30 Corps Tour of Holland
Operation Market Garden 70th Anniversary Tour of Holland.
The group took part in a tour organised by Historical Tours and Military World to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden through Holland, following the route of the original advance. The tour started in Weert where the Dutch Army graciously put us up before providing the tour with logistical support throughout, indicative of the generosity shown by the Dutch throughout the tour. From Weert the armoured convoy set out to Joe's Bridge near Lommel. After a long wait the convoy finally crossed the bridge, allowing plenty of time for the old saying of "When in doubt, brew up".
Arriving in Dunquerque
Weert Military Barracks
Getting ready to head out
The column getting ready to move
Dingo with Troopers Gurr and Tibbles waiting to cross the bridge
Crossing the bridge
Following the crossing, the column proceeded to Valkenswaard where we received a raucous reception on the main town square. It finally occurred to everyone that this wasn't going to be an anonymous run through the countryside, and indeed throughout the run we were constantly waved on by the locals. In Valkenswaard we camped down for the night on a green in the centre of town. The next day the column proceeded around Eindhoven, with one of the group's vehicles being first in Nuenen and being greeted by group of school children. Once the rest of the column had arrived, everyone proceeded to Son en Breugel where camp was made in a sandpit outside the town. The local mayor came out along with the town choir to bid us welcome. During the night, the Dutch Army Engineers constructed a Bailey Bridge across the Wilheminakanaal, which was then crossed by the column in the morning.
Tpr Grundstrom in Nuenen
Tpr Coppins and the rest of the column in Nuenen
The camp at Son en Breugel
Tpr Mitchell demonstrating how to sleep on a 6-pdr anti-tank gun
Despatch rider Sgt Gurr demonstrating how to sleep on a motorcycle
Tprs Tibbles, Mitchell, Coppins and Jackson visiting Son en Breguel
Tprs Tibbles and Gurr waiting to move off from Son
Tpr Jackson enjoying the morning sun
After Crossing the Bailey Bridge, the column proceeded through three different routes to Grave. Our group went to picturesque Sint-Oedenrode where the column halted for most of the morning, with the crews enjoying the sunny morning and the hospitality of the Dutch people who came out to look at the vehicles. The next stop was Uden where the column was met by a full brass band and a lunch laid on by the town. From Uden the column drove to Grave, where following a tight squeeze through the narrow street we crossed the Meuse to make camp on the north bank. This camp site was particularly poignant for the group as the regiment had made their own camp in the exact same spot 70 years earlier. We remained at this camp site for two days, taking the chance to visit scenic Grave.
Driving through Sint-Oedenrode
Preparing to leave Uden
Tprs Grundstrom and Mitchell enjoying a rest in Grave
Tprs Grundstrom and Ashley in the Humber LRC driving through Grave
Tprs Grundstrom and Jackson in the Humber LRC at Grave
The crews enjoying a break in Grave. Note the Dingos parked on the square...
From Grave, we proceeded to Keent where we were met by the local mayoress, who later joined us again in Oss. From Oss we crossed the Maas and Nederrijn to arrive at Ginkel Heath, were 4th Para Brigade had dropped on September 18th, 1944. Here we remained for two days, being part of the commemorative weekend where the camp was open to the public who came to see a memorial drop on the Heath. Literally thousands of people came out to watch.
1st Lt Randall and Tpr Gurr in Keent
Tpr Coppin in Oss
The mayoress of Keent and Oss
Our despatch riders, Tpr Yockney and Sgt Gurr, with a DUKW crossing a river
The camp at Ginkel Heath
The Mitchells in the Black Watch uniform, in memory of their father and grandfather
Rainy day at Ginkel Heath. From left: Tprs Yockney, Neal, Mitchell, Ashley, Sgt Gurr, Tpr Gurr, 1st Lt Randall
The full camp at Ginkel Heath
Leaving Ginkel a cold and dreary morning on the last day of the tour, we drove into Nijmegen were the whole tour took a commemorative photo as well has having the chance to visit Nijmegen itself. Following Nijmegen, the convoy finally headed to its final destination, the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem. Arriving at the Dutch Army barracks in the city, the vehicles were all parked up for one final night, the crews had their first showers in over a week and a barbecue was held to celebrate the end of the tour. The next day it was back in civvies, the vehicles loaded onto Dutch Army trailers and the crews into buses for the trip back to Dunkerque and the ferry back to Britain.
Leaving Ginkel on a rainy morning
The convoy in Nijmegen
Sgt Gurr, 1st Lt Randall, Tprs Yockney, Coppin, Mitchell and Tibbles
Tprs Tibbles, Grundstrom, Mitchell and Coppin with a Dingo
The convoy driving through Arnhem on its final leg
Journey's end: John Frost Bridge, Arnhem
The 43rd Reconnaissance Group LHG would like to thank the Dutch people for their outstanding hospitality throughout and for the amazing reception we had on the tour, and the tour organisers Military World. For us, it was truly an experience which we will never forget.