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”.
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.
Plaque on Arnhem Bridge in Dutch and English reads:
JOHN FROST BRUG
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.
Building used as headquarters.
A second Plaque on the bridge (I think that’s where it was) reads: