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Introduction

Since 1794, Arnhem has been the captial of the Gelderland province, on the north bank of the Lower Rhine (Neder Rijn) River.

Possibly the site of the Roman settlement of Arenacum, it was first mentioned in 893. Chartered and fortified in 1233 by Otto II, count of Geldern, it joined the Hanseatic League in 1443. As the residence of the dukes of Geldern, it was often attacked by their Burgundian rivals and in 1543 fell to Charles V, who made it the seat of the Council of Gelderland.

It came under the United Netherlands in 1585, and the following year Sir Philip Sidney, the English poet, statesman, and soldier, died there after being wounded in the battle of Zutphen. Seized and dismantled by the French in 1672, Arnhem was refortified in the 18th century only to fall again to the French in 1793.

View of Walburgis Church from Airborne Plein (Stephen Stratford 2007).

View of Eusebius Church with the Arnhem War Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2007).

Notable landmarks include the Roman Catholic church of St. Walburgis (1422) and the 15th-century Protestant Grote Kerk (St. Eusebius).

Arnhem Locations

The bridge across the Lower Rhine at Arnhem proved to be a bridge too far. The original bridge was opened in 1935 and was demolished by Dutch troops, in an attempt to stem the German invasion which started on 10 May 1940. It was evntually rebuilt by the Germans in early 1944, before being damaged by American bombers during 6-7 October 1944. After the war the Bridge was rebuilt and opened on 9 May 1950.

John Frost Bridge

View of the John Frost Bridge from the south bank (Stephen Stratford 2007).

After reaching the bridge on the 1st day of the operation (Sunday 17 September 1944), about 500 men of 2nd Parachute Battalion (commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Frost) took up position on either side of the road that ran across the bridge. They also received some additional troops from C Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion and some Royal Engineers of 1st Parachute Squadron. They occupied the buildings that ran along both sides of the northern side of the bridge. Against numerous attacks by armoured German units the troops held out until Thursday 21 September 1944.

They had held out for 4 days, which was twice as long as they had been expected to hold the bridge with the entire division's support.

Frost's HQ

View from the northern side of the bridge towards the building now on the site of Frost's HQ (Stephen Stratford 2007).

HQ Plaque

Plaque on the side of the building now on the site of Frost's HQ (Stephen Stratford 2007).

Memorials in Arnhem

The Arnhem City Memorial is located outside Eusebius Church, and take the form of a peson fending off the forces of oppression. Entitled "Man Against Power" the bronze statue was made by Gijs Jacobs van den Hot. It was unveiled in 1953, and forms the location of wreath laying on the annual commemoration day of 4th May.

Arnhem War Memorial

Arnhem City War Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2007).

Airborne Monument

Airborne Plein Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2007).

At the northen end of the bridge is a Memorial dedicated to the 1st Airborne Division. The memorial is formed by a broken pillar from the former Palace of Justice, destroyed in the Market-Garden fighting. It was unveiled on 17 September 1945 (the 1st anniversary) by the Governor of the Gelderland Province, in the presence of Frost and 200 survivors of the battle. It forms the focal point of weath-laying on the annual Anniversary Weekend.

Frost Bridge Plaque

Plaque to Lieutenant-Colonel Frost and his men on the John Frost Bridge (Stephen Stratford.2007).

On the Northern side of the bridge there is a bronze plaque that explains, in Dutch and English, that troops led by Lieutenant-Colonel Frost gallantly fought here in September 1944.

There also numerous other markers in the Renkum-Oosterbeek-Arnhem area, which marks various events that took place during Opertation Market-Garden and the later liberation of the area by Allied troops.

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