The heavily damaged side of the Dreyeroord hotel, after the fighting.

With the bayonet on the gun, the Dreyeroord hotel falls back into British hands

in Oosterbeek/September 21

Hotel Dreyeroord, on the north side of the British perimeter, was one of four places where the Germans attacked the British positions on Thursday, September 21. The area at the northern end of the perimeter was defended by troops of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, or KOSB.

There had been fighting all day over Hotel Dreyeroord. The hotel, which the British called ’the White House’, was initially in German hands. During a British attack on both the front and the rear of the hotel, two of the three German machine gun positions in the hotel are destroyed. But the Germans hold their ground. The British are unable to get the Germans out of the hotel.

At the end of the afternoon, more than a hundred SS men attacked the British positions, about 50 meters behind the Dreyeroord hotel. The viaduct over the railway at Oosterbeek station near the Dreijenseweg provided an easily accessible route for the Germans, along which they could run shouting towards the British.

The British were not impressed. Captain Jim Lingstone:
“They came running and screaming at us, up to 20 yards in front of us. Then we opened fire. I killed an awful number of Germans with my Sten gun. In front of me stood a large tree and behind it lay a wounded German. He prepared to shoot. David Clayhills, the adjutant, shouted from the side of the hotel to ‘kill that bastard’, which I did. When it calmed down later, I could still see David Clayhills standing against a tree, and a huge number of dead Germans around him. There were at least twenty or thirty.”

There was again very heavy fighting in and around the hotel. After the battle, the body of Major Alexander Cochtran was found on the veranda of the hotel, with his revolver in his hand. Next to him lay the body of a dead German officer, also with a revolver in his hand.

The British, who saw what was happening at Dreyeroord from the left flank of the German attack, came to the aid of their fellow soldiers. The Germans were driven from the hotel grounds with a bayonet charge.

Private Henry McClusky: “I have never screamed at the top of my lungs for so long. It was hell. Fortunately, the Germans fled. They left behind a terrible scene of dead and wounded. It was awful.”

Of the almost 300 British troops stationed here, only about 150 remained. The rest had been killed or wounded. Colonel Payton-Reid decided that he had too few men left to properly defend the hotel. The British definitively opted for a position behind the hotel.

Due to the intensity of the British bayonet attack and the large number of deaths the Germans suffered, the Germans no longer made any major attempts to capture the Dreyeroord hotel.

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