Arnhem veterans return to the Netherlands


WWII veteran, Tom Schaffer
WWII veteran, Tom Schaffer

The Taxi Charity took a small group of veterans to the Netherlands over the weekend of 24 - 27 February to visit the Airborne Museum.


This museum visit was originally planned for 2020 when the charity volunteers and veterans arrived in the Netherlands on 12 March. Unfortunately, this was the same day that pandemic restrictions were announced, and the museum closed. Two years later they were finally able to make their long-awaited return.


The group from the Taxi Charity was welcomed to the museum by the director, Ronnie Weijers, who said: "It’s a great honour for me to be able to welcome the veterans to the museum. Your courage and your sacrifice will always be remembered, and we are so glad you are here."


WWII Arnhem veteran, Ray Whitwell, with volunteer driver, Sebastian Philp
WWII Arnhem veteran, Ray Whitwell, with volunteer driver, Sebastian Philp

WWII veteran, Dickie Forrester, said: "The museum is very impressive, entertaining and realistic. Most of those who fought here in Arnhem are no longer with us, so this has been a very emotional visit. As time marches on, it's easy to not remember, but we mustn’t forget, and fortunately I think there are enough people in the younger generations who want to carry on the traditions of remembrance."


Dick Goodwin, vice president of the Taxi Charity, said: "It has been two years since we were in the Netherlands, and we were delighted to finally see the wonderful new displays and refit at the Airborne Museum. The people of the Netherlands always give us the warmest welcome and everywhere we go people from each generation come forward to personally thank the veterans for fighting for their freedom."


WWII Arnhem veteran, Geoff Roberts
WWII Arnhem veteran, Geoff Roberts

After the visit to the museum, the veterans enjoyed lunch at the Hotel De Wereld in Wageningen, where the official surrender was signed. They then visited the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Oosterbeek where they laid wreaths and visited the graves of their friends and comrades.



Trip Itinerary


24 February:

  • Overnight ferry form Harwich to The Hook of Holland


25 February:

  • Veterans met the Mayoress of Renkum over lunch

  • Dinner with guests from the Market Garden Foundation, Airborne Commemorations Foundation, The Airborne Museum, Airborne Wandeltocht, The 4-5 May Committee and the Royal Netherlands Army


26 February:

  • Visit to Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek

  • Lunch at Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen

  • Visit to the Oosterbeek CWGC


27 February:

  • Return to the UK


Veterans and volunteer drivers from the Taxi Charity
Veterans and volunteer drivers from the Taxi Charity

Picture credits: Dick Goodwin, Taxi Charity


For additional photos, courtesy of Arjan Vrieze, visit our Facebook page or our Flickr channel.