Battle of Arnhem: Mass parachute drop to mark WW2 assault

Arnhem anniversary

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Giant crowds gathered to observe the paratroopers land on Ginkel Heath


A mass parachute drop is going down within the Netherlands to mark the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Backyard in World Struggle Two.

The Prince of Wales will attend a service later to commemorate the allied assault within the Battle of Arnhem.


Veteran Sandy Cortmann, 97, parachuted once more over the Dutch metropolis.

British, US and Polish forces dropped behind enemy strains in 1944 however failed of their bid to safe eight bridges and open up a route into Germany.

About 35,000 troops landed by parachute and gliders in what was then the biggest airborne operation in historical past.

They seized bridges and canal crossings at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem, however had been pressured to retreat after German counter-attacks. Greater than 1,500 allied troopers had been killed and practically 6,500 captured.

The occasions had been portrayed in Richard Attenborough’s 1977 Hollywood battle epic A Bridge Too Far starring Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.

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Sandy Cortmann, from Aberdeen, was 22 when he parachuted into Arnhem in September 1944

Prince Charles can be joined by Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands and veterans for the service and wreath-laying on the former touchdown zone of Ginkel Heath.

And troopers from the Parachute Regiment, of which the prince is colonel-in-chief, can be among the many 1,500 individuals taking part within the commemorative parachute drop.

Mr Cortmann, from Aberdeen, made a tandem leap with a parachutist from the Military’s Pink Devils show crew over the Ginkel Heath nature reserve as a part of the commemorations.

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About 35,000 allied troops took half in Operation Market Backyard

He was simply 22 when he parachuted into the identical drop zone in September 1944, the place he was taken prisoner by the Germans.

The Arnhem veteran made an emotional return to the Netherlands on Thursday.

“When the combating began we had been simply in amongst it,” he recalled.

“You possibly can describe it as courageous, you thought you had been courageous, however as soon as you bought down there, Jesus Christ, terrified, completely terrified.”

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Battle of Arnhem veterans veterans Geoff Roberts and Ray Whitwell have returned for the occasions

One other of the troopers returning to the previous battlefields for the anniversary is 100-year-old Raymond Whitwell, from Malton, North Yorkshire.

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Talking from the Commonwealth Struggle Graves Fee’s cemetery at Oosterbeek close to Arnhem he recalled the second he landed by glider in 1944.

“I stated to myself on the best way out, what on Earth am I doing right here? However while you’re there your coaching takes over,” he stated.

Mr Whitwell added: “The Dutch individuals are actually very, very good, it is great to be again.”

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The allies captured three bridges in September 1944 earlier than being pressured again

On Friday, the ashes of two veterans of the Battle of Arnhem had been laid to relaxation alongside their fallen comrades buried in Oosterbeek.

Kinfolk of Pte Dennis Collier, 95, from Harrogate, and Pte Steve Morgan, 93, from Chipping Norton, travelled to the Netherlands to see their stays interred.

Tributes had been paid earlier than wreaths had been laid and the final put up was sounded by a lone bugler.

In the meantime, the southern Dutch city of Brunssum has bestowed honorary citizenship on 328 British troopers buried in its battle cemetery in recognition of their sacrifice to assist liberate the Netherlands.

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The ashes of Arnhem veteran Dennis Collier had been interred on the Oosterbeek Struggle Cemetery

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The Prince of Wales additionally attended occasions to mark the 60th anniversary commemorations in 2004

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