On Saturday 2 November 2019 participated in a battlefield tour organized by Platform Militaire Historie Ede on the subject of Operation Pegasus 2.
This platform deals with the glorious military history of Ede, including the history of the Second World War, in which the resistance of Ede played an important role during the war. She succeeded in keeping the crew of crashed Allied aircraft out of the hands of the German occupier and to let them escape to England via a so-called pilot line. After the withdrawal of the British and Polish soldiers from the Oosterbeek perimeter during operation Berlin in the night of 25 to 26 September 1944, many British soldiers remained behind and roamed the Veluwe. They hid in barns and caves or found shelter on farms and in houses, with all the risks that this entailed.
The battlefield tour Pegasus 2 starts with an introduction and Powerpoint presentation in De Smederij. Platform Militaire Historie Ede is housed in building 27 on the former Arthur Koolkazerne. The monumental building from 1908 has a beautiful, military history and is located next to the horse stables and associated warehouses. 'De Smederij' also housed a workshop for the sword-sweeper and two workshops for the farriers (blacksmiths), with a fitting shed for the two squadrons of Hussars who were housed in the cavalry barracks.
An example of the resistance in Ede hiding British soldiers is General Hacket, who was in hiding with the De Nooy sisters in Ede. In 1944 Hackett is in command of the 4th British parachute brigade during Operation Market Garden. He is warmly received on 18 September 1944 when he, with his 4th British parachute brigade, lands on the Ginkelse heath.
At the end of the Battle of Arnhem he was badly wounded in his stomach. An operation saves his life. By Piet Kruyff, Hackett is 'kidnapped' from the hospital ten days later. He is housed in Ede, in the Torenstraat 5, with four older 'aunts' De Nooij: the unmarried sisters Mien, Anna and Cor and the widow Rie Snoek-de Nooij. He will stay there for more than four months until he is able to find his way to the British lines by bike. With a 'Mr. van Dalen's' identity card in his pocket and the 'SH'-pin for the deaf and hard of hearing on his lapel, Hackett, on the arm of one of the sisters, took longer and longer walks every evening to improve his condition. On 30 January 1945 he cycled through the snow to Sliedrecht, a journey of about 85 kilometres.
After the failure of the Market Garden operation, the wandering of large groups of Brits across the Veluwe became more and more of a problem. Both for those who provided shelter and the British themselves. Finally operation Pegasus took place. Major Airey Neave was head of British Intelligence during the Second World War. In that function he was charged with providing escape routes for allied soldiers from occupied territory in Western Europe and therefore he was jointly responsible for operations Pegasus 1 and Pegasus 2. Operation Pegasus 1 in the night of 22 to 23 October 1944, more than 100 people were evacuated. In the night of October 22-23, Easy Company was ordered by the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, U.S. 101st Airborne Division to secure the evacuation by sending a strong patrol to the north side of the river. Among the escaped soldiers of Pegasus 1 were Brigadier General Gerald Lathbury and Lieutenant at Sea Charles Douw van der Krap.

Due to the success of Pegasus 1, it was decided to carry out a second escape operation in which the assembly point was at Lunteren and the crossing over the Rhine at Heteren would be made. The local resistance was also closely involved in this escape attempt. On 16 November, the airbornes were collected in a chicken barn in Lunteren. The first night the group of about 90 people moved to Wekeromse Zand, where they spent the next day. The second night the group went to the Rhine via the Westerode farm meeting point. There it is not possible to let all the other groups join. This will cause them to fall behind on the planned timetable. They continue via the Mosselse Veld in the direction of Planken Wambuis. Around ten o'clock on that Saturday evening the British commander Major Maguire decides to take a shorter route. This is against the advice of the Edese resistance. When he turns away from the planned route, he already loses part of his rearguard. Near the Hindekamp the group of more than 80 men ends up in the middle of the German artillery constellations. After a German 'stop' a part of the group spreads itself in the bushes. When they continue, half of them remain ignorant. At the Heidebloemlaan only 40 men are still present. The commander goes back with two guides to pick up the rest. When the people who stayed behind go on the road again, they are stopped again by the Germans. The leader of the remaining men, Major Coke, doesn't answer and the Germans react with shots from their machine guns. There are wounded and British soldiers, allies and airborns are made prisoners of war. Major Coke gets lost as he gets away and arrives at Schriek farm at night. Here is a staff quarter of a German artillery battery located. The guard post discovers him and opens fire. Coke dies of his injuries.

