John Frost Bridge in Arnhem September 1944.


The John Frost Bridge is the road bridge over the Lower Rhine at Arnhem, in the Netherlands. The bridge is named after Major-General John Dutton Frost    (1912–1993), who commanded the British forces that reached and defended the bridge during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944.

There had been a floating bridge at Arnhem since 1603 but as the city grew in the early 20th century a permanent link across the Lower Rhine was needed. The Rijnbrug (literally Rhine bridge) was constructed between 1932 and 1935, but was destroyed by Dutch engineers in 1940 to slow the German advance during the  invasion of the Netherlands on 10-May 1940. The Germans had need of the bridge however, and a pontoon bridge acted as a temporary replacement while the road bridge was repaired. The bridge was finished in August 1944.

The Battle of Arnhem.

In September 1944 the Allies launched Operation Market Garden. The road bridge across the Lower Rhine should have been the final objective of the operation, and its capture was tasked to the British 1st Airborne Division British Airborne Units.svg. under command of Major General Frederick Arthur Montegue Browning .  Browning died from a heart attack at Menabilly on 14 March 1965, age 68. Unexpected German resistance in Arnhem meant that only a small force of some 740 men were able to reach the northern end of the bridge, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Frost. The first to set foot on the bridge was Private of 1st Para Battalion S Coy No 5th Platoon Mortars Henry McAnelly

 . McAnelly was hit by a grenade from a tank near the viaduct on Utrechtseweg at Mariendaal (Arnhem). He was hit in the head, lungs, belly, throat and arm, total 13 times and was taken to the Elisabeth hospital in Oosterbeek for surgery by Dr. “Lippy” Lipmann Kessel  who saved his life. His left arm was amputated below the elbow and he got a stale plate in his head. On the night of the 17 September the British attempted to take the southern end of the bridge, using a flame thrower to destroy German positions in the bridge’s towers. This accidentally ignited an ammunition store and the fresh paint on the bridge caught fire, illuminating the area for most of the night and forcing the British to abandon their attempt


The German forces in Arnhem eventually overwhelmed Frost’s men, although this took several days. They had however succeeded in closing the bridge to German armour for some four days, twice as long as a whole division was expected to hold the bridge. The rest of the division held out at nearby Oosterbeek until 25 September before being evacuated across the river.

Although the bridge survived the battle, it was bombed and destroyed by B-26 Marauders B 26.jpg of the 344th Bomb Group Air Mobility Command.svg on 7 October 1944 to prevent the Germans from using it to send reinforcements south of the river.

Arnhem was captured and liberated in April 1945 and a Baily bridge was erected alongside the remains of the bridge. Because it was so low it was impossible for ships to pass underneath and so a higher Bailey bridge replaced it. A new Rijnbrug was rebuilt in exactly the same style as the blown bridge and opened in 1948. The Arnhem road bridge was officially renamed the John Frostbrug on 17 December 1977.

On 8 May 1995 the World Liberty Concert was held at the bridge in honour of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Europe. It was one of the largest memorial concerts ever held in the Netherlands.

Other bridges at Arnhem

Arnhem has three bridges over the Lower Rhine: the John Frost Bridge, the Nelson Mandela Bridge and the Andrei Sakharov Bridge Bridge. There are plans for a new bridge over the Lower Rhine at Oosterbeek, to be named after Stanislaw Sosabowski


the 1st Independent Para Brigade Sztandar_1_SBS (1). Polish 4* General Major .





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *