VVAM Newsletter 4 – 1981
SOCIETY OF FRIENDS OF THE AIRBORNE MUSEUM OOSTERBEEK Utrechtseweg 232, 6862 AZ Oosterbeek, Netherlands Representative in Gt.Britain: Mr.A.Maynard, M.B.E.
49, Glenfarg Road, Catford, London SE6 1XN
NEWS-LETTER No. 4, NOVEMBER, 1981
Editor: Drs.R.P.G.A.Voskuil Dutch-English translation: S.G.Beek-Hobart
Two months have gone by since the Commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem. As in previous years, it was a time when many of us thought back to those dramatic weeks when liberation appeared to be so near. Once again, hundreds of British and Polish veterans returned to the place where they fought thirty-seven years ago. Civilians and veterans met one another again during the various Commemoration services and very many reminiscences were revived. The Airborne Museum was full to overflowing with visitors from home and abroad. A great number of events took place during the Commemoration which we would have liked to mention, but, alas, lack of space has compelled us to make a selection. Nevertheless, we hope that this News-letter, however modest, will con¬tribute somewhat towards keeping alive the memory of the BATTLE OF ARNHEM.
News from the Chairman.
Mrs.Steinweg-ten Horn, our 2nd Secretary, has given a lot of her time to the Society of Friends since its initiation. However, at the end of September, Mrs.Stein- weg informed us that, if someone else could be found to replace her at the end of the year, she would appreciate being relieved of her position as 2nd Secretary in order to gain more time for her previous activities. However, we most appreciate the fact that Mrs.Steinweg is prepared to continue helping the Society when necessary, though be it not as a Committee member.
At the 2nd Annual General Meeting, according to the Resignation Rota, two Commit¬tee members are due to resign; they are re-eligible. According to the Statutes, Art.8, sub 6, the Committee members are “to be nominated from those members, who, either personally or by family ties, are (or were) involved in the Allied Airborne Landing during the Battle of Arnhem in September, 19^”. Furthermore, it is important that candidates have a good deal of time available, are easy to get in touch with and can regularly undertake all sorts of activities in and around Oosterbeek. It’ is also desirable that they possess more than the average knowledge of English since there is a reasonable amount of English correspondence as well as the fact that our News-letter is also printed in English. With an eye to the future, may we ask you to give some thought to prospective candidates?
H. van Krieken, Chairman,
News from the Secretariat.
We are delighted to announce that our adviser, Maj. W.J.M.Duyts, was decorated, on the 18th September, with the Polish para-wings with golden laurel-wreath which he received from the Zwiazek Polskych Spadochroniarzy, situated in London. This distinc¬tion, which was handed over by Lt. Z.Gasowski, was awarded Maj.Duyts for his numerous activities for the Airborne Museum in general, and for the Polish section in particular. On behalf of all the Society’s members, the Committee has conveyed its congratulations to Maj.Duyts.
most welcome to help cover the costs. . , ,, , n
Our moral and somewhat modest financial support was given to e 7 V Artillery in their sporting achievement in order to collect enough money or e pur¬chase of an adapted car for the veteran, Len Clarke, who was wounded m sue a way during the Battle of Arnhem that he was left a permanent invalid. The collection resulted successfully. t
Another of our members, Mr.Ray Sheriff, performed a marathon “swim. at.the Papen- dal Sport Centre. This was a personal initiative on the part of .Mr.Sheriff in support.of the Year of the Handicapped. As you probably well know, Mr.Sheriff, who lost his. eyesight in 1944, was sponsored by a number of Airbomes. The substantial proceeds were given by him to “Het Dorp”. Mrs.Beek and Mr.Eykelhoff were present at Papendal to cheer him on, and consequently congratulate him.
We received an invitation from the Arnhem-Nijmegen Branch of the Royal British Legion on the occasion of the 60th year anniversary of this fine organisation, which does so much to help the veterans and their families. Mrs.Steinweg, herself a member of the Royal British Legion, attended the Remembrance Service and reception at the Jonker- bosch War Cemetery.
