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Battle of Arnhem commemorated by paratroops

Parachutists in Arnhem Image copyright PA
Image caption The jumps were among the largest to take place in Europe this year, according to the British army

Paratroops from Europe and the US have completed parachute jumps in the Netherlands to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

Operation Market Garden during World War Two saw Allied forces land behind German lines near Arnhem, where they were defeated after days of fighting.

Germany is also taking part in the commemoration, which will be followed by a short remembrance service.

The battle was the inspiration for the film A Bridge Too Far.

Thousands of lives were lost on both sides in the fighting.

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Media captionParatroopers landed in the Netherlands to mark the Battle of Arnhem, Robert Hall reports

According to the British army, Saturday's events are among the largest multinational parachute jumps to take place in Europe this year.

Milk and flowers

Arnhem was one of the most controversial Allied operations of the war. The Allies' aim was to inflict a decisive blow on the Germans and therefore end the war by Christmas 1944.

But the Germans put up strong resistance and it was left to the airborne forces to defend themselves in a bloody battle, without ground troops.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The parachutists landed on the same fields used as a drop zone in 1944
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Veterans from several countries attended the commemoration

After nine days' fighting the airborne forces were withdrawn.

Tom Hicks from Barnsley is one of the battle's veterans attending the event. He told the BBC that when he and his fellow soldiers landed, the Dutch thought they had been freed from Nazi control.

"They brought milk out and flowers and thought the war was over. They thought they were liberated.

"And we knew there was a long way to go before they were liberated. Children [were] holding your hand and skipping... thinking 'oh, back to normal life'."

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