The British Airborne veteran Wilf Oldham celebrates his hundredth birthday today and that does not go unnoticed in the Netherlands either. “Congrats and cheers”, it sounds on social media.
Wilf Oldham was one of more than five thousand Britons who were deployed for Operation Market Garden in September 1944. The Allies wanted to take the bridge near Arnhem and overrun the German occupiers. The action largely failed. There were 1500 dead and almost 2000 wounded. While more than 47,000 residents fled in a hurry, Arnhem was partly destroyed.
Oldham was one of the few soldiers to reach the other side of the Rhine and join the Allies in the Betuwe.
Look back here at Operation Market Garden:
Before last year Oldham, now Sir Wilf Oldham, joined the Order of the British Empire, reports Omroep Gelderland. This is a recognition for Brits who made a special achievement. The veteran may now call himself Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
After the war Oldham did not come to Arnhem for decades. In recent years he has been a loyal visitor to the annual Airborne commemorations in Ede, Oosterbeek and Arnhem. Last year he was not there due to illness.
This year the major commemorations because of corona did not take place, but the British sent a special message via YouTube: