British Paratroopers Are Captured During The Battle Of Arnhem
The range of emotions in this photograph is immediately striking — and the more you study the different faces, the more fascinating they become. Here you can see British paratroopers of the British Army’s 1st Airborne Division as they are being taken as POWs during the Battle of Arnhem.
The Allies had already made their way through France and Belgium in the summer of 1944 and had the invasion of the German-occupied Netherlands in their sights. On 17 August, the first airborne troops were dropped in the Netherlands, with the aim of securing key bridges and towns needed to stop the Axis forces.
The British Army’s 1st Airborne Division, supported by men of the British Glider Pilot Regiment and the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade, landed at Arnhem — the point of landing that lay the furthest north. The British paratroopers missed their objectives and had the shock of finding unexpected resistance, particularly from elements of the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions. A small group was able to reach the Arnhem road bridge, while the rest were stopped in transit.
After days of fighting, a huge number of British paratroopers were taken by the Germans as prisoners of war. As the looks on their faces tell you, some were defiant, some proud, others terrified. It’s hard to imagine what would have been going on in their minds at such a crucial moment.
Near Arnhem, Gelderland, the Netherlands.
Image taken by Erich Wenzel.