FROM an early age Jan Scott recalls being taken to Arnhem by her parents.

They would make the annual trip to the Netherlands in memory of those who fought and died alongside Jan’s father, Laurence Scott, in the seminal battle of the Second World War which recently passed its 75th anniversary.

And as in previous years, Jan made the trip once again this year n honour of her own father and many others and to keep the remarkable story alive for this generation and many to come.

Jane explains commemorations were held in both Arnhem and Oosterbeck where the battle was fought, as well as in Wolfheze, Driel, and the surrounding countryside from September 17 to 1944.

The Allies were preparing to enter the Netherlands after advancing through France and Belgium in the summer of that year, after the Battle of Normandy.

Market Garden was proposed by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, who favoured a single thrust north over the branches of the Lower Rhine River, allowing the British Second Army to bypass the Siegfried Line and attack the Ruhr.

Allied Airborne troops were dropped in the Netherlands to secure key bridges and towns along the Allied axis of advance.

Jan explains Laurence was 24 at the time and as part of the Pathfinder Unit of the Parachute Regiment, which is now integral to 16 Air Assault, was first into the battle.

“They marked out the drop zones, DZ for the Paratroops, and landing Zones, LZ for the Horsa gliders.

“My father, who was known as Solly, was with 2 platoon and he laid out the LZ markers.”

After successfully bringing in the 10,000 men of the Division as paratroops and in gliders, fierce fighting broke out and Laurence’s platoon formed part of the Oosterbeek perimeter which involved fighting house to house with the German tanks and infantry, in the village of Oosterbeek.

Jan, who lives in Colchester, adds : “On September 25, running out of ammunition and food, 2,400 or so men left fighting in Oosterbeek were told to withdraw.

“Under mortar fire, in pouring rain, and at night, the men made their way to the River Rhine to be evacuated by Canadian engineers.”

Laurence had kept a German rifle he had been using after British ammunition had run out.

“It sounds awful but they were taking them from the bodies of the German soldiers.

“About 20 of his own group had died including some of his friends who were German and had escaped Nazi Germany and were helping the allies by interpreting what was being said by the German troops.”

When they got to the River Rhine, explains Jan, there were a great many trying to get onto the boats in order to reach safety so Laurence and three other men headed up stream to see if it was quieter.

“They found a Canadian Engineers boat drifting towards them and waded out to it.

“There is a very strong current on the Rhine and it was pitch black but dad says it sort of just came out of the darkness and then they were just paddling along using his rifle until they got the engine started.”

Eventually reaching the other side, Laurence was then separated from the other soldiers in the boat but headed in what he thought was the right direction, again in the pitch black.

“He told me every now and then a soldier would just appear out of the dark and tell him to keep going.

“They were all very tired after ten days of fighting, so this may have been a bit of delirium but he kept going through the dark and the mud until he got to the rendez vous.”

There he was given some rum and a cigarette, she adds.

Laurence, who died aged 90 in 2010, never forgot the courage of the soldiers and Dutch people, adds Jan.

He had met Peggy, who would become his wife, in London during the war and the couple later married but he would often talk about his experiences in the war and Jan says they regularly return to Arnhem from when she was just a little girl.

Four years ago she presented his Arnhem Parachute wings to the current pathfinders at 16 Air Assault at the Merville Barracks in Colchester and continues to return to Arnhem each year.

“I actually lived there for a year in 2014 because I wanted to really research what had happened there and during that time I was lucky enough to be taken out to exactly where he fought and where he crossed the river to safety.

“You have to appreciate the place where they fought.

“It was quite intense and a lot of it was in the woods.”

Last month Colchester held its Arnhem Remembrance service simultaenously with the one at the Arnhem Oosterbeck graves.