Just an hour outside of Amsterdam is the town of Arnhem, famous for the stand of the outnumbered British forces during the period of 17-25 September 1944. A few kilometres down the road is the town of Oosterbeek, where the British headquarters were set up, in what is now the Hartenstein Hotel museum. There is a calm here today, a peacefulness which couldn’t be more diametrically opposed to the horrors that took place here over 70 years ago.
Every time I come I see changes, the walk through part of the museum has been well improved.
It can never give any idea of just how terrifying those days must have been, even for those who have experienced similar things would have no real idea of how it would have felt, knowing the enemy completely encircled your position and that your intended help wasn’t going to arrive due to terrible logistical problems,
This woman was a heroine, no other word for her. Over the years at various reunions I have been priveleged to meet men who fought at Arnhem and Oosterbeek, and those that met Kate Ter Horst to a man describe her as an angel. There were many brave citizens who carried out many incredible actions to assist the British forces during those terrible nine days, but Ms Ter Horst is a name that is held in the highest of high regard by the survivors of Operation Market Garden.
I am always deeply humbled when I visit this part of Holland, the people of the city have never ever forgotten that the British came. Even though they bought with them nothing but pain, death and destruction, the reply is always the same, “but you came and you tried.”
Every year on the anniversary of Operation Market Garden what seems to be the entire city turns out to pay their respects to the fallen, to see a young child placing a flower on the grave of a fallen soldier is, again, something that never fails to make my eyes leak.