The Brabant village Oisterwijk and Operation Market-Garden

Airborne’s on the Kampina

An early landing.


In the afternoon of September 18 1944, day two of Operation Market-Garden, two American Waco gliders on tow passed over Oisterwijk territory.

Suddenly the two gliders were released in mid-air and floated down to the ground to disappear behind the tree line.

Subsequently they landed between Oisterwijk and Boxtel near the edge of the Kampina heather and forest. 

The inhabitants of Oisterwijk that witnessed this event thought that liberation would now come soon and that it would only be a matter of hours until they would be free.

Unfortunately the gliders were released to soon, presumably deu to a navigation error or broken towrope.

The two gliders were filled with airbone soldiers and both aircraft came down at the wrong place.

The airborne’s who were not allowed to undertake an attempt to get to their own lines at the corridor hide themselves on the Kampina heather.

The group consisted of some 30 American airborne’s of the 101st Airborne Division.

The local resistance of the village of Oisterwijk and Boxtel were able to quickly get in to contact with this group of soldiers and provide them with a place to hide on the Kampina heather.

As far away as possible from the place were the gliders came down they were housed in large camouflaged holes dug into the ground in an area called ‘Huisvennen’ near a moor called Meeuwenven.

By using tent fabric and wood they were able to build a couple of reasonably good shelters between the trees and bushes.


The most important thing for the local resistance was to provide the troops with the necessary food and drinks witch seemed to be a rather difficult and dangerous task.

About one pig was cooked, sliced in parts, and hidden in milk containers to provide the necessary food for these troopers.

The milk containers were then brought to the hideout by the esistance members disguised as farmers and traveling on bicycles.

Farmers from the surrounding area’s, that were willing to help the resistance, offered to help in providing the hungry men with different sorts of food.

A bakkery in Oisterwijk provided them with 60 double loaves of bread a day and others provided 20 pounds of butter a day.

Even then there was still a shortage in food according to the hungry airborne's and the resistance workers had to explain that in view of the war situation there was no need for them to slice the butter for the bread into slices of one centimeter.

After this explenation the soldiers did their best and adepted themsselves to the situation.


Into the direction of ‘s-Hertogenbosch more gliders had landed  at the wrong spot and one of them came down in an area near the village of Vught.

This glider was also part of the September 18 lift and landed on to the Berghuizen estate just outside the village.

The American build CG-4A Waco glider was piloted by the American pilot F/O. Chester Ritter and was carrying 13 American airborne soldiers and a small mortar.

Luckily no one onboard the glider was hurt during the landing and all men were able to hide safely on the Bergenshuizen estate for a while.

After some time a resistance worker by the name of Marinus Verhagen, who lived in the village Esch, was able to contact the soldiers and also bring them to the Kampina at the ‘Huisvennen’ hide out.

Parts of the skeleton of the glider and the wheels were kept in the area for many years by farmers who made good use of these materials after the war.

The wheels of the glider for instance were used as undercarriage for a flat wagon on a farm that was located on the Bergenshuizen estate were farmer Joseph Hooijman lived.

Later that same flat wagon was used by farmer Albert Peijnenburg from the village Esch were the wagon served as a hay wagon on his farm.

The skeleton of the Waco glider was used for many years by farmer Jos van Esch who also lived in Esch.

He used the gliders skeleton to build a wooden stable for his new born pigs.

Today these pieces are on diplay in the Dutch WW2 museum, Wings of Liberation in Best near Eindhoven.  


South Staffordshire
Kampina Airborne

Also three crew members belonging to a downed tow ship were attempting to stay out of enemy hands.

They were also brought to the hide out at Huisvennen by local resistance workers.

Also men who were onboard other gliders that made an early landing in the area were brought together.

With the help of the Boxtel resistance they were all put into hiding at Huisvennen.

This group steadily grew and after a while the group that consisted of 46 Americans, one pole, a Dutchman and 3 British soldiers, generally all airborne's.


Then in the night of October 21 the Oisterwijk resistance brought another group of soldiers to Huisvennen.

This group consisted of 47 British and American airborne’s, amongst them Britich Red Barrets that were all dropped to soon.

They came down near the  the ‘Drunense Duinen’, an area of sand dunes and woods near the village Loon op Zand and the village De Moer.


The Germans were aware of the presence of 'Fallschirmjäger’ (airborne’s) in the area but were not, despite some search party’s, able to locate their hideout.

The group of Allied soldiers remained in the hide out until the end of October when reports came in trough resistance that the Allied army was advancing on to Boxtel.

The Airborne's were now starting to become somewhat impatient and wanted to do something fast but lacked sufficient weaponery.

Luckily the resistance was able to provide them with sufficient gun power though it was of German origin.

Near the end of October small groups off German soldiers travelling to the rear lines by way of the Oisterwijk woods were under gun point robbed by the resistance from their weapons, clothing and belongings and held prisoner in the woods.

