Willem  Eduard de Graaff was the son of a Dutch father and an Indonesian mother. Before the Second World War he became in 1933 a KLM airline pilot after he had obtained his pilot’s licence on 20 January 1931. He flew as a regular pilot initially on European routes but later also on the KLM Amsterdam-Batavia route.

Willem de Graaff - KLM and KG 200 pilot!

Willem de Graaff – KLM and KG 200 pilot!

When Germany overran the Netherlands in May 1940 he showed great sympathy for the ‘New Order’ and he soon became a member of the pro-Nazi political party NBS (Nationaal Socialistische Beweging).

In 1942 he applied voluntarily as a pilot in the German Luftwaffe and apparently his Indonesian background was no objection for his final selection and training. He was trained at Salzwedel and was posted to a ferry unit flying new aircraft from the factory fields to their collection and distribution point at Berlin-Rangsdorf airfield. In 1943 he was posted to the Versuchsverband Ob.d. L. Later that year he was seriously injured at his legs when he crashed in a Letov B-71, the Czech licence-built version of the Tupolev SB-2 bomber.

After his recovery he was posted to the notorious KG200 where he flew intruder missions into Allied territory to drop agents and spies in  several different multi-engine aircraft types.

After the war he managed to avoid being captured and transported as a prisoner of war to the Soviet Union and since his return to the Netherlands was not possible because he would be prosecuted as a Nazi collaborator he used  the ex-Nazi escape line to South America.

Here, he disappeared from history and his final fate remains unknown……

After the war very little was ever published on this person in Dutch aviation books and magazines since this was ‘not done’ for very apparent reasons!!

 Nico Braas

Sources:

-L.C. de Graaf  van Limburg Stierum, Nederlandsche luchtvaarders, A.W. Buna & Zn-Utrecht (1936)

-David Oliver, Airborne espionage, Sutton Publishing U.K. (2005)