The Poles of Driel

Type: Hiking route
Distance: 6.0 km

The Poles of Driel

Type: Hiking route
Distance: 6.0 km

This is a hike along important milestones in and around the village of Driel where the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade fought during the Second World War.

Brought to you by: Airborne Region

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This is a hike along important milestones in and around the village of Driel where the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade fought during the Second World War. The route goes, amongst others, over the landing sites and past the headquarters of Major General Sosabowski.

This hike passes important milestones in the village of Driel where the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade fought during the Second World War. They were here to support the surrounded British troops near Oosterbeek. To reach the British troops, the Poles had to cross the River Rhine at Driel. The route – of about 6 kilometres – takes you, amongst others, over the landing sites and past the headquarters of Major General Sosabowski. The hike starts and ends at the ‘Information Centre: The Poles of Driel’ which was developed by the Driel Poland Foundation.

The monument in Driel on the Plac Polski (Polenplein)
Distance
6.0 km

Sights on this route

Information Centre: The Poles of Driel

Informatiecentrum: De Polen van Driel
Kerkstraat 27
6665 CE DRIEL
Information Centre: The Poles of Driel

Landing sites – then fields and orchards

Vogelenzangsestraat 9
Driel
Historical and recent images combined: Polish paratroopers near Overasselt in September 1944 along with a present-day photo of Driel
Landing sites – then fields and orchards

The first clashes: German attacks repelled, losses to be mourned.

Vogelenzangsestraat 10
Driel
The first clashes: German attacks repelled, losses to be mourned.

Stranded aid: supplies do not reach the British troops in Oosterbeek.

Vogelenzangsestraat 10
Driel
Aid for the British troops strands when the DUKW with supplies becomes stuck.
Stranded aid: supplies do not reach the British troops in Oosterbeek.

German positions behind the railway embankment take Polish troops under fire.

Achterstraat tussen de dijk en Vogelenzangsestraat
Driel
Aerial photograph of Driel from 1944: (1) The landing zones (2) Route location, (3) The railway bridge and railway dike
German positions behind the railway embankment take Polish troops under fire.

Rijndijk and Engineers Monument: the crossing of the Rhine

driel
Remains of the house on the dike where the Polish soldiers established a company headquarters from which the crossing attempts were coordinated.
Rijndijk and Engineers Monument: the crossing of the Rhine

The Nevel: Poles take up positions around Driel

Drielse-Rijndijk
Driel
Captured Germans under surveillance of the Poles. Presumably in the Molenstraat area.
The Nevel: Poles take up positions around Driel

The attempt of the Dorsets – doomed to fail

Drielse Rijndijk 95
6665 LR Driel
Major General Sosabowski with, on the left, Major Desmond Pascale of The Dorsetshire Regiment in Valburg. Sosabowski's alternative to the Rhine crossing was turned down..
The attempt of the Dorsets – doomed to fail

The Driel ferry - disabled for the Germans and unusable for the Poles.

driel
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. .
The Driel ferry - disabled for the Germans and unusable for the Poles.

Headquarters and bust of Major General Stanisław Sosabowski

Baltussenweg, Vogelenzangsestraat en Molenstraat
Driel
The bust of Major General Sosabowski, unveiled in September 2020, was created by artist Martin Abspoel. It overlooks the headquarters.
Headquarters and bust of Major General Stanisław Sosabowski

The Household Cavalry came to reinforce the Polish troops with eight armored cars

Driel
Armoured car with troops and Polish paratroopers on the Molenstraat. This is at the same location as where you are now.
The Household Cavalry came to reinforce the Polish troops with eight armored cars

The emergency hospital in the school - Operating dressed in flak jackets

Korte Molenstraat
Driel
The emergency hospital on September 25th 1944. Polish ambulances of the ground army had managed to reach Driel. As a result, 70 patients could be evacuated to Nijmegen.
The emergency hospital in the school - Operating dressed in flak jackets

Fighting around the Dorpstraat on the southern side of Driel

korte Molenstraat/ Kerkstraat
Driel
The Polish soldier Bier found his first resting place in a field grave on the Dorpstraat. He is possibly the radio operator who was helped by Henk te Dorsthorst, a resident of Driel at the time.
Fighting around the Dorpstraat on the southern side of Driel

The Roman Catholic parish house set up as a medical post

Kerkstraat Polenplein
Driel
The Roman Catholic parish house set up as a medical post

The monument at Plac Polski and the annual commemorations in Driel

Driel
The first version of the monument erected by the Driel people in honour of the Poles.
The monument at Plac Polski and the annual commemorations in Driel

Audiospot: The Poles of Driel

Polenplein
6665 CN Driel
Audiospot: The Poles of Driel

The Catholic Church: from viewpoint to information centre

Kerkstraat 25
6665 CG Driel
The heavily damaged church in 1945. The church was so damaged that it was decided to rebuild
The Catholic Church: from viewpoint to information centre