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Vitesse Arnhem's new kit honours British paratroopers' service and sacrifice

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Clint Hughes

Vitesse Arnhem released its new airborne kit over the weekend, and both the football club and the city of Arnhem still actively honour the service and sacrifice of the British 1st Airborne Division during the second world war in the Battle of Arnhem.

The kit reflects the claret and blue colours of the 1st Airborne and features a subtle image of the John Frost Bridge on the front of the shirt. The John Frost Bridge is named for John Dutton Frost, the British officer who led the 1st Airborne Division during the Battle of Arnhem.

While the Allied forces lost the Battle of Arnhem and the larger operation (Market Garden) was unsuccessful, the 1st Airbone held out much longer than expected, despite facing tanks, artillery, and mortars, and suffering heavy losses. As a result of the casualties, the division never saw combat again and was disbanded after the war ended.

During the eighth day of the battle, Alan Wood, a war correspondent embedded with the 1st Airborne in Arnhem, wrote "If in the years to come any man says to you 'I fought at Arnhem,' take off your hat to him and buy him a drink, for this is the stuff of which England's greatness is made."

It's heartening to see that, seventy years later, both Vitesse and the city of Arnhem continue to raise a glass.

It should be noted that this isn't just something Vitesse did this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle. There is an entire airborne museum in Arnhem, and Vitesse has been wearing a version of the airborne kit for years. Veterans from the 1st Airborne are regularly invited back to Arnhem, and are feted like the heroes they are.

Vitesse revealed the kits as part of its trip to Bolton, where the clubs played a friendly together in the renamed Macron Stadium (which happens to be the shirt sponsor of both Vitesse and Bolton). Vitesse won the match 1-0, thanks to Marko Vejinovic picking up some free-kick lessons from Cesc Fabregas last week. Both Bertrand Traore and Wallace got the start, and it looks like Kelvin Leerdam might be moving from right back to defensive midfielder this season. If so, that's great news for Wallace, as he would have almost zero chance of displacing Leerdam, the club's leading returning goalscorer, having scored eight goals from right back last season.

Traore, meanwhile, continues to look like he'll be a major part of Peter Bosz' offence this season and we've written previously on how much Bosz likes Traore.