Remembering the Second World War in the Netherlands: Historical sound from the 1950’s- Part 2, Remembering the Battle of Arnhem

British paratroopers at Arnhem (©

While much of the south of the Netherlands was liberated in late 1944, the Allies made an ill-fated attempt to cross the Rhine into Germany near the city of Arnhem. This operation, called Market Garden, had been planned by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery. The fierce battle of Arnhem, immortalised in the cinema classic “A Bridge Too Far”, lasted from September 17th to the 26th in 1944. Ten years later, BBC war correspondent Stanley Maxted from Canada recorded these memories of how he was flown into the fighting with paratroopers of the British 1st Airbourne Division.

The troops and Maxted landed in the woods on the grounds of an insane asylum. There was no word from the coveted Rhine bridge and, as news came in from prisoners and the Dutch underground, the situation appeared increasingly hopeless. A glimmer of hope appeared when the Dakotas arrived and dropped food and ammunition. Live sound from that moment.

The troops were pinned down and the Germans were massing artillery as they surrounded the Allies on all sides. Finally the order came to the pinned down Allied remnants to break out.

Producer: Stanley Maxted

Produced: 17 September 1954

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