Evacuees at Mossel
In 1944, the entire population of the southern Veluwezoom area was forced to evacuate. Mossel was the only place in Planken Wambuis where people were still permitted to live. Accommodating around 53 evacuees, the tiny settlement was now packed.
Airborne landings witnessed from Mossel
The former reserve officer Garrit Memelink was in hiding in Hoenderloo. On 17 September 1944, he heard about the airborne landings at Renkum and Wolfheze and he decided to try and reach the Allied forces. So on that day, he walked from Nieuw-Reemst to Mossel, the site of Prangsma’s farm:
‘I realised that I still knew the farmer in Mossel, Mr Prangsma, and that seemed to me a good place to head for. Moreover, it would soon be evening. Prangsma gave me a friendly welcome in the bakery, where two Dutch SS soldiers on the run regaled me with some grim stories. I considered grabbing their rifles, which stood outside, and shooting both of them, but in the end I didn’t. Because I was too afraid? I slept in the hayloft.’
After a restless night at the farm, Garrit was still in Planken Wambuis on the following afternoon and saw the airborne landing on Ginkel Heath: ‘To my great surprise, paratroopers started jumping from the countless, low-flying American Dakotas. Not knowing I was witnessing the biggest airborne operation of all time, I just couldn’t believe my eyes and ears, and I’ve never seen anything like it since. So many people! A colourful spectacle of different types of parachutes, in huge quantities. And masses of equipment such as folding bicycles, stretchers and motorbikes, as small as toys...’
Mossel’s dangerous location
Mossel itself was in a dangerous location during the war years. From December 1944 onwards, the Germans began firing their new secret weapon, the V-1 flying bomb, from Overijssel towards targets such as Antwerp. The route of these weapons took them over Mossel; due to a fault, one of these V-1s fell in the beech-lined lane close to Mossel and exploded.
Mossel and liberation in 1945
On 12 April, the Allies crossed the River IJssel at Westervoort and began to advance through the Veluwe region. In the night of 15 to 16 April 1945, a Canadian tank unit moved up from Deelen via Mossel to Lunteren. Liberation had finally come.
Want to experience this story on its original location? Visit the information panel at De Mossel in Otterlo, east of bicycle junction 63 on the Plankenwambuisweg.