The British commander Major Maguire and his group of allied soldiers hear this gunfight behind them when they are on their way to the Highway. When crossing it, enemy machine-gun fire follows from all sides. There is hardly any fighting back, because there is a lack of firepower. From the vanguard 17 men are still together, including Maguire and two Dutch guides.

They pass the road that is currently under construction and stop along the railway line. There they are captured in the early morning of 18 November. Only small groups manage to reach the Rhine in the end. Of the 116 airborns that started this journey, only seven people reached the liberated area.

Major Coke

During this tour we follow the trail of these men, who fell apart into small groups. They were, as it were, in the arms of the Germans who had set up artillery on the Wekeromse Zand to shoot at the Betuwe where the Americans were sitting. The British Major Coke managed to escape but was shot dead near a house in which there was a German army post. He is buried at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek.

In this house there were Germans who served the artillery on the Wekeromse Zand. Major Coke walked there during his flight, perhaps hoping to ask for help there. However, he was shot by a German soldier.
The resistance fighter Abraham du Bois was fully involved in the organisation of a second breakaway of remaining paratroopers. He did this together with Dick Kragt and Joop Piller. The preparations were rather chaotic. Safety was also handled carelessly, so that many outsiders became aware of the action. This led to a large group of Dutch people joining, which actually made the group too large. London also reported that Du Bois had been relieved of his leadership duties in relation to the crossing. He was replaced against his will by the British Major Hughes Maguire.
Escape route Pegasus 1 en 2.
Operation Pegasus II took place on the night of 16 to 17 November. Partly because of the size of the group, they were soon behind schedule. During the operation Abraham Du Bois stayed at the farm Westerode. The column led by Maguire passed there, but was already well behind schedule. Around half past ten, the participants on the farm were startled by machinegun fire and flares in the direction where the group had to be. At the insistence of Maguire a part of the route was cut off, but because of that the crossers ran straight to a German artillery post. Only a handful of the participants managed to reach the other side of the Rhine. Most of the participants fell into the hands of the Germans. The allied soldiers became prisoners of war, but for Dutch participants of the crossing the consequences were much worse. They were usually seen by the occupier as partisans. Several Dutchmen therefore had to pay for their participation in Operation Pegasus II with their lives.

Shortly afterwards a group of 24 paratroopers arrived from the direction of Elburg. The plan was that they would join the crossers, but they were delayed along the way. The paratroopers were temporarily housed in a forest behind the house. The next day Du Bois managed to get Dick Kragt to take care of this group. He himself fled directly to the farm of the Folmer family on the Nederwoudseweg in Lunteren, but regularly returned to the Wester Wetering.
As with the Pegasus 1 tour on 14 October 2017, the historic army vehicles of 't Gilde will be used again. We are immersed in the atmosphere of 1944 while following the route that the brave men also followed during their escape attempt in November 1944. We are struck by the long distances they covered on foot under difficult conditions, while their physical condition was far from optimal. The urge to survive was very strong to stay out of the hands of the enemy.
We arrive at farm Wester Wetering. During the war the centre of the resistance in Ede. Farm Wester Wetering, together with 300 other farms, was set on fire by the Dutch army in 1940 in order to obtain a free field of fire. During the war the farm was rebuilt, but on New Year's Eve 1944 the Landwacht set fire to it again, because of the people in hiding and the activities of the resistance. So here we see the third generation, at a location with a rich military history.
Memorial stone in the wall of the Wester Wetering farm that commemorates the burning down of the farm in May 1940. The Dutch lion stripped of its symbol of power, the shield.
From mid-October 1944, the farm of Aart Melis Jochemsen, the Wester Wetering, functioned as the headquarters of the Edese resistance. The farm had two good hiding places. A slurry pit that was covered with a hay barn functioned as a storage place for weapons. It was also possible to practice with weapons. Among others Derk Wildeboer, Marten Wiegeraadt and Piet Rombout worked from the farm. At the end of October the secret agent Abraham du Bois found shelter on the farm.