Some of these German weapons finally found their way to the airborne's on the Kampina witch increased their firepower substantially.


After reports came in of retreating Germans to the west of Boxtel and advancing Allied reconnaissance units in their area the group of Allied soldiers decided that it was time to evacuate the hide out and pull out to the village of Boxtel.

During the night of October 24 the group left their hide out and while the group was covered by darkness walked out to the village of Boxtel that was deserted by the German army.

After cautiously entering the village the airborne soldiers were met by a celebrating Boxtel population and were greeted as their liberators.

They entered the village just ahead of the Allied army that entered the village the next morning to find the village already ‘liberated’.



airborne’s on the Kampina accompanied by several resistance workers.
the armed resistance group of Oisterwijk, September 1944.
Some Kampina airborne's show their German weaponry on October 25. This photo, that was on display at the wings of liberation museum in Son for many years was presumably taken in Boxtel. Clear to sea are the Airborne patches on the battledresses of the two American Airborne's. The trooper to the right is wearing the 'Screaming Eagle’ insignia of the 101st Airborne Division and the trooper to the left the AA,
‘All-American’ insignia of the 82nd Airborne Division. Also pictured in this photo is a British airborne soldier with barret and insignia of the South Staffordshire Regiment.

Until today it’s still not clear exactly how many Airborne’s were hiding on the Kampina because different sources tell different numbers.


This story is based on information from the Oisterwijk history books;

Zorgvolle tijden - war years in Oisterwijk by Theo Cuipers

The report - War above Oisterwijk by Antoon de Graaf

War in Oisterwijk by Donald Wiedemeyer, Rik Oerlemans


As owner/webmaster of this site I am proud to announce my new book called;



Airborne evaders of the Kampina forest


Kampina Airborne is the true story about one of the most unique feats of evasion during World War Two. The story also tells of the courage and determination of the people of the Dutch underground and resistance who risked their own lives and that of their loved ones to help and hide a large number of Allied military men that had been forced to make premature landings, by glider or parachute, into enemy territory.



During the largest airborne operation of World War Two, as part of operation Market-Garden, not all Allied transport, glider tug aircraft and gliders would reach their designated drop and landing-zones at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem. From day one of the operation a large number of airborne troops and aircraft personnel would be forced to make premature landings, far away from their original destinations, in enemy held territory in the province of North Brabant. These military men were not only greatly assisted by the local resistance during their escape by being safely hidden, but in some cases also brought together as a large body of men, ultimately able to participate in the liberation of the area.



Kampina Airborne tells the true 'Market-Garden' story of a group of more than eighty Allied glider-borne troops who were forced to make premature landings in the Dutch province of North Brabant.

Amongst these troops were men of the British 1st Airborne Division and the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Division. This book describes the ways in which these men were assisted by the local resistance after they had landed in enemy held territory, who their resistance helpers were and the places that these men were hidden. The story also includes information about the pilots and aircrew members of the U.S. IX Troop Carrier Command and the British Glider Pilot Regiment who were piloting the aircraft.

All their names are included together with detailed information about the events that took place plus their personal experiences during the period that they were in hiding in the area south of the North Brabant capital of 's-Hertogenbosch between September 17 and October 26 of 1944.
















"Peter van der Linden produced a definitive account, reconstructing the evasion of the air crew and airborne troops in the Kampina area and their Dutch helpers. With their help these Allied soldiers (British, American, one Dutchman and one Pole) were kept from German captivity and they could re-join their units. Peter is to be complimented with his achievement to document this important piece of history of Operation 'Market-Garden'."


Eijsden, 30th August 2012,

Arie-Jan van Hees,

Author of 'Tugs and Gliders to Arnhem'

and 'Green On! The Story of Arnhem Re-supply'.

"It is without question the achievement of Peter van der Linden that this subject, which receded into the background of history, still has received such a prominent description. For this I am very grateful, not only as a son, but also as an objective reader. The importance of standing up to injustice and with that selflessly standing up for your neighbor is being brought to light in an appealing way. Although I still have not found an answer to my question "What would you do yourself in a situation like this? ", I can imagine that certain people did what they did and for that I have a strong feeling of admiration. And this book most certainly contributed to this feeling."


Jan J. van Leeuwen

Tilburg                                                           (Son of a Dutch resistance worker from the village of Esch)

The Dutch version is available since 21 October 2012, the English version since February 2013.

The book counts 234 pages, over 150 photos (many unpublished) and three maps.

In addition the book has a separate map that shows a part of North Brabant from the book. This map has 69 points of interest that relate to the story.


ISBN/EAN:    978-90-813764-6-4


Price 19,95 euro, without shipment costs.


To order a signed Dutch or English copy of 'KAMPINA AIRBORNE' you may directly contact the author

Peter van der Linden for details.


Its also possible to order at the publisher Heemkundekring Boxtel.