Clitheroe remembers the Battle of Arnhem

A service was held in Clitheroe yesterday (Sunday) to honour the heroism and sacrifice of those who fought in the Battle of Arnhem

A regiment of retired paratroopers made their way to Clitheroe, gathering at the town's war memorial in the castle grounds for a wreath laying service.

They were joined by members of the public who witnessed the brave men march from the historic castle grounds to the war memorial.

The Battle of Arnhem was at the vanguard of Operation Market Garden, which was expected to break into Nazi Germany by a combined airborne and armoured advance, striking a decisive blow that would bring the war in Europe to an end by Christmas 1944. The paratroopers in Arnhem were expected to hold out for four days at the most. In the end they had to endure nine days of brutal fighting before retreating across the Rhine after the failure of Market Garden was inevitable. Around 6,000 British, 4,000 American and 5,000 German soldiers lost their lives. Approximately 3,600 Dutch citizens were killed. An additional 6,000 British troops were taken as prisoners of war, while five Victoria Crosses were awarded.

Hero paratroopers attend the ceremony in Clitheroe. Picture by Laura Smithies

The battle was the inspiration for the film "A Bridge Too Far".

Laura Smithies, who runs the Brown Cow pub in Clitheroe, witnessed the memorial ceremony in Clitheroe yesterday. She said: "Due to Covid-19, a group of retired paratroopers couldn't travel to Arnhem. They held this special memorial in Clitheroe last year and the year before. It was very moving to watch."

Lest we forget. Picture by Laura Smithies