John Frost Bridge

The Bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem was the last bridge that needed to be captured during Operation Market Garden. If the Allies could capture this bridge the road to Germany would lay open. The task of capturing the Rhine Bridge fell to the British 1st Airborne Division.

The British paras would be dropped near Arnhem on 17 September 1944 and had to capture and hold the bridge until they could be relieved by the ground forces. The British faced many challenges at Arnhem. The drop zones they used were far removed from their main objective, the Rhine Bridge, and German resistance was much stronger than anticipated. All this meant that only 2nd Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel John Frost reached the bridge. 2nd Battalion managed to capture the northern end of the bridge around 19.30 on 17 September but quickly found itself surrounded. The small group of about 700 men was badly outnumbered and had to fend of attacks from two German Panzer Divisions. Despite all of the difficulties they managed to hold the bridge for four days.

The fighting for the bridge was fierce and it is a testimony to the skill and bravery of the paratroopers of 2nd Battalion that the Germans allowed for a cease fire to evacuate the wounded British soldiers into German captivity on 20 September. One of the wounded men was Lieutenant Colonel John Frost who had led the 2nd Battalion from the start. During the fighting Frost was wounded in his feet and now headed into captivity. He would be freed by U.S. forces in March 1945. The bridge over the Rhine was named the John Frost Bridge in 1978 in honour of the bravery and leadership displayed by the commander of 2nd Battalion during Operation Market Garden.

John Frostbrug, Arnhem, Pays-Bas