Arnhem 1944: A bridge too far?

To plan and arrange your tour, call us on: 01709 385500

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Following the Second World War D-Day landings in France on June 6, 1944, the war was going well for the Allies, but there was great rivalry between the British and American generals to be first into Nazi Germany. Operation Market Garden was proposed by Montgomery, commander of the British forces in Europe, to win the race and end WWII by Christmas.

Commemorating Operation Market Garden

Commemorating Operation Market Garden with an airborne carpet of paratroopers

Firstly an airborne carpet of British and American paratroopers would land near the Dutch towns of Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem, deployed to seize and hold the eight key bridges over the rivers. Then General Horrocks’ XXX Corps, supported by tanks and aircraft, were sent across those bridges and along ‘Hell’s Highway’ for a 60 mile dash to the town of Arnhem on the river Rhine in Holland.

It almost worked – but the ground troops could not reach Arnhem in time and the British forces there were gradually pushed back over the Rhine, then captured or killed (after a spirited defence worthy of the traditions of the British Army).

Oosterbeek memorial

The memorial at Oosterbeek

This tour follows the route of ‘Hell’s Highway’ over those bridges and spends time studying the actions in Arnhem. We will also pay our respects at the cemeteries and memorials, including the Oosterbeek CWGC cemetery. This tour is guided throughout.

Suggested Itineraries

Day 1

Travel to Folkestone or Dover for the Tunnel or Ferry to Calais. Drive east (with lunch break) to the start of the battle at Joes Bridge. Hostel at Valkenswaard (one night).

Day 2

The Bridge at Son and the US 101st Airborne (the Screaming Eagles) The bridge at Grave and the 82nd US Airborne (the All Americans). Drop zones on the Groesbeek heights and CWGC Cemetery. Walk from the Valkhof Gardens across the bridge at Nijmegen. Visit the site of the crossing of the Waal, in small boats, by Colonel Reuben Tuckers Infantry. Overnight Hostel Arnhem (2 nights).

Day 3

The British 1st Airborne at Arnhem. The drop zone at Ginkel Heide. The Hartenstein Hotel (Battle Headquarters and Museum). Lunch break in Arnhem. The evacuation route. The Gunners at Lonsdale Church. Kate ter Horst at the Rectory. Lance Sgt Baskeyfield VC. The defence of Arnhem Bridge.

Day 4

Pay respects at Oosterbeek CWGC cemetery. (including Flt Lt David Lord VC and Gunner Frank Taylor). Drive west (with lunch break) to Calais.

Day 5

Return home.

All our tours include:

  • Pick-up and drop-off at your school or chosen pick-up point
  • Executive class coach travel (subject to availability)
  • Return travel on Eurotunnel (or P&O Ferries, if you prefer)
  • Entrance to all museums throughout the tour
  • Full board accommodation for tours lasting two days or more
  • Exclusive Teachers’ Information Booklet and Pupil Worksheets
  • Personal Battlefields Tours Executive to assist with tour planning

P & O Ferry crossing option - Hull to Rotterdam

Day 1 - Afternoon transfer from school to Hull for overnight crossing to Rotterdam. (FB) Including cabins.

Day 2-3 As per suggested itinerary

Day 4 & 5 - Transfer back to Rotterdam for your overnight ferry back to Hull (HB) Return to school.

Jacqui Shaw - Our Head of Schools and Colleges Battlefield Tours

Expert guidance and planning

Here at Holts, we believe that Battlefield Tours are an important part of how a student learns about history, and perhaps even themselves. We have passion, experience and the knowledge to help make the most of your Battlefield Tour and make it an experience for your students to remember for a lifetime.

Our Head of Schools and Colleges Battlefield Tours, Jacqui Shaw, was educated at Reading and Cambridge, and has worked as a teacher for over 20 years. Inspired to learn more after visiting the Battlefields herself on a school tour, she has been returning ever since and is excited to be able to bring the experience to new generations of students. With Holts, we seek to bring history to life, understand the past, and ensure a memorable and rewarding Battlefield Tour for your students.

To arrange and plan your tour, call us on 01709 385500