Operation Pegasus: The Escape of the Survivors. A walk along the escape route Operation Pegasus

Op zaterdag 4 april 2009 hadden we een jaarlijke ontmoeting van de Vrienden van het Airborne Museum in hotel restaurant Nol in 't Bos, gelegen in de prachtige omgeving van Renkum and Wageningen. Na de ontmoeting liepen we een deel van de route die gebruikt werd tijdens de evacuatie operatie Pegasus.

Van de circa 8.000 slachtoffers van de Britse 1st Airborne Division (met inbegrip van de zweefvliegers en de Poolse Brigade) werden niet alle gedood tijdens de strijd of gevangen genomen door de Duitsers: een groot aantal mannen wisten te ontsnappen. Ten minste 300 van deze mannen in geslaagd om uiteindelijk terug te keren naar de geallieerde linies, vaak met hulp van het Nederlandse verzet. Een dergelijke poging om het geallieerde gebied te bereiken was operatie 'Pegasus I'. In de nacht van 22 oktober 1944 leidde majoor Allison Digby Tatham-Warter 138 mannen veilig naar de overkant van de Neder-Rijn. Het nieuws van deze succesvolle ontsnapping bereikten spoedig de Duitsers, die reageerden door versterking van hun patrouille op de oever van de rivier. Als gevolg hiervan mislukte 'Pegasus II' op 18 november 1944, toen slechts 7 man veilig terug kwamen. Kolonel Graeme Warrack, hoofd medische officier van de divisie, die de evacuatie van de Britse gewonden had geregeld  tijdens de slag om Arnhem, was een van die personen die er niet in slaagde de geallieerde linies te bereiken. Voor hem en vele anderen zou er een lange tijd volgen van het zich verborgen houden en reizen van de ene schuilplaats naar de andere. Warrack keerde veilig terug op 6 februari 1945, bijna 5 maanden na het begin van Market Garden.

 
The author Cees Hazelhoek, author of the book entitled Get'em Out was also present at the walk. This book is about the escape operation. There were two: Pegasus I and Pegasus II. The second has, unfortunately, failed. In this hotel restaurant on the border of Wageningen and Renkum we had the annual meeting of the VVAM and began our rout following operation Pegasus.
The author Cees Hazelhoek, author of the book entitled Get'em Out was also present at the walk. This book is about the escape operation. There were two: Pegasus I and Pegasus II. The second has, unfortunately, failed.
 
In this hotel restaurant on the border of Wageningen and Renkum we had the annual meeting of the VVAM and began our rout following operation Pegasus.
On the terrace of the hotel restaurant Nol in 't Forest, I saw this beautiful outdoor chess. Theme of this day was the greatest escape operation from the Second World War, Operation Pegasus. Therefore on our meeting point these figures were displayed, showing how British military men were changing closes after a long period of hiding or wander.
On the terrace of the hotel restaurant Nol in 't Forest, I saw this beautiful outdoor chess
 
Theme of this day was the greatest escape operation from the Second World War, Operation Pegasus. Therefore on our meeting point these figures were displayed, showing how British military men were changing closes after a long period of hiding.
The escape route was through the woods of Renkum in the direction of the river Rhine.
The escape route was through the woods of Renkum in the direction of the river Rhine.
 
We walk the route followed during Operation Pegasus.
We follow the escape route of the survivors used during Operation Pegasus. Cees Haverhoek, author of the book 'Get 'em Out, the story of Pegasus I and II', gives an explanation.

Here the soldiers before they dress as part of Operation Pegasus will cross the Rhine. They do this in the barn in the photo left is displayed.
This barn was the last stop before the floodplains of the River Rhine were achieved. Here the soldiers before they dress as part of Operation Pegasus will cross the Rhine. They do this in the barn in the photo left is displayed.
The floodplains of the River Rhine are achieved. This was the most dangerous part, because this open area was under the eye of German patrols before the river was reached. Already a few days, the Americans on the other side gave fierce artillery fire, so the attention of the Germans was derived. Also American patrols infiltrated this area.