'H' Patrol appendix last meeting.


Libya - Tunisia

Italy - Austria

Appendix: HP-e10092011
Operation Polderroute. (meeting of the M.H.V.C.G. Yeomanry)
Date: 10th September 2011

A while ago at a meeting I talked with Joeri Quintyn of the Yeomanry Club about the days gone by. Even though we were present at different meetings in Belgium, it was a while since we went to one organised by the Yeomanry Club. So I told him that we would be present during the Polderroute this year. Oh yes, the Polderroute, I remember the first one, October 7th and 8th 1988, as I was still riding my motor cycle then and met my friend Rudolph Renier and Freddy De Tremmerie, the former chairman. This was also my first meeting compiling 2 days as I just joined single day trips. Also of the 4th Polderroute I had great memories when my Jeep suffered from rabies caused by Bruno Two (+) of the S.A.S. Sadly destiny struck as I couldn’t get leave from work and Cpl. Blutch had guard duty. But maybe it was possible to join the Polderroute only for one day and so we planned it for Saturday.

At 10.30 am I fuelled up and drove to Cpl. Butch and Mash from where we went in the direction of Knokke. A bit strange according to me and after driving into Knokke Cpl. Blutch looked at the road map and came to the conclusion that De Haan wasn’t near Knokke.
Our little convoy turned into the direction of Zeebrugge and not much later De Haan came in sight. A bit later we arrived in Vosseslag where we saw a beautiful installed camp. It was past midday, so time for some tea. It was Popski’s fresh made coffee actually, it tasted good, even without the milk for some of us. We saw a man coming up to us, it was Rudolph. It was a while ago since I had seen him. A bit later the son of Paul Verheylezoon joined us and Hilde Mortier also came up to say hello. It was a long time since we had seen each other.

A half an hour later the start sign was given and as one of the first vehicles we drove off from the camp. Whether Popski was puffing from the warmth of his battle dress or from something else, we will never know, but Cpl. Blutch and Mash had noticed it. We drove through the landscape guided by a few bikers, who were a big help at the cross roads. At a certain moment: “Popski, is there a break during this ride?” “I don’t know, for what reason?” “Mash needs to go.” “Oh, okay.” It was like he did it on purpose, but next we saw every hole, every bump in the road. Not much later we had to pull over, otherwise Mash was in for some serious problems. After pulling alongside several people asked if we had any kind of engine trouble. “Yeah right, engine trouble”, we smiled. Not much later, when Mash returned, we joined the rest of the group and discovered it was more pleasant driving at the end of the colony. Driving through the beautiful landscape we arrived at the resting place where we could stretch our legs. When we came to the stall for some food and beverages I heard left and right from me: “Who are those guys and where do they come from?”
I smiled and thought about history repeating it selves. During World War II most military in Europe thought of P.P.A. being a myth as they had heard about them, but never had seen them, as they were active far away behind enemy lines. As I heard them talking about the fact that we were one of those ancient drivers, they were not far from the truth as I ‘patrolled the circuit’ for some 26 years now. I saw a lot of new faces that day. The kids were hungry and thirsty, so Cpl. Blutch got them some hamburgers and soft drinks. While we were at lunch several acquaintances and old friends came over for a little chat or just to say hello.

“I am going to see the Land Rovers with their big V8 engines under the bonnet,” said Cpl. Blutch. “By the way, is there a possibility to drive around these parts?” “I don’t know,” said Popski. “But maybe down there.” The civil Land Rovers went down there followed by a Willys CJ and the Willys of Stijn for a ride on the terrain. Without any doubts Popski and Cpl. Blutch climbed into their Jeeps and followed in seconds. No way we would pass on such an occasion. Cpl. Blutch was followed by Popski, first going down, then back up, into the 2nd turn steep down again. Then we saw a sign ‘Soft’ which led to the left and a sign ‘Hard’ which led to the right. Following a Land Rover we went to the right. Steep down we had to make a 180° turn and then steep up again. Cpl. Blutch succeeded after several trials to get on top of the hill and was relieved. Popski however prepared his Willys and got on top in one straight attempt. Mash couldn’t understand how Popski did it in one attempt, but he had already seen it would be easier if you took a small run-up. We drove on and Mash said to Cpl. Blutch to take the ‘Soft’ route for the rest of the track.

At the end of the track, on top of the hill, most of the drivers turned to be simple watchmen and with a big smile on his face Popski said: “I am going for seconds!” Magali asked to follow the ‘Hard’ track all the way now and followed by Cpl. Blutch, driving with Mash and Joran, they did. We also completed this track, with Cpl. Blutch solving his earlier confrontation with the one attempt also. After finishing for the second time Joeri came over for a chat. “Man, this was fun. At last a place where we could exercise a bit of off road riding. We are indeed a well-match for those civil Land Rovers.” Joeri replied:”I wouldn’t have expected less from you guys!”

Cpl. Blutch and Popski left again to take some photos as a souvenir to document the trip and to show the veterans and members in England. Half way the track Popski encountered some trouble driving up a hill. Earlier those big civil Land Rovers had made some deep tire tracks and with a heavy loaded Jeep, as always, it became harder to take the hills. Its belly nearly touched the ground between the tire tracks. Stijn, who drove behind Popski, asked: “Would you like me to show you how to do it?” “Sure, if you’ll also take the extra weight in mind,” said Popski. Cpl. Blutch drew Popski’s attention on the fact that the leaf springs of Stijn’s Willys were nicely bent upwards and ours were always straight or slightly bent downwards because of their heavy load, which in fact was one of the characteristic features of a P.P.A. Jeep. After the photo shoot annex fun trip we parked our vehicles and Popski hugged his Jeep and thanked him for the hard work. We knew Popski was a class of his own, but some thought it was a rather strange gesture.

Sadly we weren’t able to stay much longer so Cpl. Blutch shouted to Popski it was time to cover up the guns for the way home. We finished the job when the column started to move. We passed the column, saluted the men in the Police Jeep who escorted the vehicles and disappeared without a trace behind the horizon, like P.P.A. used to do. Along the way a 10 pound heavy mud clod fell from underneath Cpl. Blutch’s Jeep causing Popski to get the giggles. When we arrived at home, Joran was exchanged for a cup of coffee from Mash and a bit later Popski’s Jeep got his well earned rest in his garage. The 13th Polderroute came to an end, sadly it was only for one day, but it was well worth it. Thanks to the men of Yeomanry, the organisation of the Polderroute and Mash, Joran, Cpl. Blutch and Magali for their company.

All the very best, cheers,
P.P.A. ‘H’ Patrol

Source: P.P.A. Preservation Society.
Photos: P.P.A. Preservation Society.


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