FRIENDS OF THE AIRBORNE MUSEUM
Utrechtseweg 232 6862 AZ Oosterbeek The Netherlands
Newsletter No. 60, October 1995
Translated by Cathrien and Peter Clark
Representative in Great Britain: Mr. E.E. Shaw, 298 Totnes Road Paignton – Devon TQ4 7HD Tel. 0803-553616
Theme day, Saturday 9 December 1995
Every year in the Autumn our Society organises a ’theme afternoon’. From this year the event is to be extended to last the whole day following a request from a number of our members. This means that those living far away will find making the trip to Oosterbeek much more worthwhile.
This year’s theme day will be held on Saturday 9 December next.
The morning programme is as follows: 09.30-10.30: reception of members in the Schoonoord Restaurant, Pietersbergseweg 4, Oosterbeek (tel. 026- 3333150). There one can obtain refreshments at one’s own expense. The restaurant is open from 9.30 am (and not before)! 10.00-12.00: walk to and through the area of the Pietersberg and Hemelse Berg estates in Oosterbeek. There the military actions which took place in September 1944 around the two sequential headquarters locations of the 1st
Airlanding Brigade will be looked into. The Airlanding Brigade was commanded at the time by Brigadier Ph. ‘Pip’ H.W. Hicks.
This part of the theme day is being organised by our members Philip Reinders and Peter Vrolijk from Vlaardingen and Rotterdam respectively, both members of the ‘Arnhem Battle Research Group’.
12.00-13.30: break for lunch in Oosterbeek, again at one’s own expense.
The afternoon programme will be held in the Concert Hall, Rozensteeg 3, Oosterbeek (tel. 026-3332046).
The programme contains the following: 13.30-14.00: reception of members. 14.00-15.15: lecture by Eug&ne Wijnhoud from Arnhem on ‘The role of the 1st and 2nd Airlanding Anti-Tank Batteries Royal Artillery during the Battle of Arnhem’.
15.45-16.45: showing of the British video documentary ‘The Battle for Arnhem’ The film has Dutch subtitles.
17.00 approx.: end of Theme afternoon.
A new ‘Who was Who’
The book ‘Who was Who during the Battle of Arnhem – The Order of Battle of Airborne Officers who fought at Arnhem in 1944’ which was published by our Society in 1992 is sold out and will not be reprinted in its current form. It has been decided to prepare a new, enlarged edition which, in addition to tire existing data, will include all manner of new information.
The intention is to set up a workgroup of people with a good working knowledge of the subject. The group will be led by Chris van Roekel.
Any member wishing to assist in the project can contact Chris at Benedendorpsweg 119, 6862 WE Oosterbeek, telephone 026-3333261.
Saturday 16 September 1995. This year’s Pilgrimage Leader Colonel John L. Waddy congratulates veteran Ted Shaw on his successful parachute jump al the Ginkelse Heide near Ede. Ted Shaw is the Friends Society’s representative in Creat Britain.
(photo: Berry de Reus)
To the editors’ great chagrin the Ministory accompanying the August issue of the Newsletter was given the number 48 in error. This should have been 47 and, so as to ensure continuity in the numbering system, the Ministory accompanying this Newsletter will be: ‘No. 47’.
Compilation of 50 Ministories?
Since 1983 the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum’s Newsletter has consisted of a ‘newspaper’ of announcements and a ‘Ministory’ in which a specific aspect of the Battle of Arnhem is covered. The editorship hopes to publish the fiftieth Ministory in the Spring of 1996. There is a possibility of collating the first 50 Ministories in a book but before starting a project of this nature the Society’s management would wish to know if there is sufficient interest in such a publication.
Drop a line to the Society if you are interested in a book of collected Ministories.
The Reverend R.F. Bowers holds his congregation spellbound with an impressive, emotional and often humorous sermon during the memorial service at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek on 17 September 1995. (photo: Berry de Reus)
5-day Spring excursion to England?
If financially and organisationally feasible, the Society’s management is considering arranging an excursion to England in the Spring of 1996. Visits to various museums and places of historical interest relative to the 1st British Airborne Division are on the programme. The museums would include the Airborne Forces Museum at Aidershot, the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop and a number of military museums in London.
Also under consideration for a visit are the British ‘Parachute Training Schoo! and associated museum at Brize Norton, plus one or two former airfields from which units of the 1st British Airborne Division left for the Netherlands in September 1944.
The trip will be by touring coach and will last five days. We want to make the excursion as inexpensive as possible and for this reason we are trying to arrange accommodation in one or other military barracks. During the last Airborne commemoration our friends among the British authorities agreed to look into this possibility.
