Market Garden Commemorative Jump 2007
This year marked the 63rd anniversary of the battle around Arnhem, Holland. This was codenamed Market Garden and it became one of the most notorious battles of WW2. Very few British people will even be aware of the gratitude which the Dutch people still bestow on the veterans who fought this battle, one that ultimately affected their own personal survival.
Click the thumbnails for larger pictures.
Many of my colleagues & friends were totally unaware of the annual remembrance that occurs over in Holland nor those held on many a field that will be forever England, as the saying goes. The greatest coverage only appears on the major anniversaries which makes those that are missed all the more poignant.
I often wondered why the Dutch people revere the veterans so high after we (the Allies) were responsible for so much destruction and hardship of the civilians around the city of Arnhem & Oosterbeek. I spoke at length with people of my age group and they all feel proud of what was achieved although it wasn’t the victory that had been planned. It was summed up best for me at the Polish memorial, a Dutch adolescent had a t-shirt on, nothing special in that however what was printed on it was, ‘I am a child of freedom – Thank you Mr Veteran’.
As time goes by the veterans are less in numbers and here follows a small tale of my trip to commemorate them.
Saturday 15th – Thursday 20th September 2007-Training at Texel, Holland
Ian (member of ‘Just Ordinary Men) and I arrived at Texel having argued most of way up, not with each other but the damned GPS unit. It tried sending us up narrow cobbled streets and the ‘I know a short cut’ route. After much deliberation all we heard from the GPS was ‘Recalculating’ and so we just ignored ‘her’ and used the map.
Ian and I had only met briefly at one of the re-enacting events but both had the same intention of earning our wings rather than just wearing them.
We arrived at the airfield and wandered over to the pathfinder area to start meeting the team. We sorted out our basic paperwork and sat and watched square jumpers until it was time to move off to the hostel to sort accommodation and food out.
The ‘Pathfinder UK’ group is made up of South African, Belgian, French, Dutch, Irish, Canadian, American , Danish and British members. Some are serving members of their national forces either as full or reserves. Ian & I were the only non armed services personnel and WW2 re-enactors at that.
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