Each year when it turns autumnal, purple flags with Pegasus, the winged horse, on them are flown from houses, balconies and flag posts all over Oosterbeek and Arnhem. Pegasus is the official emblem of the First Airborne Division. On 17th September 1944 this division was dropped in and around Oosterbeek as part of Operation Market Garden to capture the bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem. I don’t believe there is another defeat of the British army anywhere in the world that is still remembered to such an extent.
I have questioned my mother: ‘But they lost the battle.’ She then replied: ‘But they did it for us. They were nice boys from a foreign country.’ She paused to find the right words: ‘That’s what makes it so extraordinary.’
Arnold Jansen op de Haar pays tribute to the Battle of Arnhem his latest column. You can read it on the Holland Park Press website.