In any case the excursion would have to take place in April or May 1996 and we must emphasise that this is just a preliminary announcement. The excursion is by no means certain to go ahead and it is therefore too early to put your name forward for a place at this stage. We’ll keep you posted.
Message from your UK representative
Thank you for your support of the Friends and for your generosity.
A kindly reminder that subscriptions are due on the 1st of January 1996. Donations are always welcome. Signed: Ted Shaw, UK representative.
(298 Totiies Road, Paignton – Devon TQ4 7HD. Telephone: 0803-553616)
Unusual gift for the Airborne Museum
Last August one of our English members, Mr. Ken Greenough, presented the Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ with three unusual objects from the Battle of Arnhem.
They are German in origin and are: a large swastika flag, an armband and a leave pass. Ken was given these souvenirs in 1988 by Arnhem veteran Sid Davies who in turn had been given them in 1945 by Michael Fitzgerald, HQ Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion.
Fitzgerald became separated from his unit during the landings on 17 September 1944 and therefore never got to the bridge.
He eventually reached divisional headquarters at the Hartenstein Hotel in Oosterbeek where he took up a foxhole position close to the tennis courts where German prisoners-of-war were housed. There he relieved a German POW of the armband and leave pass, with a Military Policeman’s blessing it has to be said.
The swastika flag probably originates from the Hartenstein or De Tafelberg. When operation Market Garden began both hotels were being used by German Field Marshal Walter Model’s staff. Model was commander of German Army Group B.
A special detail of the flag worth mentioning is that a large piece of material has been removed from its lower edge. Apparently Sid Davies’ mum cut the strip from the bottom of the flag and mended her red curtains with it!
In Memoriam: Jan Lourens
Jan Lourens, inhabitant of Oosterbeek, passed away on 6 September 1995 at the age of 89.
During the Second World War he was an active member of the Resistance where his knowledge of transmitters and receivers was of tremendous value. Airborne troops also made use of his expertise during the Battle of Arnhem.
Every year from 1945 onwards he looked after the sound equipment for the memorial service at the Airborne Cemetery. This equipment also did sterling service during the so-called Battlefield Tours. Jan was to be found wherever sound had to be recorded and amplified.
As time went by the company name ‘ATOOM’ became a synonym for the owner himself.
His tale of the war years is included in the book ‘Zes Dorpen in Oorlog en Verzet’ (Six Villages in Wartime and Resistance) which was published in 1984.
Large gift of money for the Airborne Museum
Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ has received a cheque for 7,000 guilders from ‘Woningbeheer Renkum’ (a local housing association).
The motivation behind the gift of this princely sum (collected during the opening of its new office in Renkum) is the housing association’s belief in the value of the museum in the Renkum municipality and the importance of its continued-existence.
Veterans parachute jump a great success
On Saturday 16 September 1995, again watched by a huge crowd, the annual parachute drop took place on the Ginkelse Heide at Ede.
The unveiling of a plaque at ‘de Hazehof farm in Kesteren on 3 May last. The plaque commemorates the 16 British parachutists and one American airman who were hidden there by the Resistance from 18 to 23 Septembei 1944. From left to right: Sergeant A.E. Spring, Private ]. Westbury and the American, 2nd Lieutenant E. Fulmer, (photo: Patrick Pronk)
The dropping of around 300 men of the British 10th Parachute Battalion was followed by the long- awaited jump by a number of Arnhem veterans. Unfortunately the jump had to be cancelled last year, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem, due to bad weather, but luckily this year the weather behaved itself. Fifty-one years after the events of September 1944 almost thirty ex-servicemen jumped once more from an aircraft above the former dropping zone.
They had practised for this day for 2 years and the drop was a great success. One of the veterans to make this historic jump was our Great Britain representative Mr. Ted Shaw.
Plaque in Brummen
On 23 September 1944, after the battle around the Rhine bridge at Arnhem was over, a number of British prisoners-of-war were driven off in open lorries towards Zutphen.
At Brummen Major Tony Hibbert and Major Dennis Munford managed to escape by leaping from one of the trucks. During the ensuing mayhem an SS trooper fired his machine pistol into the group of prisoners crammed into the back of the truck. Six British soldiers died.
During an emotional gathering on 15 April this year, Tony Hibbert unveiled a memorial plaque to the six murdered servicemen. The plaque is attached to the walLof the-PosL Office in Brummen, close to the spot where the drama was played out.
The idea for the plaque came initially from one of our members, Piet Willemsens, who describes the shooting incident in one of the chapters of his book ‘Oorlog in een dorp aan de IJssel, Brummen – Eerbeek 1940 -1945’ (War in a village on the IJssel, Brummen – Eerbeek 1940 -1945). Another chapter in the book deals with the time Tony Hibbert spent in hiding in Brum men.
