Monday, May 30, 2011

Battle of Arnhem - Colonel John L. Waddy OBE (Rtd) relates the action of the 156th Parachute Battalion

Then Major (later Colonel) John L. Waddy commanded B Company, 156 Para Bn, 4th Parachute Brigade Group. After retirement he has conducted battlefield tours, and authored a detailed illustrated guide, relating his unique insight of the Battle of Arnhem, based on his direct combat experience. His book entitled, 'A TOUR OF THE ARNHEM BATTLEFIELDS 17 - 26 September 1944', John Waddy,  Leo Cooper, South Yorkshire, 1999, ISBN 0 85052 571 3, is highly recommended. He was a technical adviser during the making of the movie, ‘A Bridge Too Far’ in 1977.

COL John Waddy OBE walking with LTGEN John Gordon
Lorimer DSO, MBE, and Dutch Minister of State for Defense
Mark Francois at the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden 

As an integral element of one of his most recent tour/lecture series of 16 April 2011, he was video recorded directly on the former drop zone (DZ 'X') and landing zones (LZ 'Z' and 'S') of Renkum Heath and Reijerscamp, over which he and B Company of the 156th Bn fought, when they landed as an element of the 4th Parachute Brigade Group (delayed by 4 hours due to weather in England) on the second day, 18 September 1944.

 The video provides the rare opportunity of witnessing an oral history by one of the few remaining combat officers who actually served and fought at Arnhem. Below is a copy of a contemporary British Army map of the area (click on map to enlarge, and you may want to print off a copy in order to more easily follow the course of the battle). Colonel Waddy's videos follow and are in sequence of the six part series of his briefing. Colonel Waddy can be seen briefing visitors at the Hartenstein Hotel (Airborne Museum), Oosterbeek, in 1961 at

Below in the first segment of his briefing Colonel Waddy discusses some aspects of the planning for Operation Market-Garden. One of the principal reasons for creating this blog was to share an in-depth analysis of all aspects of that planning. If the viewer is so inclined they can read that analysis by going to the main menu bar and clicking 'Operation Market-Garden'.

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