'Operation Market Garden'
Four men of the 156th Parachute Battalion moving through a shell-damaged house in Oosterbeek, near Arnhem, Netherlands.
23 September 1944.
The Battalion arrived with the second lift at Arnhem on the 18th of September 1944, landing under heavy fire. Blocked to the north-west of Arnhem and suffering heavy casualties during the withdrawal to the Oosterbeek perimeter, the battalion was virtually destroyed alongside the other units in the 1st Airborne Division. Only a few survivors escaped across the Lower Rhine.
The under-strength Battalion was disbanded shortly after the battle in September 1944.
(Note: This photo is often captioned as being ‘posed’ but a relative of the trooper at the rear of the group said that ‘Section leader Ross’ always insisted the pic was taken as they were clearing the local houses of German infantry and the photographer “just appeared and snapped the shot”.
(Photo by Sgt. Dennis M. Smith, Nº5 Army Film and Photographic Unit.
© IWM BU 1121-Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)