'Hansvan der Vlugt' not a pseudonym of Pieter de Zeeuw
Great similarity in backgrounds
From our editors in The Hague
THE HAGUE — Pilot Mattheus Pieter de Zeeuw, who has been missing for nine months, has not yet been found. Yesterday it was suspected that he ran his own flying company in Florida under the name Hans van der Vlugt.
However,Hans van der Vlugt turns out to actually exist. His mother, Mrs. E. van der Vlugt from Utrecht, informed us of this yesterday afternoon.
She immediately contacted Mr KA la Bree, director of NV Nationaal Vliegtuigbeheer in The Hague, who believed he recognized the missing De Zeeuw from a photo in the newspaper in Hans van der Vlugt.
Indeed, there appears to be a great similarity in the antecedents of both pilots.
Mrs.Van der Vugt: “My son stayed one night with me last week. He regularly flies to Europe and Africa for his company in Florida and is known as an excellent flyer. He is 34 years old and has lived in the United States since he was 21. Pilot De Zeeuw is 32 years old”.
Mrs.Beelstra-De Zeeuw from Rijswijk has been looking for her brother for nine months. She has the fearful suspicion that her brother is one of the victims of the plane that mysteriously crashed in Morocco - presumably en route to Biafra,then still at war. The wreckage was found on a mountain last week. She knew that her brother, whom she has not heard from for months, was making flights to Biafra.
Mrs. E. van der Vlugt: “My son has last week. still stayed with me”
Hans van der Vlugt, who was mistakenly mistaken for the pilot Pieter de Zeeuw who has been missing for more than six months
Below is the further email exchange that has taken place between us
Peter Claesen <email@example.com>
To 'Jose Nico' firstname.lastname@example.org th 6-10-2022 18:05
I will also introduce myself my name is Peter Claesen, a retired Naval Officer and worked in equipment logistics where I rose from sailor toLieutenant at sea in the logistics service 2nd class oldest category
I was very surprised with this email from you. I never expected this that my site is also looked at in Portugal. Especially since that part has not yet been translated into English by me. And that exactly that one photo of your Neptune catches your eye.
Of course you can use my photo for your writing about that period. But I can't remember an exact date. I only know the year, that was 1977 and I guess it was in the spring. Because then in the fall of 1977 I was transferred to a submarine destroyer and had to go sailing again.
I'm also curious about the end result of that story you're working on right now. Is it possible that, when you finish it, I can read it too?
I will attach an updated photo of the Neptune to this email.
Thanks a lot for your answer. and for the picture.
I dare to ask you one more thing which is very important to my work. If you still have the negative or a paper copy I ask you to scan it again, this time with much more pixels. For publishing purposes the picture should have something like 10 megabites or more.
For your delight I send you the picture of the 4701 crew at the Island of Sal with the dutch pilot Peter Matteus. This is not a very good picture but is the best I could get.
The paper I´m writing is very long and is written in portuguese. When finished I´ll convert to english the part describing the episode of Peter Matteus in order to send it to you.
The date you mention makes sense to me. I arrived to Montijo in the Autumn of 1977 to implement a new sqadron with C-130s and, at that time, we had only two Neptunes in flight condition: 4707 and 4711. Tne Neptune
Regarding your observations de fact is that I never flew the P-2V5. In 1969 I was a captain stationed in the former Portuguese Guinea-Bissau.
We were conducting anti-guerrila operations operations and the aircraft I flew at that time were G-91s and armed T-6s. The unit was Air Base º 12 Bissalanca close nearby the capital Bissau.
In October 1969 I witnessed the landing of a Gloster Meteor NF.14 also flown by a dutch pilot. This aircraft and the Peter Matteus aircraft were being ferried to Biafra using the portuguese territories of Cap Verde, Guinea-Bissau and S. Tomé e Principe. None of these two aircraft reached the destination.
If you find Peter Matteus I would like to get in touch with him too, if he agree of course.
The paper I´m trying ro write covers the employmento of armed T6s.
During the secession of Biafra from Nigeria which lasted from 1967 to 1970 the Biafrans tryed to obtain an air power capability to defend themselves from the Nigerian armed forces. They tryed to buy many outdated and phased out aircraft and recover them to flight condition.
They tryed B-25s, B-26s, Fouga Magisters, Gloster Meteors and T-6s without great sucess.
The 4701 photo you sent fully complies with my needs. Thank you very much.
