The Brabant village Oisterwijk and Operation Market-Garden

airborne troops in the Kampina

An early landing.

 

In the afternoon of September 18 1944, day two of operation Market-Garden, again a large armada of transport and glideraircraft passed over Oisterwijk territory.

When heavy German Flak came in to action two gliders were suddenly released in mid-air and floated down to the ground disappearing behind the treeline.

The inhabitants of Oisterwijk that witnessed this event thought that liberation would now come soon and that it would only be a matter of hours until they would be liberated.

Unfortunately the gliders were released to soon, presumably deu to a broken towrope.

The two gliders were filled with airbone soldiers and both aircraft came down at the wrong place.

They landed between Oisterwijk and Boxtel near the edge of the Kampina heather and forest. 

Unable to reach their own lines at Eindhoven the airborne troops hid themselves in the Kampina forest.

The group consisted of some 30 American airborne soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division.

The local resistance of the village of Oisterwijk and Boxtel were able to get in to contact with the group and provided them with a good place to hide in the Kampina forest.

As far away as possible from the place were their gliders had landed they were housed in large camouflaged holes dug in to the ground in an area called ‘Huisvennen’ near a moor called Meeuwenven.

By using tent fabric and wooden beams they were able to build a couple of reasonably good shelters between the trees and bushes.

 

The most important thing for the local resistance was to provide the troops with the necessary food and drinks wich seemed to be a rather difficult and dangerous task.

About one pig was cooked, sliced in parts, and hidden in milk containers to provide the necessary food for the men.

The milk containers were then transported on bicycles to the hideout by resistance members disguised as farmers.

Farmers from the surroundings were willing to help the resistance and offered help in providing the hungry men with different sorts of food.

A bakkery in Oisterwijk provided them with 60 double loaves of bread a day and others provided 20 pounds of butter a day.

Even then there was still a shortage in food while the resistance workers had to explain, that in view of the war situation, there was no need for them to slice the butter for the bread into slices of one centimeter.

After this explenation the soldiers did their best and adepted themsselves to their difficult situation.

 

Into the direction of the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch other gliders had also landed prematurely and one of them had come down in an area near the village of Vught.

This glider was also part of the September 18 lift and it landed on the Bergenshuizen estate, near some woods just outside the village.

This American build CG-4A Waco glider was piloted by the American glider pilot F/O. Chester Ritter and was carrying 13 American airborne soldiers and a small mortar.

No one onboard the glider was hurt during the landing and all men were able to hide for a while in the woods surrounding the Bergenshuizen estate.

After some time a resistance worker by the name of Marinus Verhagen, who lived in the village of Esch, was able to contact the troops and bring them to the airborne troops in the Kampina forest at the ‘Huisvennen’ hide out.

Parts of the skeleton and the wheels of Ritters glider were kept in the area at Bergenshuizen for many years by farmers who made good use of these materials after the war.

The wheels of the glider for instance were used as the undercarriage for a flat wagon on the farm of farmer Joseph Hooijman located on the Bergenshuizen estate.

Later that same flat wagon was used by a farmer called Albert Peijnenburg from the village Esch.

He used it as a hay wagon on and around his farm.

For many years the skeleton of the Waco glider was used by farmer Jos van Esch who also lived in Esch.

Farmer Van Esch used parts of the gliderskeleton to build a wooden stable for his new born pigs.

Today these pieces are on diplay in the Dutch WW2 museum, Wings of Liberation at Son near the city of Eindhoven.  

 

South Staffordshire
82nd
101st
Kampina Airborne

Around that time also a crew of a downed tug aircraft were attempting to stay out of enemy hands.

They were also brought to the hideout at Huisvennen by local resistance workers.

Also men who were onboard other gliders that made an early landing in the area were brought together.

With the help of the Boxtel resistance they were all put into hiding in the kampina at Huisvennen.

This group then steadily grew and after a while it consisted of 46 Americans, one Pole, a Dutchman and 3 British soldiers, generally all airborne troops.

