Day 1
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Day 1 was the first of the two days 'on the ground' and would be taken up with following the route of 30 Corps who had some sixty five miles to cover in two days, on a narrow road known as 'Club' route.  To designate military routes they are given a name from the suites in a pack of cards.

Joe's Bridge

Son bridge

Grave Bridge
Groesbeek Heights
Nijmegen Bridge
The first stop was at Joe's Bridge, and a couple of minutes after we got off the coach we heard the rumble of approaching military vehicles, half a dozen Leopard tanks went past us at about 30mph to go south across the bridge, quite impressive.  This bridge was taken intact on the 10th September, 1944, and the whole of 30 Corps would have to go over it on the route to Arnhem.


Joe's Bridge Leopard Tank going for the bridge
Next stop was the bridge at Son, but they arrived too late to prevent the Germans from blowing it, so it was bridged by a Bailey bridge, causing the first of a number of delays for 30 Corps over the coming days.  This bridge was in the area of operations of 101st Airborne.  The photo is taken on the modern lifting bridge looking south, where 30 Corps had come through the village of Son. 

The weather was gorgeous so we had a large packed lunch on the canal bank at Son (coach in the background driven by the redoubtable Malcolm).  Richard, at the far end, seems to be hanging his head in his hands.  I didn't think we were that hard a group!
After Son it was on to the large bridge at Grave, taken by 82nd Airborne.  This bridge was captured early in the war by a German parachute assault, and was now recaptured by an Allied parachute drop.  On both occasions the bridge was taken intact.

Grave Bridge

Memorial to the 82nd Airborne at Grave Bridge

Richard explaining a point

After Grave we drove to the Groesbeek Heights which overlook Arnhem, the Heights were taken by elements of 82nd Airborne, it was also a good flat area for glider landings, and so 1st Airborne Corps HQ under 'Boy' Browning landed here.  At the entrance to the cemetery on the Heights there is a memorial to the missing, those with no known grave, and this includes Sgt Baskeyfield VC of the 2nd Battalion South Staffs Regiment.
From Groesbeek it's on to Nijmegen.  The bridge here is very large and on either side there are cycle paths and space for pedestrians to walk the bridge, which most of us did.

After Nijmegen it was off to the hotel and a check to see if the eyelids were still lightproof from the inside; then a meal, a talk by Richard and a few glasses of the amber fluid.