This year Battledetective.com participated in several events commemorating the 65th anniversary of Operation "Market Garden", the Allied plan to force a bridgehead into The Netherlands in order to by-pass the Siegfried Line and to enter into Nazi Germany in September 1944. This is a brief report of the commemorations and events we attended and actually took part in.

To start off our report, take a look at this photo impression:

 

This is the report:

'The Island' & Nijmegen , Wednesday September 16th 2009
Battle Detective Tom was asked to act as an assistant battlefield tour guide for the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team. The tour led the team, as well as eleven (11!) American airborne veterans of the 101st, the 82nd and the Troop Carrier Command to Grave, Nijmegen and The Island area. A stop was made at the base of the North Western ramp of the Nijmegen bridge where the veterans laid flowers at the location where a paratrooper was photographed after he was killed in action at that same spot.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
               

Nijmegen, Thursday  September 17th 2009
Battle Detectives Tom and Ivo doubled as stand-ins on two locations in Nijmegen where the men and women of Yank Reenactment made actual Now&Then comparison photographs: 

 

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
     

Best & Eindhoven, Friday, September 18th 2009
Near the crossroads of Sonse Weg and Schietbaan Laan in Best, a monument was dedicated to Lt-Colonel Robert G. Cole, commanding officer of 3rd Bn./502nd.
At this location Cole, who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions three months earlier in Normandy, was killed by a sniper on Monday September 18th 1944.

Cole’s son executed the unveiling ceremony. It was followed by a speech by Colonel Jenkins, commander of 4th Brigade, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
       


After the playing of the Dutch and American anthems, two World War Two vintage airplanes flew over the location.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)

To us, this held some irony as these planes flew at the same altitude and in the same direction as the American fighter planes that strafed Cole’s position. This caused Cole to lay out air recognition panels in the field in front of his battalion, exposing him to the German sniper who killed him. See also Battle Study # 10.

Like the previous year, Tom organized an exhibition in the Veterans House in Eindhoven. The opening ceremony had much of the one in the year before. Only this time the WW2 ADT parachute team was present; in 2008 it was the Liberty Jump Team. This year two rooms where used for the exhibition. One room shows a message center in a Command Post of the 101st as it could have been in operation in Eindhoven in September 1944.
The exhibition will be in the Veterans Home in Smits Straat until January 2010.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
   

After the ceremony, visitors, as well as the members of the Airborne Demonstration Team and the veterans they hosted, walked to City Hall Square in Eindhoven for the annual Torch Parade. After the parade there was a reception in City Hall.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
1 2

1 Battle Detective Kim with veteran Bill Galbraight
2 Battle Detective Tom and Colonel Jenkins, commander of 4th Brigade,
506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Ginkel Heath, Saturday September 19th 2009
This was a rather quite day with a visit to the annual parachute droppings on the original Drop Zones of the British 1st Airborne Division on Ginkel Heath.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
 
    

Eindhoven Area, Sunday September 20th 2009
Today Battle Detective Tom had his début as a board member of the Society of Dutch Airborne Friends. At the annual Remember September Day of the Airborne Friends, Tom served as the master of ceremonies in six of the seven wreath laying ceremonies. These were held in the towns and the city of Eindhoven where the 101st fought in the initial period of Operation Market Garden. This year marked the 65th Anniversary of the operation and Tom announced dignitaries from the US Embassy in The Hague, local mayors, the playing of "Taps" and performances of local guilds.
In Eerde, the Airborne Committee and the Airborne Demonstration Team had their own ceremonies with the Airborne Friends as a guest organization.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
 

After the ceremonial activities, the Airborne Friends, US Embassy representatives, veterans, active duty soldiers and commanders of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and their color guard, enjoyed the Remember September Dinner in Sint Oedenrode.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)

Lieshout, Monday September 21st 2009
Matthew Van Luyt, chairman of the Society of Dutch Airborne Friends hosted a Remember September de-briefing reception at his home in Lieshout. Veterans John Eisen (of 101st Divisional Signal Company) and Bill Galbraight (of “I” Co./506th) were present as well as a large number of members and friends of the family of PFC Joseph E. Mann, MOH, of “H” Co./502nd.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
 


It was a happy, social and relaxed end of all ceremonies and events, marking the 65th Anniversary of Operation “Market Garden”. We all praised ourselves lucky that we still had been able to talk to so many of our liberators.

Back to Commemoration Page

 
 
 
 
 
 
(c) 2007-Present Day Battledetective.com. Email: tom@battledetective.com. all rights reserved.