On Sunday morning, 17th September 1944, the Allies bombed the asylum near Wolfheze. They thought it was being used as a German barracks and destroyed numerous buildings and the surrounding village in three waves of carpet bombs. Ninety-six civilians were killed.
The bombings were preparation for the 1st British Airborne Division's airlandings drop near Wolfheze that afternoon. Their task was to secure the bridge over the River Rhine in Arnhem. At one o'clock, 134 gliders landed to the north and west of the village. Some landed in the trees, others were damaged on landing, often along with the equipment they were carrying. Then the parachutists landed in the surrounding fields and set off in the direction of Arnhem as quickly as possible.
The 1st Airlanding Brigade was left to defend the landing- and drop zones wich they would need the next day.The people of Wolfheze looked on in despair and surprise, still shell-shocked from the bombings earlier that day, when the parachutists and gliders started to land. A few days later, the British troops left Wolfheze for Arnhem and Oosterbeek and the village was taken back by the Germans. It was not until April 1945 that the village, destroyed and ransacked, was finally liberated.
A Piat gun of "C" Troop, 1st Airlanding Reconnaissance Squadron, in position behind a tree covering a road near Wolfheze in Holland during Operation 'Market Garden', 18 September 1944.
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