The book is available from the author, Stationsweg 6, 6971 BX Brummen.
In 1944 the headquarters of the 1st British Airborne Division in England was located at Fulbeck Hall, a country house in Lincolnshire.
The house was built in 1733 and has remained in the hands of the Fane family since that time. After the war the house, which had suffered considerably at the hands of the military, was completely refurbished, with the exception of the map room. In 1994 the present owner Mary Fry (ne<5 Fane) restored this room to how it was in 1944. The Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek provided advise in this venture as well as the loan of certain material. Last 15 and 16 July a weekend was organised in the grounds of Fulbeck Hall with ‘The Forties’ as its theme. There were a number of old army vehicles on display, arms dealers were present exhibiting their wares and various bands played tunes from the forties. There was also a fly-past of veteran aircraft, including a Dakota. Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ was present in the form of a stand manned by Wybo and Nanna Boersma.
Fulbeck Hall receives regular visits from Arnhem veterans who often present the collection with interesting objects and documents. The Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek has been given copies of a number of these archive documents.
Fulbeck Hall will be open to the public again in 1996 and it is well worth a visit. It is situated 3 miles south of the A17 and about 9 miles east of the Al and can be reached via the A607. House and gardens are open to the public from 30 June to 28 July between the hours of 2 pm and 5 pm. They are also open during the Whitsun break and on the May and August Bank holidays.
The exhibition can be visited daily by appointment. Arnhem veterans are admitted free of charge.
Plaque unveiled in Kesteren
On 18 September 1944 a Dakota on its way to Arnhem with men of the 10th Parachute Battalion on board crashed near Opheusden.
Most of the occupants were able to escape from the aircraft by parachute but three did not survive the crash: two men of the American 43 Troop Carrier Squadron and one British parachutist.
The survivors were hidden from the Germans for five days by members of the Resistance in ‘de Hazehof farm in Opheusden before being escorted to the Allied lines.
A plaque attached to the wall of ‘de Hazehof farm recalling this event was unveiled on 3 May 1995. The unveiling ceremony was carried out by a former member of the American crew and two ex-parachutists.
Decorations for Dutch people
A number of Dutch people recently received decorations in recognition of their efforts for the annual Airborne commemorations.
Mr. T. Pieterse received the MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for the tremendous amount of work he has done over the past 20 years for and on behalf of the Lest We Forget Foundation. Mr. P. Meulendijk, chairman of the Airborne Commemorations Foundation, was awarded an OBE for the organisation of the 50th commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem (he becomes an Officer in this order).
Mr. A. Baltussen from the Driel-Poland Committee acquired the ‘Officierskruis in de Orde van Verdienste van Polen’ (Officers Cross in the Polish Order of Merit). In addition a number of people were presented with a brooch bearing the Polish Parachute Brigade emblem by the leader of the Polish pilgrims Mr. Z. Gasowski.
As a ‘thank you’ for his work in organising the annual service at the Airborne Cemetery, Mr. J.Rudolphie was presented with a small silver Pegasus figure by the Arnhem Veterans Club.
Lectures on Oosterbeek in 1945
As part of the events marking 50 Years Liberation, the Renkum Municipality ‘Stichting voor Heemkunde’ (Local History Foundation) is organising two lectures on ‘Oosterbeek in 1945’. Both lectures, accompanied by many photographic slides, will give an idea of the damage suffered by the village during, and particularly after, the hostilities of September 1944. Other topics covered will include the left behind military material, ammunition, field graves, trench systems and other matters characteristic of Oosterbeek in the first year of liberation.
The first lecture will be given by Mr. G.H. Maassen jr. on Friday 27 October 1995 and will deal with the ‘Bovendorp’ (Lipper village). The second, covering the ‘Benedendorp’ (Lower village), will be on Wednesday 22 November 1995 when the lecturer will be Mr. R.P.G.A. Voskuil.
The TJ October lecture will be held in ‘Zalencentrum Lebret’ and the 22 November lecture will be in the Concert Hall, both commencing at 8 pm.
Admission is free for ‘Heemkunde’ members and 5 guilders for non-members.
Fulbeck Hall in Lincolnshire, 1st British Airborne Division headquarters in 1944, photographed during ‘The Forties’ weekend held on 15 and 16 July 1995.
(photo: Wybo Boersma)
British G.P.O telephone box back in place
Last year an original red G.P.O. telephone box was placed at the corner of Utrechtseweg and Weverstraat in Oosterbeek, a gift from the Arnhem Veterans Club.
Unfortunately within a few weeks it was hit by a skidding car and so badly damaged that it had to be removed. Shortly before the 51st commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem, on 23 August to be exact, a British telephone box was once more back in position.