ARNHEM 75 – CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST

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ARNHEM 75 – CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST

September 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.  7 KOSB landed in the first wave, protecting Landing Sites and Drop Zones before moving to Oosterbeek where they formed part of a stubborn defence as 1st Airborne Division fought to hold a bridgehead open.  It is proposed that the Association conduct a 3-day Battlefield Tour (plus outward and return travel days) to mark the anniversary.  A provisional date of 03-07 June 2019 has been proposed, but not set in concrete. Please see the attached Call for Expression of Interest for further details. 

KOSB ASSOCIATION BATTLEFIELD TOUR – ARNHEM 75  CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

INTRODUCTION

1.         September 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.  The 7th(Galloway) Battalion, The King’s Own Scottish Borderers fought in the battle as part of 1stAirborne Division.  1st Airborne Division were the most northerly of the 3 Allied airborne divisions to be dropped as part of Operation MARKET GARDEN, a bold attempt to ‘bounce’ Germany’s western defences. ‘The Battle of Arnhem’ is perhaps a misnomer; the vast majority of those who took part never saw the bridge, becoming involved in the battle to hold the Oosterbeek Perimeter some miles to the west of the bridge.  7 KOSB, under the command of Lt Col Robert Payton Reid, formed part of the first wave of airborne troops to arrive.  Seven days later, roughly a fifth of 1st Airborne Division withdrew across the Rhine. 7 KOSB had doggedly defended part of the northern side of the Oosterbeek Perimeter which, at its largest, was only 1200 metres long and 800 metres wide.  7 KOSB’s position was centred upon ‘The White House’.

PROPOSAL

2.         It is proposed that the Association conduct a 3-day Battlefield Tour to mark the 75thanniversary of 7 KOSB’s actions during the Battle for Arnhem.  It is not proposed to conduct the tour on the exact anniversary of the battle.  Arnhem and Oosterbeek will be hosting thousands of visitors during that period, restricting freedom of movement, access to sites of interest and accommodation options.  It is proposed that the tour takes place well before the anniversary in order to optimise the experience and reduce costs.  May – Jun offers the best window of opportunity.  It is proposed that the tour is 5 days long, comprising 2 travel days and 3 days on the ground. A provisional date of 03-07 Jun is proposed.

METHODOLOGY

3.         The tour will focus upon 7 KOSB’s actions, using a chronological approach covering; the pre-battle history and preparation of the battalion, the air-landing, the fighting on Ginkel Heath, the move to Oosterbeek and the subsequent defence of the perimeter.  The tour will also seek to place 7 KOSB’s actions within the wider context of the Battle of Arnhem. The Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek is outstanding and a visit to both the museum and the iconic bridge in Arnhem will also be included. The tour will finish with an Act of Remembrance at Oosterbeek Cemetery. The battlefield is a compact one, making travel time during the tour itself much less of an issue than it normally is.

5.         It is proposed that the tour is conducted as a series of visits to key locations.  The term ‘stand’ has not been used because it risks invoking too many traumatic memories of career courses. Each would have a title and a theme and would open with a short briefing, providing geographical and tactical situational awareness.  Where possible each site visit would focus upon the experiences of an individual or individuals.  Time for discussion, exploration and personal reflection will be built into each location.  The tour will be supported by a printed tour guide which will then be available for use by future tours. The tour will also use archive material held at Berwick upon Tweed. A recommended reading list will be issued to assist those wishing to ‘bone up’ beforehand, but this will be far from compulsory! Participants who wish to contribute to the delivery of the tour would be warmly welcomed. It is proposed that Peter McCutcheon acts as the lead deliverer during the tour.  He has designed and led three battlefield tours to Arnhem and Oosterbeek.  It is also proposed that the Association seeks to utilise the expertise of Robert Sigmond, the author of ‘Off at Last’, the definitive history of 7 KOSB’s role in the battle.

ITINERARY

6.         A proposed outline itinerary for the tour is given below.  Please note that travel to and from the Arnhem area is not included.  This aspect is covered in the administration section.

Ser Day Time Location Location(s) Comment
(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f)
1 Day 1 am Site 1: ‘Blizzard’
Delivery of 1 Abn Div’s first wave
DZ X / LZ S:  Heelsum
Wolfhezen
Cover Div plan
Cover 7 KOSB arrival.
2 am Site 2: ‘Utter Pandemonium’
Battle to defend DZ Y.
DZ Y:
Groote Heide
Cover 7 KOSB defence of 4 Para Bde’s DZ.
3 pm Site 3: ‘Under New Management’
Battle to defend LS L.
LS L:
Johannahoeve
Cover transfer of 7 KOSB to 4 Para Bde and defence of LS L.
4 Day 2 am Site 4: ‘Life on the Edge’
Battle at The White House
Oosterbeek:
Dreijeroord Hotel
Cover 7 KOSB’s role in the defence of the Oosterbeek Perimeter.
5 pm Site 5: ‘The Prize’
Battle for Arnhem Bridge
Oosterbeek
Arnhem
Cover 2 PARA’s approach to Arnhem on Route LION and defence of bridge.[1]
6 Day 3 am Site 6. Visit Airborne Museum Oosterbeek:
Hartenstein Hotel
7 am Site 7: ‘Op BERLIN’
The withdrawal across the Rhine
Oosterbeek:
Hartenstein Hotel
Ter Horst House
Oosterbeek Church
Walk the withdrawal route. Cover the evacuation across the Rhine. Consider the cost.[2]
8 pm Site 8: Act of Remembrance Oosterbeek:
CWGC Cemetery
9 pm Free time for reflection / further visits

