The Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES) flag, with its distinctive image of a winged boot, is used in ceremonies memorializing members of the anti-Nazi Resistance who aided Allied military personnel and commemorating the Liberation at the end of World War II. This page will be devoted to photos showing where the flag has been a part of the ceremonies. Click on a photo once or twice to enlarge it. Note that the AFEES flag is the blue flag with red trim and the winged boot symbol in the center.
For a history of the winged boot symbol by Claude C. Murray and Ralph K. Patton and an address by John White, also on that subject, go to the page of this website on the winged boot.
1. May 9, 2015, guide Henriette “Monique” Hanotte with Peter van de Parre, member of the Ligne Comète (Comet Line) Remembrance, greet Don Mills. This was part of the ceremony in Rumes, Belgium and Bachy, France to open the Dans les Pas de Monique (In Monique’s Footsteps) 10 k walk. See below.
2. May 9, 2015, Dirk Vijverman at the Dans les pas de Monique (In Monique’s Footsteps) 10 k walk (below)
3. June 23, 2016. Ceremony at Outer, Belgium (southeast of Ghent and south of Aalst) in memory of the B-17 “To Hell or Glory” and its crew. The B-17 crashed there June 23, 1944. Participating in the ceremony are Dirk Vijverman (l) and Henry “Dutch” Schultz, right waist gunner (r). (See photo below.) Members of the crew listed on the memorial are Daniel J. Mangan (✞), Harvey G. Cox, Herbert I. Cahn, Cory D. Bloudt, Richard T. Ennis, Ray Smith, James W. Philips, Henry J. Schultz, Albert S. Huff (✞), and Ewell M. Riddle.
4. September 16, 2016. Reunion at Kampina Airborne Monument, Boxtel, The Netherlands (see flag below in background). Peter van der Linden is shown right with his latest book on Kampina Airborne 1944.
5. September 16, 2016. Reunion at Kampina Airborne Monument, Boxtel, The Netherlands. Peter van der Linden, author of Kampina Airborne (left), and Dirk Vijverman, AFEES Friend (right), hold the AFEES flag.
6. September 17, 2016, Eerde (near Veghel in North Brabant Province), annual U.S.-Netherlands Commemoration. Children carrying Allied flags assemble for the parade. Behind them is Dirk Vijverman, AFEES Friend, carrying the AFEES flag. (See below.)
7. September 17, 2016, Eerde (near Veghel in North Brabant Province) annual U.S.-Netherlands Commemoration parade to the 501st Airborne Infantry Regiment Memorial. (Carrying the flag is Dirk Vijverman, representing AFEES.) (See below.)
8. At the end of the parade to the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment at Eerde, The Netherlands. Dirk Vijverman, AFEES Friend, holds the AFEES flag at the memorial (see below).
9. October 23, 2016, inauguration of the Plaque at the Swedish Canteen, Brussels. A representative of the King greets Henriette “Monique” Hanotte and Andrèe “Nadine” Dumon (see below).
10. October 23, 2016, the plaque at the Swedish Canteen, Brussels (below).
11. Meeting with Helen Patton, granddaughter of Gen. Patton, Sainte-Mere-Eglise, June 2017
12. Meeting with Conny French Rinker and her daughter Erin. Mrs. Rinker’s father landed on Utah-Beach, July 1944, with the 4th Armored Division, with Gen. Patton
13. Inauguration of the monument in honor of Maj. John Tucker, at Carentan-Saint Hilaire Petitville, June 2017 (three photos). Shown are U.S. military representatives, a U.S. honor guard, and French standard bearer friends from local patriotic associations.
14. Memorial “The Parachutist” near the Dutch city of Son en Breugel north of Eindhoven, on the occasion of the 73rd Anniversary of Operation Market Garden, Sunday, September 17, 2017.
15. Below are photos taken at the October 14, 2017 combined Remembrance Day ceremony and the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Belgian Air Forces Association at the monument in the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels. Dirk Vijverman presented the AFEES flag and Jean-Marie Schryrnemakers provided the floral display.
16. Below are photos taken at the October 13, 2018 combined Remembrance Day ceremony and the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the Belgian Air Forces Association at the monument in the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels. The AFEES flag bearer, Dirk Vijverman was unable to be present but Jean-Marie Schryrnemakers provided the floral display shown below. Mr. Schrynemakers was welcomed by the representatives of BAFA and their President Guido Vanhecke who gave a wonderful speech about the friendship that exists between our associations. His remarks were in response to a letter of friendship from AFEES President John Katsaros.
17. Commemorative services were held on Oct. 21, 2017 in Brussels in memory of Andrea De Jongh, founder of the Comet Line (Réseau COMETE), other members of her family and the many members of the Comet Line who perished as a result of aiding downed Allied airmen. Dirk Vijverman participated, displaying the AFEES flag. See https://web.mail.comcast.net/service/home/~/?auth=co&loc=en_US&id=433500&part=2 as well as the following photos.
