Holandia / Historia

The end of C Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion




The company of lieutenant Victor Dover has been ordered to take the German Ortskommandantur, but gets stuck at the Utrechtseweg on Sunday night, 17 September. The next morning, they try to get away and make contact with the British at the road bridge but are eliminated around noon.

The unit of lieutenant Victor Dover, C Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion, landed on Renkum Heath on 17 September and advanced on Arnhem with this battalion. Their first orders were to take the railway bridge at Oosterbeek-Laag. But when this bridge was blown up by the Germans after the British launched their attack, this company also went into Arnhem and was ordered to take the German Ortskommandatur at the Willemsplein. This is why Dover's company went by way of the Utrechtseweg instead of Onderlangs, the route taken by the rest of the 2nd Parachute Battalion and its attached units.

When the company passed the St Elisabeth Hospital in the twilight around half past eight, they noticed a group of Germans who were standing in the driveway. At first, they thought that they were prisoners of war, but very soon lieutenant Dover saw that this was not the case and gave the order to open fire. The Germans were either killed or made prisoners of war.

After this incident, the company moved on, headed by two scouts, private Norman Shipley and Lance Corporal William Loney. At ten o' clock in the evening, when it was pitch-dark, the British arrived here. Then a German machine gun, a little further up the street, opened fire and Loney and Shipley were killed. The rest of the company ran to the doorways and houses for cover. The major part of the company ended up in a villa that used to be on the site where the De Resident apartment building is now situated, across the street.

The next morning, the British were no longer able to hold their position. Lieutenant Dover decided to pull back a little through the gardens and then descend the hill at the museum and head for the road bridge via Onderlangs. With difficulty they managed to reach the houses at the Utrechtseweg, opposite the museum. Only a small part of the company managed to reach the other side of the street. The others had to seek refuge in the houses when they were pinned down by German fire. Lieutenant Dover tried to hold out as long as possible, but around half past noon on 18 September, he had to decide to surrender himself and his company to the enemy. Within 24 hours of landing, C Company of the 2nd Parachute Battalion had ceased to exist.