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Arnhem 1944 (Hardback)

The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far

Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: WWII WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Arnhem WWII > Photographic Books

By Dilip Sarkar MBE
Frontline Books
Pages: 392
Illustrations: 50
ISBN: 9781526732736
Published: 17th June 2019
Last Released: 30th October 2019


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The airborne battle for the bridges across the Rhine at Arnhem ranks amongst the Second World War’s most famous actions – inspiring innumerable books and the star-studded 1977 movie. This book, however, is unique: deeply moved, the author provides a fresh narrative and approach – concentrating on the tragic stories of individual casualties.

These men were killed at different junctures in the fighting, often requiring forensic analysis to ascertain their fates. Wider events contextualise the author’s primary focus – effectively ‘resurrecting’ casualties through describing their backgrounds, previous experience, and tragic effect on their families. In particular, the emotive and unresolved issue of the many still ‘missing’ is explored.

During the course of his research, the author made numerous trips to Arnhem and Oosterbeek, travelled miles around the UK, and spent countless hours communicating with the relatives of casualties – achieving their enthusiastic support. This detailed work, conducted sensitively and with dignity, ensures that these moving stories are now recorded for posterity.

Included are the stories of Private Albert Willingham, who sacrificed his life to save civilians; Major Frank Tate, machine-gunned against the backdrop of blazing buildings around Arnhem Bridge; family man Sergeant George Thomas, whose anti-tank gun is displayed today outside the Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’, and Squadron Leader John Gilliard DFC, father of a baby son who perished flying his Stirling through a hail of shot and shell during an essential re-supply drop. Is Private Gilbert Anderson, who remains ‘missing’, actually buried as an ‘unknown’, the author asks? Representing the Poles is Lance-Corporal Czeslaw Gajewnik, who drowned whilst escaping the hell of Oosterbeek, and accounts by Dutch civilians emphasise the shared suffering – sharply focussed by the tragedy of Luuk Buist, killed protecting his family. The sensitivity still surrounding German casualties is also explained.

This raw, personal, side of war, the hopes and fears of ordinary men thrust into extraordinary circumstances, is both deeply moving and revealing: no longer are these just names carved on headstones or memorials in a distant land. Through this thorough investigative work, supported by those who remember them, the casualties live again, their silent voices heard through friends, relatives, comrades and unpublished letters.

So, let us return to the fateful autumn of 1944, and meet those fighting in the skies, on the landing grounds, in the streets and woods of Oosterbeek, and on the ‘bridge too far’ at Arnhem.

Now, the casualties can tell their own stories – as we join this remarkable journey of discovery.

'I like the approach, and think you have produced a refreshingly original approach, well done, forensic history at its poignant best. A good idea to identify nondescript soldiers from the crucial phases of the Arnhem battle and include the point at which where they perished, while describing the tactical development. Unusually for books like this, these stories fit snugly within the battle narrative. Poignant snap shots that go right to the heart, because of their individually described backgrounds, meaningfully illustrating the family’s obvious grief and shining a spotlight on otherwise impersonal names on commemorative memorials. Pretty cool - I like this camera eye filter, capturing soldiers in life and at the moment of their death.

'Maps and photographs are good, just the sort of aide to refer to and identify important stands on a battlefield tour.

Well done Dilip’

Robert Kershaw, best-selling author and former Parachute Regiment officer

'I one hundred percent agree with Bob Kershaw!! Congratulations! For years Bob was an officer in the Parachute Regiment and wrote some very good books. He is an experienced soldier, who took part in several military operations - and knows exactly what he is talking about'

Dr Robert Voskuil, Patron, ‘Friends of the Tenth’, President 1944 Arnhem Fellowship and Airborne Museum historian

Just back from a Battlefield Study following the advance of XXX Corps in Operation Market Garden. Took this with me - an outstanding addition to the Academic lead with a view into the lives of the 'ordinary' people involved in Arnhem in Sep '44.

Highly recommended to the Junior Officers of the RLC and the Directing Staff who participated.

Sqn Ldr Jon Rooke, Chief of Staff at Worthy Down

As featured in

Daily Mail Online

I am forever deeply saddened by the fate in life and death of the Poles who fought in the campaign who found themselves unwanted during a particularly tricky period of political snakes and ladders. Mr Sarkar looks at men from a wide range of units and his straightforward but deeply personable style of remembrance really sits well with me. There goes another lump in the throat. There is something about Arnhem, like Rorke’s Drift, the first day of the Somme and the Charge of the Light Brigade it stirs something that isn’t just tedious one-dimensional nationalism. I can’t quite put my finger on what is. This book helps us get closer to precisely what I mean.