A month later, Operation Pegasus 2 took place. This action was a complete disaster. Most of the participants were caught, several of them had to pay with their lives. One of the participants who was arrested was Sister Den Hartog. She told the Germans about Abraham du Bois who had led the action and his likely whereabouts. The Sicherheitsdienst sent the V-Män Johnny de Droog to the farm to contact Du Bois. Thus he was arrested on 2 December 1944 on the farm of Jochemsen. Jochemsen himself had hidden himself in a secret hiding place. At the time of the arrest the resistance fighter Henk Wildenburg was also present. He just showed himself to the Germans and pretended to come and get only milk. Wildenburg was arrested anyway and spent the rest of the war in captivity. Together with Wildenburg and Du Bois another servant and hider were arrested.

De Droog insisted that he had seen Jochemsen walking in the yard, but the Dutch detachment of SS who searched the farm could not find him anywhere. It was not until late in the evening that Jochemsen was able to leave his hiding place and went with his family to Renswoude. Jochemsen's farm was demolished by the Germans and on 31 December 1944 the remains were set on fire. After the war the farm was rebuilt for the third time. Jochemsen received the Medal of Freedom from the American government in 1947.
 
Wekeromse Zand
Photo taken from the body of the GMC truck. We drive to the Wekeromse Zand.
Arrival at the entrance to the Wekeromse Zand.
The Wekeromse Zand. A beautiful nature reserve.
Our battlefield tour group at Wekeromse Zand. British soldiers were already hiding there and the group on their way to the Rhine had to cover a long distance of 20 kilometres and therefore had to hide during the day at the Wekeromse Zand to be able to move on the next night.
The Wekeromse Zand - Shelter De Zeven Berken
Shelter bivouac Wekeromse Zand
Pool at shelter bivouac de Zeven Berken Wekeromse Zand
In the second night the group walks to Westerrode, where a second group joins. The whole group consists of 116 men.
OOn the spot where the Westerode farm stood at the time, we get tea from the resistance from an enamel tea cup.
We get 'tea from the resistance' at the location where the Westerode farm used to be. There our tour gets a special dimension when participants who were related to Jannes Rap started to tell what they knew about him and showed a family album.
Farm Westerode
Special contribution by the family of Jannes Rap. A family album with unique documents and awards was shown.

Jannes Rap, a cousin of 'Jas' Beumer was a member of the underground. He brought a group of soldiers across the Rhine, together with a second guide, namely gamekeeper van der Born. Later Jannes Rap was arrested and taken to the Wormshoef in Lunteren and detained there. Because of his underground past, his farm 'De Westenrode' was burned down. During his captivity he sang of a possibility to escape. He counted the time that a sentry passed under the window. There was a sofa in front of the window and when he looked outside he saw that the gauze was so stretched that there was a 20 to 30 centimetres of free space left. He took a pillow for his face and jumped suddenly through the window and immediately rolled under the gauze. He was still being shot at, but he was not hit. He first ran away, came back to deceive the dogs and then ended up with a veterinarian who fixed him up. Through his brother in Utrecht, who worked for the police, he was forwarded to helpers who took in people in hiding. But after six months he was hit again. Jannes hid on the farm 'De Westenrode' in the straw of pigs when the Dutch SS surrounded his house and when the pigs started to growl he was discovered. They also found a parachute and when they asked him if he wanted to hide any more he had: 'Yes, further up in the woods'. He was sent two soldiers to point out the place and Jannes said: 'Yes, now I should have a look, yes there is the place on the right' and immediately he shot into the forest. The two soldiers shot at him and they hit him in the leg. John stumbled further in the direction of the Mussels path and when it became dark enough he crossed over and lay down behind a small hill. Then he went to Otterlo and knocked on the door of the double gamekeeper's house on the mussel path. His leg didn't look well and Dr. Beumer was called in to take care of the wound. They never got their hands on Jannes again.