Joe Crilley

Kasteel Henkenshagen

Also in St. Oedenrode I want to visit the Kasteel Henkenshagen. As a young boy my father told me a story that always stayed with me. Two years ago while reading George Koskimaki's book "Hell's Highway" I realized this was the tale my father told. The story was that General Maxwell Taylor had set up his headquarters in a castle complete with a moat, build years earlier by an eccentric rich Dutchman. Baker Company of the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion was attached to 101st Divisional Headquarters at the time. On Wednesday September 27,1944 a trooper from my father's unit, Technican 5 Ancel Mullen from Indiania was collecting straw for his foxhole at a haystack nearby. A young eight year old Dutch boy sees him and goes to help the American, following behind him with a arm full of hay walking back to his position. Unfortunately the Germans have an artillery spotter in the area and he sees a target of opportunity. An 88mm artillery round was fired which landed directly on the small child, vaporizing the kid and also killing Mullen. The boy's mother runs out to where her son was and screams hysterically for a half hour as she searches for her child that was literally blown off the face of the earth. There was nothing that could be done for the newest victims of World War ll, Operation Market-Garden. The Americans had to sit in their foxholes and listened and feared this woman would expose their position as she looked for her child and wished she would just go away and shut up. I often thought about this and what my father was thinking as these events unfolded before him as he loved children so much. It was just another day in the war. Another day of fear and death and sadness and being lonely, with more of the same in the upcoming months.
Landing Zone W

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