Operation Berlin, The River crossing 25/26-09-1944, the evacuation casualties.

21-02-1945

Part of the evacuation area, the church at Oosterbeek-low can been seen in the middle of the photograph.

 

(Gelders Archief 1560-4965)

Operation Berlin (25–26 September 1944) was a night-time evacuation of the remnants of the beleaguered British 1st Airborne Division, trapped in German occupied territory north of the Lower Rhine in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden in the Second World War. The aim of the operation was to withdraw safely the remnants of the division, surrounded on three sides by superior German forces and in danger of being encircled and destroyed. The operationsuccessfully evacuated approximately 2,400 men of the British 1st Airborne Division and effectively ended Market Garden, the Allied plan to cross the Rhine and end the war in Europe by the end of 1944. The surviving glider pilots attached to the division were ordered to lay a white tape through the woods, leading from the Perimeter, the grounds of the Hartenstein Hotel, to the north bank of the Neder-Rijn (Lower Rhine) where the Royal Canadian Engineers were waiting with small boats to ferry them to safety across the Rhine to a landing point north of Driel.

 

Looking at the great number of casualties registered being killed during the evacuation. (which is not always correct dated) a great number of bodies most have been washed ashore up along places along the River Rhine and Lek.

However it seems that not always these recoveries were documentated.

A German made wooden cross, "Here rest an unknown british soldier". in a meadow along the Rhine, it later turned out to be the grave of Corporal B.S. Anderson of the Border Regiment.

(J.G. Koekoek private collection)

The recovery of the body after the war.

(J.G. Koekoek private collection)


Army paybook of Sapper L.T Anderson of 261 (Airborne) Field Park Company RE, recovered from the Rhine at Amerongen.

(collection A. Taylor)


Vianen Archives
Vianen Archives

The above shows one of the "mistakes" which were made when a body was recovered from the river.

 

First name noted as Ronold

Last name Darchan

Rank Airforce Sergeant 4 stripes

ID No.5682998 (Meth Lansdowner)

 

The above soldier is:

Ronald Albert Frank Lansdowne

Private

Defence Platoon

2nd OxBucks Light Infantry

Methodist

4 stripes, presumable service strips


Numbers and Places

A total of 72 bodies were recovered from the river.

 

51 bodies were recovered from the river who have a known grave.

26 men are known to have died during the withdrawal.Although the correct number is not known.

 

7 were found at Amerongen.

1 was found at Beusichem.

1 was found at Culemborg.

2 were found at Elst (Utrecht)

1 was found at Hagenstein.

2 were found at Heteren.

1 was found at Heveadorp.

3 where found at Lienden.

1 was found at Lexmond.

1 was found at Lopik-Dorp.

7 were found at Maurik.

3 were found at Opheusden.

1 was found at Randwijk.

1 was found at Ravenswaaij.

were found at Renkum.

15  were found at Rhenen.

2 were found at Schalkwijk.

3 were found at Tull en Waal.

1 was found at Tienhoven.

1 was found at Vianen.

1 was found at Vreeswijk.

5 were found at Wageningen.

8 were found at Wijk Bij Duurstede.

1 was found at Willige Langerak.