We were sad to hear that one of the last remaining Dutch children who came to Bath in 1945 has passed away.  Albert van de Kamer has a particular place in the story of our link, due to an unfortunate accident he had very soon after arriving.  Riding a British bicycle for the first time, he tried to pedal backwards (as in the Netherlands) to slow down, not realising there were hand-operated brakes. Freewheeling down hill, he couldn’t stop, and crashed into a stone wall on Ralph Allen Drive.  Ten-year old Albert was unconscious for some time, and so concerned were doctors that his mother and father were flown over to visit him in St Martin’s hospital. Happily, after a little while, he made a full recovery.

Aletta Stevens interviewed Albert for her book on our link, “The Remarkable Journey of Mr Prins”, and his memories of the war, including delivering messages for the resistance and his time in Bath, are woven into the tale.  Apparently, Albert became a minor celebrity after he recovered, becoming known as “the boy who fell off the bicycle”.  He made a return visit to Bath in 2005, during events to mark 60 years since his original visit.

He told Aletta of a song the children made up during their time in England, recovering from the Hunger Winter famine of 1944-45. The chorus ran: “It’s great, it’s great to be in England, we’re getting round and fat, we’re getting round and fat, and we are very very happy, and we are very very happy!”.