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Downed RCAF airman treasures memories of life with the resistance
Memoirs dedicated to the Dutch Underground
Publish Date: Nov 23, 1998
Tags: World War II
BURNABY, British Columbia - His stay with hospitable Dutch families during World War II was involuntary and secret but it still evokes an grateful and enthusiastic response from former RCAF bomb aimer Bob Porter who later spent months in POW camps. The Lancaster crewman was shot down over the Zeist area and soon got acquainted with patriotic Dutchmen. He continues to visit his former helpers periodically. About a year ago, Porter published his wartime memoirs in a book and now is busy speaking to groups and schools who have invited him to talk about his experiences.
The 75-year-old veteran says that his book “The Long Return” has given him a new focus and mission in life. People need to hear what happened before the WWII veterans fade away. Since he self-published his book which recently went into its second printing, Porter has attended many book signing sessions and speaking engagements.
Next year June, it will be 55 years ago that Porter was sidelined from action. He spent seven months in hiding with Dutch families and only was caught when he and others failed in an attempt to cross the rivers through enemy lines. Four months of deprivation followed his capture. Porter - who wore civilian clothes - was accused by his captors of being an Allied spy. He was liberated at a Nuremberg camp by General Patton’s army. When Porter sent word home of his safe return to England, his family - after months of waiting for news about him - had received an official letter the day before announcing his death....
In 1958, Porter took his wife and two children to the Netherlands to introduce them to his wartime hosts. He has since been back about ten times and plans another trip next Spring. The airman-plumber-developer turned author and lecturer who has high praise for the Dutch resistance movement, laments the fact so few fellow Canadians are aware of what these people did for fellow human beings. Porter witnessed first hand how he was taken in for protection and how others joined him in hiding. This fact has to be better known, Porter says.
To take the lead, Porter now is collecting material for a second book in which he hopes to share more of his personal impressions of the Dutch “underground” and factual stories of other former resistance workers. Bob Porter can be reached at #2603-4288 Grange St., Burnaby, BC, V5H 1P2, phone 604-433-3237 and via email at 'email@example.com He also has a web page.