ADMINISTRATION

7.         Experience from previous Association tours show that participants prefer a fair degree of flexibility in terms of making travel arrangements.  While Arnhem lies further away than the World War One battlefields, good road, rail and air connections make it relatively accessible.  It is proposed that a centralized return option from Berwick upon Tweed is investigated.  Two possibilities are open; a coach-only option and a fly/coach option will both be investigated and assessed in terms of value for money.   In the event that we opt for a coach from Berwick upon Tweed, it may be possible to arrange an RV in a suitable service station on the route south.  This would be dependent upon ferry options. Transport around the tour locations will be by coach. Participants are welcome to make individual arrangements and meet the tour at the hotel location.

8.         The Arnhem / Oosterbeek area offers a wide variety of hotels.  It is proposed that a block booking is made in order to reduce costs.  The NH Rijn Hotel which lies on the western outskirts of Arnhem and just below the famous Elizabeth Hospital where wounded from both sides were treated by doctors from both sides, is currently showing a B&B rate for 03-07 Jun of £74/night for a double room.  The Hotel Bilderberg Wolfheze (which was Bn HQ for the SS unit which formed the first counter-attack units) is showing £68 and its sister hotel, Hotel Bilderberg, which is in Oosterbeek itself is showing £100. These are straight rates and do not reflect group discounts.  The author has stayed in all of them, all are 4* and all fit the bill.  In terms of travel, a return flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam Schipol with EasyJet is currently showing at £106.  A return from Newcastle on KLM is showing at £157.  Again, these do not reflect group discounts.  A train from Schipol Airport to Arnhem is E20 each way. The cost efficiency of coach travel will be considered once the level of interest has been identified. Those planning to use private cars and ferry links should do their own indicative costing exercise.

9.         Individuals will be responsible for making suitable health and travel insurance arrangements.

10.        No financial support will be offered by the Association.  Every effort will be made to minimize costs.  Clearly, economies of scale will help us reduce these.

WHAT NEXT?

11.        An Initial Expression of Interest Proforma is attached.  Addressees are requested to indicate their interests, travel preferences and individual requirements.  Please copy the page as a new document, name it A75 Initial Expression – Your Name and send it topeter_mccutcheon@hotmail.com no later than 20 December 2018. Use a cross to indicate your preferences. Please note that this initial expression of interest is designed to measure the level of interest and enable broad-order costings to be made.  It is non-binding at this point.

12.        In the event that the event attracts a strong level of interest, priority will go to Association members and a ballot system will be used.  Under current thinking, the maximum party size is 35.

 PETER McCUTCHEON

ATTACHMENT TO A75/001 DATED 19 NOV 18
ARNHEM 75 BATTLEFIELD TOUR – INITIAL EXPRESSION OF INTEREST

Name(s):
Please give names of those interested.
Contact Details: Preferred Email Address:
Preferred Telephone No:
Does 03-07 Jun 19 suit? Yes:
No:
If not, what would suit?
NB: Date window must be Mon-Fri between 01 May and 31 Jul 2019
Preferred Dates 1:
Preferred Dates 2:
Preferred Dates 3:
Preferred Travel: Return coach option from Berwick:
Fly option with coach pick-up and drop off at European airport:
Make own travel arrangements, meeting party at hotel:
Accommodation preferences:
Please show number of rooms required
Single room with en-suite (shower)
Single room with en-suite (bath)
Double room with en-suite (shower)
Double room with en-suite (bath)
Twin room with en-suite (shower)
Twin room with en-suite (bath)
Multiple occupancy room with en-suite (shower)
Multiple occupancy room with en-suite (bath)
Personal requirement: accessible facilities (please state type of room required)
Feeding preferences: B&B with lunch and dinner by private arrangement
B&B with packed lunch provided and dinner by private arrangement
DB&B with lunch by private arrangement
DB&B with packed lunch provided
B&B with one group lunch and two group dinners (first and last)
Further comments:

[1] The first element of this activity will be conducted close to Oosterbeek Church from where ‘Dover’s Bridge’ – the railway bridge that formed one of 2 PARA’s initial objectives – can be seen. The second element will be at the bridge in Arnhem where we will be afforded a good view of the second half of 2 PARA’s route along the river bank.
[2] The walk will is about 1.5 km (1 mile) long and will involve very good woodland paths.

PDH

2018-11-29T09:30:31+00:00November 29th, 2018|Events|Comments Off on ARNHEM 75 – CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
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