Dutch woman looks to return WW2 New Testament to family of Goodmayes airman

An inscription identifies the New Testament as belonging to Edmund Crisp from Goodmayes

An inscription identifies the New Testament as belonging to E. Crisp from Goodmayes - Credit: Ellen van den Akker

A Dutch woman wants to return a copy of the New Testament to the family of a World War Two airman from Goodmayes to whom it originally belonged. 

Ellen van den Akker, from Heesch in the Netherlands, found the pocketsized text while clearing out her 94-year-old aunt’s home. 

According to an inscription on the book’s inside cover, it belonged to Edmund Crisp, who joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) on April 15, 1943. 

At that point, he lived at 113 Mayesbrook Road in Goodmayes. 

An inscription identifies the New Testament as belonging to Edmund Crisp from Goodmayes

An inscription identifies the New Testament as belonging to E. Crisp from Goodmayes - Credit: Ellen van den Akker

Writing at the back of the book includes a single line of Dutch which translates to “I shall miss you”.   

Ellen’s aunt Annie Kuypers grew up in the village of Overlangel, just a stone’s throw away from the keent airstrip, which allied forces took over in 1944. 

The Kuypers' house in Overlangel.

The Kuypers' house in Overlangel. - Credit: Ellen van den Akker

Ellen said the RAF used the airstrip for a short period and that servicemen would have been living near the family home. 

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The Allies ultimately decided to close the airstrip little more than a month after taking it over. 

She said: “I know there were military people at the house of my grandparents. 

The Kuypers family in 1945; Annie Kuypers pictured third from the left.

The Kuypers family in 1945; Annie Kuypers pictured third from the left. - Credit: Ellen van den Akker

“We don’t know whether this soldier was in the house, but we think he stayed over there somewhere nearby."

She recalled there was a "story that my grandmother, together with the cook of the military people, would make the dinner” for the British soldiers. 

Ellen now wants to return the book to the family of its original owner. 

“I have no relationship with it, I don’t know the people,” she said, explaining why she does not wish to keep it. 

She said: “If I left it at our house it will crumble into old paper, be thrown away - that’s something I couldn’t do.

“I think the family would like to have it back. If it was for my father or my grandfather, I would like to have it as well.” 

She said she did not know more about the identity of the serviceman than what was written in the book, and said she cannot ask her aunt about it because she has dementia.