Peter Claesen <email@example.com>
To 'Jose Nico' firstname.lastname@example.org su 9-10-2022 12:23
When I read your history I understand that you are also a veteran just like me. In 1962 I was on a mission in what was then Dutch New Guinea to protect the Papuan population against the Indonesian infiltrators. Now it is unfortunately a province of Indonesia.
I'm going to look for Peter Matteus. Hopefully he's still alive because he won't be that young anymore. I estimate his age around 80. I am 78 years old myself and I assume that you are around that age too. As soon as I know more about Peter Matteus I will let you know.
I'm glad I was able to help you with that Neptune photo and I wish you the best of luck writing that article.
To 'Jose Nico' email@example.com tu 18-10-2022 16:44
I have done research, as far as I can, at the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Netherlands Institute for Military History and have come to the following conclusion.
The name Peter Matteus is not the correct name and he may have used it as a pseudonym at that time. His real name is Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw, born on November 28, 1937 in Maartensdijk in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands.
He grew up in the cities of De Bilt and later in Rotterdam. In 1956 he signed an eight-year contract with the Royal Netherlands Air Force and received pilot training and later in Canada pilot training on the fighter aircraft Sabre.
In 1962 he left the Royal Dutch Air Force early, because he sometimes did things that were unacceptable, and started his own business and left for England. Where he carried out dubious flights for dubious airlines such as fighter jets with false papers flying over to Biafra and similar countries.
For the sake of clarity and illustration, I have translated various Dutch newspaper articles that write about him into English for you and added them as an appendix in this mail. Then you also read in one of those messages that his sister went looking for him in 1970 and never heard from him again. She suspects that he became the victim of a mysterious plane crash in Morocco that year or at the end of 1969. Investigations by various government agencies have also yielded no results.
I hope you don't blame me but I've also been looking for you on the internet. Who is Jose Nico? And I think I've found you. Are you José Francisco Fernando Nico, Lieutenant General aviator in the Portuguese Air Force with the Cruz de Guerra de 1.ᵃ classe?
I hope I have informed you sufficiently and perhaps you can use the material in the appendix for the piece you are writing.
Thank you very much for the research on Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw. I have now the essential information I need for my work.
For me, the episode of his rescue in the Atlantic is now clarified in a few aspects. For instance, before I was convinced that he took off from Faro, in the south of Portugal, directly to the Sal island. However, now I´m sure that he took off from an island in the Madeira archipelago named Porto Santo. It makes a great sense to me. The other Gloster Meteor, also flown by a dutch pilot probably did the same. This one was able of reaching Dakar, about 100NM North of his destination, Bissau. He had to land there because he was very short on fuel. After refuelling he flew to Bissau where the aircraft remained grounded forever. I witnessed that.
I heard of the crash in Morocco but didn´t know that Pieter de Zeeuw was probably one of the victims..
I´m also convinced that he didn´t have an engine failure. The Meteor was a twin engine aircraft. At the end of the flight it was light and could easily fly on one engine. Pieter bailed out because he run out of fuel.
About the pictures you sent you are right. The left one as a Lt, age 26, when I went to an army position to evacuate a paratrooper with a shot in his leg. The right one was done about four years ago. I´m now 80 years old.
I´m very grateful for your support to clarify what happened with Pieter de Zeeuw 53 years ago. Last week I was informed that de 4701 captain that located de Zeeuw in the Atlantic suffered an AVC and is now in a wheelchair. He is 91 years old and in spite of the AVC he is still able of talking.
My best wishes to you and family and, again, thank you very much
Peter Claesen < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Aan 'Jose Nico' email@example.com sa 22-10-2022 12:19
Thank you very much for the compliments, I was happy to do it especially for a fellow Veteran. Within the Dutch armed forces, but also outside it, the Veterans have a certain attitude that we call esprit de corps. This means, among other things, that Veterans will always help or assist each other, as far as possible.
I now want to process our e-mail exchange, the research to Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw and your photos in a kind of report with the photo of the Portuguese Neptune you have found on my website. Do I get your permission to publish your text and photos on my website? So that I can complete my Navy Time story again.
My sincere thanks in advance.
And I wish you the best of luck with your writing. I am very curious about the result of your writing, especially the story about the Rescue of the Dutch pilot.
Feel free to do whatever you like with the information I sent to you. No problems at all.
I take the opportunity to send a picture of the other Gloster Meteor that was inbound to Biafra. It was also flown by a dutch pilot living in the UK, I believe. It´s the one that I saw landing in Bissau in October 1969. In the picture the aircraft is parked behind the front line of Dornier-27 aircraft we used for reconaissance, air command post, evacuation, light logistic support, etc..
