Dutch Embassy UK at Market Garden commemorations in the Netherlands

British WWII hero Kenneth Mayhew, the oldest living recipient of the very exclusive Military William Order, was in the Netherlands for the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden. He was accompanied by Simon Smits, Ambassador of the Kingdom of te Netherlands to the United Kingdom, and Rob Arts, Defence Attaché at the Dutch Embassy in London.

Kenneth Mayhew and Simon Smits meet the paratroopers at Market Garden commemorations, Ginkel Heath

'Very special to be in Arnhem with Kenneth Mayhew'

"Being in the company of Ken is always a marvelous experience", said Ambassador Simon Smits, who has known the 102-year-old war veteran for a number of years. The two have met on various occasions and have come to see each other as friends. "Ken is a true hero who fought in a number of battles to liberate the Netherlands and other European countries during the Second World War. On top of that, he is an amazing person. It was very special to be in Arnhem and on the Ginkel Heath with Ken to commemorate those defining moments in our Dutch and British history. The people of the Netherlands will never forget the bravery of our allies from the United Kingdom, Poland, Canada and the United States and the tragic losses they endured in the darkest of times."

75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden

The 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden (also known as the Battle of Arnhem) started on Friday 20 September and there were commemorative events throughout the weekend. On Friday, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Arts, Ambassador Simon Smits and their very important honorary guest and his wife attended a remembrance service at the St Eusebius Church in Arnhem and a wreath laying ceremony at the Airborne Monument in Arnhem. Saturday was all about the Airborne event at Ginkel Heath, which included an airshow with historic aircrafts and the dropping over a thousand paratroopers above the heath. The British Embassy in The Hague was also visited. On Sunday, Ambassador Smits and Military Attaché Arts visited the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek and attended another remembrance service.

'The people of the Netherlands will never forget the bravery of our allies from the United Kingdom, Poland, Canada and the United States and the tragic losses they endured in the darkest of times' - Simon Smits, Dutch Ambassador to the UK

Tragic WWII history plays major role in Anglo-Dutch relations

Remembering the Second World War with our British friends is important for the Dutch Embassy in the United Kingdom. Soldiers from different countries fighting side by side to liberate Europe from Nazi occupation, leading to immense loss of life, has drastically shaped the relationship between the Netherlands and the countries directly around us, as well as countries further afield.

Anglo-Dutch collaborative commemorations are organised and attended by our Defence Department, which can be contacted on LON-DEFAT@minbuza.nl.