Nine Days at Arnhem

It is that time of year again when our thoughts turn to the narrow corridor running from the Belgian border up through the southern Netherlands towards the city of Arnhem; the ground where Operation Market Garden took place. Montgomery’s bold plan from the autumn of 1944 would take ground troops from XXX Corps up that…

Escoublac-la-Baule War Cemetery

I visited this cemetery as part of a recent recce trip to Saint Nazaire as this is where the Commandos who died in Operation Chariot are buried. It is located near to the Escoublac airfield in what is now the middle of a housing estate, but as with all Commonwealth war cemeteries it is a…

Florence War Cemetery

Florence War Cemetery is situated on the outskirts of the famous city near to the River Arno, and close to the fighting in this area in 1944. The fighting reached Florence in August 1944 when New Zealand and South African forces were in action here following the capture of Rome in June. From September 1944 attacks…

Seelow Heights Battlefield

Today we spent the day looking round the Seelow Heights battlefield which saw fighting from January through to April 1945 when the position finally fell and the road was open to Berlin for the advancing Soviet forces. Like the Oderfront we visited the other day, this is not an area for the casual visitor as…

Treptower Murals

Today we looked at the Battle of Berlin itself visiting a number of locations in and around the city where evidence of the 1945 fighting took place. Inevitably such a journey takes the battlefield visitor to Treptower Park, where the massive Soviet Memorial site is located. The site commemorates more than 80,000 Soviet soldiers who…

Lorraine American Cemetery

The Lorraine American Cemetery is the largest American cemetery from the Second World War in Europe with 10,489 burials and 444 service personal commemorated on the memorial to the missing: meaning that it is even bigger than the US Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. It covers more than 113 acres and the dead here…

Private James Stokes VC

James Stokes was a Scottish born recipient of the Victoria Cross, although both his parents were Irish and he considered himself as much Irish as Scottish. Despite his background Stokes served in North West Europe with the 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and was awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery at Kerbenheim on 1st…