The Battle of Arnhem lasted from September 17 to the early morning of September 26, 1944. A heroic battle of nine days ended in a major Allied defeat. The desired jump over the Rhine was not made and the Allies had to find another way in the direction of the Ruhr.
The British defeat was mainly felt by the 1st Airborne Division that fought near Arnhem. While the American airborne divisions continued to fight after Market Garden, the British airbornes were withdrawn. Of the 11,000 paratroopers, only a total of 2,293 returned to England.
The rest had been captured, seriously injured or killed.
The total number of casualties during the Battle of Arnhem has long been underestimated. There are still numbers in circulation that give fewer casualties than there were in reality. Even the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek has been reporting incorrect numbers for years. Only in recent years, after additional research by British and Dutch sources, an accurate picture has emerged of the actual number of victims during the Battle of Arnhem.
It has long been thought that globally 1,300 British and 1,100 Germans died during the fighting in and around Arnhem. After extensive research in recent years, these figures have been adjusted upwards considerably.
The total number of Allied soldiers who died in the Battle of Arnhem is 1,984 casualties.
1,485 soldiers of the troops that landed at Arnhem were killed. The 1st Airborne Division had the most casualties: 1,174 soldiers. 219 men of the Glider Pilot Regiment were killed. The Independent Polish Parachute Brigade lost a total of 92 men.
In addition, 499 soldiers were killed who were otherwise involved in the Battle of Arnhem. No fewer than 368 RAF flight crew were killed in the Battle of Arnhem. A number of ground troops that fought from Driel in the last phase of the Battle of Arnhem were also victims.
In total, 1,323 British, Polish and Dutch victims are buried at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek.
The bodies of 137 British soldiers are still missing. Many dead British were hastily buried in a field grave during the fighting. Some of those field graves have not been found. The soldiers rest where they died.
The number of German victims has also been underestimated for a long time. The Germans found it difficult to keep up with new combat units in the chaotic last year of the war when several units were merged.
The estimate of 1,100 German deaths has long been assumed to be true until it has been thoroughly investigated by the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek.
It emerged that at least 1,725 Germans lost their lives during the Battle of Arnhem. After further research, the number of Germans who have died during the battle has been adjusted even further upwards. It is now assumed that 1,800 Germans were killed in the fighting in Arnhem and Oosterbeek.
This high number shows once again how fierce the British fought, despite their light armament. After all, the Germans had tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons.
The number of Dutch casualties during the battle is 453. Most Dutch casualties were killed by the Allied bombings in the morning of Sunday, September 17. Those bombings preceded the airborne landings.
A few dozen people from Arnhem were shot by the Germans because they had helped the British. Every year a number of these victims are commemorated in Bakkerstraat in Arnhem at the monument that was erected there for them.
The last victim of the Battle of Arnhem fell in November 1947. Kate ter Horst, who became known during the Battle of Arnhem for caring for 250 injured British paratroopers, lost her oldest son when he stepped on a abandoned mine in a meadow near the Rhine.