So Red a Road by Christopher Jary
A new book reveals for the first time the extent of the sacrifice made by the men of the Dorset Regiment who, in September 1944, crossed the Neder Rijn near Arnhem to rescue the parachute and glider troops trapped on the north bank.
By combining regimental records with survivors’ accounts and the lifelong research of Philip Reinders, a Dutch historian who has devoted decades to the Dorsets’ role in the Arnhem battle, a team from Dorchester’s Keep Military Museum have been able to identify all those who lost their lives across the river, those who were captured and many of those who returned safely to the south bank.
The book’s title, drawn appropriately from Thomas Hardy’s verse play, The Dynasts, is So Red A Road.
I have beheld the agonies of war
Through many a weary season; seen enough
To make me hold that scarcely any goal
Is worth the reaching by so red a road.
Few roads were redder than the one the Dorsets and Hampshires marched from Normandy to Bremen. This book is a poignant tribute – often in their own words – to their gallant sacrifice.
An essential read for those interested in Arnhem and students of the Dorsetshire and Hampshire Regiment.
Major-General Tony Jeapes CB, OBE, MC