 

Then in the night of 21 October the Oisterwijk resistance brought another group of soldiers to Huisvennen.

This group consisted of 47 British and American airborne soldiers, amongst them British Red Barrets, that all landed to soon by glider.

They came down near an area of sand dunes and woods named Loonse en Drunense duinen (Loon and Drunen dunes) near the village Loon op Zand.  

 

The Germans were aware of the presence of airborne troops in the area but were not able to locate their hideout despite some search party’s.

The troops remained in their hideout until the end of October when reports came in trough the resistance that the Allied army was advancing on to Boxtel from the east.

The airborne troops were now starting to become somewhat impatient and wanted to do something fast but lacked sufficient weaponery.

Luckily the resistance was able to provide them with sufficient gun power though it was of German origin.

Near the end of October small groups off German soldiers travelling to the rear lines by way of the Oisterwijk woods were attacked by the oisterwijk resistance and under gun point robbed from their weapons, clothing and other belongings and were then kept inprisoned in the woods and on local farms.

Some of this German weaponry finally found its way to the airborne troops in the Kampina forest which substantially increased their firepower.

 

After reports came trough of retreating Germans and advancing Allied reconnaissance units in their area the group of Allied soldiers decided that it was time to evacuate the hideout and pull out to the village of Boxtel.

During the night of October 24 the group left their hideout and, covered by darkness, walked straight to the village of Boxtel that had been deserted by the German army.

After cautiously entering the village the airborne soldiers were met by a celebrating and ecstatic Boxtel population and they were all greeted as their liberators.

The troops had entered the village just ahead of the Allied army that roled into the village the next morning to find it already liberated.

 

 

Airborne troops in the Kampina accompanied by several resistance workers
the armed resistance group of Oisterwijk, September 1944.
Some Kampina airborne men show their German weaponry on October 25. This photo, that was on display at the wings of liberation museum at Son for many years was shot near Boxtel. Clear to sea are the airborne patches on the battledresses of the two American airborne men. The trooper to the right is wearing the 'Screaming Eagle’ insignia of the 101st Airborne Division and the trooper to the left the AA,
‘All-American’ insignia of the 82nd Airborne Division. Also pictured in this photo is a British airborne soldier with barret and insignia of the South Staffordshire Regiment.

Until today it’s still not clear exactly how many airborne troops were hiding in the Kampina.

Different sources tell different numbers. There were at least over 100 men hiding in the Kampina forest.

 

This story is based on information from the Oisterwijk history books;

Zorgvolle tijden - war years in Oisterwijk by Theo Cuipers

The report - War above Oisterwijk by Antoon de Graaf

War in Oisterwijk by Donald Wiedemeyer, Rik Oerlemans

 

As owner/webmaster of this site I am proud to announce the 2nd edition of my book

 

KAMPINA AIRBORNE

Airborne evaders of the Kampina forest

 

Kampina Airborne is the true story about one of the most unique feats of evasion during World War Two. The story also tells of the courage and determination of the people of the Dutch underground and resistance who risked their own lives and that of their loved ones to help and hide a large number of Allied military men that had been forced to make premature landings, by glider or parachute, into enemy territory.

 

 

During the largest airborne operation of World War Two, as part of operation Market-Garden, not all Allied transport, glider tug aircraft and gliders would reach their designated drop and landing-zones at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem. From day one of the operation a large number of airborne troops and aircraft personnel would be forced to make premature landings, far away from their original destinations, in enemy held territory in the province of North Brabant. These military men were not only greatly assisted by the local resistance during their escape by being safely hidden, but in some cases also brought together as a large body of men, ultimately able to participate in the liberation of the area.

 

 

Kampina Airborne tells the true 'Market-Garden' story of a group of more than eighty Allied glider-borne troops who were forced to make premature landings in the Dutch province of North Brabant.

Amongst these troops were men of the British 1st Airborne Division and the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Division. This book describes the ways in which these men were assisted by the local resistance after they had landed in enemy held territory, who their resistance helpers were and the places that these men were hidden. The story also includes information about the pilots and aircrew members of the U.S. IX Troop Carrier Command and the British Glider Pilot Regiment who were piloting the aircraft.

