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Other matters


Although the Allied airforces had been painfully missed over Zuid-Beveland and Walcheren in the morning, the French and British planes flew many missions in the area between Breda and Antwerp. During one of those missions a German Do-17 was shot down at 1400 hours between Woensdrecht and Ternuezen. According to German records it was attacked by three Moranes MS-406. All four crew-men were taken prisoner.

In the early morning and in the evening again Hampdens of several squadrons attacked the roads around Breda and Roosendaal a number of times. The German loss records show some losses of personnel in Roosendaal at the 15th and 16th. This may well have been due to the Allied air attacks, for war-efforts on the ground had already ceased on the 14th.

Dutch command evacuated

The Dutch commander-in-chief in Zeeland, Rear-Admiral Van der Stad, received instructions from the Dutch government in London that he had to do everything within his power not to fall into German hands.

Van der Stad felt a little awkward about this instruction for he thought that leaving Walcheren would make the impression on his subordinates of leaving the sinking ship. He consulted the French Vice-Admiral Platon with this matter. The Frenchman advised Van der Stad to adhere to the instructions. Probably the French didn't mind the Dutch command moving itself out of the way in a show in which the Dutch contribution had meanwhile decreased to a level somewhere between slim and none anyway.

After consultatiing his staff officers, Van der Stad decided to move his command post to Breskens [Zeeuw Vlaanderen]. He gave instruction to his artillery commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Karel, to maintain the "day-to-day" business at the staff - but he did specifically not transfer the command over to him. Although on one hand an understandable decision - since he only moved his command post to the south - on the other hand the officers and staff members that were left in Middelburg had received no proxy or authority to decide independently, which posed them with numerous operational challenges, even with the mildest contribution of the Dutch armed forces on Walcheren as it were. A situation that would especially the next day lead to plenty of chaos in the Dutch chain of command.

Dutch navy evacuation

The Dutch gunboat HrMs Flores left for Dunkirk at the 16th, after it had sustained some minor damage and urgently required a degaussing sweep. It did so on own initiative of the captain, whereas Van der Stad, when informed of the news, summoned the ship to return. But it did not return. The day after the HrMs Flores would play a peculiar role.

The modern minelayer HrMs Van Meerlant left for Oostende at 0315 to take a fresh load of fuel, but halfway there it was - like the HrMs Flores - summoned back. Also the captain of this vessel disregarded these orders and continued course to Oostende. Oostende proved impossible to be entered, and as such the ship went to Dunkirk, where it buffered new supplies.

Although very unlike the Dutch navy, which was still very traditional and very obedient is it came to adhering to superior instructions, the events with the two navy captains disobeying orders was a significant signal that the very existance of the Dutch army in the homeland was crumbling from its last remaining piece.