British troops of the First Allied Airborne Army line up to board the plane before Operation Market Garden
WWII

British Paratroopers To Recreate Historic Market Garden Jump Over Arnhem

Personnel from eight allied nations will descend to Arnhem's drop zone, 75 years on from Operation Market Garden.

British troops of the First Allied Airborne Army line up to board the plane before Operation Market Garden

British troops of the First Allied Airborne Army line up to board the plane before Operation Market Garden (Picture: PA).

British Army paratroopers are marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem by recreating the jump made by allied forces during the daring Operation Market Garden.

More than 1,500 British, Dutch, French, Belgian, German, Italian, Polish and US paratroopers will aim for the Ginkel Heath drop zone - which was used during the operation.

In one of the most ambitious allied invasions of the Second World War, more than 35,000 British, American and Polish paratroopers landed behind German lines by parachute and glider on 17 September 1944.

Soldiers were tasked with capturing nine bridges along the River Rhine to allow tanks to cross and break into Germany.

The ensuing Battle of Arnhem cost at least 1,500 British soldiers their lives, while nearly 6,500 were captured.

On Saturday, British troops will drop where they had done 75 years before.

The Red Devils Army parachute display team will also perform the jump, which is the culmination of the Netherlands-led Exercise Falcons Leap.

Falcons Leap trains NATO airborne forces to operate together - even using aircraft belonging to another country in order to earn that nation's parachute wings.

Operation Market Garden was part of efforts to end the war by Christmas (Picture: PA).

A 97-year-old veteran is due to be among those parachuting over Arnhem - 75 years after he made the jump in the Second World War mission.

Sandy Cortmann was 22 years old when he jumped into Dutch city, where he was taken prisoner by the Germans.

British and allied personnel will be joined returning veterans, the Prince of Wales and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer, will attend commemorative events in the Arnhem area.

Chief of the General Staff General, Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said: "Arnhem is always an important anniversary for the allied airborne community who have been embraced by the Dutch nation as their guests ever since they landed 75 years ago."

Services will be held at memorial sites in the Arnhem area including:

  • the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery;
  • Ginkel Heath, one of the drop zones used during Operation Market Garden;
  • and the Airborneplein monument, where 2nd Parachute Battalion managed to hold an isolated position for three days and four nights while facing incessant enemy attacks.

Wreaths will be laid at the services by dignitaries and veterans to remember the determination, bravery and strength of those who fought and died on the operation.