Read the full review here

War History Online

This is a fabulous example of historical story-telling at its finest. Sarkar not only brings these men to life, but also the events of the Battle of Arnhem. His is a magnificent contribution to the history of WWII and Arnhem in particular, especially since most of the old soldiers have left us and the last of the eyewitness survivors are entering their old age. As well as its value now I can see that it will be a fabulous example for people to study, in 20–50 years time and beyond, to try to learn and to imagine what it was like, who the people really were and the impact of the momentous events some 75 years later. Just as memoirs and recollections of veterans can bring those people to life in one’s imagination, so too does this book, about people whose lives were cut short, for people born long after for whom the events are from the distant past.

Read the full review here

James Fisher, Avon Napoleonic Fellowship

As featured on Argunners


Article: 'Worcester historian Dilip Sarkar exhibition opens at Arnhem Bridge' as featured by

Worcester News, 18th October 2019 – words by Mike Pryce

Article: 'Moving tribute to heroes who fell in Arnhem fight' as featured by

Blackpool Gazette, 27th September 2019

As seen in

Daily Mirror

Article: 'Moving tribute to heroes who fell in Arnhem fight' as featured by

Lancashire Evening Post, 25th September 2019

Much has been written about the attempt to seize and hold the bridge at Arnhem, but this book looks specifically at the human cost. The story of the British and Polish paratroops and glider troops at Arnhem is filled with examples of sacrifice, duty, tenacity, and acts of great personal courage that is inspirational, emotional and deeply moving – Very Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


Editor's Choice

It's a sobering, but excellent look at the close quarter action and the men who gave their lives fighting for their country.

The Armourer, October 2019

Click here to listen to the live interview with Dilip and Owen Holloway, nephew of Staff Sergeant Eric Holloway

NOTE: set cursor to 41:06

BBC Radio Solent, with presenter Julian Clegg - 20th September 2019

Acknowledged in Dr John C. Tate article 'Out of ammunition...God save the King' as featured by

Black Country Bugle, 18th September 2019

Click here to listen to the live interview with Dilip and Anne Wilton, the niece of Sapper Sidney Gueran

NOTE: set cursor to 1:35:27

BBC Radio Essex, with presenters Ben Fryer and Sonia Watson - 19th September 2019

Article: 'Heroes of the Witches' Cauldron' as featured by

Daily Record, 14th September 2019 – words by Kevin Mansi

Sarkar carefully chooses each story and ensures that it remains etched in the mind of the reader.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

It also has some excellent photographs and maps scattered throughout the book. These only add to the sense of the tragic cost of this battle and its aftermath. The author has also through diligent research with others managed to identify or correct the dates of death of some of these servicemen who died, bringing a degree of peace to their surviving relatives.

He also pays tribute to the Dutch people who still hold those who didn't get to go home dear and look after where they lie.

All in all, this is a first class book and deserves 5 mushroom heads as it appeals both to the casual reader or those with a deeper interest in this battle.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Promotion for author Kent BoB event as featured by

Isle of Thanet Gazette (9th & 16th August 2019)/Dover Express (8th & 15th August 2019)

This raw, personal, side of war, the hopes and fears of ordinary men thrust into extraordinary circumstances, is both deeply moving and revealing: no longer are these just names carved on headstones or memorials in a distant land. Through this thorough investigative work, supported by those who remember them, the casualties live again, their silent voices heard through friends, relatives, comrades and unpublished letters.

Read the full review here

Recollections of WWII

As featured in

Daily Mirror 9/8/19

This new book is packed full of personal stories, original research, rare photos & engages the reader in an often complex battle through the eyes of the men on the ground. If you buy only one book for #Arnhem75 make it this one!

Read the full review via Twitter here

Paul Reed via Twitter

The author of Arnhem 1944 concentrates on the individual casualties rather than the campaign itself, and looks at how the participants met their end in a harrowing, highly detailed account of one of the most remarkable battles of WW2. Fantastic.

Books Monthly

A voice for the fallen, achieved!!!

The author brings a whole new fresh approach to the subject matter, a welcomed breath of fresh air for a subject that at times can feel a bit tired... In conclusion, If like me, your interest and focus is in the personal and human aspect of those who have endured the horrors of war, then this is truly a book for you, you will not be disappointed.

Read the full review here

Amazon Customer, David Baverstock

A "must have" if you have any interest in the Battle of Arnhem, or in WW2 in general

So, to sum up, yes, this book is MORE than worthwhile getting. I'm certain that, whatever your level of knowledge on the battle, this book will grip you from start to finish.

