Last year it was discovered the commemorative plates of three benches behind the old Church in Oosterbeek were stolen. The benches were donated and it took some time to figure out who donated the benches and what the text on the plates was.
Two of the benches were donated by the owners of Dreyeroord, The White House. The third bench was a gift of the four daughters of Leslie Jack Plummer, who fought at the church during Market Garden.
One of his daughters read the artikel on Market Garden news and got to be aware her dad’s plate had been stolen. Connections were laid quickly and Wednesday, December the 5th, all three plates were re-placed. Symbolically, by three generations Van der Straaten, former owners of Dreyeroord, The White House en Mayor of the municipality of Renkum, Mrs. Agnes Schaap.
Symbolic, because the plates are removed right after. In this time of year the wood from the benches is too wet to make a decent fixation. Diny Brouwer of the church said they thought very good about the fixation so this never happens again.
Leslie’s last visit
85-year old guide of the church, Henk Duinhoven remembers as it was yesterday how Leslie came to Oosterbeek for the last time. The WWII veteran was terminally ill, brought his four daughters to Oosterbeek and would not be able to ever come back. He bumped into Henk during a guidetour at the Westerbouwing.
Leslie asked Henk if the church would be open. Henk said no, the church is closed today. They told him Leslie was sick and wanted to take his daughters to the church. “In that case,” Henk said, “Knock on the church door at 13:30 and you never know, somebody might open the door.”
Henk finished his tour at the Westerbouwing and took his group to the Old Church before Leslie would be there. He told the group, (about 35-40 Dutch people) who was about to knock on the door. When Leslie knocked, Henk opened and surprised Leslie, because they just met and invited him in.
As soon as he entered the church, all the people present started to applaud, surprising Leslie and his daughters. Later Henk heard that Leslie told his daughters on the day he died he felt like Royal Family that day. “I didn’t know that.” Henk says emotional “But you know, the Dutch….”
After Leslie past away, his four daughters wanted to place a bench for his remembrance. They came to Oosterbeek and choose a spot their father would have chosen. The bench is not on the right spot now, during the renovation the benches were stored and placed back at the wrong spot, but that will be corrected too.
Mr van der Straaten who came with his son and grandson is very happy the plates are restored. He tells the benches at the Old Church were among the first benches they donated as Executive Board of Dreyeroord, The White House. The benches they donated after that, they donated as Executive Board ánd guest of the hotel.
Video above is in Dutch, made by the Veluwezoom In Beeld