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    Posted November 11, 2015 by
    voyageurfred
    Location
    Arnhem, Netherlands
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    In Memoriam

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    Remembering A Bridge Too Far

     

    by Frederic Hore
    Arnhem, the Netherlands – Made famous in the film "A Bridge Too Far," it was here at Arnhem, as part of the liberation of Holland, that British and Polish paratroopers from the British 1st Airborne Division, tried to seize, secure and defend this bridge from the German forces, in a bloody battle staged on the 17th September 1944.

     

    The assault, part of the Allies plan called Operation Market Garden, consisted of a force of some 740 men. The British bravely fought and held the bridge for three days, until they expended all their ammunition and few survivors were unwounded. Against far greater numbers of the German 2nd SS Panzer Corps, they prevented Hitler’s armour from crossing the bridge for four days, staving off attacks on the advancing Allied positions.


    Much of Arnhem was destroyed in that famous battle. Ironically, B-26 Marauders from the 344th Bomb Group later bombed and destroyed the bridge on the 7 October 1944, to prevent German forces from sending reinforcements south of the river.


    Arnhem was captured and finally liberated by the British and Canadian armies in April 1945. After the war, a new bridge was erected in the same style and design as the original, opening in 1948. The Arnhem bridge was officially renamed the John Frost Bridge, by the Dutch government on 17 December 1977.


    A plaque at the north end tower reads: "This is the bridge for which John D. Frost fought leading his soldiers persistent and brave, in an advance where freedom was sought, went a bridge too far which they tried to save. The bridge is now with his name proudly wrought."


    During a month-long long visit to the Netherlands in September 2015, I spent a couple of days in the area, visiting the battle sites, museums and cemeteries. A museum erected as a memorial on Nieuwe St. at the base of the bridge, has a moving display of photos, letters, diaries, and a history of the men who served and died in the battle for Arnhem.


    A block down the road, is the outdoor Airborne Memorial, with laminated black and white photos on display, showing the aftermath of the war, and some of the armaments and artillery from that memorable battle.


    The sun was setting as I photographed the John D. Frost Bridge, the arching steel structure in silhouette. A black and white image, I thought, would create a stark, and fitting reminder to its dark history, and the men who fought and died here.


    In memory of US Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day Canada, on November 11, 2015.

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