Prowling my world, camera in hand

13 November 2006

Week 45: Remembrance

Filed under: — Administrator @ 12:48

The pictures for this week are all from the Commonwealth War cemetery in Arnhem, site of the heroic attempt by British, Commonwealth and Polish paratroopers to secure a bridge of the Rhine in September 1944. I have made it my habit to go there on Remembrance Day to honour these men in my own private fashion, and so I drove to Arnhem (actually, it is a suburb called Oosterbeek) Saturday morning. The weather was awful, windy, rainy and dark–I guess appropriate for visiting a cemetery.

There are about 1700 men buried here, mostly British, but also a fair number of Poles, and members of Commonwealth nations including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The cemetery is very well kept. Here is an overall view from the entrance:
(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 800)

As I said, the weather was awful, as is clearly visible in this picture:
(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 800)

The traditional British poppy:
(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 800)

There are quite a few anonymous graves–not everyone could be identified…
(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 800)

This flower must have been put here either during the Liberation Day commemorations back in May, or perhaps during the commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem in September:
(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 800)

I put some stones on the Jewish graves, and other visitors had done the same:
(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 800)

A few km down the road is the actual field where the paratroopers made the initial landing–about 2000 men in total on September 17th and 18th 1944, with about 150 killed immediately. There is now a small monument at the site. The scenery today is so incredibly peaceful–it is a good place to reflect on the sacrifices these young men made for us more than 60 years ago.
(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 400)

(Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm L Canon, ISO 400)


  1. Damn, I have to know math too! 🙂

    These are moving. Every year. Moving.

    The last one pulled me right in to the whole gravity of the day.


    Comment by Daniel Ridings — 13 November 2006 @ 14:09

  2. Thanks for these lovely pictures. I know the site very well. When I was a schoolboy every 17th of september we lay flowers on the graves as a remenberance. I can also remenber the para’s coming down on that wonderful sunday morning in 1944, the day that I also tasted for the first time in my live chewing gum.

    Comment by Sybe Streekstra — 13 November 2006 @ 14:13

  3. Thanks for maintaining your observance of this occasion, and posting the pictures so that we will remember too.

    Comment by Harvey Arche — 13 November 2006 @ 14:37

  4. Very nice series– and IMO the weather made the event/visit even more telling and somber.

    Comment by Mike Levy — 13 November 2006 @ 15:42

  5. Nathan thank you for a heart rendering photo essay, brought tears to my eyes. And memories to my mind of some of these para’s I had the good fortune to meet many many years ago when I was a boy.

    Beautifully photographed under horrid weather that would’ve deterred many. This is an event never to forgetfor a life time. After all they gave their lives allowing us to do what we do today.

    Thank you,

    Comment by Ted Grant — 13 November 2006 @ 16:44

  6. Nathan: I’m acquainted with many of your pictures through a friend. Thank you for showing us these touching images. I recall visiting this site near Arnhem in 1954. -“Campy”, Bishop, California

    Comment by "Campy" Camphausen — 13 November 2006 @ 17:45

  7. Hi Nathan,

    These photos are an historic and international extension of the cemetery. Had I not seen your images of it, I would never had known it existed.

    I believe the Battle of Arnhem was part of the final Nazi counterattack on the Western front. Frankly, I don’t give a damn where the Nazis are buried.


    Comment by Bob — 13 November 2006 @ 20:17

  8. Nathan, thank you for making and sharing these images. They are a moving reminder of the sacrifices made by all too many to put an end to Hitler’s rule.

    Comment by Oliver — 14 November 2006 @ 14:46

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