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Nurse J.G. Bouwman, Theirs is the glory


Nurse Bouwman (*30-04-1924 - †20-01-2010) was one of the women who rose to the occasion during Operation Market Garden in september 1944. As a 20 year old Red Cross nurse she was living in Arnhem at the Utrechtseweg at the time as an intern at the St.Elisabeth hospital. She just moved from Oosterbeek to Arnhem on the 14th of August 1944.
When hostilities broke out on the 17th of September, she was called, among others, for duties at the "Tafelberg" emergency hospital and was therefore in the middle of the fighting which must have been pretty horrendous and overwhelming at the age of 20. On the 24th of September a large group of German soldiers took control of the building and their commanding officer commanded that everyone who could walk should leave the site. Nurse Bouwman stayed at "de Tafelberg" until the 25th of september. After the battle she was evacuated on the 9th of december and then transferred for further duties in Otterlo on the 2nd of Januari 1945 at the Kröller-Müller museum which was converted into an emergency hospital in occupied territory.

Images above: Both taken on 15th april 1945,   lunch at the library and a midday brake at the Kröller-Müller museum, which functioned as an emergency hospital at the time (bron: Kröller-Möller museum)

You can read about the events in september 1944 in an original copy of De Vliegende Hollander (The flying Dutchman)

Nurse Bouwman has been stationed on several different locations during the war years. Known dates and places are:
- 30-06-1943 Womens Psychiatric hospital, St.Annalaan 5, Venray
- 27-03-1944 Stenenkruis 30, Oosterbeek
- 14-03-1944 St. Elisabeth Gasthuis, quarters at Utrechtseweg 96, Arnhem
- 17-09-1944 until 25-09-1944 Emergency hospital "de Tafelberg"
- ??-09-1944 Temporary quarters at Putterweg 1, Ermelo
- 09-12-1944 Evacuated to designated location "E4"
- 02-01-1945 Emergency hospital Kröller-Müller museum at Otterlo

After the war she was one of the figurants in the movie "Theirs is the Glory". This movie was filmed just 9 months after the atrocities of september 1944 in Oosterbeek and the immediate region. It tells the story of a part of operation Market Garden, in particular the part which took place in Oosterbeek and Arnhem. Nurse Bouwman can be seen in this fragment of the movie.

She wrote a "thank you" letter to Mr. G.Knight, producer of the movie "Theirs is the glory" after receiving some photographs from him (these photographs can be seen by clicking on the image on top side of this page).

The movie was filmed with the actual soldiers who played their role as themselves on the actual battleground, sometimes even in the foxhole they dug themselves just 11 months earlier. Filming started in august 1945 and was released to the public in august 1946. Recently a documentary was made about the making of the movie. You can watch this documetary here below:

Nurse Bouwman is also mentioned in the book "Zes dorpen in oorlog en verzet" written by H.C.J. Erkens, G.A. Versteegh and G.J.H. Oosterhaar on page 95


In short it states that Nurse "Joke Bouwman" was present at hotel "De Tafelberg" which stood at the frontline in Oosterbeek and was hastely transformed into an emergency hospitel from the beginning of the battle on the 17th until the 25th.

Nurse Bouwman was one of the few selected to be awarded a commemorate medal in 1994. This medal was awarded for those who expressed exeptional creditable work during the battle in 1944. This award and accompied letter can be seen below.

Below you can see her ID card. Notice the number of the ID card which is V18 010862. This number is also present on her Red Cross ID card




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