Field Trip ‘Operation Market Garden’
13 – 16 October 2023
A connection with the ACW, after WW1 the 101st Division was assigned to the Organized Reserve in Wisconsin. Its leaders learned that the 8th Wisconsin Vols. carried "Old Abe", an eagle, into combat during the Civil War. The division adopted the eagle on its flash to show its regional link to the past.
13.00 Depart London St Pancras for Brussels via Eurostar. Arrive circa 16.00
Leaving Brussels we drive to Joe’s’ Bridge.
Following the capture of the bridge by Durham Light Infantry and the Guards a few days previous to the commencement of Market Garden.
We will then deal with the start of Market Garden itself and the advance of Guards Armoured Division.
This morning we will look at the actions of the 101st US Airborne Division around Eindhoven.
Afterwards we shall follow Hells Highway stopping (if traffic conditions permit) at Son Veghel, with a slightly longer stop at the Grave Bridge, and aiming to arrive at Nijmegen after lunch.
The afternoon will be devoted to the battle of Nijmegen in some detail including the action in the Valkhof Park, the crossing of the bridge by the Grenadier Guards and the small boat assault by elements of the 82nd Airborne. We then drive on to our hotel in Arnhem, in the course of which our guide will endeavour to point out some of the actions fought by 43rd Infantry Division and Guards Armoured Division on the "Island".
Arrive at Ginkel Heath, this was the drop zone for 4th Parachute Brigade on the 2nd day and we will discuss their actions.
We then move on to the dropping and landing zones for 1st Parachute Brigade and 1st Air Landing Brigade together with Divisional Headquarters on the first day.
Our next stop is at the Helsum Memorial. This is one of the most original memorials on the battlefield being constructed entirely from equipment used in the operation. During our stop the actions of the 3 battalions of 1st Parachute Brigade, will be described
Then to the Hartenstein Museum. This was Divisional Headquarters for the greater part of the battle.
A visit to the Museum and lunch. Lunch might be taken at the Schoonard Restaurant that was used as a dressing station during the battle.
Westerbouving. This the only commanding high ground on the battlefield and from this vantage point we will learn something of the attempts by 1st Polish Parachute Brigade and 2nd Dorset Regiment to cross the river and reinforce the bridgehead.
Oosterbeck Church. Here we will learn about Lonsdale Force and the stirring speech made by its commander. and drive on the river road pausing briefly to view the site of the action where Sergeant Baskeyfield of the South Staffordshire Regiment won his VC.
Saint Elizabeth Hospital. At this stand we will learn about the unsuccessful attempts by various battalions to fight their way to the bridge through the town and also visit the house where General Urquhart was forced to take refuge.
Finally we will drive through Arnhem town to the John Frost Bridge where the story of the gallant action by 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment in its defence.
Depart Hotel and drive to the Oosterbeck CWG Cemetery where most of the British dead from this battle are buried., where we shall lay a wreath. We will then have some time to walk around the town of Arnhem before returning to Brussels.
16.00 (tba) Eurostar to St Pancras arrive circa 17.00
LZ ‘Z’ littered with abandoned gliders 17 September 1944.
The parachute DZ ‘X’ is just off the picture to the left
Suggested Reading List:
Arnhem 1944, William F. Buckingham, Tempus Publishing 2002
Hell’s Highway, Tim Saunders, Pen & Sword 2001
Nijmegen, Tim Saunders, Pen & Sword 2001
It Never Snows in September: The German View of Market-Garden and the Battle of Arnhem 1944, Robert Kershaw
Arnhem Landing Grounds & Oosterbeek, Frank Steer, Pen & Sword 2006