The Netherlands / Landmark

Villa Hartenstein




Villa Harteinstein used to be the headquarters of the British stroops commanded by general Urquhart. The headquarters had to move to the cellar because of the shelling.

In September 1944, Villa Hartenstein was used to accommodate part of the staff of German field marshal Model who had his headquarters in Oosterbeek. After Operation Market Garden had started, Model and his staff had to flee in order not to be captured by the British troops.  

On September 18th, Villa Hartenstein became the headquarters of the 1st Airborne Division. From this place, major-general Urquhart controlled the British and Polish troops. Hartenstein wasn’t part of the frontline in the perimeter but got hit by shelling anyway. Because of the damage to the building, there was no electricity or running water. To stay safe, the headquarters was moved to the cellar of the villa. To be able to treat the wounded, a medical post was established in the cellar too.  

The open fields around Hartenstein were used as drop zones for supplies. With the help of light signals and a special Eureka beacon, ground troops tried to guide the supplying aircrafts to the right drop zone. Unfortunately, only 14% of the planned supplies felt into British hands.   

At the headquarters, the division kept a war diary. On September 23d, the following was written:

“After many alarms and excursions the latter (perimeter) remains substantially unchanged. Although…very thinly held. Resup a flop, small quantities amn only gathered in. Still no food and all ranks extremely dirty owing to shortage of water. Morale still adequate, but continued heavy mortaring and shelling is having obvious effects.” 

Visit the Airborne Museum at Hartenstein, one of the monuments in Park Hartenstein or listen to the story at the LRE audiospot “A symbol of friendship”. .