‘A powerful portrait of the fighting in the Streets, houses, gardens and woods’

Jan Loos was a 14-year-old schoolboy in Oosterbeek, the village on the outskirts of Arnhem town that saw much combat between British Airborne soldiers and their German foes in September 1944.

Like thousands of other civilians, Jan took refuge with his family, friends and neighbours in the cellar of a house that became the focus of a bitter struggle.
Shot at during forays from the cellar to get water, he was wounded in the leg.

In the immediate aftermath of the battle Jan and his family were forced to flee their ruined neighbourhood. At one point they came under attack from Allied aircraft that mistook a column of refugees for retreating enemy troops.

A soldier of the 1st Airborne Division takes aim at the enemy from the ruins of a house in Oosterbeek. (Photo: AWM)

After the war Jan became an aviator in the Royal Netherlands Navy and today furthers the cause of commemorating the Battle of Arnhem by giving tours of the streets in Oosterbeek where some of it took place. He explains what happened there during the battle, including recalling his own experiences.

Jan’s incredible story features in ‘Arnhem: Ten Days in The Cauldron’ which uses his own day-by-day recollections of the fighting as part of the narrative. Naturally, Jan was one of the first to receive a copy of the new book, by way of thanks for his help to ensure it offers a compelling read. This is his reaction to it.

“This weekend I finished reading Iain Ballantyne’s book ‘Arnhem: Ten Days in The Cauldron’ and felt as if I had relived the entire battle again,” said Jan.

“The way in which it so vividly and exactly describes how those of us caught up in the battle experienced the horrors and suffering of war reflected so well what it was really like.

“I was impressed by the way Iain managed to insert all the different stories from soldiers and civilians in an authentic setting and was pleased by how my own story intermingled with the stories of others who were there, to make a powerful portrait of the fighting in the streets, houses, gardens and woods. I congratulate the author on a job well done.”




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