18. Photo taken at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres, Belgium. Holding the flag are the four children of the Navigator Carmen Vozzella of Boston of the Henry Wolcott B-24 crew that crashed at Aaigem, Belgium, May 29, 1944. Their father was able to evade capture thanks to the Belgian Resistance and taken to the Marathon camps in the Belgian Ardennes. Below that is a commemoration of Lt. Wolcott’s reunion in 2001 with the members of the Resistance who helped him in 1944.
19. Photo taken at a memorial dinner in Stambruges, Belgium, held on May 10, 2018 to honor the people of Stambruges who protected the crew of the Shake Rabbit III. Margy Fricke, holding flag, stands next to Dirk Vijverman.
20. AFEES flag held by Dirk Vijverman along with other Belgian and French flags at a WWI and WWII memorial, May 12, 2018 in Rumes, Belgium.
21. Photo taken May 12, 2018 with Dirk Vijverman holding the AFEES flag next to the statue dedicated to Comet Line helper “Monique” Henriette Hanotte. For more on the statue, click here.
22. Sept. 17, 2018 Commemoration of the liberation at Eerde (Sint-Antonius Windmolen). Dirk Vijverman represented AFEES at this ceremony where about 20 WWII veterans from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. were present. Lt. Col. Ryan JERKE from the US.Embassy at the Netherlands, WWII escape and evasion historian Co de Swart, and school children also attended. The following photo was taken with the AFEES flag, famous U.S. veteran Vincent “Vince” SPERANZA, 101 AB, 501 Parachute Regiment, H-Co., 3rd Batallion, and Dirk Vijverman, representing AFEES.
23. Feb. 20, 2019 commemoration at the monument ‘To Hell or Glory’ at OUTER-Belgium (see below). Curtis Steinback (left) and Dirk Vijverman (right) hold the AFEES flag at the memorial to the B-17, “To Hell or Glory,” near Outer, Belgium. Mr. Steinback’s grandfather, Ray Smith, ball turret gunner on the “To Hell or Glory,” was aided by the Belgian Underground, but later arrested as a result of the Belgian collaborator Prosper DeZitter, imprisoned at Saint-Gilles Prison in Brussels and, lastly, held on the “Ghost Train” (or “Phantom Train“) from which he escaped during the liberation of Brussels. For a Flemish newspaper story on the commemoration, click here. For an English translation, click on the following: Curtis Steinback visit Haaltert EN (6).
24. AFEES Member Dirk Vijverman Reports the Following: On June 23 we held the 75th anniversary commemoration at our monument to the crash of the B-17 “To Hell or Glory” at Outer, near Ninove, Belgium. In attendance was the former right waist gunner Henry Schultz, age 95, on his fourth visit to Belgium, along with his daughter and family. Also attending were Rick Mangan, of Seattle, nephew of the pilot Danny Mangan (kia), and Curtis Steinback, grandson of ball turret gunner Ray Smith. This was Steinback’s second visit, having come from Los Angeles. To view an article about the ceremony, with pictures of Danny Mangan and Henry Schultz, click on the following: artikel HLN 21JUN2019 Herdenking To Hell or Glory. To see an article and photos of the ceremony, click on the following: Article To Hell or Glory HLN 2019 06 23. For an English translation, click on translation Newspaper article To Hell or Glory HLN 2019 06 23 ENG Tom LIOTTIER Belgium (1).
25. AFEES Member Dirk Vijverman represented AFEES at the 75th Anniversary of Operation Marget Garden. On September 17, 2019, ceremonies were held at at the windmill at Eerde, The Netherlands, in observance of the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden. In attendance were the U.S. Ambassador to The Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, plus WWII veterans, including Vince Sperenza who did a tandem jump. Dirk Vijverman, having been invited to participate by the Airborne Comité of Eerde, displayed the AFEES flag and Tom Liottier laid a display of flowers on behalf of AFEES.
26. Zottegem, Belgium, May 8, 2021, Ceremonies. Thanks to an invitation from Mr. Marc Devalckeneerd, president of the National Veterans Association (NSB) of Zottegem, Belgium, Dirk Vijverman displayed the AFEES flag on our behalf at the May 8, 2021 Victory in Europe ceremonies in Zottegem, Belgium. Zottegem is in Flanders, south of the Belgian city of Gent (Ghent). For more on VE-Day, May 8, 1945, click here.
27. Strijp-Zottegem, Belgium, Sept. 4, 2021. 77th Anniversary of the Liberation of Belgium. Dirk Vijverman wrote us to say: “A week ago I received an invitation to be present today at the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Belgium at STRIJPEN-ZOTTEGEM, from Marc DE VALCKENEER, president of the veterans association, Nationale Strijdersbond van België, Groot-ZOTTEGEM. I have attached a few photos from my presence with the AFEES flag this morning on this 77th anniversary celebration at STRIJPEN-ZOTTEGEM. In the area of ZOTTEGEM at the village VELZEKE there was the SOE dropping zone ‘LE FAISAN’ where the (US) John. T. Kelly-crew (base HARRINGTON – England) successfully arranged a dropping on the night of 10 -11 May 1944. In the area near ZOTTEGEM there was also the crash of the US. Carpetbagger ‘C for Charlie’ at AAIGEM (Henry WOLCOTT-crew) in the night of May 28/29 1944, as well as other crashes.”