The wife of a Hague judge. Mrs M. Beetstra is feverishly searching for her brother,the 32-year-old pilot Pieter de Zeeuw. Pieter de Zeeuw — in the bottom photo in the middle of two sisters — flew goods and mercenaries to Biafra and has been missing for a year. Investigations by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were also unsuccessful. Ms Beetstra takes into account the possibility that Pieter de Zeeuw is one of the victims of the mysterious plane crash in Morocco, about which we reported earlier this week.The wreckage of an unknown aircraft, which bore no registration marks, was found on a mountainside. No identity papers were found on the corpses of the eight crew members. It is assumed, that the plane crashed last year when it brought mercenaries to Biafra. "It would be bad if he is dead," says Mrs Beetstra now. "But at least that waiting has come to an end."
The P2V-5 Neptune long range patrol aircraft of the Portuguese Air Force
On October 5, 2022 I received the email below from a visitor to this website. He had recognized the photo above on one of the pages of "My Naval Time Story" by the registration number he saw under the wing; namely 4701. (see arrow)
SAR of a dutch pilot in the Atlantic
Jose Nico <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To email@example.com we 5-10-2022 19:00
My name is José Nico and I´m a former pilot of the Portugueses Air Force.
It was a great surprise to me to see in your site the picture of a portuguese Neptune serial 4701. This aircraft was involved in the rescue of a dutch pilot flying a Gloster Meteor NF.14 inbound to the Island of Sal, in Cape Vert, at that time Portuguese territory. His name was Peter Matteus.
He didn´t have enough fuel for the trip and had to leave the aircraft over the Atlantic 90 NM North of Sal. Date was 29 OCT 1969.
The 4701 was stationed at Sal on that day and was tasked for a SAR mission in support of Peter Matteus.
Luckly he was found on the second day and a dutch ship in the area was diverted to take him out of the water. Then he was disembarked at Sal where he joined the Neptune crew for many drinks.
I´ve been writing this episode but didn´t have a picture of the Neptune 4701.
Therefore I ask you permission to use the picture and also I need the date you made it at Montijo.
Many thanks in advance
Who is José Nico?
José Nico is, José Francisco Fernando Nico, a retired Lieutenant General pilot in the Portuguese Air Force.
At the time the Dutch pilot was rescued, he was stationed as a Captain pilot in the former Guinea-Bisseau at the Bissalanca Air Force Base near the capital Bissau. He then flew a Fiat G-91 and the armed Havard T-6.
In the photo on the left, José Lieutenant and 26 years old, was taken when he had to evacuate a wounded paratrooper with a shot in the leg . In the photo on the right is José, retired and made in 2018. Now (2022) he is 80 years old.
I was amazed and surprised by this message especially because I have not yet translated this part of my site into English properly. And then a Portuguese former-pilot, who discovered my site and probably doesn't know a word of Dutch, sees a photo somewhere on one of the pages with an image of a P2V-5 Neptune aircraft whose registration number he immediately recognized. That he is interested in that Neptune does not surprise me, they were good planes, because those were our old Neptunes, of which the Dutch government transferred 12 to Portugal in the early sixties because we had switched to a newer version of the Neptune, the SP. -2H, which had 2 jet engines in addition to the 2 piston engines for a faster start so that they could fly in what was then Dutch New Guinea. Because the runways in Dutch New Guinea were too short for these new type Neptunes.
I am very honored that José Nico contacted me.
Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw
The crew of the Neptune that Pieter de Zeeuw has spotted in the Atlantic Ocean.
Of course I acceded to his request, who is Peter Matteus, is he still alive and how did the rest of his life go?
First I contacted the Royal Air Force. There they could not find his name, nor variations of it and I was referred to the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH).
I had more success at the NIMH. There I immediately received a number of links from newspaper articles. Of course I started reading it and I soon found out that the name Peter Matteus was probably a pseudonym because the official name of the Dutch pilot was Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw.
Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw was born on November 28, 1937 in Maartensdijk (Utrecht, Netherlands). In 1956 Pieter signed with the Royal Dutch Air Force for eight years. He did not complete those eight years and left after six years.
He followed an elementary flying training at Woensdrecht airbase and in May 1956 he received his corporal stripes. He then received further training in Canada on a Saber fighter aircraft. In 1958 he became a sergeant and trained at the Leeuwarden, Soesterberg and Eindhoven air bases on other types of fighter jets such as the Gloster Meteor, the Hunter, the Thunderstreak and the T-Bird.
