FRIENDS OF THE AIRBORNE MUSEUM
Newsletter No. 61, February 1996
Translated by Cathrien and Peter Clark
Representative in Great Britain: Mr. E.E. Shaw, 298 Totnes Road Paignton – Devon TQ4 7HD Tel. 0803-553616
16th General Members Meeting, 27 April 1996
You are invited to attend the 16th General Members Meeting of the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek. The meeting will be held in the Concert Hall, Rozensteeg 3, opposite the Old Church in Benedendorp Oosterbeek on Saturday 27 April next starting at 2 pm, and will include the Annual General Meeting.
The agenda is as follows:
2. Minutes of the General Members Meeting of
1 April 1995
3. General Report 1995
4. Financial Report 1995
5. Audit Committee Report
6. Relationship to the museum
7. Budget for 1996
8. Election of Officials
9. Appointment of reserve member to the Audit Committee
11. Closure of the meeting
Information on agenda point 8.
Messrs J. Smits and R.P.G.A.
Voskuil have reached the end of their term of office but both have declared themselves available for re-election.
Article 8 of the Statutes allows for the proposal of alternative Financial reports and information on point 6 will be sent to you separately. The Audit Commission report will be available for perusal half an hour before the meeting begins.
After the meeting a film about the Battle of Arnhem will be shown.
General Report 1995
We began the year with 1236 members. During 1995 10 people cancelled their membership, 33 Friends had their membership cancelled through non-payment of subscriptions and 15 members died.
Membership was increased by 80, including one British and seven Dutch ‘Life Members’. Those who passed away were Mrs Bosman-Nijenes and the gentlemen F.J.N. Engel, J.A. de Baat, B.M.F. Verschoor, M. van der Graaf, J. Figg, E.J. Hetherington, B.E. Cornell, B. Facey, C. Simpson,
S.A.J. Daw, W.T. Simpson, BJ. Mullerlove, W.J. Marquand and Mr and Mrs L.D. Tapp. The management met 11 times during the year. There was an excursion to Hamminkeln in the Spring and a Theme Day was held in the Autumn As in previous years, four Dienstslachtoffers en Aanverwante Doeleinden’ (a trust which acquires funds for military war and service victims and related purposes) and the 10,000 guilders raised by the VVV (tourist office) in 1994 as a result of the Telephone Card action were received in 1995 and, as agreed, devoted to the updating of the project.
A number of members presented the management with proposals aimed at making certain changes within the Society. Two meetings took place between these members and management in which the proposals were explained and discussed. Various ideas were accepted by the management with the remaining items being scheduled for further discussion at a later date.
The HAMILCAR glider in the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop, one of the museums to be visited during the trip to England.
(photo: Berry de Reus)
The Society presented the Airborne Museum with the following gifts:
1. A stereo projector for the showing of stereo slides, including the cost of producing the slides;
2. A crate for the transportation of the large HORS A glider model which is always a great attraction at the various promotional/sales stands;
3. A perspex display cabinet which allows books to be exhibited safely;
4. Two large (3 x 2.25 metres) photo display boards for the information stand;
5. Payment of the costs for the provision of Polish text for the audio-visual presentations in the museum;
6. A contribution to the costs for the realisation of a German Schools Project.
Society information and sales stands were to be found at various 1995 festivities including the two Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days at Volkel, the nine days of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands, the Resistance Day at Nunspeet, the Airborne Walk in Oosterbeek and the Pegasus Walk in Lunteren. Profits for the museum and the Society amounted to a total of 13,500 guilders.
(Mieke de Langen)
Airborne Museum Foundation chairman Burgomaster Verlinden thanks EefVellinga for the work he has do ne for the museum over the past 17 years al the latter’s reception in ‘Har tonstein’ on 12 January last; right, Nelie Vellinga- Nijholt.
(photo: Berry de Reus)
Message from your UK representative
Thank you for your support of the Friends and for your generosity.
A kindly reminder that subscriptions were due on the 1st of January 1996. Donations are always welcome.
Ted Shaw, UK representative.
Excursion to England, 17 to 21 April 1996
In the last Newsletter mention was made of a planned trip to England for our Dutch members. Thanks to the enthusiastic cooperation of the Parachute Regiment in Aidershot this excursion will indeed go ahead from Wednesday 17 up to and including Sunday 21 April. An information sheet with application coupon is included with the Dutch edition of this Newsletter. Those interested should return the completed coupon as soon as possible and should deposit the required participation fee in the specially opened Giro bank account.