All their names are included together with detailed information about the events that took place plus their personal experiences during the period that they were in hiding in the area south of the North Brabant capital of 's-Hertogenbosch between September 17 and October 26 of 1944.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dutch version is available since 21 October 2012, the English version since February 2013.

The book counts 253 pages, over 180 photos (many unpublished) and maps.

In addition the book has a separate map that shows a part of North-Brabant from the book. This map has 74 points of interest that relate to the story.

 

ISBN NL 9780993561733

ISBN GB 9780993561726

 

Price 24.99 euro. shipping costs on demand.

 

English copy of KAMPINA AIRBORNE: Baverstock and Pasley

Dutch copy contact the author Peter van der Linden

The following list makes up the index with the names of the Allied Airborne men who stayed hidden in Kampina forest with the aid of the local Brabant underground and resistance. At the bottom of the list are the names of the Dutch helpers, underground and resistance people that provided their help to these evaders.

1 S/Sgt. W.W. Potts 365546 UK

2 Sgt. G. Stephenson 850562 UK

3 Sgt. H.E. Leahy 842960 UK

4 L/Bdr. T.H. Buckley 14313943 UK

5 Sgt. J. Whitehead  3528646 UK

6 2nd Lt. J. Szegda OP1510  Poland

7 Sgt. K. Luitwieler 1587 Holland

8 L/Cpl. K. Barnard T/191551 UK

9 Dvr. W. Eggleton 14524207 UK

10 2nd Lt. W.F. Baker 0.2059885 USA

11 T/Sgt. C.S. Domitrovich 36054843 USA

12 S/Sgt. R.D. Ellis 16088020 USA

13 Lt. G.R. Millar 176150 UK

14 Lt. J.H. Barclay 182663 UK

15 Lt. R. Sharp 300729 UK

16 Sgt. E. Cutforth 4914493 UK

17 L/Sgt. J.G. Stubbs 4915072 UK

18 Cpl. R.G. Bennett 4927193 UK

19 Cpl. S. Molden 3523507 UK

20 L/Cpl. S. Pointon 4918915 UK

21 L/Cpl. T. Raines 4922249 UK

22 Pte. H. Aston 14672012 UK

23 Pte. W. Bache 2028527 UK

24 Pte. A.W.J. Baker 6408485 UK

25 Pte. D.E. Colman  7952715 UK

26 Pte. B. Fielding 11252292 UK

27 Pte. S. Glover 5049694 UK

28 Pte. N. Guest 14316554 UK

29 Pte. W. Julian 4915133 UK

30 Pte. S. Lashbrook 5510873 UK

31 Pte. K. McCance 14316596 UK

32 Pte. G.H. Newell 5510818 UK

33 Pte. W. Owen 1790996 UK

34 Pte. N.C. Price  14340278 UK

35 Pte. W. Putterill 4922986 UK

36 Pte. R.A. Race 5124630 UK

37 Pte. E. Tams 4915292 UK

38 Pte. W.H. Wall 4914089 UK

39 Pte. J.R.W. 4917463 UK

40 Pte. C.F.Weate 4914495 UK

41 F/O. P. Jacobson  T.430 USA

42 S/Sgt. W.R. Vaught 34235000 USA

43 1st/Sgt. P.R. Moukad 32014260 USA

44 Sgt. T.G. Connell 34235600 USA

45 Sgt. W.R. Hiney 35279916 USA

46 T/5. T.W. Lair 36070609 USA

47 T/5. J.F. Morgan 35111122 USA

48 Pfc. W.J. Connell 37270984 USA

