Two veterans of the Battle of Arnhem have unveiled a memorial at Renkum in the Netherlands.
The Battle of Arnhem was a daring mission which was launched behind enemy lines in broad daylight, as 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment went to the Dutch village to capture bridges across the Rhine.
2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment reached their objective but reinforcements never got through and after nine days under constant attack, they had either surrendered or were withdrawn. 1500 allied lives were lost.
74 years ago, former airborne soldiers, Private Steve Morgan and Sergeant Frank Ashleigh, were among the thousands of allied soldiers who landed in the drop zone close to Arnhem and today unveiled the memorial.
Private Morgan told Forces News about when he tried to comfort a mortally wounded Lieutenant, who went on to earn the Victoria Cross. He said: “I crawled out to him. He was wounded. I crawled out to him, put my arm round him, let him know that there was at least one Englishman who was there but he wasn’t quite dead when I left but he died soon afterwards.”
Sergeant Ashleigh, Glider Pilot Regiment, said:“The monument is simplicity itself and that is what we would like because the glider pilots wanted to do a job and they wanted to keep it simple.
“Paratroops did a vital part but so did the gliders because if the gliders had not landed there would have not been a battle because we provided most of the fighting men.”
Although the Battle of Arnhem was considered a military setback, the Netherlands considered it the start of the country’s liberation from Nazi occupation.