Well attended Theme Day
The Theme Day held in Oosterbeek last 9 December generated tremendous interest. The morning programme was organised by our members Philip Reinders and Peter Vrolijk, a programme that they had prepared with great thoroughness. Messrs Reinders and Vrolijk conducted the ‘Theme Dayers’ on a tour of the Pietersberg and Hemelse Berg estates where, among other things, 1st Airlanding Brigade headquarters was situated during the battle. The events of September 1944 were gone into in great detail. The presence of Mr Albert Jansen, who lived in the gardener’s house at the Pietersberg in those days more than 50 years ago and had his own story to tell, added an extra dimension to the tour.
In the afternoon Eugdne Wijnhoud gave a gripping lecture to a crowded Concert Hall on the role of the 1st and 2nd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery Royal Artillery during the Battle of Arnhem. The lecture was illustrated with numerous slides.
The afternoon ended with the showing of the video-documentary ‘The Battle for Arnhem’.
Many people asked if details of the research into the day’s subjects could one day be put down on paper, a request which was positively received by the three theme organisers.
As you will have read in the General Report, a number of members have put forward various proposals to the management of which the following have been accepted:
1. Expansion of the theme afternoons into a full Society day. In consultation with the management these additional half days can be used by Society members for presentations, lectures and suchlike.
2. The facility for members to place short appeals in the Newsletter regarding research into specific aspects of the Battle of Arnhem. (‘Can you help?’)
3. Future, new Society publications costing 30 guilders or more will be available to Society members at a discount.
4. Management will endeavour to fix the dates of the Society’s events for the whole year.
Obituary: Leo Heaps
News has been received of the death in Canada some time during September 1995 of Canadian Arnhem veteran Leo Heaps. Lieutenant Heaps served as an officer in the British army from May 1944. He was attached to the 1st Parachute Battalion and landed with tills unit at Arnhem on 17 September 1944. At the end of the fighting, during which he exhibited great courage and initiative, he was made prisoner- of-war. He managed to escape, however, and was involved in Operation Pegasus I in October 1944. In this operation more than 200 allied servicemen who had been in hiding in enemy-held territory since the battle escaped across the Rhine to the safety of the liberated region of the Netherlands.
Heaps described his experiences in the books ‘Escape from Arnhem’ (Toronto, 1945) and ‘The Grey Goose of Arnhem’ (London, 1976).
New Airborne Museum Foundation management board members
Two new members have been appointed to the management board of the Airborne Museum Foundation. Oosterbeek economist Drs J.M. Kingma becomes treasurer, effective from 1 January this year, with the second appointee, as ordinary member to the board, being Mr G. Pijpers, also from Oosterbeek. Gerrit Pijpers, a Squadron Leader in the Royal Netherlands Air Force, has been involved in the organisation of the memorial service at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek since 1976. From 1 January 1995 he took over the management of this annual highpoint in the commemorations. In this task he is assisted by many volunteer helpers.
Eef Vellinga says goodbye
On 12 January 1996, 72 year-old Eef Vellinga took leave of his post as Airborne Museum assistant curator.
A farewell reception was held in his honour on the same day which was attended by a large number of people. To mark his leaving the Airborne Museum Foundation and the Society of Friends presented the Veil ingas with a holiday trip to England. In addition Eef received an inscribed crystal wine carafe from the Foundation plus a wristwatch from the personnel, also inscribed.
Eef Vellinga worked at the Hartenstein museum from the day of its opening in 1978, and in the ensuing 17 years put in an unbelievable amount of work.
Eef experienced the Battle of Arnhem at close quarters in September 1944. He was one of the small group of Dutchmen who offered assistance to the British during the initial stages of the battle. This group would later become known as the ‘Oranje Bataljon’ (the Orange Battalion).
One of Eef’s hobbies is painting and a small selection of his work was exhibited in the Airborne Museum from 10 November 1995 to 7 January 1996.
Oosterbeek, 13 December 1995. Lieutenant Jongen and Warrant Officer Bolle of the Graves Unit during the exhumation of the remains of a British serviceman at Westerbouwing.
(photo: Berry de Reus)
‘Battle of Arnhem’ now on Internet
Modern technology increasingly allows the spread of information via the computer, including of course information on historical subjects.
One of our members, Mr H. Hoekstra from Arnhem, is working on a programme on the Internet about the Battle of Arnhem which enables all manner of information on the operation to be called up. The data files are still being perfected with the help of many people worldwide, and extensive information about the Airborne Museum is included. The programme can be called up on the computer under: HTTP://WWW.UNIVERSAL.NL/USERS/HOEKST RA/PEGASUS.HTM
An exhibition to do with the clearance of munitions left behind after the Battle of Arnhem is to be held in the Airborne Museum from 1 March to 12 May 1996 under the title ‘Sluimerend Gevaar’. Particularly in the years just after the war enormous quantities of explosive material were cleared, but even today there are almost weekly finds of dangerous munitions in the area around Arnhem.
