A CORNER of Holland will be forever England as Worcester war historian and author Dilip Sarkar has created an exhibition which overlooks the famous WW2 battleground of the Bridge Too Far at Arnhem.

 The recent 75th anniversary of the mission by Allied Airborne troops to hasten the end of the Nazi regime, saw thousands of people from all over the world descend on Airborne At The Bridge, the Airborne Museum’s Arnhem annex near Oosterbeek. It also gave Dilip the opportunity to see for the first time what the authorities had done with the memorabilia and material he supplied to them for the exhibition based on his recently published book “The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far.”

The exhibition was opened  by Fred de Graaf, chairman of the Airborne Museum and a former president of the Netherlands, together with Arnhem expert Dr Robert Voskuil, and Sophie Lambrechtsen-ter Horst, the daughter of Kate, the “Angel of Arnhem”, who wrote the book’s foreword.

Families and friends of eighteen of the casualties included in the book also attended.

“I was absolutely amazed,” said Dilip. “The exhibition has a huge picture window overlooking the bridge today.

“It’s a magnificent setting. It was fantastic to see so many people there and this obviously  meant a very great deal to those involved.

The exhibition, based upon the book, was the culmination of a huge collaboration and effort involving many people - and yes, I do feel a great sense of achievement and satisfaction now that it has all been brought to a successful conclusion.”

The Battle of Arnhem was in the vanguard of the Allied Operation Market Garden.

It was fought in and around the Dutch towns of Arnhem, Oosterbeek, Wolfheze, Driel, and the surrounding countryside in September 1944.

It was proposed by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, who favoured a single thrust north over the branches of the Lower Rhine River, allowing the British Second Army to bypass the Siegfried Line and attack the Ruhr.

Allied Airborne troops were dropped in the Netherlands to secure key bridges and towns along the Allied axis of advance. Farthest north, the British 1st Airborne Division landed at Arnhem to secure bridges across the Nederrijn, supported by men of the Glider Pilot Regiment and the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade. British XXX Corps were expected to reach the British airborne forces in two to three days.

However, the British airborne forces landed some distance from their objectives and were hampered by unexpected resistance, especially from two SS Panzer Divisions.

Only a small force was able to reach the Arnhem road bridge while the main body of the division was halted on the outskirts of the town.

Meanwhile, XXX Corps was unable to advance north as quickly as anticipated and failed to relieve the airborne troops in time. After four days, the small British force at the bridge was overwhelmed and the rest of the division became trapped in a small pocket north of the river. Following nine days of fighting, the shattered remains of the division were withdrawn in Operation Berlin. The British 1st Airborne Division lost nearly three quarters of its strength and did not see combat again.