Arnhem, Holland

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Dad was dropped in as part of the 1st Airbourne division. Don’t know about the fighting as Dad never mentioned that but he did tell us about the withdrawal. In order to identify yourself to friendly troops he was told to respond to the challenge “John” with the word “Bull”.

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The withdrawal took place at night. I think he said it was raining. They carefully made their way through woods towards the river. Germans could be heard talking all around them.

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Plaque on Arnhem Bridge in Dutch and English reads:

This is the bridge for which JOHN D. FROST fought
Leading his soldiers persistent and brave
In an advance where freedom was sought
Went a bridge too far which they tried to save
The bridge is now with his time proudly wrought


Eventually reaching the river Dad was prepared to swim to the other side but the person with him couldn’t swim. I believe Dad then searched around until he found a small boat and they made it to the other side of the river.

Having reached the far bank they breathed a big sigh of relief.

Then came a quiet challenge “John”.

The relief then poured out at this point as Dad responded loudly with “BULL, YOU BUGGER”.

The challengers responded by nearly having kittens and telling them to shut up and keep quiet. They explained  that they were still behind enemy lines. They then quietly made their way to freedom.

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Building used as headquarters.


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A second Plaque on the bridge (I think that’s where it was) reads:

      On the 17th of September 1944, the 1st Brish Airbourne
Division began toland some eight miles to the west of Arnhem
with the object of forming a bridgehead north of the lower

      The 2nd Battalion the Parashute Regiment fought its way
into Arnhem and occupied the buildings which commanded the
site of this bridge. Here it was joined by elements of other
units of the division.

      For three days and four nights the Bridge was held against
far greater numbers of the german 2nd SS Panzer Corps, until,
with all ammunition expended, with few survivors unwounded and
all the buildings destroyed around them, they were finally

      The gallant defence of this detatchment, cut off by enemy
action from the remainderof the division, had a marked in-
fluence on the conduct of the campaign in Holland, and the
delay imposed on German reinforcements moving south to stem
the allied advance enabled the crossings over the rivers at
Grave and Nijmegan to be firmly secured.

      To the memory of the heroes of the First British Airbourne
Division, who by their sacrifice initiated the liberation of
the Netherlands, the Provincial Government of Gelderland, on
behalf of the grateful inhabitants of the province, dedicates
this memorial tablet.

Pictures taken on 22nd September 1985 during a visit to Arnhem I made whilst on assignment in Amsterdam.

[Arnhem, Holland]


06 April, 2010 


Fri 28 Sep 2007

Wed 12 Sep 2007

  • Reworked for Family Only Area.
  • Various corrections.