The Old Church

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Benedendorpseweg 134
Oosterbeek
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Many soldiers came back from Arnhem without having reached the bridge. Of these soldiers, from manydifferent battalions, one new unit was form…

Many soldiers came back from Arnhem without having reached the bridge. Of these soldiers, from manydifferent battalions, one new unit was formed. This unit was namedLonsdale Force,after Major RichardLonsdale who commanded the unit. TheLonsdale Forcedefended the south-eastern corner of theperimeter and was constantly attacked by German troops. On Wednesday 20 September, the LonsdaleForce withdrew to the Old Church.When theBritish units gave up their attempt to reach the bridge in Arnhem,and withdrew toOosterbeek, the Old Church was the first place where they could catch their breath. TheLonsdale Forcewas 500 men strong at this time and had three 17-pounder cannons at its disposal. This huddled groupsucceeded in keeping their positionsnear the Old Church until the evacuation over the Rhine.The white house acrossthe Old Church was the rectorywhich wasinhabited by Jan and Kate ter Horst.During the Battle of Arnhem,the rectory became a medical post where hundreds of wounded were takencare off.The rectory and the Old Church were in the front line. This made it impossible to bury thedeceased. After the battle, in the backyard of therectory,a field grave was foundwith bodies of 57deceased soldiers.Walk around the Old Church and look at the memorials.

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