EUROPEAN FORTRESS DAY: How a WW2 pilot survived thanks to Pampus island and courageous fishermen!

29-08-2018

Everywhere in Europe there are forts, bunkers, castles and fortified towns. In order to bring the forts and fortification heritage of Europe more to the attention of a broad European public, a European Fortune Day will be held for the first time in 2018 on Saturday 8 September. For the Dutch fortress island Pampus reason to demand extra attention for the unbelievable story of the American WW2 pilot Claude Murray. In the fort you discover how the pilot searched for his rescue on Pampus after he was shot from the air by the Germans.

Claude Murray a pilot on Pampus

In 1944 the American pilot Claude Murray was shot down above the IJsselmeer. He landed with his parachute in the water near the artificial island of Pampus. For 13 hours he floated in an inflatable boat without paddles. Dangerous, because he could easily be spotted by the German patrol boats.

It became night and suddenly Murray saw a shape resembling a boat. He began to paddle with his hands and reached a small deserted island, Pampus fort. In his survival package he found matches and with some wood he made a fire. He saw fishing boats in the distance. Murray tried to draw their attention, but in vain.

In the next afternoon he decided to take up the water again and with a piece of wood he paddled towards the mainland. He was lucky. A fishing boat saw the American and hoisted him aboard. The fishermen quickly hid the boy under their nets. The nearcoming German patrol boat was fortunately unaware and the fishermen reached the shore with their American. A resistance group provided a hiding place there.

Until the end of the war Murray survived as the deaf and mute business traveler Jan Smit. At fortress island Pampus you can find the whole story and see how Murray returned to Pampus long after the war.