The opening of the Airborne Museum in Hartenstein in 1978 was photographed and filmed by many of those who attended the ceremony. The management of the Airborne Museum Foundation would like to obtain prints of the photographs and copies of the films made on the day, both at the Hartenstein and in the Goede Herderkerk (Church of the Good Shepherd). If you possess any such material and have no objection to it being copied please contact the Airborne Museum, Utrechtseweg 232, 6862 AZ, Oosterbeek, telephone 026 – 3337710.
Remains of a British soldier unearthed
On 13 December 1995, during the excavation of a telephone cable trench opposite the entrance to the Westerbouwing in Oosterbeek, the remains of a British serviceman killed during the Battle of Arnhem were discovered. The Graves Unit of the Royal Netherlands Army was alerted immediately and Lieutenant H.J.R. Jongen and Warrant Officer F. Bolle were quickly on the scene. There they recovered the soldier’s remains with great care. The remains were found at a depth of 65 cm and were well preserved, even after more than 51 years, and Lieutenant Jongen was able to recover the almost complete skeleton without any difficulty. Investigation of the remains at the Graves Unit laboratory in Bussum will concentrate initially on the man’s teeth. Comparison with old dental records held in the British Ministry of Defence archives will most probably lead to a positive identification.
At present there are still 429 allied servicemen missing in the Arnhem area. A total of 286 unknown soldiers lie buried in various cemeteries who, as far as is known, were involved in the Battle of Arnhem. The remains of the two servicemen found in the Sonnenberg area in Oosterbeek in January 1994 are still under examination by the British authorities. This means that there are still some 140 unknown graves of allied soldiers in the south ‘Veluwezoom’ region.
Book fair at theAirborne Museum
This year’s annual book fair will be held in the Airborne Museum on 1 July. A wide selection of books about World War II will be on sale at the various stands.
Bronze statuette of parachutist recovered
More than a year ago the 70 cm tall bronze statuette ‘The Parachutist’ by Jits Bakker was wrenched from its pedestal and stolen. Last September, shortly before the commemorations, the sculptor placed his own example of the statue at our disposal. Since it appeared that the original would never be found, fund-raising began to enable this second statue to be purchased from Jits Bakker.
Imagine the amazement one morning at the beginning of December last year when the badly damaged original statuette was found on the steps of the Airborne Museum, left by a person or persons unknown.
The damaged statue will now be repaired and returned to the spot where it had stood for five years: opposite the entrance to the Airborne Museum.
‘To Save a Life’
A book entitled ‘To Save a Life, Memoirs of a Dutch Resistance Courier’ has been brought to the attention of the editors by Mrs Pelster from Oosterbeek. In this book Elsa Caspers, a Dutch lady, describes the work of the Dutch Resistance groups in the ‘Utrechtse Heuvelrug’ region, work which included looking after people who had gone ‘underground’ and hiding allied aircrew. Elsa herself was just 18 years of age when she began to take part in these risky activities as a courier. Among other things she was involved in the then Brigadier Hackett’s escape following his period in hiding in Ede after the battle of Arnhem. General Hackett has written the foreword to the book as a mark of respect to Elsa Caspers and to the Dutch Resistance.
This 176 page illustrated paperback is published by Deirdre McDonalds Books, 128 Lower Richmond Road, London SW15 1LN and costs 9.95 pounds. (ISBN number: 1 898094 10 1)
Booklet about crashed C-47
As a round-off to his research into a C-47 that was shot down over the Betuwe on 18 September 1944, Society member Patrick Pronk has produced a booklet on the subject. This publication, entitled ‘De 697 tijdens de Slag om Arnhem’ (The 697 during the Battle of Arnhem), describes the lot of the aircraft’s crew and the parachutists of the 10th Parachute Battalion it was carrying. The survivors of the crash were brought to safety by the Dutch Resistance. This illustrated booklet in the Dutch language comprises 22 pages.
In Newsletter no. 60 it was mistakenly reported that Mr J. Rudolphie was presented with a silver statuette by the Arnhem Veterans Club during last September’s Airborne commemorations in appreciation of his great efforts on their behalf. In fact Mr Rudolphie received the statuette from the Airborne Forces Security Fund: the Arnhem Veterans Club actually presented Mr Rudolphie with a glass goblet, engraved with the AVC coat of arms, the presentation being made by Arnhem Veterans Club chairman David Morris.