October 1944: The evacuation of Bennekom

At the beginning of the war, the 27-year-old Driekus van de Pol worked at a primary school in Bennekom. As a teacher, he had to sign a declaration of loyalty to the occupying forces. In 1943 he refused and chose to go into hiding with his cousin Aart Roelofsen in Lunteren. Here, under the pseudonym 'Flip', he led a resistance group.  

Driekus 'Flip' van de Pol (27 years)

Under the pseudonym 'Flip', he led a resistance group. After the lost Battle of Arnhem in September 1944, he was closely involved in the shelter of hundreds of airborne soldiers who were left behind. They need refuge and a safe hiding place in and around Ede. Flip is involved day and night. Mid October it is clear that the Tommies have to leave and the Ede resistance organises a major escape, Operation Pegasus. This is planned to be executed during the night of the 23rd of October. 

That autumn Flip only comes home once in a while to his wife in Bennekom. During these difficult years of war, she took care of these young families daily. They also offered shelter to an evacuee and a Jewish woman in hiding, and Flip also brought the dirty laundry of Tommies in hiding home for her to do too. On Friday the 20th of October, 1944 the situation changes. In Bennekom the Germans put up posters in various places. All inhabitants south of the Zand Avenue and the Maander Dyke must leave the village before Sunday the 22nd of October. This also applies to the Van de Pol family.

Chaos in Bennekom
Meanwhile, Flip is busy with Operation Pegasus. He seizes the opportunity to succeed by making use of the evacuation of Bennekom. He convinces the rest that it is better to move the airborne soldiers earlier than planned. On Saturday the 21st of October, during the chaotic evacuation, resistance fighters bring many airborne soldiers to the assembly point, at Nol in 't Bosch. While Mrs Van de Pol is evacuating with all family members to Ede. At the assembly point, Flip brings weapons from the resistance to the airborne soldiers. As it is strange to drive back with an empty car, he takes some bedding from his home as 'camouflage'. On the 23rd of October, 1944 around 2 a.m. the airborne soldiers were transferred by boat. Operation Pegasus was successful, and 139 men reached liberated territory, on the southern bank of the Rhine.

Memories of war locations