EVENT DATE: 1st to 2nd June 2024
The Netherlands were occupied by NAZI Germany in May 1940. After over 4 years’ gruelling suppression, the country saw some of the most significant fighting by the (Western) allies in the advance into Germany and defeat of the Third Reich.
Operation Market Garden in Brabant in September 1944 is well known, mainly due to Cornelius Ryan’s book and later Hollywood epic film “A Bridge Too Far” and of course, annual commemorations. However, much larger operations were carried out in 1945 by the allies from the Nijmegen area across the Rhine and into Germany with the objective to enter Germany, isolate the Ruhr industrial area (thus cutting off the ammunition and weapons production of the Third Reich) and move deeper into Germany.
Very significant operations collectively known as “The Battle of the Rhine”, have not received the same attention as Market Garden. A series of operations Veritable, Plunder, Grenade and Varsity took place from February to April 1945 and respectively involved upwards of 1 million allied soldiers, vast numbers of armoured vehicles, tanks, artillery and aircraft. Historians agree that the US and British/Canadian armies successes here in the west were a vital contribution to defeating NAZI Germany.
John Cameron-Webb is running a guided weekend battlefield visiting locations, monuments and museums relating to the above mentioned battles in Oosterbeek, Arnhem, Nijmegen, Groesbeek and into Germany towards the Rhine. On route, John will explain the operations from a broader military perspective and including stories of individuals who took part.
Assisting John on Market Garden element of this tour will be British author and journalist Tony Sheldon. Tony carried out dozens of interviews with the local population who lived through the battle to record their first-hand stories of the events of 1944, recorded in his book of 2015 “De Verschrikking van de Nacht, Ooggetuigen van de slag om Arnhem” (The Terrors of the Night, Psalm 91, Eyewitness Accounts of the battle for Arnhem). Tony will take us on a tour of Oosterbeek telling the stories of men, women and children who helped as nurses, messengers and resistance fighters. This is a unique opportunity to look at the experience of the Dutch population in the area and remind us that the term “casualties” does not refer to the military only.
On Saturday the weekend tour will start at glider borne troops landing-zone Ginkelseheid, we will follow the route taken towards the bridge over the Rhine; visiting the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek and the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. Tony will lead us on a tour after which we will visit the objective “Jack Frost” bridge. We stay at the Fletcher Hotel in Wolfheze and dine together at 7 p.m.
On Sunday we head for Nijmegen to cover the Veritable, Plunder, Grenade and Varsity operations, looking at Gen Sir Bernard Montgomery’s 21st Army Group (Canadian First and British Second Armies) fighting the way from Groesbeek towards Cleve and across the Rhine. The tour finishes at the Reichswald Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery around 5 p.m.
If you would be interested to take part, please email John Cameron-Webb on firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants will be reserving their own hotels and using their own transport. Also, please note that the tour will be limited to 25 participants.