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Remains of British WWII soldier found near Battle of Arnhem site

The wartime remains of a British soldier have been found near the site of the Battle of Arnhem days before the anniversary of the ill-fated operation.

Parachutists descend on the Ginkelse Heide each year to commemorate Operation Market Garden.The remains were found on the Ginkelse Heide, near Ede, the landing site for Operation Market Garden in September 1944, when thousands of British and American troops were dropped onto the battlefront.

The soldier is likely to be one of the 4th Parachute Brigade, which landed in the middle of the battlefield on the Ginkelse Heide on September 18.

A metal detector picked up two hand grenades that were lying with the body. They were detonated after the remains had been taken away for identification.

Some 18,000 British, American and Polish troops died in the Battle of Arnhem after meeting unexpectedly strong German resistance. The events formed the basis of the award-winning film A Bridge Too Far and featured in the TV series Band of Brothers.

The loss of the battle is thought to have prolonged the war by six months and worsened conditions in the Netherlands, much of which endured the “hunger winter” before liberation came in May 1945.

The Battle of Arnhem is commemorated each year with a parachute drop by British and Dutch soldiers on the Ginkelse Heide. Veterans of the landings took part in the ceremony right up until 2006.