Kate ter Horst

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Kate ter Horst MBE (born July 6, 1906, Amsterdam – February 21, 1992, Oosterbeek) was a Dutch full-time housewife and mother who tended wounded and dying Allied soldiers during the Battle of Arnhem.[1] Her British patients nicknamed her the Angel of Arnhem.[2]

Ter Horst was born Kate Anna Arriëns, daughter of Pieter Albert Arriëns and Catharina Maingay. She married Jan ter Horst, a lawyer from Rotterdam, with whom she had six children. One of her daughters, Sophie, still resides in the family home in Oosterbeek.

World War II[edit]

During Operation Market Garden, the British 1st Airborne Division parachuted to capture the Arnhem bridge but due to a compilation of problems and delays of the relieving force soon found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by the German army. Captain Martin asked the ter Horsts permission to set up a regimental aid station in their house at the Benedendorpsweg in Oosterbeek. The family consented.

During the eight days of fighting, ter Horst tended to about 250 wounded British paratroopers herself. Some of her most famous actions in looking after the British troops included walking around her home reading the Bible to dying soldiers[2] and finding water in the most unlikely places (such as the boiler and toilet) when, due to the large concentration of British troops, the house became a target. Mrs ter Horst wrote about these experiences in a book called Cloud Over Arnhem.


In November 1947, her oldest son, Pieter Albert, was killed by a left over anti-tank mine in a meadow along the Rhine.

She starred in Theirs is the Glory, a film made directly after the war about the battle of Arnhem in which survivors were asked to re-enact the parts they played in the battle.

In 1980, the British ambassador to the Netherlands decorated Kate and her husband as Honorary Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.[2]

In 1992, Kate ter Horst died after she was struck by a car outside her home. Jan died on 1 August 2003 at the age of 98[2]

Cultural depictions[edit]

In the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, she is played by Liv Ullmann. ter Horst narrated the opening montage in English.


  1. ^ Kate ter Horst; Obituary. The Times (London). (Feb. 25, 1992) News: p13. Word Count: 449.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ter Horst House - WW2Museums.com". ww2museums.com. Retrieved 28 July 2010.