PICTURE GALLERY: Young and old turn out in Woodhall Spa to remember Battle of Arnhem

The crowds turned out in Woodhall Spa last Saturday to help remember one of the major conflicts of the Second World War.

As veterans marched and marching bands played, hundreds of people lined the village streets as part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

TAKING THE SALUTE: Veterans march through the centre of Woodhall Spa

TAKING THE SALUTE: Veterans march through the centre of Woodhall Spa

People had travelled from all four corners of the country to attend the day-long events - and from even further 
afield.

Dutch visitors Ronald Maarkland and his family were happy to pay their tribute to servicemen who took part in the battle which helped turn the tide of the war.

At one end of the age scale was 90-year-old Arnhem veteran Jack Taylor who insisted he was “just doing his duty” by attending.

At the other was 15-year-old Sophie Walker. She had travelled from Nottingham to help remember her grant grandfather who lost his life in the conflict.

WE WILL REMEMBER: A Chelsea Pemnsioner acknowledges the crowds

WE WILL REMEMBER: A Chelsea Pemnsioner acknowledges the crowds

She said: “It’s brilliant to be here. My great grandad would have been very proud to see all this.”

Many of the troops who took part in the daring mission - code named Operation Market Garden - were based in Woodhall Spa before heading across the North Sea.

Essentially, the aim of the battle was to secure important bridgeheads across the River Rhine.

However, in the words of one of the most famous war films in history, Arnhem proved to be ‘A Bridge Too Far.’

Sophie added: “I think I’m right in saying my great-grandad was killed just minutes after parachuting in Holland.

“We’ve got photos of him at home. He was only 25 when he died so he had his whole life ahead of him. I’m sure he was very proud to be a part of what happened.”

Countless veterans from the Parachute Regiment Association marched through the village from the iconic Petwood Hotel to St Peter’s Church Hall.

The route was ‘led’ by the Freedom Flame which had arrived in Woodhall Spa seven days earlier.

Apart from the Parachute Regimental Association, the RAF Waddington Pipe Band were on duty while the dignitaries included the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and the Dutch Military, Air and Defense Attache.

Unfortunately, uncertain weather meant a scheduled fly-past by a Dakota aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight could not go ahead on schedule.

Everything else went very much to plan, though, with local people turning out in force to help create a 1940s style ambience.

There was special entertainment in Jubilee Park - Susan Dawn topped the bill - a church service, a veteran’s lunch and wreath laying ceremony.

The Kinema In The Woods joined in with a special screening of ‘Down Memory Lane.’

Event co-ordinator Jackie Goodhall said she was delighted with the day and explained: “Woodhall Spa played a big part in the preparations for Operation Market Garden and 70 years on it was tremendous that so many people showed their gratitude to the brave servicemen who took part.”