Read the full review here

Amazon Customer, Mr. P. C. Pariso

At long last - public recognition for one of the bravest men to give his life at Arnhem

In my view, first and foremost, a book must be a 'good read' . I think that Dilip's book is a very good read - difficult to put down. But more importantly, 'The Human Tragedy' brings a new and different perspective to the battle. We meet the men in great depth, we meet their families. It is this story, this loss, that is very essence, the perfect metaphor of total war. Not numbers of casualties, not whether or not the combatants were on this side of the road or the other! I have met many veterans of Arnhem and to be absolutely honest, not even they tell the same tale and sometimes get the facts wrong - who really knows or cares. In terms of detail, Dilip's concise yet comprehensive overview of the 8 day, terrible tragedy that befell The Tenth is first class. For those who are new to, or know little of the story, it is a perfect introduction. Dilip, you have my utmost respect for bringing recognition after 75 years to one of the bravest men in that terrible conflict, Albert Willingham has previously never received any recognition - no medal, not even a Mention in Despatches. In all humility but as a next of kin of one of those brave young men, well done Dilip and Thank you on behalf of The Tenth.

Read the full review here

Amazon Customer, Alexander Wilson

Probably the best book on Arnhem ever

A superb piece of work, working up from the stories of individual casualties to the 'big picture', something that Dilip Sarkar does incredibly well. Since my cousin features in Ch 2, I can speak for my family & say how incredibly grateful we are for getting the story of our relative into the public domain at last. Thank you so much, Dilip. Over several decades I have read pretty well everything published on the Battle & have to say that this book is the best yet. The fact that outright jealousy/personal animosity has led some reviewers to make statements that are frankly HOGWASH is appalling. No evidence to back up what they say - I wonder whether they have even seen the book. These reviews need to be removed by Amazon as they are utterly & totally inaccurate. If you have any interest in the Battle, buy this book! It is wholly original, beautifully written & impressively researched.

Amazon Customer, Dr John Tate


My uncle is one of the men in a chapter of this book, and the author Dilip sarkar has done him and these brave men proud. His knowledge of this battle is amazing. What he has written is the truth about our family members, we should know because we helped. I am grateful to Dilip for this fantastic book, myself and the families of those in this book the hell of this battle what so many of the brave men like my Uncle Thomas Stanley Warwick fought and died and somewhere are lying with no known grave like thousands. This book tells so much, you will not be disappointed.

Amazon Customer, Nadine Jesko

Dilip Sarkar MBE has researched and written a highly emotional insight into the tragedy that was Arnhem. Yes, there are many histories of this subject written over the years, but this one is different, and a very welcome addition. This is one of the most uniquely special books and is a tribute to those killed and to those who survived... This is not just about facts and figures from official documents, this is the real story from those who had boots on the ground.

This fresh approach to the Battle of Arnhem is a welcome addition.

Read the full review here

GoodReads, Paul Diggett

Dilip's gone behind the usual story of Arnhem and had a look at the individuals involved. He gives a background to the the people, who they were, their families... I can't recommend this book highly enough!

Watch the full video review here

The View From The Turret Vlog

Click here to listen to author interview

NOTE: set cursor to 1:51:18

BBC Hereford & Worcester with presenter Tammy Gooding, 4th April 2019

Article: 'Brave rebel: Tragic tale of Private who fell at Arnhem revealed in Dilip Sarkar's new book' as featured by

Worcester News (print & online), 14th March 2019 – words by Mike Pryce

A fabulously constructed account of the Arnhem battle seen through the actions of individuals. The narrative is compelling and excellent. The maps first rate. The photographs likewise.
Quite simply one of the very best books on Arnhem I have read and HUGELY recommended. (First ever HUGELY recommended award by McCarthy!)

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 Dilip Sarkar MBE

About Dilip Sarkar MBE

Dilip Sarkar has now written over sixty well-received books. Having enjoyed a privileged relationship with many of The Few, he is a globally acknowledged expert on the Battle of Britain, currently working on a career-topping eight volume official history for The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and National Memorial to The Few. Described by the late Dr Gordon Mitchell, son of the Spitfire’s designer RJ Mitchell, as an ‘aviation detective’, Dilip Sarkar did actually begin his professional life as just that – a police detective. His evidence-based approach and ability to discover new material is well-known – in 2023, for example, he was responsible for having Air Chief-Marshal Sir Keith Park, a New Zealander, officially recognised as one of The Few. Made an MBE for ‘services to aviation history’ in 2003, Dilip was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 2006, achieved First Class Honours in Modern History as a mature student in 2010, and in 2024 was made both a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and member of London’s Royal Air Force Club. During his long career, Dilip has exhibited and spoken internationally at such prestigious venues as Oxford University, the RAF Museum, IWM Museum, and Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek; he has worked on many TV documentaries, on and off screen, again internationally, and has an engaging presence on YouTube and Facebook in particular.

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