Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Commemorating the Heroes of Arnhem in Miniature

This past 17th of September marked the 69th Anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem. Unfortunately, like many of the battles of World War II, it has faded into the mist of history with the lapse of almost seven decades. For that reason thought it would be fitting and proper to briefly recall that famous action in miniature. The battle witnessed bitter yet courageous fighting on both sides. However the British Army, based upon eye-witness accounts and resultant recommendations, saw fit to particularly acknowledge five specific individuals (four posthumously) for that nation's highest award for bravery, The Victoria Cross. The criteria for earning the Victoria Cross are virtually identical to those of the United States Medal of Honor.

The Victoria Cross

Those five individuals were:

L/Sgt John "Jack" Daniel Baskeyfield VC
2nd Bn South Staffordshire Regt (Airlanding)

Maj Richard Henry Cain VC
2nd Bn South Staffordshire Regt (Airlanding)
The sole living Victoria Cross recipient from Arnhem

Lt John "Jack" Hollington Greyburn VC
2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment

Capt Lionel Ernest Queripel VC
10th Bn The Parachute Regiment (CANLOAN)

F/Lt David Samuel Anthony Lord VC, DFC
No. 38 Group, Royal Air Force

The following vignette of miniature figures reflect back into history commemorating two of the recipients, along with a couple other of their brave comrades. Maj R. H. Cain VC, is depicted in the left foreground carrying the PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank), with which he personally destroyed several German tanks and self-propelled guns (the Strumgeschultz III, being a particular nemesis of the lightly armed British airborne troops) over the course of the battle. Lt J. H. Greyburn VC, is shown on the far right, observing the situation at the main road bridge, before leading the first attack in an attempt to capture and hold the south end of the bridge. Lt Greyburn was wounded leading that attack, and subsequently killed during the intense battle. Also depicted kneeling with a map, is Lt Clifton Denis "Bucky" Boiteaux-Buchanan MC, Intelligence Officer, 2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment, who was killed during the course of the battle, and the irrepressible Maj Charles Frederick "Freddie" Gough MC on a field telephone. Maj Gough commanded the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, and survived that particularly violent portion of the battle occurring at the main road bridge. In the center of the group of figures is a miniature of The Victoria Cross.

The military miniature figures are from the relatively new "Pathfinder" series depicting Operation Market-Garden, produced by the firm King & Country.

Lt Clifton Denis "Bucky" Boiteaux-Buchanan MC
2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment

Maj Charles Frederick "Freddie" Gough MC
OC, 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron

In addition the following two photographs, which were shown in earlier pages of this blog, depict different aspects of the battle. They are also earlier figures from the King & Country series Operation Market-Garden.

Elements of the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, fresh off their LZ (landing zone) at Renkum Heath, encounter initial German resistance in Wolfezen, approximately seven kilometers west of their objective, the main road bridge in Arnhem.

"Whose son and heir decided to drop us this far away?"

MGen R.E. Urquhart in brief tactical discussion with one of his senior NCO's as to  the disposition of the defensive perimeter around the Hotel Hartenstein, Oosterbeek (1st AB Div Hqtrs).

"What's the form General? - MGen R.E. Urquhart at Arnhem"

For those who might be interested the following link will show you a portion of the Investiture which took place at Buckingham Palace to honor the brave men of the 1st Airborne Division and Airborne Forces (including the Glider Pilot Regiment) in late 1944. The link is; Even as a recent event at that time the news broadcaster gives the strong inference that "Theirs is the Glory" for the "Bridge Too Far" was yet to be fully recognized and commemorated.