49 Pvt. E.F. Corn 35717979 USA

50 Pfc. K.C. Hahnemann 36285844 USA

51 Pfc. J.W. Kotlarczyk 36176435 USA

52 Pfc. J.E. Schoenborn 36285510 USA

53 Pfc. D. Sufrin 32349314 USA

54 Pfc. C.C. Toepker 35674516 USA

55 Pfc. R.J. Tufnell 36112393 USA

56 F/O. C.O. Ritter T.121680 USA

57 S/Sgt. J. Pruett 15100862 USA

58 Sgt. H.S. Pierzchalski 36239318 USA

59 Pfc. J. Bulinsky 33574833 USA

60 Pfc. K.E. Gagen 35291537 USA

61 Pfc. R.E. Gommoll  32762512 USA

62 Pfc. C. Hammond 35269913 USA

63 Pfc. E. Kosterno 35719222 USA

64 Pfc. B.F. Lambert 34811689 USA

65 Pvt. L.L. Larick 35554180 USA

66 Pvt. C.P. Seibert 31417100 USA

67 Pvt. R.E. Weum 37565171 USA

68 Pvt. C.A. Woods 39042158 USA

69 Pvt. L.E. Wright 39716628 USA

70 2nd Lt. W.F. Brooks 0.807815 USA

71 S/Sgt. H.B. Farr 33350038 USA

72 T/Sgt. C.J. Obergfell  39610698 USA

73 F/O. J.G. Cleary T.122113 USA

74 S/Sgt. J.J. Burke 35523043 USA

75 Sgt. J. Casey 36239071 USA

76 Pfc. M.A. Bokesch  35592298 USA

77 Pfc. S.J. Wyzesien  12167536 USA

78 Pvt. J.M. Grove 33386741 USA

79 Pvt. E.E. Haney 35348874 USA

80 Pvt. E.J. Lyskawa 32475967 USA

81 Pvt. J.P. Nyeste 35592682 USA

82 Pvt. A.C. Robinson 20101904 USA

83 Pvt. P.O. Tamborini 35713094 USA

84 2nd Lt. J.A. Luton O.432595 USA

85 T/4. D.F. Johnson 37321097 USA

86 T/4. R.F. Franks 13058474 USA

87 Pvt. E. Pellum 34214067 USA

88 F/O. A.F. Moss T.835 USA

89 S/Sgt. J.B. Alm 35289171 USA

90 Sgt. S.A. Sulima 36396976 USA

91 T/5. G.L. Porter 34256766 USA

92 Pfc. D.H. Davis 34235444 USA

93 Pfc. J. Mayer 36239267 USA

94 Pfc. D.J. Mitchell 34235539 USA

95 Pfc. L. Shuler 34259385 USA

96 Pvt. W.J.Fichtner 32646592 USA

97 Pvt. N. Lemoine Jr. 34235923 USA

98 Pvt. M.E. Stomberg 36326530 USA

BOXTEL'S RESISTANCE

Resistance men and women and their associates from Boxtel and surroundings,

as far as could be identified by the author

 

PRINCIPAL MEMBERS OF THE SUPPORT/RESISTANCE OF BOXTEL

 

Klaas Dekker, Boxtel

Roel Dekker, Boxtel

Sjef de Jong, police officer, Boxtel

Cees van Leeuwen, Esch

Grard van der Meijden, Boxtel

Gabriël Sauer, Dordrecht

Marinus Verhagen, Esch

 

PERSONS, PRINCIPAL SUPPORT

 

H.L.A. de Beer, Oirschot

Wim Engels, N-Br

Willem de Groot, farmer, Lennisheuvel, Boxtel

Aalt van den Ham, forrester, Kampina

J. van den Heuvel-Maas, Kinderbos, Boxtel

Louis Katan, Rotterdam

Leo Kurtsjens, farmer, Lennisheuvel, Boxtel

Jan Kwant, Boxtel

Wim Meijer, forrester, Kampina

Van der Meyden, farmer, Tongeren, Boxtel

Wim Oerlemans, Udenhout

Father Janus Optatus van Asseldonk, Udenhout

A.E. Schuurmans, police officer, Boxtel

Chaplain Sleegers, Oisterwijk

 

Johan Hubacher, Oirschot

Willem Nooijen, Oirschot

Meyer, Straten, Oirschot

Louis Termeer, Oirschot

Fam Vlemminx, Oirschot

 

