On the 17th September 1944 Gene Metcalfe, of the 82 Airbourne, parachuted in to Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. Approaching the bridge they were to capture Gene is injured in a firefight and left for dead. He would spend the rest of the war as a POW.
I talk to Gene about his wartime experiences in the Airbourne, as a POW and what happened once he was liberated.
Left for Dead in Nijmegen, by Marcus Nannini, is the story of Gene's war, it is a fantastic read and well worth picking up a copy.
One thing I’ve learned from producing these podcasts is the research never ends, it only leads to new avenues of interest branching off from the original topic. And this is the case for Peter Lion.
If you recall in episode 33, Peter told us how elements of the US 28nd infantry division, stationed in the Luxembourg town of Wiltz put on a christmas party for the local children, and this included GI Richard Brookins dressing as St Nicholas and arriving by jeep to hand out gifts.
In researching that Peter bumped into the story of George Mergenthaler, heir to the Mergenhaler Linotype Company.
I’ve been trying to pin down a guest for an ‘extra’ episode for quite a while, so when Peter proposed we discuss his book MERGit I jumped at the chance.
For Patrons of the podcast I make available parts of the interviews that are off topic or just never made it into the ‘final cut’. I’ve a bit more of Peter and chatting and I’ve decided to release it free to everyone as a big thank you for listening and all the support you’ve all given me.
If you want to listen to it you can find it at patreon.com/ww2podcast.
September 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, the allied attempt to create a sixty mile corridor, and secure a crossing over the Rhine. The plan was to use the newly formed First Allied Airborne Army to seize and hold nine key bridges until relieved by the British Army’s XXX Corp.
The Airborne component was known as Market, and the ground attack was Garden.
Joining me to talk about the background to airborne operations and Market Garden is Dr William Buckingham. William is the author or Arnhem: The Complete Story of Operation Market Garden 17-25 September 1944.