Two reenactment groups, Band of Brothers and Triple A, joined hands together and organized a small camp in the town of Son. We had the privilege of joining them. A small but neat camp was set up on a play field near the centre of town of Son. Both groups portray 2nd battalion, 506th PIR, which liberated Son.
Friday morning the base camp was built and in the afternoon the group gave a presentation at the local school where veterans were also present. The rest of the day was spent with close order drill and marching in step. Turns out that I can't march for sour apples! These exercises were needed because in the evening we were part of the annual liberation parade of the city of Eindhoven. This parade is held every year on the 18th of September, commemorating the liberation by the 101st Airborne Division.
The Saturday morning reveille was followed by the flag ceremony. Next came some easy PT (Physical Training), which wasn't too harsh for us pencil pushers. And, finally, breakfast!
After breakfast some more rifle exercise for the boys including rifle drill with wooden mock rifles. Meanwhile Cor and I made a scouting trip with Tom Peeters for the battle field tour planned for the afternoon. Tom Peeters is the local authority on the Market Garden subject and he happilly agreed to give a tour in the footsteps of "How" Company, 502nd PIR.
With four jeeps and a deuce-and-half the group was transported to the starting point of our hike/tour. Before we set out on foot we distributed some new partial dinner units from the 10-in-1 ration. The preceding weeks it rained quite a lot in Holland and even hours before we set out a rain squall harried us. Needless to mention that the roads were a bit on the muddy side. Two main events were highlighted, the heroic actions of Pfc Joseph E. Mann and the final moments of LtCol Robert G. Cole. Both men lost their lives while fighting for the liberation of Holland. Tom Timmermans (aka the Battle Detective) acted as tour guide assistant. A big thanks to both Toms!
The evening was spent with a dinner at the local Italian restaurant with about thirty men (mayhem!) and later a 40's bigband concert in a nearby city.
Sunday morning reveille and flag ceremony followed by some more PT and rifle drill. The group was invited to the annual festival of the town of Breugel. A small platoon followed by three jeeps marched into town and mingled with the good people of Breugel. Meanwhile a fourth jeep and some troopers positioned themselves strategically at a bridge where a battle field bicycle tour would pass through.
At the end of the day the group was called at attention at the parade ground and a genuine thanks was extended to the men who organized this weekend. A special thanks goes out to Michael "Sgt Mike" Daniels who made all the local arrangements.
For us this was a very interesting weekend. We made new friends, learned a lot and are looking forward to participate next year!
Photos courtesy Bert de Jong (The Theme Machine) and Tom Timmermans.