Battle Study # 2             

Study Title: Temporary War Cemetery at Wolfswinkel

Subject: From D+2 of Operation "Market Garden" (September 19th 1944) to May 30th 1949, the US Army turned a pasture in Wolfswinkel, a hamlet close to Son, into a temporary cemetery, mostly for troopers of the 101st Airborne Division, Killed In Action.

Date: September 19th, 1944 - May 30th 1949

Location: Wolfswinkel (Son), Holland

 

Introduction:

Friday, December 8th 2006 at about 4 PM a new monument was unveiled in Son. The monument which was a private initiative, reminds of the fact that from September 19th 1944 until May 30th 1949 a temporary war cemetery was located at about half a mile behind the black marble marker. The marker is located next to the stretch of road that has become known as "Hell's Highway", about 2 miles North of Son and next to a rural road leading to the Waterhoef Farm.

 

The inscription on the monument marker reads:
"U.S. Military Cemetery Son.

This road led to the fields where from 1944 to 1949 the American and Allied temporary cemetery was located behind the "Waterhoef" Farm.This is where the soldiers rested who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Remember them all"

Battledetective.com was at the monument on the 9th of December 2006 and behind the Waterhoef Farm met Mr. Swinkels; until recently the owner of the Farm. He told us that he had just sold the farm since he has no ancestors to take it over. Mr. Swinkels told that he was 8 years old when the German armies invaded Holland. Whole columns of Nazi troops travelled across the dirt road next to the Waterhoef Farm on their way West. That was because Waterhoef happened to be on German Wehrmacht maps and in the middle of one of their planned advance routes.

 

Swinkels was 12 years old in 1944 and remembered the drop of the 101st Airborne on the Drop Zones on the 17th of September. Until Tuesday the 19th, there wasn'tt much fighting to be heard on the farm, but on that day German Panzer units from the East attacked Son. This was also the day that American jeeps and trucks transported German POW's to a pasture  with turnips behind the farm. The Germans were ordered to dig graves for bodies that were trucked in by dozens. After the bodies were unloaded, Grave Registration personnel took off the personal effects from the bodies, wrapped them into parachute canopies and buried them 6 feet deep.

 

After the war, the dirt road was paved with military temporary steel runway plates. The cemetery attracted lots of visitors and tents were put up for the maintenance staff and hostesses who looked after the guest book. 

Until Friday, December 8th 2006, only the steel runway plates serving as walls on one of the Waterhoef Farm barns, reminded of the existence of the cemetery where many of Holland's liberators were laid to rest.

U.S. Military Cemetery Son.

"This road led to the fields where from 1944 to 1949 the American and Allied temporary cemetery was located behind the 'Waterhoef' Farm.This is where the soldiers rested who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Remember them all!"

Here lie the Honored Dead of the 101st Airborne Division

A fellow-trooper visits his fallen buddies at the temporary cemetery.

 

 

 

(Click on these images to enlarge)

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