In the autumn of 1961 Pieter de Zeeuw was absent without permission for three days on two occasions. For this, in the spring of 1962, he was sentenced by the Court Martial to a one-month suspended prison term and a six-week military detention in the Nieuwersluis penal camp.
In the spring of 1962, after serving his sentence, he was honorably discharged from military service, according to the newspaper. I don't believe the latter, because with such a punishment you can never be honorably discharged. I therefore contacted the Royal Netherlands Air Force again and asked them to look for him now by his real name. That name also did not appear in the personnel file and the officer agreed that if someone is dishonorably discharged he/she will be immediately removed from the personnel file.
What happened to Pieter de Zeeuw?
After leaving the Royal Netherlands Air Force, he left for Great Britain to seek his fortune as a free-lance pilot. At the end of October 1969 he had to fly an obsolete Gloster Meteor fighter jet from Great Britain to Biafra on the West African coast. He then did not make it to Biafra because after leaving Madeira, that was his first stop, he had to jump out of his jet fighter near the Cape Verde islands due to lack of fuel.
There he floated around in a rubber boat for a few days when he was discovered by the Portuguese Neptune with the registration number 4701 who had been sent out following his mayday signal. He then directed a Dutch merchant ship that was sailing the closest to pick him up and bring him ashore to the Cape Verde island of Sal.
After that he carried out a few more mysterious flights to Biafra with mercenary army and goods if you are to believe the newspaper, only to disappear into thin air. They were never heard from him again after that. His sister made another attempt to locate him in the mid-1970s, during which the Ministry of ForeignAffairs, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were also involved, but without success.
It is suspected that he crashed with his plane in the mountains of Morocco in late 1969 or early 1970. There, the plane wreckage was found on a mountain slope without registration marks and no identity papers were found on the bodies of the eight killed crew members. Since that time, nothing was ever heard of him again.
To complete the whole story, follow below some newspaper articles from that period.
A deadly tired Pieter de Zeeuw after his arrival in Lisbon. (Own picture)
Friday 7 November 1969 “De Telegraaf”, front page
PILOT FLOATS AROUND FOR 3 DAYS AT SEA
From a special correspondent
For three days, Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw floated in a small lifeboat in the Atlantic Ocean after his plane crashed into the sea between Madeira and Cape Verde on the west coast of Africa.
Then the 32-year-old pilot, born in Maartensdijk near Utrecht, was discovered by an aircraft of the Portuguese Air Force. A short time later, tired and thin, he was picked up by a Dutch freighter, which had been alerted by the aircrew. He was taken to the Island of Sal, a Portuguese possession in Africa.
The pilot living in Windsor, England, is believed to have been en route to Biafra with his Meteor aircraft when the accident happened. He had taken off on October 28 In Porto Santo in the Madeira Archipelago. Once ashore, after having spent three days and nights paddling at sea, Pieter de Zeeuw (after being rested) took a scheduled plane to Lisbon. He got there yesterday. “I have nothing to say. I don't intend to talk about my business," added the drowning man, our employee who was waiting for him at Portela airport. Immediately after arrival, he left by car for the center of Lisbon. From the window of the car he begged: " Leave me alone, please." A spokesman for the Biafran government said later in the day that he had never heard of De Zeeuw. “His name means nothing to me. But it is possible that the man works for us under a different name," said the spokesman.
Times reveals: Dutchman involved in plane smuggling to Biafra
The London Times reveals that a Dutch pilot is involved in attempts to smuggle Meteor fighter jets from England to Biafra. It is Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw, a free-lance pilot with an address in Miami, Florida.
He crashed into the sea with one of the smuggled fighter jets on his way from Madeira to Cape Verde in Africa and floated at sea in a dinghy for three days before being rescued.
When he arrived in Lisbon on November 6, he did not want to tell anything about the accident. He has since disappeared without a trace.
De Zeeuw was with another pilot, who had previously flown for the air force of the Republic of South Yemen (Aden), employed by Templewood Aviation, established in Windsor. This company had bought two fighter jets with forged licenses that had to be back in England within a certain time. This did not happen.
One of the machines crashed with De Zeeuw and the other is said to have landed somewhere in Portuguese Africa. Apparently De Zeeuw's aircraft was also on its way there as an intermediate station for Biafra.
