Monday, 22 June 2009

Day seventeen.

A plaque erected on behalf of the Allied forces involved in Market Garden, addressed to the people of Gelderland

The Market Garden Cemetery in Arnhem

The Magnificents on Arnhem bridge

Day seventeen.

The penultimate day of the tour, today the magnificos visited the two main sites of the biggest airborne military operation in history, operation Market Garden.

In September 1944 Fieldmarshal Montgomery launched an airborne assault on two bridges crossing the Rhine at Nijmegen and Arnhem in Holland. The idea was to seize control of the bridges and thus ease the passage of Allied forces into northern Holland and Germany. The plan was designed, as famously claimed by Montgomery, to end the War by Christmas.

A combination of the slow progress of Allied reinforcements and an extremely determined enemy meant that the operation sustained heavy losses and ultimately failed.

We hit the bridge at Nijmegen first and you really wouldn't know its significance by just looking at it - no plaques or memorials or anything. Yeesh.

A few miles up the road was the bridge at Arnhem, beside which sat a small Market Garden museum and memorial. The main Airborne museum, which we spent an hour trying to find, was closed until July. Typical. Nevertheless, it was quite refreshing to see a site of such historical significance which was not overrun by tourists dressed like soldiers.

Our hotel for our last night on the road is the 3* Tulip Inn in Amersfoort, and we are currently chilling out watching Mrs Doubtfire on Dutch telly. An old drag queen setting fire to his boobs is funny in any language, I don't care what you say.

Tomorrow is our last day, we rise at 7.30 and make our way to the port of Ijmuiden for the long ferry home. Our last blog will no doubt be written whilst shitfaced on said ferry, so from sober Flameboy and Jonny Hurricane, au revoir and thanks for reading. The Raging Inferno will, as always, be sober anyway.


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