Amherst
Appelscha
Gasselte
Orvelte
Spier
Westerbork
On March 28, 2009 I made a battlefield tour with the Friends of the Airborne Museum, where we followed the trail where the French paratroopers were dropped in in Drenthe in the night of 7 to 8 April 1945. In order to confuse the Germans and capture key bridges in Drenthe to secure the allied advance, the last Allied airborne operation in the Second World War took place. 702 French paratroopers from the 2nd and the 3rd Regiment Chausseur Parachutistes, parts of the British Special Air Service (SAS) were dropped behind the German lines. Their task was also to capture the airports of Steenwijk, Eelde, Leeuwarden and stimulate and organize the local resistance and provide information to the advancing Canadians. The code name for this operation was AMHERST.

Members of the underground with French paratroopers.

Members of the underground with French paratroopers.

Our battlefield tour went through the south of Drenthe and Friesland to various locations where activities took place during Operation Amherst. We visited Appelscha, Gasselte Spier, the former flax factory at the Oranjekanaal, Orvelte and Westerbork. We also visited the monument to the French in Assen.