From Delhi To Arnhem

151 Battalion stick of 10 jumping from the Valencia, Delhi 1941
India 1941

This book is a “living history” based on extensive discussions with men who served in the 156 Parachute Battalion, their families and members of the Dutch Resistance. The Battalion’s story, in particular the events at Arnhem, is clarified and brought to life by these previously unpublished accounts. The fortunes of twelve young soldiers from the Battalion are traced throughout, giving a vivid and human focus.

The narrative follows the formation of the Battalion in India in 1941, when parachuting to war was a new and relatively untried concept. The Battalion was later transferred to Egypt, Palestine, then Tunisia for further training and in 1943 saw action against the Germans for the first time as part of the Allied invasion of Italy.

156 Battalion Fly To Arnhem

156 Battalion Action on the Blocking Line
Arnhem 1944

The defining moment in the 156 Battalion’s war was on 18th September 1944, when they flew to Arnhem as part of the 1st Airborne Division during Operation Market Garden. The details of the Battalion’s role and the actions of its members are followed closely throughout the ferocious eight day battle. Of the nine British airborne battalions that fought at Arnhem the 156 Parachute Battalion suffered the highest percentage loss of life. Split into two and surrounded, their action at Arnhem is covered by individual accounts of the fighting, culminating in escape for a few across the Rhine.

The Cauldron, Oosterbeek

Men from C Company, 156 Parachute Battalion
Arnhem 1944

Lieutenant St Aubyn’s escort from C Company – with Private Dugdale, far left and Lance Corporal Rosenberg at the back of the group, holding a pistol. The picture was taken by Sergeant Mike Lewis, Army Film Unit, in one of the Hartenstein’s roofless service buildings, originally the Orangery and situated close to 4th Brigade’s HQ. A party of the 4th Para. Squadron commanded by Captain Brown witnessed the picture being taken, mid-morning Friday 22nd September. Brown said: “My Sappers gave them a few boos and cat calls as an indication of their disapproval.”

Operation Pegasus I and II

Operation Pegasus final stage escape route & first/second recce by Captain Wainwright & CSM Bob Grainger
Arnhem 1944

For those of the Battalion left behind daring escape attempts follow aided by the Dutch Resistance. These include the larger Operations Pegasus I and II and further efforts to reach Allied lines by negotiating the complicated Biesboch waterway system.

The book contains over 400 pages including more than 350 photographs, many previously unpublished, as well as 40 stunning full colour maps and illustrations.

Gernam Half-track armoured radio recce vehicle Sd.Kfz.250/3.
Arnhem 1944

© 2009 Thoroton Publishing Ltd.