28. “Eighty Years of the Cométe Line”. Mr. Vijverman represented AFEES at the “Eighty Years of the Cométe Line” ceremonies on October 17, 2021 in Brussels. See the three photos below. The organization is headed by Mrs. Brigitte d’Oultremont.
Ceremony above at home of Andrée de Jongh, founder of the Comete Line, with Dirk Vijverman, center, holding AFEES flag.
Flag ceremony above at the Swiss Canteen (Cantine suédoise), Brussels.
Ceremony Oct. 17, 2021 at the Enclos des Fusillés (Enclosure of the Executed), Schaerbeek, Dirk Vijverman holding the AFEES flag.
29. Funeral of Henriette Hanotte, known as “Monique”. Mr. Vijverman displayed the AFEES flag in honor of Henriette Hanotte.
30.AFEES Flag at Aug. 21, 2022 Ceremony at Zegelsem, Belgium Crash of the B-17 “Can Do” with Dirk Vijverman displaying the flag. The article following the pictures is by Marc DE VALCKENEER, chairman of the Nationale Strijdersbond van België at ZOTTEGEM.
31. Below are three photos taken during the ceremonies on Sept. 10, 2022 of the WWII liberation of Aalst, Belgium. The flowers were donated by AFEES member Dirk Vijverman on behalf of AFEES.
32. Dirk Vijverman was invited by the Airborne Comité at Eeerde, The Netherlands, to represent AFEES with its flag on Sept. 17, 2022, the occasion of the 78th anniversary of “Operation Market Garden”. Representing the United States was an honor guard, a platoon from the 101″Screaming Eagles” Airborne Division, and a U.S. military band. Attending the ceremony were military representatives of the 101st Airborne Division, diplomats from the U.S. Embassy at The Hague, including the U.S. Chargés d’Affaires, Mrs. Aleisha Woodward, Kees Van Rooij, the mayor of Meierijstad, and two representatives of the British Airforce. Dirk Vijverman, carrying the AFEES flag, accompanied a platoon from the 101st Airborne Division and local schoolchildren from Eerde. Dirk’s friend, Tom Liottier, laid an arrangement of flowers representing AFEES at the U.S. monument. After the ceremony Dirk spoke with U.S. Colonel Edwin D. Matthaidess, III , of the 101st Airborne Division, telling him about the AFEES flag and what the organization stands for. Mr. Ad van de Laar, from the Airborne Comité at Eerde, announced to the public how every year the AFEES flag is represented at the ceremony.
33. Inauguration of the B-17 “Man O’ War Monument” at Breuil sur Vesle near Reims, May 6, 2023. Presentation of the AFEES flag at the Aalst, Belgium commemoration of VE-Day on May 8. On May 6 Dirk Vijverman, represented AFEES at the inauguration of the B-17 “Man O’ War” monument at the town of Breuil sur Vesle. The monument memorialized the crash of the “Man O’War” on March 20, 1944 during its final mission, which was to Frankfurt, Germany. Shown below are (1) the invitation received by Mr. Vijverman from the mayor of Breuil sur Vesle, Mr. Bertrand Boilly; (2) a photo taken after the ceremony of Dirk Vijverman with Lt. Col. Patrick Heim, Deputy Military Attache of the U.S. Embassy, and the daughter of Ted Krol, bombardier of “Man O’ War”; and (3) a floral arrangement submitted by Dirk Vijverman for the ceremony.
Additional photos taken on the occasion include: (1) a WWII information plaque about the crash of the “Man O’ War” and (2) pieces of equipment from the “Man O’ War” as well as crew member equipment from a local WWII collector.
Mayor of Breuil sur Vesle, Mr. Bertrand Boilly, shared with us several photos from the ceremony, four of which appear below. Note that Dirk Vijverman with the AFEES flag appears at the far left in the second of the four photos as well as in the fifth photo which he provided.
34. Participation in the VE-DAY 1945-2023 Remembrance in Aalst, Belgium, May 8, 2023. Mr. Vijverman also participated in the VE-Day Remembrance held in Aalst, Belgium on May 8. The following photos provide some understanding of how it took place. The blue AFEES flag is held by Mr. Vijverman.
One thought on “AFEES Flag at WWII Commemorations”
Found a flag in Belgium with “AFEES – We will never Forget” with a man parachuting down into a hand. Can anybody shed some light on this?
Wish I could upload the flag to show you.
We corresponded with Mr. Degive and he kindly provided a photo of a quilt containing the image. A new page on the website at https://airforceescape.org/afees-symbols/ shows it and other helping hand symbols.