Enfield Gazette – Ernest Charles Bolden

With the Arnhem Wounded  Edmonton Man’s Sacrifice


“Dear Rose, I have got to make a great decision……..I have decided to stay with the wounded……I hope you won’t mind”, was what Bomb. Ernest Charles Bolden scribbled on a note at Arnhem and handed to the British Army Chaplain to send to his wife at Cedars Road, Lower Edmonton. Then with the wounded Bomb. Bolden was captured by the Germans.
“It must have been a terrible decision to make, but I believe everyone will be proud of him I shall do my best with our six children under nine until he gets back” said his wife to a Herald reporter.

Bomb. Bolden (states the chaplain in his letter) was a medical orderly under Capt. Martin-running a Regimental Aid Post-Light Regiment R.A. at Arnhem But the R.A.F were unable to evacuate the wounded down the line with the result that they had about 200 to look after.
“Your husband” says the Chaplain, was always cheerful keeping up the spirits of all his patients always busy, expertly and most tenderly dressing every type of wound. He was the life and soul of the place.


“on occasions an enemy tank approached within forty yards of the building and began firing at us. Without hesitation he went out with a Red Cross flag and stood in front of the building waving his flag until the tank crew understood its meaning and eventually moved away. This was a wonderful piece of courage which may well have saved the lives of many.
“On the last day of the battle Capt. Martin was wounded your husband took charge and carried on brilliantly. When the withdrawal was ordered it was impossible to bring stretcher cases away, and your husband did not ever consider leaving them. He stayed till the end to see that they were properly cared for. Throughout the battle he was truly magnificent; his cheerfulness and great courage were memorable to all who saw him and invaluable to the wounded. You have every reason to be proud of him”.


From the Major of the Airborne Troops Mrs Bolden has received a letter stating : “He volunteered to stay behind in charge of the wounded ….. He did the most splendid work under appalling conditions –a hero in the front line. I cannot describe on paper how magnificently he behaved. You have every reason to be extremely proud of him”.
A Lieutenant of the Airborne Troops wrote to Mrs Bolden: “He is a wonderful man. Truly I can say I have never seen such courage, such cheerfulness and confidence with which he did his hard job. He was, indeed, an inspiration to all around us, and hundreds of men will never forget Bomb. Bolden. You will be proud, as we that are left are proud, to have known such a man…. Nothing could get him down.
“I know what it must mean to you not for him to come back with us. God knows what you have meant to him too.”
Before joining up Bomb. Bolden was a full time member of the Edmonton Civil Defence Reserves Service,and so proud are the C.D. committee of him that they are publishing the three letters fully in their official minutes.
Aged 36yrs Bomb. Bolden was previously employed in the building trade.


Many Gazette readers will have recently read with interest the story of Bomb. Ernest Bolden of Cedars Road Lower Edmonton, who stayed behind with the wounded troops at Arnhem in order to attend to them and was later captured by the Germans.
Bomb. Bolden was born and bred in Enfield being an old boy of Bush Hill Park School. Many 1930-32 local football enthusiasts will no doubt recall his robust play for the Lincoln Thistle F.C.

A reader from Ponders End writes to state that he was at Bush Hill Park School with Bomb. Bolden , and is sure that the boys and masters of Seventh Avenue School will, like him, be proud to call Ernest Bolden one of their own.


One Response to “Enfield Gazette – Ernest Charles Bolden”

  1. Stephen McGregor Says:

    On Monday, September 25, 1944, the Germans launched a massive attack on Lonsdale force around the Old Church on Benendorpseweg in Lower Oosterbeek. The objective was to cut the British off from the river, then annihilate them. It was on that morning that the Germans brought in the newly arrived King Tiger Tanks. It was a King Tiger that fired a shell into the Ter Horst house, where Bolden was stationed. Bolden ran out with a Red Cross flag to confront the tank commander who, under fire, took the time to apologize, then order his driver to pull out. AWESOME!

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