Battle of Arnhem veterans stopped from commemorating

This 8 April 2018 video says about itself:

Arnhem: A Bridge Too Far (WWII Documentary)

In December, 1944, 400 men of the 1rst British Airborne Division paraded at Buckingham Palace to receive their grateful thanks from their king and countrymen. Although they paraded as heroes, victors they were not. They were some of the survivors of a whole airborne division of over 10,000 men lost during the … battles of Operation Market Garden; Arnhem.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Arnhem sends very old veterans away at commemoration

The municipality of Arnhem sent four British war veterans away last night at the commemoration on Airborneplein square. There was no more space in the VIP room.

“With great sorrow we turned around and returned to our hotel,” says 96-year-old naval veteran Simeon Mayou to Omroep Gelderland broadcasting organisation.

Arnhem mayor Ahmed Marcouch says he wants to find out what went wrong. “If we missed veterans, then I want to make up for this as quickly as possible.”

This year it is exactly 75 years ago that Operation Market Garden started. The commemoration is set up in a grand way and visitors to special ceremonies (such as the memorial last night) must show an admission ticket. The four denied British war veterans of the 1944 Alliance Normandy-Market Garden did not have these tickets.

“We have been around here since the early 1980s and have never needed a pass. We thought our medals served as entry tickets”, said 95-year-old veteran Leslie Reeds.

Reeds fought in Nijmegen and Arnhem. When he crossed the Rhine, he was seriously injured. He was the only survivor of his tank unit. Today, Reeds still has a metal plate in its head. “It is downright embarrassing that they sent us away. I will never experience such a special occasion again”, said Reeds.

Our hearts broke

In their wheelchairs, the four veterans went to the special VIP room for veterans, wreath-layers and other guests last night. Upon arrival they were told that they were not allowed to continue. “Every year we look forward to the celebration. We save the whole year to gather the money for the trip to the Netherlands,” said marine veteran Simeon Mayou (96), who was also sent back.

He added bitterly: “There were people let in who were not even born during the war. But we were not allowed in. Our hearts broke.”

So, it looks like governmental, Big Bureaucracy and Big Business sponsors, mostly born after the 1944 battle, were considered to be ‘more important’ than veterans.

The other two refused war veterans have a similar story. By the way, they could eventually attend the commemoration in the VIP room. A Dutch couple who saw up close how the British were being refused gave the two their admission tickets. Those cards were personal, but the security turned a blind eye and let them through.

The municipality of Arnhem regrets the course of events. But spokesman Carlo van der Borgt says: the maximum number of places was already filled. “This year the commemoration was of course bigger than usual. We had to deal with a limited number of places in the Berenkuil (Airborneplein, ed.). Only for invited guests.”

According to him, all Arnhem veterans were invited and placed on a special list. Veterans without an invitation could use an extra space, right next to the Berenkuil. “That place was well filled,” says Van der Borgt.

The veterans indicate that they have been referred to that location, but that it was also full. “We really couldn’t reach it anymore,” says Kees de Vries, spokesperson for the veterans. “That is very unfortunate,” says Van der Borgt. “But if you have so many people, it becomes difficult. … ”

Beloved veterans honor dead friends

Arnhem mayor Marcouch is shocked on Facebook. “How bad. Our commemoration is all about our beloved veterans who come to honour their deceased friends with us. I do everything to get them all in, safely and with all respect. So now I will find out if we have missed some veterans and if so, then of course I want to make up for this as quickly as possible.”

1 thought on “Battle of Arnhem veterans stopped from commemorating

  1. Pingback: Battle of Arnhem veterans stopped from commemorating — Dear Kitty. Some blog – The Bridgehunter's Chronicles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.