Dutch WW2 Escape Recreated Near Southwold

Sizewell beach near Southwold on the Suffolk coast played it’s part last night, as the end point of a mighty journey from Holland started by 4 British Men

Alex Greenwell, Ed Cooper, Harry Franks and Olly Hicks began the expedition, which aimed to recreate the daring escape of 32 Dutchmen, known as the Engelandvaarders, from Nazi occupied Holland during WW2.

Their aim was to complete the trip from Holland to Sizewell beach in Suffolk, just down the coast from Southwold in Kayaks.

The trip, which took over 40 hours to complete was aimed at raising money for the Suffolk Foundation and Combat Stress.

Much like the original journey, the trip was extremely arduous, across the tough North sea, with only experienced rower Olly Hicks, 29 managed to complete the entire journey. Mr Hicks was the first man to row solo from America to England in 2005 and said how this new journey took a lot to complete,

“It was a really tough challenge. We all got seasick and are exhausted. The fact that three dropped out after eight months of training shows how tough it was. I met some of the original Engelandvaarders in Holland and it’s a privilege to do this in their honour.”

The journey was commended by Prince Harry, a serviceman himself in the Military.
In a statement, Harry said: “I am truly amazed at what the Engelandvaarder team have achieved in the past couple of days. To have kayaked across the open water of the North Sea, in weather that at times reached force five, is an extraordinary thing to have done.

“That the team – British and Dutch – have done so 70 years to within a few weeks after the gallant original Engelandvaarder undertook their legendary ordeal, serves as a fitting memorial to them all and in particular those who gave their lives during the crossing in 1941.

“It is appropriate that today’s endeavour should be in support of Combat Stress, which does so much to help our young servicemen and women. It is also fitting that the Suffolk Foundation is a beneficiary, as it was on this county’s shore that the surviving Engelandvaarder reached freedom.”

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