LONDON— Eighteen days ago Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw (31) — an former-pilot of the Royal Netherlands Air Force — dived with an English fighter jet for the African coast into the Atlantic Ocean.
(The question marks in the paragraphs below mean that I couldn't (properly) see the words in the archive.)
?he was saved, has ? since his arrival in ? nine days ago, ? kept hidden. Everything indicates that Pieter de Zeeuw was busy flying the plane – Gloster Meteor –over to Biafra. This has left the British government in serious embarrassment, because England supports the policy of the ? government in Nigeria.
In addition to De Zeeuw’s plane, there is another Meteor on its way to Biafra, also an aircraft with an English registration. This fighter jet even came directly from the British Ministry of Defence. These planes were bought by ?Osborne, the 31-year-old owner of Target Towing ? According to the English daily The Times, which has launched an in-depth investigation into the affair, Osborne made his planes available to Phoenix Airways, a? American company that would use the planes for a film about the ? nse war. For this purpose, the planes were flown to Faro in Portugal, well out of the way but well on the way to Biafra. And the Portuguese sympathy for Biafra is ?
Phoenix has a branch in Madeira. Both aircraft left ? with destination Madeira on ?September. The remaining Meteor would now be in Dakar in Africa. The other Meteor was flown by Pieter de Zeeuw from Madeira to the Cape Verde Islands on 28 October. In a letter to his mother in Rotterdam, he writes that he jumped out of the plane because it had an engine failure in bad weather.
It cost him ? trouble swimming it ? to reach, but he ? finally out in the inflatable liferaft ? to get.? days later he was picked up by a Dutch ship and taken to the island of Sal. From there he was taken to Lisbon and later ? he in a hotel in Fa- ? wasn't he on the ? to get. ? honor De Zeeuw is already three ? in Africa”, told us ? Crossan, an American Phoenix employee. ? he knew that Pieter de Zeeuw had barely a week to ? landed in the ocean. ? he said he had nothing to do with ? had to do, did he know ? the Meteors were used for film purposes.
?was exactly the pretext, including Osborne ten ? had obtained a temporary export license in England for the aircraft from Phoenix. According to the certificate from the Ministry of Defense, the Meteors should have been back several months ago. According to TheTimes, Pieter de Zeeuw was contracted last year by an English company to fly Hunter-type fighter jets in Biafra.
It was a three-month contract for a monthly salary of 8,650 guilders. In Lisbon he received an advance of 3500 guilders. De Zeeuw only stayed in Biafra for four days, because the sale of the Hunters was cancelled. The same firm that brokered the sale of the Meteors to Osborne, acted as an intermediary in the appointment of De Zeeuw. This is Templewood Aviation in the English town ofWindsor. In Faro Templewood's address was called De Zeeuw's private address.“No”, the executive secretary of this company told us. “We never heard from him again. All mail is forwarded to Miami in the United States.”
She thought Pieter de Zeeuw was a handsome man. "He has always been an adventurous boy," says his niece, Mrs H. van Berkel, in Rotterdam. When he visited his mother in Rotterdam, he told plenty of exciting stories. "He's a big, handsome guy," says his niece. "He's never been married, but of course he has a girl in England."
Pieter Mattheus de Zeeuw was born on November 28, 1937 in Maartensdijk (Utrecht). Two years later his parents moved to De Bilt and in 1940 they lived in Rotterdam. Pieter signed in 1956 for eight years with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, but he only lasted six years. After an elementary pilot training at Woensdrecht, he received his corporal stripes in May of the same year. He was then trained in Canada as a pilot on the fighter plane Sabre. In August 1957 he was back at Woensdrecht. A year later he became a sergeant. At the Leeuwarden, Soesterberg and Eindhoven air bases, De Zeeuw trained on other types of fighters, such as Meteor, Hunter, Thunderstreak (F-84) and T-Bird (T-33). In the autumn of 1961, Pieter de Zeeuw was absent without permission for three days on two occasions. In the first days of the following year, the court-martial sentenced him to a month's imprisonment and a six-week military detention, which he spent in the Nieuwersluis penal camp.
In April 1962 he was relieved to serve as an airman and less than three weeks later he was discharged prematurely, but honorably. The Royal Netherlands AirForce removed him as a reservist in 1968. When De Zeeuw left the military service at the age of 24, he turned out to be far from base. He showed himself to be an optimistic young man who is looking for his future in flying. His niece remembers that ten years ago he also saved his life with a parachute due to the engine failure of a fighter jet.