Arnhem 75th Anniversary – Book Signings, Lectures & Exhibition

In partnership with the Airborne Museum Hartenstein, Oosterbeek, Netherlands, we are delighted to announce the following events appended to Dilip’s long-awaited book Arnhem 1944: The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far. These are coordinated to dovetail with a packed programme of commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

The photographs and medals of one-time professional footballer Sapper Sid Gueran – Missing in Action since 18 September 1944.

1900 – 2130 hrs, Wednesday 18 September 2019

Airborne Museum Hartenstein: Illustrated Lecture & Book Signing

Dilip and Karen Sarkar at the Airborne Museum Hartenstein.

At this prestigious building – once the HQ of General Roy Urquhart and his 1st Airborne Division in September 1944, now a world-class Museum dedicated to the battles at Arnhem & Oosterbeek that fateful autumn – Dilip will deliver an illustrated lecture, The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far, recounting some of the heart-wrenching stories of casualties included in the book. Uniquely illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs, Dilip’s work offers a new approach to military history, traditionally written using such source material as official records and survivors’ first-hand counts. Instead, a fresh and alternative approach is offered, viewing the past through a lens firmly focussed on the often forensic investigation into the stories of casualties. Most importantly, the enthusiastic contributions of casualties families has enabled the recording and sharing of previously unpublished stories and material from the great airborne battle – in addition to confirming how these losses affect relatives even today.

Afterwards, Dilip will be available to sign copies of Arnhem 1944: The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far.

Dilip is donating all proceeds from ticket sales to the Airborne Museum Hartenstein. Tickets will be available in due course from the Airborne Museum’s website, accessible by clicking on the photograph below.

1000 – 1230 hrs, Friday 20 September 2019

Exhibition Opening, Families Gathering, Lecture & Book Signing.

Airborne At The Bridge, Arnhem.

Arnhem Bridge from the Airborne At The Bridge annex of the Airborne Museum.

At 1000 hrs, the families of many casualties whose stories are included in Arnhem 1944: The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far, will join Dilip and special guests at The Airborne At The Bridge annex of the Airborne Museum Hartenstein – hard-by Arnhem Bridge.

This new Museum, to which entry is free, will host an exhibition based upon Dilip’s research for the book. Mainly photographic, poignantly the display will also include the medals and personal effects of certain casualties – providing a tangible link to the traumatic and violent past.

The personal documents of Lieutenant Ian Meikle, who lost his life during the Battle of Arnhem – one of three brothers who lost their lives as the result of the Second World War.

After the exhibition is opened, a unique photograph will be taken of the families involved – strangers as a collective but bound together by the invisible thread of having lost a loved one during the Battle of Arnhem.

Dilip will then deliver a second illustrated presentation in the auditorium at the Airborne At The Bridge, after which he will be available to sign copies of the new book. Further details will be made available by the Airborne Museum in due course – click on the photograph below to access the Airborne At The Bridge website.

Photographs preserved by the McSkimmings family regarding 19-year-old Trooper Ray McSkimmings of the Recce Squadron – killed 75 years to the day on which the exhibition opens.

1400 hrs, Saturday 20 September 2019

Commemoration for Private Albert Willingham, 10th Parachute Battalion, Utrechtseweg, Oosterbeek

On 21 September 1944, Private Albert Willingham selflessly gave his life to protect the lives of wounded comrades and Dutch civilians. A grenade was thrown down into the cellar at 2 Annastraat, Oosterbeek, on which, without hesitation, Private Willingham leapt, protecting Mrs Bertje Voskuil and her young son Henri from the blast. Like so many heroic deeds that fateful September, Private Willingham has received no recognition – until now.

Private Albert Willingham pictured in Malta prior to becoming an airborne soldier.
House of Horror: 2 Annastraat, Oosterbeek.

Private Willingham’s medals, photographs and a boxing trophy won pre-war will be included in the exhibition at the Airborne At The Bridge. These items were kindly provided by Albert’s relatives and delivered by Dilip Sarkar to the Airborne Museum in 2018. Accepting them on behalf of the Museum was Dr Robert Voskuil – brother of the late Henri, born after the war, and who is fully aware that he also owes his existence to Private Willingham’s humanitarian sacrifice.

Dr Robert Voskuil receiving Private Willingham’s boxing trophy for inclusion in the exhibition.

In 2018, Dilip liaised with the Parachute Regiment, suggesting that something should be done to commemorate Private Willingham in the 75th anniversary year. It has since been agreed that during the commemorations for the 10th Parachute Battalion in Oosterbeek, a separate wreath will be laid by the Parachute Regiment to specifically remember Private Willingham – whose proud family will be present.

More details will be posted regarding this commemoration in due course. Appropriately, this moving occasion will be a collaboration in partnership with the Parachute Regiment and ‘The Friends of the Tenth’, dedicated to preserving the memory of the 10th Parachute Battalion. For further information on the Friends, including the crucial appeal to fund a memorial, please click on the link below.

https://friendsofthetenth.co.uk