Past Endeavours

Arnhem - " A Bridge Too Far "

Operation "Market Garden " was the name given to the plan devised by Field Marshall Montgomery to cross the river Rhine and drive deep into Germany. The essential feature of this plan was the capture of several bridges by the daring use of airborne troops. The prize was the bridge across the lower Rhine at the sleepy Dutch town of Arnhem. US airborne, the 82nd and 101st, were to capture bridges at such places as Son, Grave, Eindhoven and Nijmegen - the prize fell to British 1st airborne under the command of Maj. Gen. Roy Urquahrt and the Polish Para brigade under Maj. Gen. Stanislav Sosabowski, both under the overall command of Lt. Gen. "Boy" Browning. Ground forces, in the shape of XXX Corps commanded by Lt. Gen. Brian Horrocks and spearheaded by the Irish Guards Infantry and Armour, were to drive the 62 miles across a carpet of airborne troops, along a single road which soon acquired the name "Hells' Highway, or to the British, Club Route, and to cross into Germany over the bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem. This was the operation which was supposed to "have the boys home for Christmas"

Pegasus, the symbol worn by all Britain's Airborne Forces

Sample Itinerary

Day One:

Cross Channel and drive to "Joe's Bridge" on the Belgian/Dutch border. This is where the allied forces broke the German line to begin the drive north. Following Club Route to stop at Valkensward, where the Guards Armoured Div. stopped on the first night. Continue on to Eindhoven, secured by the US 101st, then on to the bridges at Son, Sint. Oedenrode and Veghel.

Moving onto Grave, in the sector alloted to the 82nd ( All American ) Div. crossing the impressive bridge over the river Maas. From Grave we can take one of 2 routes into Nijmegen. One crosses a tributary of the Maas into Nijmengen centre itself, the other enters Nijmegen from the south via Groesebeek. There are six CGWC cemeteries in the area and a visit to any one can easily be arranged. We can then cross the main Nijmegen bridge onto the area which became known as "The Island". The area between Nijmegen and Arnhem would see bitter fighting and end in much controversy.

Drive to accommodation.

        RENKUM HEATH, 17th Sept.1944, the 1st Parachute Brigade arrives

DAY TWO:

You will drive out to the fields and see where the 1st Para brigade and glider-borne units arrived on the 17th September 1944. There are several memorials in the area dedicated to units that landed here. Alternatively, you can visit Ginkelsheide and follow 4th Para brigade's landing on 18th Sept. The routes of either Brigade's attempts to secure their objectives and drive into Arnhem can be followed.

After a visit to the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek, lunch at one of the many cafes in the area. After lunch we move down into the area of the Oosterbeek church where the final battles to keep a foothold on the north bank of the Rhine took place. We proceed into Arnhem stopping at various places of interest such as L/Sgt. Baskeyville's gallant stand which gained him a VC. We will finish at the all-important objective, the road bridge at Arnhem, now called the John Frost Bridge after the commander of the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment.

DAY THREE :

The Westerbouwing heights and its restaurant/cafe are our first stop. Here you will hear how the battle ebbed and flowed over this important piece of ground and its key role in the battle. The tour will finish at the CWGC cemetery at Oosterbeek. There are three VC winners buried here, along with 1,700 other allied soldiers who died in the fighting in this area in 1944 and 1945. After lunch we depart for the coast, stopping en-route for a comfort break and food stop.

The Guides

Apart from myself, I am extremely fortunate to work with one of, if not the most knowledgable guide in the UK when it concerns Britain's airborne forces, and the Paras in particular. Let me introduce Bob Hilton: Bob was a member of the Parachute Regiment from 1981 to 2003. He has taken part in many battlefield drops and tours to commemorate actions at Bruneval and Normandy and of course, Arnhem. On retiring from the army he took up full-time guiding, specializing in Britain's Airborne Forces and its actions in WW2. Bob is capable of covering all unit sub-actions in detail and has a wealth of personal knowledge stemming from interviews with many veterans of the campaign. One thing is certain, whatever else you may do, you will never forget a tour of the Arnhem battlefields in Bob's company. I cannot think of a better guide to take you on your journey.

Bob with veteran Les Macreesh in Oosterbeek Cemetery

 

Travel and accommodation

For small groups of up to 5 persons travel will be by people carrier with air-conditioning. Larger groups of up to 14 by minibus, groups of up to 24 by small luxury coach. Accommodation will normally be in 3* hotels nearby, or actually in Arnhem town, or family-run B&Bs at your choice. Board basis will be full board, or a combination of B&B with additional lunches and 3-course evening meals with wine. All museum entrance fees are included. There are NO hidden extras.

Prices are per person and start from, assuming two persons sharing;

Three days      £899 per person

Four days        £1,089 per person

and a single room supplement of £30 will apply according to location. This is a charge made by the hotel and beyond my control.

Please contact me on pastendeavours@btinternet.com, or call 01842 862014, or write to: Past Endeavours, 18, Pashford Close, Lakenheath, Suffolk IP27 9ED