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Vitesse welcomes heroic British soldiers back to Arnhem

Paul Meima | Vitesse

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem, an Allied offensive during World War II that was part of Operation Market Garden. The British 1st Airborne parachuted into Arnhem under cover of night, but upon landing, they found that they were vastly outnumbered by the Germans, who had mortars, artillery, and tanks, while the paratroopers had only the rifles they jumped with.

Against staggering odds, the 1st Airborne held on much longer than expected, despite suffering heavy casualties (and, as a result of the losses suffered, the 1st Airborne never saw combat again).

During the eighth day of the battle, Alan Wood, a war correspondent embedded with the 1st Airborne, 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."

Both Vitesse and the city of Arnhem have continued to raise a glass, seventy years on.

Earlier this week, Vitesse hosted Phil Samuel, the grandson of Trevor Samuel, a soldier in the British 1st Airborne who fought at Arnhem. The younger Samuel travelled to Arnhem to learn about his grandfather's service, and Vitesse's video team was on hand to document his visit. From the video, It's clear that both the football club and the city of Arnhem's commitment to honouring the 1st Airborne is unwavering.

The club has been participating in activities all week helping to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the battle, and will play its annual Airborne match tomorrow at the Gelredome. The club will wear its special Airbone kit, which features the claret and blue colours of the 1st Airborne.

Unfortunately, the festivities are missing a very important figure this year, specifically a man called Johnny Peters. Peters, who fought in the Battle of Arnhem as a twenty-one year old sniper, was one of just two members in his platoon who survived the battle. Peters had been returning to Arnhem for over forty years to remember his fallen brothers, and the city had always welcomed him back with open arms. Peters recently passed away, and both the club and the city will miss him greatly. We wrote about Peters and his relationship with the club and city last month, and we included a video and images courtesy of Vitesse documenting the salute that Guram Kashia gave Peters, which Samuel mentions in the video above.

As for the match itself, Vitesse is looking to build on its 3-1 victory last week and climb up the table with another win against Heerenveen tomorrow (19.45 BST, 14.45 EST).

Vitesse's captain Guram Kashia broke his toe last week and will be out for a few weeks. Bertrand Traore suffered a knock playing for Burkina Faso during the international break and missed last week's match. However, he's been training this week, and hopefully he'll be fit for tomorrow. Wallace has firmly established himself as Peter Bosz's first-choice right back, and Josh McEachran will likely start the match on the bench.

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