Refreshed and rested, we disembarked at 8:30am and formed a convoy on the quay.
The Dutch national police then took charge of us, guiding and escorting the entire convoy to Arnhem.
They closed off all the motorways for us - we were the only vehicles allowed on the road. Before we knew it, we were in Arnhem. The police were absolutely wonderful. Our thanks to them for all their help.
We arrived at Bronbeek Military Veterans Home to be welcomed by Dutch VIPs, local mayors, the British ambassador, British military attaché and Dutch military officers.
We all enjoyed their hospitality and then departed for the Hartenstein Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek. At the museum our veterans met up with Dutch children who had been taking part in the “Pen-Pals” project. Some of our veterans have been communicating with the children, relating their experiences in Holland and Europe during the period of hostilities in World War II.
Entertainment was laid on during the afternoon and interviews with our veterans were carried out.
At 5:00pm we departed for the Papendal Hotel where most of us were staying for the duration of the trip.
Checking into the hotel has to be carried out like a military manoeuvre. Imagine 300 people with luggage arriving at once with 95 vehicles - it should be chaos, but with our past experience it went like clockwork.
The veterans were beginning to feel the effects of a long day, so we got them speedily checked into their rooms.
After a shower and a shave, they toddled down looking all spic and span, medals gleaming, ready for dinner and an evening’s entertainment. Following dinner, a Dutch choir entertained them singing all their favourite wartime songs.
After a couple of drinks they all perked up. Looking around, you would never think they had just spent the last thirty one hours travelling across two countries and the North Sea. Remember - these veterans are all in their late eighties and early nineties. The sight of them made me feel proud to be British.
And so to bed...