2nd Lieutenant Janusz Szegda
Unit : Headquarters, 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade Group, attached to 1st (British) Parachute Brigade.
2nd Lieutenant Szegda was the Polish Liaison Officer attached to the 1st Parachute Brigade. His glider, however, did not reach Arnhem as the pilots were forced to prematurely cast off over Tilburg, and so landed in German territory in the approximate area of the 82nd Airborne Division. The following is 2nd Lieutenant Szegda's report to MI9 on the events leading up to his return to the Allied lines.
OF 1510 2/Lt J. SZEGDA, 1 Brit. Para. Bde. HQ., 1 Airborne Div.
Date of Birth: 24 Jan 15.
Army Service: Jun 39.
Peacetime Profession: Student.
Private Address: Poplar Cottage, East Newport, Nr. Dundee
MAPS USED: HOLLAND 1:100,000. S. HERTOGENBOSCH. Sheet 5.
17 Sep 44 - Our Horon No.478 landed about 1400 hrs. at approx. [Map Reference] 227385 East of UDENHOUT. With us was S/Sgt W. CRAM 3656512 G.P.R. [Glider Pilot Regiment] R.A.F. Station: KEEVIL, WILTS. Private Address: 41 BROUGHTON ROAD, SULFORD, LANCS. There was also Sgt J. WHITEHEAD 3528646 G.P.R. R.A.F. KEEVIL.
Landing - We landed near UDENHOUT, because the pilot had lost sight of the tug in cloud, and had cast off.
Move off towards GRAVE - The six of us moved off in two Jeeps to get to GRAVE 6253 to join up with some U.S.A. Airborne, whose objective was to take the town.
Shoot at Germans - On the way we passed many Germans, quite a number of which we shot from the Jeep. As we proceeded the enemy became more numerous and our ammunition would have given out, if we had fought a pitched battle. So I decided to turn off in the direction of BEST 3726.
S/Sgt CRAM PW [Prisoner of War] - While we were going round a corner in the village of ESCH 3137 at about 35 m.p.h. Sgt. WHITEHEAD shouted to me to stop, but as he had a strong LANCASHIRE accent, I could not understand what he intended to convey. We were in the second Jeep as LUITWIELER being a Dutchman had been in charge of the leading Jeep, so that he could ask civilians for any information. What Sgt. WHITEHEAD actually said was "My mate has fallen out of the Jeep". i.e. the one we were in, but as I could not understand clearly what he said I ordered the driver to carry on. It is presumed that S/Sgt CRAM is PW. The Dutch later confirmed this.
Volunteer Civilian - When we first started off we had taken a volunteer civilian with us in the leading Jeep, to guide us to GRAVE.
Journey arranged - Knowing that there were many Germans at one of the main cross roads we decided to hide up in a wood 317377 and from here on our journey was arranged.
My thanks to Ann Sadler for a copy of this report.
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