Second World War battle flag
‘The most valuable Second World War battle flag ever sold’ will be on display at the National Military Museum in Soesterberg, the Netherlands.

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It was the first American flag to arrive at Utah Beach during D-Day in 1944.

Dutch art collector Bert Kreuk, who lives in Switzerland and New York, bought the poignant relic at auction in June.

He won the bidding, via telephone, at Heritage Auctions (19.5% buyer’s premium) on June 12 paying a premium-inclusive $514,000 (then about £360,000).

The flag had flown above Landing Craft Control 60, which guided the invasion into Utah on June 6, 1944, and was retained by its skipper, Lieutenant Howard Vander Beek, for more than six decades before his death in 2014. The flag was consigned by his estate.

The battle-scarred 49-star US flag arrived on September 15, by Chinook helicopter, at the National Military Museum on the runway of the former air base in Soesterberg and was marched with an honour guard of American and Dutch soldiers. It is now on display at the museum.

Liberation

Kreuk said: “Family members of ours were killed during the bombing raids on Rotterdam in 1940. Those who survived suffered hardship beyond belief, especially during the ‘hunger’ winter of 1944.

These family members survived thanks to the liberation made possible by all of those who participated. We owe a lot of gratitude to all those nations, but in particular the US. Once I heard that this special flag was coming to auction, I knew I had to buy it.”

He added: “I am going to publicly show the flag and make sure that the important story this flag represents will be kept alive."