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Thread: Airborne 75 - Oosterbeek + watch content

  1. #1
    Master JackW's Avatar
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    Airborne 75 - Oosterbeek + watch content

    This is only just watch related, but I know some of you guys are interested in WW2 history so I thought I'd post here.

    I went for a short hike in the woods around Oosterbeek and Wolfheze yesterday. This area, as many of you will know, saw some very heavy fighting during Market Garden. The war is still very visible here, and even more so now, because of the 75th anniversary.

    There are a few landmarks such as this, indicating places of interest. This one is located at a roadside where 4 Parachute Brigade held a hollow before pressing on towards Oosterbeek.



    The people of this area haven't forgotten, and many homes are flying the Pegasus flag:



    The large and leafy gardens made life extra difficult for the allies, because there was plenty of room for the Germans to move their tanks and artillery around.



    I happened to walk past one of the first landing zones when a couple of military aircraft flew past. There was a group of German, US, Polish and Dutch soldiers there, being lectured about the allied movements at this place during the war.



    I also visited the Airborne Museum Hartenstein, housed in the villa that was used as the allied headquarters during the battle of Arnhem. There were tents set up in the area for all the military personnel visiting from the US, Germany and Poland, among other places.



    Of course I couldn't resist photographing the two Moeris ATP's they had on display:





    After visiting the museum I paid a visit to the war cemetery, with more than 1750 graves of mostly British, and a number of Dutch and Polish military personnel from WW2. A very humbling place.







    Oosterbeek has some personal significance for me as well, as it is the birthplace of my late maternal grandmother. She had to flee from Oosterbeek to nearby Ede and witnessed many of the horrors of the war firsthand. Whenever I'm around I visit the cemetery right next to the war cemetery, where her ashes are scattered. There's also a small grave where the girl who would have been my eldest aunt is buried. She was my grandparents' first child, who died during the hunger winter of 1944 at a little over six months old.

    I was lucky enough to have known my grandmother for a long time. She died when I was well in my thirties, so she was able to tell me a lot about her life. The war may sometimes seem like the distant past, but for me her experiences still bring it close. This visit to her birthplace was another reminder of how grateful we should be to those who risked everything for our freedom.

  2. #2
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this.

  3. #3
    I live 17 kms to the north (how the crow flies) and during the aftermath of Operation Market Garden, a lot of people from the Arnhem area had to flee to the north, to the town where I currently live. The German Wehrmacht HQ was located in my hometown at that time (and was later turned into the Canadian HQ).

    The Germans didn't want to have so much people around their HQ, so they gave 'm a hard time and pressed them to move on. Lots of locals took those refugees in their home.

    I know the area on the pics pretty good: when I met my wife, she had an apartment on the road halfway between (what used to be) the Allied HQ and the bridge. The apartment was built after the war, but lots of homes are rebuilt. What amazes me is the fact that you can clearly recognise the area on those B/W war pics! Imagine, with a pic in your hand, you can almost feel the spot where a para had installed his bren gun to keep the upcoming Nazis away.

    Last week, there was a documentary on Dutch TV about a 95+ para trooper who annually visits the area. He's always invited at local schools to tell about his time with the paras and Market Garden. Most Dutch kids, 10+ or so can understand him when he speaks English. Older kids are even 'brave enough' to ask questions in English.

    Two things that stood out in that documentary: he's always amazed that the locals don't hold any grudge against the paras for demolishing their town (True! I've never heard that. It has always been accepted as a fact and the blame is stacked on the already high pile of blame against the Nazis). And secondly, he told that after his death, he wants his ashes scattered on the grounds of the War Cemetery. "I want to be with my mates!" was his comment. I don't know the British MoD rules for that, but be sure that locals will do their best to help him with his wishes.

    Menno

  4. #4
    Master JackW's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments, Menno. You're absolutely right about the town being very similar now to how it was then!

    With regard to your comment about the locals not holding a grudge: the veteran's sentiment seems widespread. The memorial the British erected on the grounds of the (now) museum, says something to the effect of 'we brought death and destruction, but still you never held a grudge against us".

  5. #5
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Fantastic post and so sentimental to me for so many reasons.

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to do this
    "When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
    For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

  6. #6
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Another pensioner is about to make a return trip...75 years on from infamous battle:

    A 97-year-old war hero is preparing to parachute into Arnhem in the Netherlands this weekend Ė 75 years after he was captured there.

    Sandy Cortmann, a former paratrooper, was just 22 when he leapt from a plane and plunged through enemy gunfire at the start of the Battle of Arnhem, on September 17, 1944...


    Then, it is indicative of the place that the operation holds in Dutch history...Royal Dutch Mint honors Operation Market Garden with coins:

    Operation Market Garden was an ultimately unsuccessful effort 75 years ago to retake Nazi-controlled land in the Netherlands.

