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Arnhem - John Frost Bridge (Image Copyright: Stephen Berridge)
Arnhem - John Frost Bridge (Image Copyright: Stephen Berridge)
When the Oxf and Bucks went “A Bridge Too Far” – 22nd September 1944
Arnhem - John Frost Bridge (Image Copyright: Stephen Berridge)

John Frost Bridge, Arnhem (Image ©Stephen Berridge)

On this day 22nd September 1944

1ST AIRBORNE DIVISION – ARNHEM

The first attempts to get the Polish paratroopers across the Lower Rhine into the Oosterbeek perimeter have not been completely successful, and only a few men are able to move into the northern part and assist in continuing to hold the positions.

All troops are now dug-in, or have put buildings into a state of defence, and there is almost no resupply. The number of wounded in various Aid Posts around the perimeter is nearly a thousand, and the situation for them is desperate.

THE BATTLE OF ARNHEM, SEPTEMBER 1944

1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade © IWM (HU 128096)

Extract from 1st Airlanding Brigade War Diary:

1800 - Visit from ADMS, OC 181 Fd Amb and Capt Rigby-Jones who informed us that the Brigade HQ Padre, Rev Benson, had lost an arm when the MDS was shelled by an SP gun at short range.
They also said that Capt. Robson (Oxf & Bucks) the GSO III would be ready to come out tomorrow and rejoin for duty.

Captain Donald Hotham ROBSON.

Captain Donald ROBSON, 1942

Men of the Campaign:

Captain Donald Hotham ROBSON - 1st Airlanding Brigade Headquarters. Deputy Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster

Commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in September 1940. He was posted to the 52nd and carried out the appointments of Intelligence Officer and Adjutant. In May 1943 he was posted to Head Quarters 1st Airlanding Brigade as GSO3 (General Staff Officer 3rd grade) DAAQ (Deputy Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster). He served in North Africa and Italy before going to Arnhem.

He was evacuated across the Rhine with the withdrawal of the remnants of the 1st Airborne Division. In January 1945 he was appointed as Aide De Camp to the General Officer Commanding the partly reformed 1st Airborne Division and served in Norway on Operation Doomsday, the surrender and disarming of the German occupation forces.


This blog is part of a series which will be published each day from 17th to 26th September 2021, 77 years on from the day in which the events described happened.

Stephen Berridge has long been a volunteer at Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry - his knowledge has helped us put together a number of our exhibits - most recently a new Battles display featuring stories from Arnhem.

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