The first objective of the Polish troops was to use the Driel ferry to cross the river and to reach the trapped British troops in Oosterbeek. However, the ferry turned out to be unusable. The ferry operator disabled it on Wednesday 20th September to prevent the German troops from using it.
In September 1944, the Poles arrived in Driel. The intention was to cross the Rhine here, using the Driel ferry. Across the river, in Oosterbeek, the 1st British Airborne Division was surrounded.
The British waited anxiously for the Polish reinforcements from the south. As early as Wednesday September 20th, ferryman Peter Hensen saw that on the other side, German troops were in control of the area. The ferry operator therefore decided to disable the ferry to prevent the Germans from using it. As a result, the Polish troops were also unable to use the ferry.
The ferry before the war. This ferry, on which cars could cross the river, had been disabled by the ferryman in order to prevent the German troops from using it. . © Gelders Archief: 1513 - 3271
The ferryman Peter Hensen after the war on his ferry with Major General Sosabowski. © Via particuliere collectie