Marie Wilhelm Jaeger

The Section Ammunition of the 5th Transport Company was responsible for supplying ammunition to the Light Division. It was a relatively modern division; all its troops were mobile in contrast to other Dutch divisions which had fixed positions. The soldiers in some units moved about on bicycle. During maneuvers or in case of war, however, they could expect to be given assistance from one of the Motorized Companies belonging to the Motorized Corps. They had at their disposal a substantial number of the almost 12,000 cars which had been requisitioned from private owners and businesses in 1939.

The 5th Transport Company was set up in 1939 during the mobilization. Both the commander as well as non-commissioned officers, corporals and soldiers, in total more than 80 men, were detached to this company from the Motorized Artillery Corps, one depot batallion of which was encamped in Oegstgeest. In May 1940, the company was stationed in Boxtel in middle-Brabant. Once war had begun, they would be sent into action to defend Rotterdam and The Hague, their destination being Bleiswijk.

On May 10th, war erupted. That morning the company departed at 08:30 hours in the direction of the Moerdijk bridge, with ammunition in trucks and soldiers on bicycles. Between Oisterwijk and Moergestel they made contact with the Motorized Company of the 5th Batallion Motorized Corps. Lieutenant Jaeger was stationed with this company.

Wim Jaeger was born on the Rijnsburgerweg in Leiden on 23 January 1904. Later his family moved house to the Raadsherenbuurt. His father held a large number of positions in Leiden, including being Director-Owner of the Leiden Net Factory, member of the city council, agent for the Nederlandsche Bank, and a noteworthy cellist. Wim took his final high-school examinations at the Stedelijk Gymnasium and then studied law in Leiden. After obtaining his Master at Law degree, he entered military service where, after completing his training, he first became a Candidate Reserve Officer and then Second Lieutenant.

Marie Wilhelm Jaeger

By the time reservists were being mobilized in 1939, he had already been promoted to First Lieutenant. In the meantime, he had married the nearly four year younger Hester Cornelia van Schouwen, nicknamed Hetty, from Rotterdam and had fathered two sons. They lived in Deventer and Arnhem before moving house to the IJsselkade in Zutphen. There Jaeger was Director of what was originally the Geldersche Creditvereeniging before being taken over in 1936 by the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (which after the war merged with the Twentsche Bank to become the ABN).

Under attack by German aircrafts
The bicycles and soldiers of the Section Ammunition were loaded onto the automobiles belonging to the Motorized Company before the column continued on its journey. Meanwhile it had been made known that the Moerdijk Bridge had been taken by German airbourne troops. Their plans had to be altered; their destination would now be Ottoland between Gorkum and Schoonhoven rather than Bleiswijk.

To Ottoland they would have to cross the Bergse Maas using a floating pontoon bridge at Waalwijk. Because such a bridge has a limited capacity, a queue of 300 military vehicles developed in which the last truck was still held up in Loon op Zand.

The temporary grave of Reserve 1ste Lieutenant M.W.Jaeger, in Groot-Ammers.

At that moment, the Section Ammunition, including the vehicles belonging to Jaeger’s Motorized Company, were on their way to Kaatsheuvel in the Loonse and Drunense Dunes. It is 13:00 hours when German aircraft are spotted approaching from the south. They attack the convoy first with bombs and thereafter with machine-gun fire. Both Klaassens en Niemeijer have experienced a similar situation the same afternoon, as described later. Another attack takes place 90 minutes later.

In total, six soldiers are killed and two are so badly injured that one man will die of his wounds on May 19th. The Reservist First Lieutenant Marie Wilhelm Jaeger who had been wounded by bomb fragments was one of the men who died.

That evening the commander of the Motorized Company registered the deaths of these six men with the local authorities in Groot-Ammers on the river Lek. The following evening, five servicemen, including Lieutenant Jaeger, were buried there; the sixth body was taken to Kaatsheuvel for burial.

Hetty Jaeger, who was left widowed with two sons aged 2 and 4, sought refuge with her in-laws in Leiden and thereafter established home on the Julianalaan in Oegstgeest. On 8 June 1940, the body of her husband was brought back and laid to rest in the Groene Kerkje cemetery. The name Hetty Jaeger was chiseled into the headstone in 1996 when her ashes were scattered there by her children.

Family grave of the Jaeger family. Lieutenant Jaeger is mentioned in the left upper corner.