On March 28, 2009 I made a battlefield tour with
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.
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.