Henricus Anthony “Henk” Duinhoven, MBE

    • Henricus Anthony “Henk” Duinhoven, MBE
    • Henk Duinhoven Medals
    • Henk Duinhoven at Engineer Memorial

    We regret to advise of the death of Henricus Anthony “Henk” Duinhoven, MBE of Bemmel, The Netherlands on 9 June 2019 at age 86.  Henk Duinhoven was a steadfast friend of the Canadian Military Engineers who made it his life goal to perpetuate the remembrance of Operation MARKET-GARDEN and Operation BERLIN - the rescue of the trapped paratroops of the 1st British Airborne Division after Op MARKET GARDEN.

    Born in Hillegom, The Netherlands in 1933, Henk Duinhoven was a young Dutch boy of 12 when World War II broke out so was old enough to remember many of the experiences of his youth under Nazi occupation. Like many of his countrymen and women, he remembered the role of the Canadian soldiers in the liberation of their nation. Henk was a teacher and his wish was to share his experiences and gratitude for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

    Henk, along with his wife Marion, made it his goal to help others to remember Operations MARKET-GARDEN and Op BERLIN. He had a particular interest in the Kings Own Scottish Borders and the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron that both fought at Arnhem. He maintained an association with the associated veterans’ activities for many decades and often spoke at many key ceremonies. His support to those veterans who lived to return in later years extended to his personally hosting their staying at their residence. As a story teller, Henk transformed those with whom he spent time remembering the wartime history and the fallen war heroes.

    For many years Henk participated in the key memorial events of the annual British Airborne Arnhem Commemoration and was speaker for five years at Ginkel Heath (the wartime drop zone   where jumps by NATO troops are conducted). When he was a teacher he was very much involved in laying flowers in the military cemetery with the local schoolchildren and later assisted and accompanied a small group of children to their place in the cemetery. In addition to giving tours to the veterans and visiting dignitaries, Henk gave guided tours for students from other European countries such as Britain, Wales, Scotland, and Italy to impart an awareness of the tremendous cost of war. He was a guide for British military students in and around Oosterbeek and for 40 years he was a guide in the Old Church in Oosterbeek - the last stand of the Airborne troops.  He was invited to Canada on four occasions to give lectures for schoolchildren. 

    The Royal Canadian Engineers and the Royal Engineers are indebted to Henk for his initiating the idea for a memorial to the Sappers of Operation BERLIN. After a meeting of the Society of the Friends of the Airborne Museum in March 1988 where he gave a lecture on "Operation BERLIN" he had remarked that the important role played by the Engineers would justify a monument to commemorate their heroic actions. A committee was formed on the spot and they proceeded to realise this vision. The current memorial at Driel is the product of that vision and the hard work of a committee of his countrymen.

    Although the committee ceased to exist shortly after the monument was completed in 1989, Henk was the Master of Ceremony in the services at the Engineer Monument in Driel, for 29 years. Henk and his friend Wout Speijers carried on cleaning and maintaining the monument and preparing the site for the annual ceremonies for all these years.

    For his lifetime achievement the United Kingdom awarded Henk the Order of the British Empire and The Netherlands bestowed him Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. 

    Visitation is at Henk’s home on Thursday 13 June 2019 between 6:30 PM and 8 PM. The farewell service is on Friday, 14 June at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel of the Dominican Monastery, Stadsdam 1, 6851 AH Huissen. Private cremation to follow. Condolence messages can be sent to: https://annorauitvaartverzorging.nl/condoleanceregister/