By Brian McCarthy
Operation Market Garden was one of the biggest disasters for the Allied Forces in World War II. The plan was to capture the vital enemy held bridge at Arnhem, in the eastern past of the Netherlands, by means of a lightning swoop of troop filled gliders. The story of the battle was featured in the famous war film; A Bridge Too Far.
A small group managed to capture the north end of the bridge. The Allied ground forces did not reach them in time. Ten thousand troops entered the battle at Arnhem and only two thousand survived the battle.
My brother, Paul, and his fellow history buff, Peter McAviney, brought me to a quiet corner of a very well-kept graveyard at Saint Patrick’s church, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, my hometown.
There they pointed out to me the family plot of the Winters family, from the neighbouring townland of Derryvalley. The family list of the deceased was there, and at the bottom it read, son Francis, 19 years, killed at the Battle of Arnhem, 19th Sept 1944. This was a big surprise for, and on making further enquiries I found out that my aunt, Agnes Sherry nee McNally, was actually in the graveyard on the day he was buried.