    The Royal Dutch Mint is issuing three 2019 coins in commemoration the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden, and in tribute to the soldiers who fought in the biggest battle on Dutch soil during World War II...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by PickleB View Post
    Another pensioner is about to make a return trip...75 years on from infamous battle:
    A 97-year-old war hero is preparing to parachute into Arnhem in the Netherlands this weekend Ė 75 years after he was captured there.

    Sandy Cortmann, a former paratrooper, was just 22 when he leapt from a plane and plunged through enemy gunfire at the start of the Battle of Arnhem, on September 17, 1944...


    Then, it is indicative of the place that the operation holds in Dutch history...Royal Dutch Mint honors Operation Market Garden with coins:
    Operation Market Garden was an ultimately unsuccessful effort 75 years ago to retake Nazi-controlled land in the Netherlands.

    The Royal Dutch Mint is issuing three 2019 coins in commemoration the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden, and in tribute to the soldiers who fought in the biggest battle on Dutch soil during World War II...
    Before the euro, we had a lot of these commemorations coins, mostly in the form of Hfl 1 or Hfl 2.5. They were in 'normal use' in one's wallet.

    Market Garden is 'big' here. Yesterday was our Opening of Parliament. The King's speech started and ended with commemorating Market Garden. Mind you, a large part of The Netherlands was liberated in 1944. Roughly the southern part. There are lots of commemorations in that part of the country during the coming months. I already mentioned the Battle of the Scheld in the Southwestern part, Zeeland.

    To put it in perspective: early September 1944 'fake news' mentioned the light speed-like (...) advance of the Allied Forces through Belgium and North of France. People were under the impression that the allied forces would reach Holland in hours... So did the Germans and those who were collaborating! They fled eastwards, to Germany. 'Mad Tuesday' it was called and that has become its official name as well. Only after a few days, the Germans realised that is was all 'fake news' and they returned. Lots of German troops were demoralised. To boost morale, battle-hardened German troops were sent along with those demoralised troops. And these battle-hardened troops were on the ground where the paras landed!

    Another, not so (internationally) famous story is the story about the Nijmegen Bridges. Only 20kms south of the Arnhem bridge. The Americans advanced from the south and were afraid that -in the days before Market Garden- the Germans would demolish the Nijmegen bridges. The bridges were 'mined'.

    This website tells about the battle 20kms south of Arnhem: https://www.holland.com/global/touri...ge-too-far.htm That battle was essential for the success of Market Garden.

    When the US + Polish troops advanced on the small narrow dyke roads, they found out that it was not easy to cover lots of ground. One of the Band of Brothers episodes tells about the story.

  8. #8
    Thank you for all the excellent posts. I was in Arnhem a couple of years back but didn't visit Ooesterbeek, I'll definitely make time next time.

  9. #9
    The reenactment of the dropping is live on Dutch

  10. #10
    Master JackW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    The reenactment of the dropping is live on Dutch
    I know. We were on our way, just like every year, but we had to turn around because they didn't allow any more people onto the Ginkel Heath! We saw some of the droppings from afar though. Very impressive.

  11. #11
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Have a look at Bremontmilitary on instagram they have reposted some images I sent them from Arnhem 75
    "When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
    For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

  12. #12
    Shame you couldnít get any closer. And shame that Iím not at home!

    Prince Charles was wearing the modern Para Regiment uniform with the red baret

  13. #13
    Master JackW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 100thmonkey View Post
    Have a look at Bremontmilitary on instagram they have reposted some images I sent them from Arnhem 75
    Those are absolutely brilliant, many thanks. And thanks for doing this as well. It sends shivers down my spine every time.

  14. #14
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Shame you couldnít get any closer. And shame that Iím not at home!

    Prince Charles was wearing the modern Para Regiment uniform with the red baret

    Link.."The Prince was the first member of The Royal Family to successfully complete the Parachute Regimentís training course before being appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment in 1977."

  15. #15
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    "When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
    For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

  16. #16
    Craftsman
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    Stunning photos those Kerry!

  17. #17
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Thank you. Itís a unique band of brothers.



    The faces change but the song remains the same
    "When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
    For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

  18. #18
    Craftsman
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    Great stuff 100th.

  19. #19
    Great post
    Nice to see Kerry looking younger
    Itís quite sobering just what a comparatively short time ago this all happened

  20. #20
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOAT View Post
    Great post
    Nice to see Kerry looking younger
    Itís quite sobering just what a comparatively short time ago this all happened
    Thereís 50 years between those pictures and that was me 25 years ago starting out on the path.
    "When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
    For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

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