British officer served with 1st Airlanding Light Regt, Royal Artillery in Italy and Arnhem, Netherlands, 1943-1944
REEL 1 Background in GB, 1922-1941: family; education; reaction to declaration of Second World War, 3/9/1939. Aspects of training as officer with Royal Artillery in GB, 1941-1942: enlistment in Royal Artillery, early 1941; training at Edinburgh University, summer 1941; commissioning, 3/1942; reasons for being attracted to light rather than heavy artillery. Recollections of period as officer with 458 Independent Light Bty, Royal Artillery, 1st Airborne Div in GB and Tunisia, 1942-1943: posting to unit; unit morale and equipment; training transporting artillery by glider at Larkhill; role as command post officer; increase in size of unit; commanding officer's decision to train in Tunisia; move to Maghreb, near Souss, 5/1943; contracting malaria; method of keeping troops entertained. Recollections of operations as officer with 1st Airlanding Light Regt, Royal Artillery attached to 8th Army in Italy, 1943-1944: move to Taranto, 9/1943; close artillery support role; German delaying tactics; unit casualties; degree of success against Germans; relations with Italian civilians.
REEL 2 Continues: subjecting assembling German counter attack to barrage, autumn 1943; contracting jaundice, dysentery and malaria. Aspects of period as officer with 1st Airlanding Light Regt, Royal Artillery, 1st Airborne Div in GB, 3/1944-9/1944: basing of division near Boston; reaction to having operations called off at last moment. Recollections of operations as command post officer with 3 Bty, 1st Airlanding Light Regt, Royal Artillery, 1st Airborne Div during Operation Market Garden at Arnhem, Netherlands, 1944: character of planning of operation; flight and landing, 17/9/1944; move to Oosterbeek, 18/9/1944; communications with troops on Arnhem bridge; initial degree of optimism, 17/9/1944-19/9/1944; positioning of his command post; attempts to sleep during the battle; command post personnel; unit personnel; question of personal morale; decision to withdraw from bridgehead.
REEL 3 Continues: evacuation across the River Rhine; his role during battle; air supply; determination to hang on and not become POW; question of German treatment of POWs; relations with Dutch civilians and their fate after battle; attitude of Dutch civilians towards members of 1st Airborne Div; story of Robert Voskar's mother at Arnhem; role of unit after Operation Market Garden. Attitude to having served with Royal Artillery in Second World War. Question of settling down in civilian life and after effects of military service. Question of how equipment performed at Arnhem especially radio equipment.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.