The Society has once again received a few gifts from its members, namely: from Mr.J.H.Adama, three photographs and two small documents; from Mr.K. J.Prockter, a group photograph of “A” Company 2nd Batallion The Parachute Regiment; from Mr.C.Wedgebury, two Dutch newspapers, a “Gelderlander” dated 26.9.1944 and a “Vrij Nederland” dated 14.10.1944; from Mr.E. van de Weerd, his recently-published books, “De Slag om de Veluwe” and “Bevrij- dingskroniek West-Veluwe”; and “on loan”, an American bag from Mr.J.P. den Boer. These most welcome additions were most gratefully received.
Our member, Mr.B.J. van der Meer from Kruiningen, presented the Museum with a fascia (name-board) “Airborne Museum” which he made himself with a great amount of care. This is now hanging above the main entrance at the rear of the Museum.
Finally, we would like to mention that the News-letters are prepared in their en¬tirety, by the Committee. Only the offset printing is done professionally. For this reason, as sincere amateurs, may we ask your clemency in case of inadequacies.
Last, but not least, we would like to thank all those members who have shown such interest, be it from personal contacts, telephone calls or letters.
M.H.Steinweg-ten Horn, 2nd Secretary.
News from the Treasurer.
I am very pleased to say that the contribution for 1982 will remain at a minimum amount of J 15.-, in spite of all the strongly increasing costs. Thanks to an increase of members, as well as to a large number of members who pay more than the minimum con¬tribution, we can continue with our objective, which is “giving support to the Museum”.
An additional point about which we are very pleased is that a Family Admittance Card will be shortly obtainable. The name of the person written-in on the card is thus con¬sidered an “ordinary member”, whilst the other family members are considered’”extra¬ordinary members”. The amount payable on such a Family Admittance Card will be a minimum of f 25.-, regardless of the number in the family; they must however all be living at the same address.
The enclosed Accept-Giro cards can be used for the payment of your I982 contribu¬tion. Would you be so kind as to fill in on this card, “ordinary member” or “extraordi¬nary member”. This only applies, of course, to those living within the Netherlands
Finally, we would like to mention that any new members registering after 1st July of the current year need only pay a half-year’s contribution. Those who register after the 31st October need not pay any contribution for that current year provided that the contribution for the following calendar year is booked over immediately.
An Afternoon with a Special Theme: Arnhem and Oosterbeek in ftdne
After the Liberation in May, 1945, when civilians returned to the South-Veluwe
Sfea1j parts of Arnhem, Oosterbeek and surrounds were terribly destroyed AN J.U +u ’ a^ur’iayi 28th November, an afternoon will be organised, with this period as the theme of the afternoon.
.Mr.G.H.Maassen, who complied “Oosterbeek Verwoest” (“Oosterbeek in Ruins”) will give a oriet introduction over his study on this subject. Then, together with Mr.Voskuil,
e?. W1 > shown of photographs taken in 1945, and you will be le d on an imaginary walk through the debris of Oosterbeek and surroundings.
At the end of the afternoon, the film, “Thuiskomst” (“Homecoming”) will be shown. This documentary, which was commissioned by the Municipality of Arnhem, was made in 19^5 by R.Hornecker. The film shows us how the people of Arnhem returned to their war-tom city and how they tried to make it relivable again. The Municipality Archives in Arnhem has kindly made this film available.
This special afternoon on the 28th November will take place in the Concert-Hall on the Benedendorpsweg, opposite the old church, in Oosterbeek, and will start at 2.15 P-m.
A contribution of f 2.50 per person will be payable to help finance such an after¬noon, so that the Society’s funds are not too depleted.
Thirteenth reprint of the book, “It Was Like This / Zo was het”.
During the last 25 years, very few descriptions of the Battle of Arnhem have been so regularly reprinted as the book, “It Was Like This / Zo was het”, written by Lt.Col. C.B.Mackenzie, D.S.O., O.B.E. The first edition appeared in 1955, and contained 48 pages. Since then, the photo material in particular has been regularly supplemented. In the 9th edition, an account appeared, for the first time, of the role of the First Independent Polish Parachute Brigade Group during the fighting in Oosterbeek and Driel. This resulted in increasing the book’s volume to 84 pages. To this date, 29,000 copies have already been sold. The rights of publication which were originally in the hands of the Airborne Committee, have now (for this 13th edition) been passed on to the Airborne Museum Foundation.
The book costs f 9.50.
Brig. Mackenzie visits the Airborne Museum.
