Tag Archives: bridge too far

Going for a Sunday walk among the sunflowers in the countryside with the lads

Via the Parachute Regiment archives:

77 years ago today: Sunday, 17th September 1944, the Market side of Operation Market Garden.

Usually misidentified as Airborne Signallers, this is a group of the 1st Battalion, The Border Regiment, 1st (British) Airborne Division, at the edge of Drop Zone “X” in Holland mid-way between Sinderhoeve and Jonkershoeve, looking south towards the Klein Amerikaweg.

Pic by – Sgt. M. Lewis, AFPU.

Second from left is a Sergeant, fifth from the left is an Officer and on the right, the soldier is hoisting a 51-pound (without the ammo!) Vickers Medium Machine Gun onto his shoulder. Note the handie-talkie being used by the officer, at least four Borderers with No. 4 Enfield .303 rifles, and two with STEN MK IVs.

After having gone to France with the BEF in 1939, the Borderers made it out sans most of their equipment from Dunkirk, and, since they were “light” already was reformed as a mountain unit attached to the 31st Bde then in 1941 were transitioned to being glider-borne infantry. As such, they landed at Sicily in Operation Ladbroke, suffering heavy casualties and losing 75 percent of their ranks.

Reformed too late for Overlord, Market Garden was only their second combat glider operation. However, they were all but destroyed in that infamous “A Bridge Too Far” operation, and spent the rest of the war reforming for a third time just in case they were needed for the push on Tokyo. They were not, and ended WWII in Trieste on the early front line of the Cold War.

Formed in 1702, 1st Bn/Borderers were amalgamated with 1st Battalion, The King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster), to form 1st Battalion, The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, which was further amalgamated with the King’s Regiment and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment to form the new Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border) (LANCS) which today still carries a Glider Flash worn on the sleeve while in No. 1 and No. 2 uniforms to remember Ladbroke and Market Garden.

Lost Market Garden All American Identified

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced on Sept. 1 that U.S. Army Pvt. Stephen C. Mason, 21, of Jersey City, New Jersey, killed during World War II, has been recently identified.

Mason, assigned to Headquarters Co., 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd (“All American”) Airborne Division, was reported missing in action during the famed “Bridge too far” that was Operation Market Garden after his patrol failed to return from a mission “into a heavily-fortified enemy position and by aggressive action gained specific information of the enemy disposition and strength” near Beek, Netherlands on 3 November 1944. His body was unable to be recovered. Mason posthumously received the Silver Star for his actions.

Declared “non-recoverable” in January 1951, PVT Mason was later memorialized on the “Walls of the Missing” at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.

Fast forward to 2017, and DPAA set to analyze a set of remains known as “X-3323 Neuville,” which had been recovered near Beek in 1946 and interred in the UK. This July, after extensive efforts, it was determined that X-3323 Neuville was Mason.

He will be buried in North Arlington, New Jersey, and a rosette placed next to his name at Margraten.

Welcome home, PVT Mason.

A bridge too far, with lots of STEN sticks


In honor of the anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem, here is a kit layout for a British Para Lance Corporal from Operation Market Garden in 1944. Can you say STEN mags? Note the one for the gun, seven in the stick pouches, and eight in the two hip pouches for a total of 16 30-round mags or 480 rounds of ammo. When that ran out, well, there are always the two Mills bombs and the Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife. The para who wore this would likely add a couple 50mm mortar bombs and a belt or two of .303 ammo for machine guns.

Image via the Parachute Regiment