General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Letter from General DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

October 1944

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

In this war there has been no single performance by any unit that has more greatly inspired me or more highly excited my admiration, than the nine days action of your Division between September 17 and 26.

There is no question that those sentiments are shared by every soldier, sailor, and airman, of the entire Allied Expeditionary Force now battling against the Western boundaries of Germany.

Before the world the proud record that your Division has established needs no embellishment from me, but I should like every survivor of that gallant band to realise, not only how deeply this whole Command appreciates his example of courage, fortitude and skill, but that the Division’s great battle contributed effectively to the success of operations to the southward of its own battleground.

Your officers and men were magnificent. Pressed from every side, without relief, reinforcements or respite, they inflicted such losses on the Nazi that his infantry dared not close with them, in an unremitting hail of steel from German snipers, machine guns, mortars, rockets, cannon of all calibers and self propelled and, tank artillery they never flinched, never wavered. They held steadfastly.

For nine days they checked the fury of the Hun and when, on 26th September, they were ordered to withdraw across the river, they came out a proud haughty band — paratroopers, air-landing men, glider pilots, clerks, cooks and batmen, soldiers all — two thousand strong out of seven thousand five hundred that entered the battle.

The Allied Expeditionary Forces salute them.

(Signed) Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Supreme Commander,
Allied Expeditionary Force.