This book is about Jacobus (Jacob) (Jaap) Groenewoud, a skinny, frail young man with bad eyesight and thick glasses, born into a working-class family in Amsterdam. An intelligent and adventurous young man, who at the age of 21 years decides to go to South Africa hoping to find fame and fortune. Even though Jacob Groenewoud is discharged from Military Services and exempt from Military Duties indefinitely, he volunteers for military duties a few times. Although initially rejected, he becomes part of the ‘Springbokken’ Brigade and becomes a ‘special soldier’. He becomes one of the four Dutch Officers that are selected for project ‘Jedburgh’. Leading Jedburgh Team ‘Claude’, consisting of Capt. Jacobus Groenewoud, Lt. Harvey Allan Todd and Sgt. Carl Alden Scott, he participates in the Battle of Arnhem and Operation Market Garden. During the Battle of Arnhem both Jacob and Lt. Harvey Allan Todd are constantly in the leading forces. And with the assistance of a small patrol Jacob manages to capture the Head Quarters of the local German Area Commander. During this raid, he discovers German plans for the destruction of both the Rotterdam and the Amsterdam harbor. By discovering these plans, the Dutch authorities are able to prevent the destruction of these harbors. When some of the Armed Forces are disconnected from the Main Force and Division HQ, Jacob volunteers to re-establish contact. During this attempt, Jacob Groenewoud is killed by a German sniper. Jacob is buried at the Airborne War Cemetery in Oosterbeek.
This book is based on hundreds of original documents, letters and photos, in possession of the Groenewoud family and tells the story of Jacob and his family. And how this frail, skinny, young man, who looked like an accountant, became a war hero. A war hero, whose name marks the spot called the ‘Jacob Groenewoud Plantsoen’ (Jacob Groenewoud Park) close to the John Frost Bridge in Arhem.
A spot where some of the most severe fighting took place during the Battle of Arnhem and Operation Market Garden. This book is about an unknown ordinary family living in the Netherlands and about an unknown young man that became a ‘somebody’. Somebody who died fighting for the freedom of his country, the Netherlands. A young man whose legacy and memory should be preserved.