Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WW2 | Willem van Stockum Bench at Trinity College, Dublin

Visiting Randal's office at Trinity College,
Dublin, Feb. 12, 1994. The view is of
O'Connell Street. Photo by R Marlin.
My brother Randal most of his life has been a philosophy professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

In 1993-1994 he took a sabbatical year and used it to bring his family to Dublin. He had an appointment at Trinity College, Dublin with a fine view of O'Connell Street.

I visited in February 1994, during the 50th anniversary year of the D-Day assault on Normandy. I got to see the memorial that my parents chose to honor my uncle Willem van Stockum after the war. He was shot down on June 10, 1944 while on a mission for the RAF.

A memorial was erected in France last year, on the 70th anniversary, to each of the two crews that were downed that night.

Randal on the Memorial Bench. Photo by JT Marlin.
The Irish memorial is simply a bench with the inscription: "To the Memory of Willem van Stockum / 30 November 1910-10 June 1944 by His Sister."

Spike Marlin and Willem van Stockum were roommates at Trinity. When Spike learned that Willem had a sister, he decided then and there that he was interested in marrying her, so fond he was of her brother Willem.

My Dad died in December 1994. Mom lived another 12 years.

My turn on the Bench. Photo by R Marlin.
Another member of the group was David Grene, a classicist who went on to be a co-founder of  the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought. He died after my father and before my mother, in 2002.

When my Dad died we made a gift to Trinity College, Dublin of another bench, named for my father, and we had the one for Willem renovated. They were placed on opposite sides of the entrance to the Book of Kells.