Rhine Hotel, 52 (L) Div, RASC
Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:46 PM
I am searching for more information related to the 'Rhine hotel'.
This "hotel" was a collecting point of returning glider pilots after the Rhine mission.
The sign has been photographed. The information on it says:
Proprietors 52 (L) Div
Resident Menagers: RASC 40 70
I am wondering if anyone has reports mentioning this site. Sure would like to learn where the 'hotel' was situated.
Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:02 PM
In glider pilot John William Rayson's account of his return to England the camp is located somewhere on the line between Xanten and Eindhoven. It could possibly be Afferden which had a connection to the 52nd Lowland Division in the weeks before Operation Varsity.
See midway down this page:
Rest and training at Afferden
* link fixed
Edited by Cee, 28 April 2012 - 03:13 PM.
Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:38 PM
Rayson mentions that he was there, but unfortunately he also mentioned that he didn't remember the place where the camp was located.
Hope someone knows where it was.
Posted 28 April 2012 - 03:11 PM
"Above: The Allies crossed the Rhine in March 1945, 528 Company were given the task to set up a reception centre for Glider pilots coming back across the Rhine after landing troops and equipment on the East bank"
Like I mentioned above the only established rest camp I've come across in this area that was connected to the 52 (L) Div is Afferden. Unless someone comes along and hands us the answer on a silver platter it will require a little sleuthing.
I hope to be proven wrong ...
Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:21 PM
Good to know who set up the reception centre. Hope that the location is also recorded somewhere.
Posted 28 April 2012 - 06:26 PM
As you may have noted Afferden is a best guess on my part with a hope to stimulate further discussion. You are quite right in saying that the American glider pilots also passed through the Rhine Hotel on their journey back to base. George Theis records this fact in one of his online accounts:
"For our part we crossed the Rhine in DUKW and having been driven by truck towards an aerodrome (certainly in Holland) where we had to wait for planes coming from Bricy who had to repatriate us in our respective units. This night there we slept in couchettes under tents in a place called "Rhine Hotel"."
From that you almost get the impression that the Rhine Hotel is very close to the aerodrome which flew them out. Whereas from Grayson of his travels from the the camp we have this:
"Next morning we were loaded into lorries and travelled to Helmond. This took most of the day and we arrived in the early evening ... "
No worry Hans we'll get it in the end. Hopefully with enough puffery we'll attract the attention of some knowledgeable Airlanding types.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 06:51 PM
I never thought to consult the damn war diary on the Pegasus Archive. Take a look at the bottom of the page under 'Action on Ground and Withdrawal'.
"3. Withdrawal was effected by the Squadrons passing a check point at ¼ hour intervals and embussing on the East of the River RHINE.
The whole withdrawal was well organised and every effort was made for the mens' welfare at 12 Corps Transit Camp at TWISTEDEN and 8 Corps Rest Centre at HELMOND."
This may account for the difference between Grayson's and Theis' accounts, unless of course it was two stage journey. Looks like my thoughts on Afferden may be off as Twisteden is south of that village and on a better line to Hellmond.
So maybe one of those is the elusive Rhine Hotel ... ???
Edited by Cee, 30 April 2012 - 07:01 PM.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:00 PM
In the report referred to, I read Camp Cornucopia. The Rhine Hotel might have been another site used for the Americans.
Would the RASC war diary say anything about this?
Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:47 AM
Yet another pic, this time an American glider pilot in front of a Rhine Hotel sign - a still taken from from a video of Lt. Roland B. Minot's photos. Not the best quality, but the sign looks almost similar in design to the other, except for being raised higher. You would think if Twisteden was Camp Cornucopia then Helmond would be the Rhine Hotel. But it may not turn out that way and as you say we still need firm confirmation.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:49 PM
Meanwhile the Brit glider pilots leave a few days later. They cross the Rhine in lorries using the Draghunt bridge and arrive at Twisteden on March 27. Due to bad weather they can't fly out from a nearby aerodrome on March 29 so a decision is made to transport the pilots to the 'rest camp' at Helmond. From there they proceed to Eindoven flying out on March 30 and 31. From that scenario if the Corp 8 Rest Camp is the Rhine Hotel it would have been vacated by the US glider pilots by the time the Brits arrived.
I'll include a photo from the Minot video of US pilots being transported by what appear to be DUKWs. One of the humourous notices on the sign says "Dukw Hire Service - Trips across The Rhine". It could be that the Rhine Hotel was originally set up exclusively for the Americans or at least to handle that group of pilots first.
Also here is the John Todd book in case you missed it:
221 Tpt Sqn RLC (V) - The Scottish Transport Regiment
Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:38 AM
After crossing the Rhine, the GPs went to Rhine Hotel and from there to Helmond.
Somewhere I read Bonninghardt, which is about 20 km from Twisteden. Were there two camps on the west bank of the Rhine, one for the British and one of the Americans?
Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:08 AM
Man, could this thread zig-zag any more ...
First time I've heard of Bonninghardt which according to Google Maps is about 15 klics as the crows flies east of Twisteden. They have a nice little Hotel there that doesn't accept credit cards, but not much else.
Well at least we have a clear picture of where the Brit glider pilots went from their diary. Interestingly in Cornelius Ryan's Last Battle there is mention of Montgomery setting up a temporary tactical HQ at a location northwest of Bonninghardt on Thursday, March 29.
Otherwise I'm drawing a blank on the Bonninghardt connection, nor have I heard back from our author.
Posted 05 May 2012 - 04:58 PM
Bonnighardt Airport History
Digging deeper I found confirmation that the U.S. glider pilots did indeed stop briefly over night at a tented camp before moving onto Helmond and Eindhoven area where they were flown out. One account describes it as a British artillery camp.
Interesting document here of American plans dealing with among other matters glider pilot evacuation after the operation. Unfortunately there's no mention of a British camp to be used en-route to Helmond.
WWII 9th Troop Carrier Command
War Dairy for 528 Coy - WO 171/6306
Hopefully some of that is helpful rather than confusing?
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