Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery

Letter from Field Marshal Sir BERNARD MONTGOMERY, K.C.B., D.S.O.

28th September, 1944

Major-General R. E. Urquhart, D.S.O.,
Commander, 1st Airborne Division.

I want to express to you personally, and to every officer and man in your Division, my appreciation of what you all did at ARNHEM for the Allied cause.

I also want to express to you my own admiration, and the admiration of us all in the 21 Army Group, for the magnificent fighting spirit that your Division displayed in battle against great odds on the North bank of the lower Rhine in Holland.

There in no shadow of doubt that, had you failed, operations elsewhere would have been greatly compromised. You did not fail, and all is well elsewhere.

I would like all Britain to know that in your final message from the ARNHEM area you said:-

“All will be ordered to break out rather than surrender. We have attempted our best, and we will continue to do our best as long as possible.”

And all Britain will say to you:-

“You did your best; you all did your duty; and, we are proud of you.”

In the annals of the British Army there are many glorious deeds. In our Army we have always drawn great strength and inspiration from past traditions and endeavoured to live up to the high standards of those who have gone before. But there can be few episodes more glorious than the epic of ARNHEM and those that follow after will find it hard to live up to the standards that you have set.

So long as we have in the Armies of the British Empire officers and, men who will do as you have done, then we can indeed look forward with complete confidence to the future.

In the years to come, it will be a great thing for a man to be able to say:-

“I fought at ARNHEM.”

Please give my best wishes and my grateful thanks to every officer and man in your Division.

(Signed) B. L. Montgomery,
Field Marshal,
C-in-C, 21 Army Group

In the Field.