Monument for the fallen English kites (1946) Willem Verbon

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

This Monument for the fallen English kites is a gift from residents of the Noordsingel. The reason was an English squadron of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) taken down by the Germans. This memorial commemorates the killed crew of the downed warplane that crashed on the Noordsingel in front of the Courthouse on 16 July 1941. According to the residents, the pilots maneuvered the crashing aircraft in such a way that it did not land on the buildings, which saved many civilian lives. The monument was created by sculptor Willem Verbon and consists of three sandstone slabs and a brick end wall with wooden scaffolding. In the center is a relief of a floating male figure with a text of thanks for the RAF on either side, one in English and one in Dutch. The text is as follows: “In grateful memory of the men of the RAF who gave their lives for the freedom of the Netherlands. Gift from residents of Noordsingel ”.

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About the artist

Willem Verbon (Rotterdam, 1921 – there, 2003) took classes at the evening academy in the 1930s. Immediately after the Second World War, Verbon was commissioned to make a monument in honor of the Royal Air Force. He got one postgraduate scholarship offered by the British government and left for London for several years. In the early 1950s, Verbon returned to Rotterdam, where he moved into a studio in Oranjeboomstraat. His work mainly consists of figurative sculptures, usually representing historical figures. Verbon sculpted various statues and monuments for important Rotterdam residents and members of the Royal Family. Many of his works of art can be found in the public space of Rotterdam.

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