Bill Pendell, one of Eindhoven’s liberators, died this weekend. He helped liberate the city on 18th September 1944. Eindhoven’s Stichting 18 September announced the sad news Sunday.
Pendell, shown in the photo with eindhoven’s mayor during a commemoration ceremony, was one of two remaining veterans involved in Eindhoven’s liberation. He and veteran Joe Cattini attended Eindhoven’s liberation commemoration and celebrations this September. Both men always watched the traditional torchlight show. They also shared their WWII experiences with secondary school children.
Special birthday present
As reported by various media, including Eindhoven News, Pendell recently celebrated his 97th birthday. At home in Oxford, he was surprised with a large Eindhoven mailbag full of birthday cards. Children, parents, the mayor and other Eindhoven residents wrote him cards. Pendell was visibly moved by this.
Pendell died Saturday evening in an Oxford hospital. His daughter was by his side. He regularly had breathing problems.
“We already noticed this at the last commemoration at Eindhoven in September. He was short of breath. It was hard for him to walk from the stage to the monument on Stadhuisplein,” says Frank van Dijk of Stichting 18 September.
In 1945, immediately after the war, Pendell received the Military Medal for bravery in combat. In 2016 he also received the Légion d’Honneur, which is the highest French order of merit.
After the war, Pendell started his own masonry company. In the early 1950s he built his own house. He continued to live in his house, right until being taken to hospital.
Pendell attended the annual Eindhoven liberation commemorations since 2014. He was determined to attend again in 2019. He also planned to go to France in June 2019. Next year will be the landmark 75-anniversary of D-Day.
D-Day Garden and statues
A crowd-funding campaign started in the UK, to raise money for a special commemoration garden and two statues. Bill Pendell was the model selected for the two statues.
The UK’s D-Day Revisited Foundation hopes to raise 200,000 pounds for two statues and a special garden in Chelsea, London. The statues are to be a tribute to all veterans who helped liberate Western Europe from the Nazis.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, thousands of British, Canadians, Americans and other nationals participated in the Allied landings on beaches in Normandy, France. The invasion of Normandy by Allied troops is considered to be the real start of the liberation of Western Europe.
One statue depicts Pendell as a veteran proudly looking back on the liberation wearing a coat full of medals. He looks at another sculpture of himself, depicting him as a 22-year-old soldier. This second statue shows Pendell walking through the water onto one of Normandy’s beaches.
The plan is to plant 10,000 flowers in the garden surrounding these two statues. This commemoration garden should also have stones describing veterans’ experiences.
Besides 200,000 pounds for the garden, another € 50,000 is needed to invite fifty living veterans to attend the unveiling. This money is needed for care, help, guidance. The unveiling is scheduled for June, as part of the 75th D-Day Anniversary.
A group of veterans, including Pendell, actually preferred having both statues located at Ver-sur-Mer, in France. In Ver-sur-Mer, both statues would be located near the British Normandy Memorial. However, a further 40,000 pounds would need to be raised to realize this.