Brig. Mackenzie (then a Lt.-Col.), who was General Staff Officer 1 (Ops) on Gen. Urquhart’s staff during the Battle of Arnhem, visited the Airborne Museum in Hartenstein on Sunday afternoon of the 20th September last. This was, for Brig. Mackenzie, his first visit. He was shown round by Messrs. Wilhelm and Boersma. During the tour, Brig. Mackenzie gave a most interesting account of the situation in Hartenstein House during the Battle of Arnhem, when the building was being used by the First British Airborne Division as their Headquarters. After the tour, Brig. Mackenzie signed a number of copies of the 13th edition of his book, “It Was Like This / Zo was het”.
Brig. Mackenzie and Mr.Boersma (r.) visited the diorama of Gen. Urquhart’s command post, in the cellar of Hartenstein. (Photograph B. de Reus)
A new Airborne Museum Guide.
Both the Dutch and English editions of the new Airborne Museum Guide have now been published; this sixteen-page illustrated booklet is available for the price of f 1.-. The first few pages of the Guide relate briefly, though concisely, the events which took place in 1944. The rest of the Guide contains brief descriptions of all the exhibition areas open to the visitor during the tour of the Museum.
New publications about the Battle of Arnhem.
The number of publications since 1945 regarding “Arnhem”, is ever-increasing. We would now like to draw your attention to a recently published book, “Bevrijdingskroniek West-Veluwe” (“Chronicle of the West-Veluwe Liberation”) written by E. van de Weerd en G.Crebolder. Although the largest part of the book is dedicated to the fighting which took place in the Municipalities of Ede and Barneveld in April 1945, nevertheless the first three chapters are completely concentrated on the battle in 1944 and a few events which followed inasmuch as they occurred in the afore-mentioned municipalities.
The book opens with a chapter about the landing on the Ginkel Heath on the 18th September 1944 and the fighting which followed. Then, there is an extensive description of the Pegasus I and II Operations, in October and November 1944, which were meant to see that the Allied soldiers who had been left behind after the Battle of Arnhem were brought to safety on the other side of the Rhine. The third chapter is dedicated to “The Incredible Patrol”. It is the story of an intelligence-officer of the 101st American Airborne Division, who, together with five men from the Betuwe, crossed the Rhine on the 30th October 1944, into the still German-occupied Veluwe. The chapter tells of their wanderings over a period of days, and how they return, via Wolfheze, the Ginkel and Heelsum, to their division in the Betuwe, with twenty German prisoners of war.
The book is well-written and contains many interesting photographs and maps. It is published by the Bameveldse Drukkerij en Uitgeverij (Bamevelds Printers and Publishers) and costs f 28,-.
Monument to the 21st Independent Parachute Company.
On the 21st September, 1981, in the garden of the house, “Quatre Bras” (crossroads Utrechtseweg-Stationsweg in Oosterbeek), a monument was unveiled to the 21st Independent Parachute Company in memory of their presence in this area in 1944. This seems, in a way, hardly special; so many memorial plaques and monuments have been erected over the past years. However, what is notable in this case is that it concerns an extremely original monument (designed by the 23-year-old Saskia Deurvorst from Oosterbeek) and that the text is, for the first time, dedicated to the population of Oosterbeek and the support which was given: “In memory of the 21st Independent Parachute Company which held this area during the Battle of Arnhem and of the people of Oosterbeek who sacrificed so much to give their support”. David Eastwood, C.B.E., M.C., then one of the platoon-commanders, and Ans Kremer, living at Stationsweg 8 in 1944, both gave moving speeches, and then together removed the English and Dutch flags from the memorial.
The Burgomaster of Renkum and his wife, together with many English and Dutch sym¬pathisers were present at this ceremony.
The stimulating and active cooperation of the owners of “Quatre Bras”, B. & D. Architects Bureau, was exemplary. The English veterans and their Dutch guests were given a warm and splendid welcome, which was both mentally and physically stimulating; without mentioning the fact that the hosts took such great pains, at their own cost, in orga¬nising everything prior to the unveiling.
On this rather matter-of-fact note, we would also like to tell of an individual human experience: after 37 years, David Eastwood saw for the first time the then five year old little girl whom he, as a twenty-four year old lieutenant – in between his official activities – had tried to amuse in the cellar of “Quatre Bras” by playing games to try and take her mind off the incomprehensible horror of war.
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