Joe Crilley

Wim's Diary

This is taken from the diary of Wim van den Bosch written about the events that occurred on October 5, 1944 in the Dutch village of Opheusden. As mentioned earlier Wim is with his older sister Dir and are caring for Pvt. Charles A. Wilber. The soldier who is carrying Wilber is a trooper with the Third Battalion of the 506th PIR, most likely with How Company. This was translated for me by Daan Stravers of Einhoven.

"Around nine 0' clock I saw an American walking past the hiding cellar( air raid shelter) carrying a wounded buddy. When he saw me sitting he entered the cellar and asked if we had room inside for the wounded. Dir, Getje Stunnenberg and I went with him and brought the wounded in our house. Around the house it was chaos of glass, tiles, tree branches, etc but we had no time to look at it. The wounded soldier as well as many others had been standing in a ditch up to his and was therefore soaked.

In the kitchen we got him out of his wet clothes. We then noticed that he was shot in his leg and in the back. Dir and I put on some bandages, after that we gave him some of our dry underwear. We then carried him to the room in the back and put him on the bed that was there on the floor.(Note: Relatives of the van den Bosch's had fled the Nazi occupation to the north and were staying at their house. The beds they refer to are mattresses that are on the floor to sleep on.) The wounded looked very nervous and shaky. Dir heated some water on a cooker for a warm pitcher( a hot water bottle) and put it next to his feet.

We covered him up good and warm and he recovered a bit from that. It was the first time, he said, that he was wounded, but according to the other soldier he was lucky, because in the 'Biezenwei' (a enclosed field) and the surrounding area there were a lot of dead and severly wounded soldiers who had lost arms and legs. We got a pack of cigarettes from the wounded soldier that he, in spite of being soaked, had kept dry.

Dir and I stayed in the house at his bed for a while, to keep the soldier company, because Gerrit Stunnenberg already had gone back to the hiding cellar and the American who brought him went back to the battlefield.

After I sat on the floor next to his bed for a while, there came another rain of shells and bullets right past our house. We had no time to get in the hiding cellar. We quickly covered the wounded with more blankets to protect him from flying glass etc. To protect ourselves we crawled under the chimney(inside the fireplace) and pulled a bed in front of it so that we were also protected from shell fragments, etc.

So we had to sit for 75 minutes under the chimney, without having a chance to get out of there. More than once we heard someone coming in the kitchen. We were afraid that it were the Germans because they were getting closer. When they entered the room we stayed real quiet under the pulled up bed and we looked through an opening to see if it was a German or an American. Another American who spoke with the wounded soldier. I saw through a small opening of the bed that it was the one who had eaten with us in the kitchen the previous day. I then lowered the bed a little bit and we came out partially. He was so surprised by this that he aimed his rifle at us, but luckily he saw that it was us before he pulled the trigger. A Red Cross doctor also entered, who gave the wounded some new bandages.

Later that day he was picked up by a Red Cross vehicle. The adventure under the chimney will stick in my mind forever, because while we sat there it happened more than once that Americans in the room, only one meter distance from our hiding place, were firing through the garden doors where the windows were already been taken out, on Germans who were in the close vicinity. But at the end we managed to get back to the hiding cellar (air raid shelter), where the people were happy to see us without injuries."

Private Charles A. Wilber

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