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13: World War 2

On 1 September 1939 all KLM European services, except those to Scandinavia, Belgium and the United Kingdom, were terminated. For Holland this was a catastrophe. The jobs and livelihoods of nearly 2000 employees were at stake.

Ivan was still flying, but now from Naples to the Far East. It was a bit difficult to go from Naples to Amsterdam, and he was comfortable in knowing that Mor was taking care of Margot in Heemstede.

He was flying back to Naples after his third round trip to the Far East when a radio message was handed to him - from Margot. It told him that Mor was dead.

Mor dead! This was something he had never contemplated. In all his planning for the future he had never envisaged any situation where the jolly Danish woman would not be keeping his home running smoothly as she had done for so long.

Crouching over the controls while his passengers dozed in the cabin, Ivan reviewed the situation with dismay. It was Mor who had made it possible for him to keep on flying - had she not been there he could never have left Margot.

The war news was not good, and everything added up to one plain, inescapable fact - he must get Margot out of Holland. She herself had no objections. She was too tired to care. "Darling, you're de baas," she said with the ghost of a smile.

Ivan was still needed at Naples. Flights East were being stepped up as Dutch citizens stationed in Indonesia demanded passages for their wives and children still in Europe.

On 16 January 1940, Ivan shut his front door for the last time. Neither he nor Margot ever opened it again. At the airport he fixed with a pal to return his big Studebaker President coupé (see picture below), almost brand new, to the local garage for collection later. Ivan never saw his pal - nor his car - again.

Studebaker President Coupé 1938

He was a refugee again, and a bitter war was going on. But Ivan was happy - this time he had Margot with him. After nearly four days in and out of trains, they reached their Naples hotel, he carried her upstairs to a flower-filled bedroom, really feeling that a new life was beginning. Margot sighed with happiness as she looked beyond him to the open window where the blue sea stretched to the horizon. She felt she had not been so well for years ... and Margot's health went on improving caused by the warm, Italian sun and the lazy life.

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