Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 13:34 UK

Service marks Arnhem anniversary

War Memorial Park (pic: Coventry City Council)
The service was held at Coventry's War Memorial Park

A service to commemorate the 65th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II has been held in Coventry.

Thousands of troops were captured or killed during the Battle of Arnhem as the Allies tried in vain to capture eight bridges.

A memorial service has taken place at War Memorial Park.

Arnhem veterans and representatives of the SAS Association and the Airborne Association were due to attend.

Coventry's Lord Mayor Jack Harrison said: "We should never forget the sacrifices that were made and the lives that were lost.

"It's acts of bravery like this that give us the good fortune to live in the democratic and multicultural society that we have today."

Hundreds of deaths

Operation Market Garden, jointly planned with US forces, was launched on 17 September 1944.

Its aim was to gain control over eight bridges along the German-Dutch border, clearing the way for an Allied advance into northern Germany.

British paratroopers were deliberately dropped eight miles from the bridges, but it was impossible for them to reach their target before the Germans were tipped off.

More than 16,500 paratroopers and 3,500 troops in gliders were dropped into Arnhem.

Nearly 6,000 from the 1st Airborne Division were captured, 1,174 killed. Almost 1,900 men escaped.

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