1946

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.



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