Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'Flowers in the Wind'

Commemorative Plaque at Arnhem / Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands
Recognising the care of the War Graves by local children
(Photograph taken Sunday 21 September 2008)

Local children regularly visit the Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands and look after the graves, lay floral tributes and remember the names and the lives of the young men whose names are engraved on a headstone or the Arnhem - Oosterbeek Memorial. Recognising this care for their former comrades the Arnhem Veterans Club commissioned a plaque at the entrance to Oosterbeek War Cemetery entitled 'Flowers in the Wind'.

Among the Allied Airborne troops who landed in the Arnhem – Oosterbeek area during Operation ‘Market Garden’ in September 1944 were parachutists. Dutch civilians on the ground thought that these thousands of parachutists in the sky looked like flowers in the wind. Some of these Parachutists, and others who landed in gliders, would never leave the area alive. If you were to ask the question ‘Where have all the flowers gone?’, then look at the graves in the cemetery.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional Information

(1) A ‘duty of honour’ to the Fallen

Families and children in the Arnhem - Oosterbeek area in the Netherlands are brought up to remember the sacrifices of the young men and women who gave their lives during the Second World War in an attempt to liberate their land from Nazi Occupation. ‘Operation Market Garden' failed to bring an early end to this Occupation in September 1944. Nevertheless, since that time the Dutch people have never forgotten the sacrifice of those who gave their lives.

Most of the Allied Airborne casualties interred in Oosterbeek War Cemetery lie far from their homes. Mainly they were young men from Britain or Poland. Caring for the graves of these young men is a duty of care that will continue long into the future.

(2) The 'Flowers in the Wind' Plaque

The commemorative plaque dedicated by the Arnhem Veterans Club for the local children at Oosterbeek War Cemetery reads as follows:


This Plaque is dedicated to the children of this region who grace this cemetery every year paying homage to the men who gave their lives for LIBERATION.

Arnhem Veterans Club 1944"

(4) Died of wounds at Arnhem:
Robert Barnes,
Service No 14641710,
1st Battalion (Airborne) The Border Regiment

The following is a transcription from 'The Whitehaven News', 20 September 1945:

"Died of Wounds at Arnhem

Posted missing last September at Arnhem, Pte Robert Barnes, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J. Barnes, Birks Road, Cleator Moor, is now presumed by the War Office to have died of wounds. He was 21 years old, and, before joining the Army two years ago, was employed at Florence Mine, Egremont. He is an Old Boy of Montreal Schools, Cleator Moor".

(5) One September morning

On Sunday morning, 21 September 2008 I had the honour of accompanying the members and friends of the Parachute Regiment Association to the Annual Memorial Service for the Fallen of the Battle of Arnhem - Oosterbeek at the War Cemetery. Before the Open-air Memorial Service I was allowed the privilege of placing a poppy cross on behalf of the Cumbria Parachute Regiment Association at the grave of Private Robert Barnes, Border Regiment from Cleator Moor, Cumbria, which I have written about in a separate article. Robert Barnes arrived with the glider-borne troops.

Among those laying flowers at each grave on that September morning in 2008 were Dutch families and individuals laying their own floral tributes - some of them three generations from one family. Grandparents who may have been children when 'Market Garden' took place in 1944 continue to pass on this 'duty of care' to their children and grandchildren. The Dutch people also want to learn about those who are buried in the cemetery.

I was able to tell some of the Dutch people a little about Robert Barnes, who had died on that very date 64 years earlier. It was, in fact, almost a year after 'Market Garden' - in September 1945 - that Robert's parents finally heard the dreadful news that that their son, who had been posted 'Missing' had died of wounds.

Robert Barnes was first buried near the Driel Ferry. He was re-interred at Oosterbeek War Cemetery at a later time, evidently after September 1945.

May he rest in Peace.

Tuesday, 20 January, 2009  
Blogger ian said...

any info or photos relating to sgt thomas watson 3602924 b company 1st airbourne battilion border regiment 14 platoon.kia 21/9/44 near driel ferry resting in oosterbeek grave 18-b-13.any info will be gratefully recieved thanyou.

Monday, 09 March, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In respect to sergeant Thomas Watson - my Uncle Robert Elliott described him as his best mate - Robert was also in 14 platoon B Company at Arnhem - he was wounded by shrapnel and ended up in the "hospital" at Oosterbeck - he said that Thomas Watson came to see him in the hospital to collect any ammunition he had the day he was killed - Robert was from Meldon near Morpeth he survived the war and had 9 kids! email address is markd@o2email.co.uk

Sunday, 21 November, 2010  
Blogger Jan said...

I saw the comment of Mark D. about Thomas Watson in a blog on the site of the second WW. His daughter Irene is searching for information about her father. Perhaps he can get in touch with her. Her e-mail is: irene_thomson@sky.com.

Tuesday, 30 September, 2014  

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