Leading the Way to Arnhem, by Peter Gijbels and David Truesdale, subtitled 'An Illustrated History of the 21st Independent Parachute Company 1942-1946'
Book published by Sigmond in 2014, 206 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket - c.21.5cm by 28cm (N5041)
Brand New Book
From the rear side cover: This book tells the story of the 21st Independent Parachute Company, the pathfinder unit of the 1st British Airborne Division.
The role of the Pathfinders was to arrive at the drop zones in advance of the main body of airborne troops in order to set up electronic and visual markers to pin point the dropping area for the advancing aircraft. Being the first ones on the ground they were to use their own initiative and to make their own decisions - in short, to be independent.
In 1942 Major John Lander set about raising and training hand picked volunteers who had to be of the highest standard, both physically and mentally. Part of his selection was a contingent of German speakers, many of whom were Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany. These so called 'Aliens' proved both their fighting qualities and loyalty to their adopted country.
After action in North Africa in 1943 the company particpated in actions in Italy. Here one of the platoons was left behind and became the 1st independent Parachute Platoon. The remainder of the Independent Company returned to the UK and was reformed into a unit of 186 men who took part in those nine days of bitter fighting at Oosterbeek in Holland.
After repatriation from Holland the wounded and missing men were replaced and the Company was sent to Norway as part of a liberation force. With the war now over, the Pathfinders were moved to Palestine where, in 1946, the unit was finally disbanded....
The book is illustrated throughout with black and white photographs