PERSONS, SUPPORT FOOD SUPPLY

 

Jan van Houtem, Kleiner Liempde, Boxtel

De Jong family, Boxtel

Jan de Jong, Boxtel

Theo Kurstjens, Lennisheuvel, Boxtel

Albert van Leeuwen, Esch

Fridus van Leeuwen, Esch

Nicolaas van Leeuwen, Esch

P.J. Smits, Boxtel

Wout van de Laar, baker, Boxtel

 

PERSONS AND FAMILIES, SUPPORT AND LOYALTY

 

Family of J. van Antwerpen, Boxtel

Van Beckhoven, bakker, Oisterwijk

Family of J. de Bie, Boxtel

Ed de Bruin, Boxtel

Sister Christinette, Ziekenhuis Boxtel

Wim Coppens, Vught

Truus Dekker, Boxtel

Zus Dekker, Boxtel

Wim Engels, Boxtel

Family of F. van Erp, Boxtel

Mayor Francisse, Boxtel

De Groot Family, Lennisheuvel, Boxtel

Van Hal Family, Boxtel

Sjaan van Heesch-van Boxtel, Boxtel

Doctor Hoek, Boxtel

Jo and Cor van Hooff, Boxtel

Van Iersel (supplier of butter)

Family of Sjef de Jong, Boxtel

Jan Klijberg, Moergestel

Konings Family, Esch

Jan vd Laar, Boxtel

Door van der Meijden, Boxtel

Family of F vd Meijden, Boxtel

Schut Family, Balsvoort, Oisterwijk

Peter Smits, Boxtel

Cris Verwey, Boxtel

Van Zeeland-Hazenberg, Boxtel

 

DRUNEN'S RESISTANCE

 

Resistance men and women and their associates from Drunen and surroundings,

as far as could be identified by the author

 

PRINCIPAL MEMBERS OF THE SUPPORT/RESISTANCE DRUNEN

 

David Elshout, Drunen

Leo Elshout, Drunen

Henk Stooter, Elshout

Ad Veltman, Elshout

 

PERSONS, PRINCIPAL SUPPORT

Dr. G.C. Akkermans, Drunen

Frans Elshout, Drunen

H. Glaudemans, ’s-Hertogenbosch

Jan van Kempen, The Pesterd

Antoinette Klerks, Elshout

Cor Klerks, Elshout

H. Rumling, Helvoirt

C. van Tooren, Drunen

Henriëtte Veltman-Klerks, Elshout

Jan Veltman, Dunen

Godfridus Visser, Drunen

 

Brothers Sint Norbertus Institution, Elshout

-Father Superior Gilbertus Rusman, Elshout

-Rector van Zeeland, Elshout

 

Dominican Fathers, Drunen

-Brother Clemens

-Brother Hendrik Gielkens

-Father Nol Meijers

-Father Willem Schooneman

-Father Sjef Verschure

 

Chaplain Simons, Drunen

 

Members of the resistance group André

-Adriaan Kuysten, Sprang-Capelle

-Jan Mallens, Kaatsheuvel

-A. Smit, Mayor, Sprang-Capelle

 

PERSONS, GENERAL ASSISTANCE

Theo van Delft, Drunen

Piet Elshout, Drunen

Brother Aloises Hoogervorst, Elshout

Van Kempen family, The Pesterd

Tiny Metsemakers, Helvoirt

Father Schelentroot, Helvoirt

Frans Spierings, Elshout

Van Wagenberg, Heusden

Vin Weijers, Waalwijk

 

Sint Norbertus Institution, Elshout

-Brother Isfridus Meert

 

Sint Nicolaas hospital, Sisters of J.M.J Waalwijk

-Sister Superior Irmengard

-Sister Laetitia

Osprey Publishing UK released the E-book version of the book in december 2014. This English Kindle Edition is titeled ‘Escape and Evasion’ allied airborne troops behind enemy lines during operation market garden. Escape and Evasion is made available world wide trough Amazone.com and the online bookstore of Osprey Publishing