In honor of the 70th anniversary, for the past week the British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade’s Facebook page has been posting photographs and synopses of the fighting that the British 1st Airborne Division was involved in during Operation Market-Garden. 

We’ve been sharing those updates throughout the week on our own Facebook page, and now here they are pieced together all in one place for posterity…

18 Sept 44

 On 18th September 1944 the second wave of 1st Airborne Division landed at Arnhem under heavy fire, made of a drop by the 4th Parachute Brigade and the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment in gliders.  The 1st and 3rd Parachute Battalions had fought their way to within 2km of the bridge in Arnhem.

Copyright: Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford

19 Sept 1944

Aerial view of Arnhem Bridge showing British positions.

19 Sept 44

A German Pzkpfw IV knocked out by Arnhem Bridge

21 Sept 44

On 21st September 1944 2nd Parachute Battalion were finally overcome. This picture shows paratroopers captured at the bridge. 1st Airborne Division was left in control of a pocket of land around Oosterbeek.

Copyright: Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford

21 Sept 1944

On 21st September 1944 the 1st (Polish) Independent Parachute Brigade was dropped into action, having been delayed two days by bad weather and a lack of transport aircraft. It landed south of the Rhine at Driel and was unable to link up with the rest of 1st Airborne Division at Oosterbeek.

Copyright: Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford


Paratroopers pose with Dutch civilians on a track between fields.


A Dutch nurse giving first aid to a wounded paratrooper.

24 Sept 44

On 24th September 1944, the decision was made to abandon Operation Market Garden’s objective of capturing a foothold across the River Rhine. In Oosterbeek the Germans continued to attack 1st Airborne Division’s ever-tightening perimeter. The photograph shows a paratrooper firing from the Hartenstein Hotel, where the division’s HQ had been established and is now the Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’.

 Copyright: Airborne Assault – The Museum of the Parachute Regiment & Airborne Forces

25 Sept 44

On 25th September 1944 orders were given to 1st Airborne Division to prepare to withdraw across the Rhine that night. Meanwhile, the troops surrounded in Oosterbeek faced strong attacks from two battlegroups of crack SS troops.

Copyright: Airborne Assault – The Museum of the Parachute Regiment & Airborne Forces

26 Sept 44

On September 26th 1944 in the early hours of the morning the last few men of 1st Airborne Division crossed the Rhine by boat, completing their withdrawal from Oosterbeek and marking the end of Operation Market Garden.
Of the more than 10,000 men who landed at Arnhem 1,485 were killed, 6,414 were captured and 2,398 crossed the river back to Allied lines. The photograph shows four paratroopers resting soon after crossing the river.

Copyright: Airborne Assault – The Museum of the Parachute Regiment & Airborne Forces