Battle Relic: World War Two British Army Message Form from the Battle of Arnhem
Finding place: 'Hemelse Berg' in Oosterbeek, Municipality of Renkum, Province of Gelderland, Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Date: 12OCT2013
GPS location: 5159'00.64"N, 549'49.36"E 
Introduction: On Saturday October 12th, 2013 we took part of a battlefield tour organized by the Friends of the Hartenstein Airborne Museum. The theme of the tour was "Kept by Earth" (Wat de aarde bewaarde, in the Dutch language). Historian Hans van der Velde showed numerous battle artifacts which he had found within the Oosterbeek Perimeter over the years. Due to the brittle and important nature of these artifacts, Hans had brought large laminated photographs of them and showed them on the spots where they were found originally.
At an old pagoda on a hill top in the 'Hemelse Berg' area on the west side of the Oosterbeek perimeter, Hans told the story of the discovery of a metal trunk of the type the British Army designated as 'Telegraph Equipment B' with its contents in the early 1990's.
After this, the museum's historian Bob Voskuil presented each tour participant with one original blank Message Form C2136 (Small) from the trunk.
This is how this agency obtained this unique battle relic.

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Battle Detective Tom at the Oosterbeek Perimeter battlefield tour

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This is what a well preserved trunk of the  'Telegraph Equipment B'  type looks like:

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The discovery of the trunk was described in the February 1992 'Ministory No. XXXIII' which was a supplement to the Friends of the Hartenstein Airborne Museum Newsletter volume No. 45.

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Ministory No. XXXIII

The ministory translates as follows:
MINISTORY XXXIII Supplement to Newsletter No. 45

By: W. Boersma

Is will be known to many readers that items from World War Two are still found in the ground regularly.
Often the material is deteriorated or affected so much that it holds no value anymore, but sometimes something surfaces which draws our attention.
An example is the recent extraordinary find that was made in Oosterbeek during excavation work.
On a location, of which it is known that there had been a Royal Artillery Signals post during the Battle of Arnhem, a number of radio equipment parts has been found.
Several years ago a former signaler had given the Airborne Museum the location where he would have buried his radio set, prior to the evacuation across the Rhine river on September 25th 1944.
He had wrapped the set in burlap sacks and put it in the ground. A search at the location did reveal traces of burlap, but unfortunately no radio set came to light.
The discovery that now has been made in the same area strengthens the suspicion that the story of a few years ago, is probably true, but that the radio has been dug up earlier.
The Airborne Museum has managed to acquire the entire find and has added it to its collection.
The find consists of the following items:
Two headphones DLR no. 5 S, marked 'L.T.B.A.2.'
A handheld microphone No. 8 for the remote control unit 'F' of radio set WS No 22.
A Morse key No 2 MK 2 ZA 2869 for the WS 22.
An illumination bulb No 6A ZA 12645 for the operator of the radio transmitter-receiver WS No 22.

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A selection of the dug up parts of the British radio transmission
and reception equipment after cleaning (Photograph: B. de Reus)


A cut connector cable for the connection of a radio-battery to a generator.
A coiled ten-meter long aerial cable, cut at three places.
The connector plugs are missing as well.
A smashed Volt meter, marked 'MOVING COY 1943 DC'.
A number of these parts clearly bears the marks of destruction, Presumably they were deliberately rendered useless. This is, for example, clearly visible at the various cables and with the Morse key, which is missing a number of adjustment screws making it unfit for use.
Furthermore a metal trunk with the text 'TELEGRAPH EQUIPMENT UNIT B' was found. Attached to this trunk are some pieces of burlap.
Inside the trunk are two wooden reels with aerial wire. One reel, which consists of several layers of wood, reads: 'Reel Aerial No 4 ZA 10043', Aerials 110, No 1 4,5 - 5,6 MC/S'.
The wire aerial on the reel has a plug connector for the aerial base No 10 en No 11, which was used among other things for the radio transmitter and receiver set WS No 22.
The other reel is made of three layers of plywood and is in better condition, but the text is less legible. Of it only this can be deciphered: 'Aerial 140 Feet No 1, Cat No ZA 16589'. This wire aerial has a connection for the radio sets WS No 19, WS No 22, transmitter No 76 and receiver No R 109.
Both these wire aerials are part of the standard equipment for a wireless set WS No 22.
The trunk also contains a role of bare copper aerial wire, a Morse key and a bundle of message forms ('Army Form No C2136 Small').
The Morse key is of a type which does not belong to the standard equipment of one of the radio sets used at Arnhem. After cleaning, all copper parts appeared to have been marked with the number 14. A photograph of this key has been sent to the museum of the Royal Corps of Signals in England for further information.
Among the bundle of message forms the remains of a number of folded message forms ('Large') and blank forms have been found as well. These have been written on with a pencil. Upon closer inspection these appeared to be parts of radio telegraph and telephone messages. Also there are notes dealing with the various radio procedures.
The Museum hopes to have finally obtained original messages which were sent during the Battle of Arnhem. Full of expectations we have started to analyze these pieces of communication with the help of, among others, the manuals 'Signal Training (all Arms) Pamphlet' no 5 and no 7 and 'Field Service Pocket Book Pamphlet' no 4.
At first we were under the impression that we were reading over the shoulders of the signalers who had been performing their task under such difficult circumstances. We can read from the documents how the radio operators tried to stay in contact with each other, how they tried, despite bad connections, to still send a message. Repetition of messages were requested, the so-called 'word-twice' method was applied and messages were relayed though others posts and sometimes coded.
While studying these documents however, we came to a number of notes regarding message procedures, written on blank paper.
These are clearly not notes made in combat.
They are probably papers of an instruction or an exercise in England. As the other notes are written in the same hand writing, it is therefore uncertain that they are parts of messages sent during the Battle of Arnhem. It is very well possible that the complete find is a number of draft notes from an exercise or instruction lesson, during which the various radio telephone and telegraph procedures had been rehearsed once again.
Next to the abovementioned documents parts of a letter have also been found. Of this we can decipher the city stamp and a girls name. Perhaps that this find can bring us on the trail of the radio operator in the future.

All in all these remain papers which should have never been taken to Arnhem and they were certainly not meant to be cherished and studied as relics after more than 45 years.
The various radio-parts have now been given a deserving place in the Airborne Museum. The documents have been filed in the museum's archives.

These images give an impression of the Kept by Earth battlefield tour of the Oosterbeek Perimeter
and where the trunk with this this featured battle relic was found:

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After visiting the 'Hemelse Berg' we climbed to the hill top pagoda
where the story of the radio equipment discovered in 1992
was told and the original messages form where given to us.

Although the message form presented to this agency was not used and hence does not carry strategic information about the battle of Arnhem, we certainly treasure this relic from the Battle of Arnhem and the ensuing Oosterbeek perimeter defense.

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