|Airborne Cemetery Arnhem - Oosterbeek|
Arnhem is the capital of the Province of Gelderland Oosterbeek
is a village suburb about four miles from the city centre.
It was in this area that the British 1st Airborne Division landed in September 1944,
in their vain attempt to capture and hold the bridge over the Lower Rhine at Arnhem.
The division made a stand within a gradually shrinking perimeter at Oosterbeek,
holding out until all hope of relief by troops advancing from the south was abandoned
and their supplies and ammunition ran out.
Many of those who died were buried on the south side of Oosterbeek,
in what was to become the cemetery when large numbers of others were brought in from temporary graves.
The burials in this cemetery
located on the outskirts of Arnhem number 1,753,
and include the majority of the casualties from the British 1st Airborne Division landing in September 1944.
Following the Normandy landings of June 1944, the Allied
advance through northern Europe
was extraordinarily rapid and on 11 September 1944,
the Second Army entered the Netherlands just south of Eindhoven,
the first Allied troops to set foot in the country since its fall in May 1940.
Their next aim was to cross the Rhine before the Germans had time
to reorganise after their recent setbacks, securing crossings over the rivers and canals
that stood in their path at Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem.
'Operation Market Garden' would involve the United States 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions,
the Commonwealth 1st Airborne Division and the Polish Parachute Brigade.
On 17 September 1944, the 1st Airborne Division began landing west of Arnhem,
but German resistance, bad weather and problems with supplies and reinforcements
led to heavy losses, and their objectives were not taken.
They were forced to form a perimeter at Oosterbeek which they held stubbornly until 25 September,
when it was decided to withdraw the remnants of the division across the lower Rhine.
Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery contains the graves of most of those killed
during the September landings, and many of those killed in later fighting in the area.
There are now 1,678 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried
or commemorated in the cemetery. 246 of the burials are unidentified
and two casualties are commemorated by special memorials.
There are also 73 Polish burials and eight Dutch graves.
The three non-war graves in the cemetery were Commission employees.
A total of 33 Canadians are buried here, including one unknown and seven known Army soldiers,
as well as 25 airmen. The majority of burials in the cemetery are those of the United Kingdom, with 1,630 graves.
The cemetery is the scene of an annual ceremony organized by the local people.
It is also often visited by Poles, as a number of their
countrymen are buried here.
© The Hins 1999 - 2002