Klondikes HQ has received several 501PIR after action reports dated from September 1944 till January 1945. While studying these papers we noticed that some documents showed Dutch words mirrored context. This exciting discovery was the start of a new research project. Shortly after being dropped at DZ-A on September the 17th 1944, 2-501 managed to capture the bridges across the Zuid-Willemsvaart canal, the bridges over the river Aa and took possession of the town of Veghel. While searching for a building to establish his HQ, the local doctor Kerssemakers offered his house to Colonel Howard Johnson to be used as 501HQ. The building in the center of Veghel was known by the name “Villa rustplaats”.
It was later renamed to “ Klondike ” in gratitude of the liberation of the town by the 501PIR. “ Klondike ” was the radio call sign of the 501 Regiment. The building was build in 1870 and doctor Kerssemakers and his family lived there from 1913 until 1969. Next picture shows the Kerssemakers family. This picture is taken in September 1944. The vehicle has a V signature which is the first letter for the Dutch word resistance (verzet). It gave a safe pass across US troops.
As we analyse the paper, which is used for some 501PIR after action reports, we can read a postal giro number. In those days this type of bankaccount-number was generally used in the Netherlands by many companies and government-departments to wire money. The picture displayed below shows an original report (1) and one which has been flipped over (2) to show the postal giro number 66103 (3). The text in capital “ONDERWERP” can be read as “topic”. This postal giro number triggered us to start a research to the origin of it, could we connect a name to it? The thought behind this was that if we could trace back the number we would have a great opportunity to find out where the reports were written. Although the postal giro system is still in use in the Netherlands, it has changed to different owners during the past years. “in-depth” research delivered what we were looking for, the postal giro number was owned by the “gemeente ontvanger”. “Gemeente ontvanger” can be freely translated to community receiver. The function of a community receiver was arranged by law in 1851. As administrator he received and paid invoices and bills by order of the local mayor. We did not expect this because other information received stated that the administrative HQ would be located somewhere else and we expected this to be confirmed with above mentioned postal giro number. The picture below shows proof of our research.
The community receiver was always located in the town hall as part of the local government. The town hall was for that time also an excellent location to type the after action reports because it was complete equipped with typewriters and other hardware needed to run an office. In this case the town hall was also a close neighbor of 501HQ which made it very practical to operate here. As a result of our research we can be almost 99% sure that some after action reports have been typed in the town hall of Veghel . p.s. Approximately 5 days after the landing Gen.Taylor used the same building as 101AB HQ as third location in operation Market Garden. Starting at Soniushof in Son he moved to Castle Henkeshage in Sint-Oedenrode and than moved to Veghel. For this reason nowadays a monument can be found in the shape of a Kangaroo, close to the Klondike building. “Kangaroo” was the callsign for 101AB Division.
Information about the giro account number was obtained from the ING Bank Concern Historical Archive