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Intro

Day 1-3 (Paris) Day 4        5       6 (France) Day 7     8      9 (Belgium)    Day 10         11       12 (Nether.)
C.O.'s Intro | Itinerary

June 1-3

Dieppe | Juno | Clair Tison Ypres | Vimy | Low Tempo Walcheren | Arnhem | Groningen

2010 Centennial Battlefield Pilgrimage - Day 11

The second-to-last day of the Centennial Battlefield Tour, June 11th, began with a visit to the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, where some 72 Calgary Highlanders killed during the Second World War are laid to rest. A visit to the National Liberation Museum 1944-1945 followed. The remainder of the day was spent in visiting sites related to the fighting around Arnhem. While this battle is not of direct significance to regimental history, it is not completely unrelated to students of the Canadian military. The fighting of 1st British Airborne Division at Arnhem during Operation MARKET-GARDEN has been related in a number of venues and is a story comparatively well-known. Lesser well-known are the actions of Canadian CANLOAN officers. One of these, James Taylor, originally a Calgary Highlander, is discussed on this page. The British Army had a shortage of junior officers in the Second World War, while Canada had a surplus, leaving several hundred to volunteer for combat with British infantry formations. Taylor served with the 7th Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers during the fighting at Oosterbeek and was captured during the destruction of the 1st Airborne Division. Other destinations for the regimental contingent on this day were the Arnhem War Cemetery and the Hartenstein Hotel Airborne Museum.

Photos by Nancy Desilets, click to enlarge

Major Kyle Clapperton plants a regimental flag on grave of a Calgary Highlander at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery.

In addition to burials, Canadian War Cemeteries also commemorate those for whom there are no known graves.

As was done at all other Canadian War Cemeteries visited by the regimental contingent during the trip, a short service of Remembrance was conduct, with a piper playing Flowers of the Forest to honour fallen comrades.

In the words of the museum's official website:

The National Liberation Museum 1944-1945 is set in one of the most beautiful locations in the Netherlands in a landscape of hills and woods. This museum, on the German border South-East of Nijmegen and Arnhem, is a place where history comes to life.

Michael Dorosh photo

Inside the National Liberation Museum; tributes to the Canadian formations that helped liberate the Netherlands line the wall of this gallery; the roof of this unique room is meant to be evocative of a parachute. The Netherlands were the scene of history's largest airborne operation in September 1944.

Michael Dorosh photo

 

In 1944 the Hartenstein Hotel was the headquarters of the German Army Group B commander, Field Marshal Walther Model, and was hastily evacuated when British airborne troops landed nearby. The 1st Airborne Division made the building their own headquarters for the short period they occupied a perimeter at Oosterbeek. Today, the building has been preserved and is home to the Airborne Museum Hartenstein.

Michael Dorosh photo

The John Frost Bridge, named for the battalion commander who in September 1944 managed to reach the northern ramp and hold it against repeated German attacks until overwhelmed, is a replica of the original. Arnhem was heavily damaged in the fighting in 1944, and again during the liberation of 1945, when British and Canadian troops were obligated to fight for the city once more. The buildings around the bridge bear little resemblance to what was present during the 1944 battle.

Another Canadian connection to the battle is the actions of Royal Canadian Engineer units who assisted in the evacuation of survivors of the 1st Airborne Division back across the Lower Rhine in the final stages of the battle. This monument to them is located near Oosterbeek.


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