Airport Keent - Ravenstein
The field at Keent had been used for naval and army occasions since 1928. H.M. van der Vijver, himself a former marine and mayor of Overasselt at the time, made this possible. He also arranged for a flying demonstration to be held in 1933: the Overasselt Flying Week. After that, the airport fell into oblivion and when the Meuse was canalised in 1938, Keent suddenly found itself on an island.
In World War II, the Germans saw Keent as a good fall-back site for their Junkers Ju 88, jet fighters that were at too great a risk from Allied bombing raids at nearby airbase Volkel. When Volkel was bombed, a spare landing strip was built at Keent and the grass runway was extended from 600 to 1,200 metres.
When Operation Market Garden took place in 1944, Keent had been overlooked. It was only during the operation that an American unit noticed the airfield. That was too late for the operation, but after the area was cleared of German soldiers, the Allies took up the airfield. Keent was codenamed B.82 Grave and a landing strip was adapted for the use of fighter planes. Two days later, 200 cargo planes, 900 personnel and large amounts of equipment arrived.
As Keent was close to the front line, it was a sensitive spot for German bombing. In addition, heavy rain caused the site to become unusable. The aircraft were therefore transferred to Volkel and on 2 November 1944 the last troops left Keent.
Nowadays, Keent is a nature reserve with lots of greenery, where you can take beautiful walks and cycle tours. A memorial was placed in 1995, commemorating the history and honouring the allies who fought for freedom in the Netherlands.
Photo: ©VisitBrabant Routebureau