Andrew (Andy) Milbourne(2009+) 1st Para Bn Machinegun Platoon returns to Arnhem in 1953.
Andrew Milbourne flew to Arnhem in a dakota with 17 other members of his Machine-Gun
In England he has received information about the landing-zones and even instructions
Andrew, who is number 1 in the Platoon thinks about his parents during the flight and about his
fiance Peggy who serves in England at that moment.
Others in the Plane are whistling or singing softly and then the red light in the plane
turns on and someone shouts "Action Action". All get ready for the jump but it takes
about 20 minutes before the green light turns on.
Andrew is the 3rd one to jump and suddenly he sees that some lines of his parachute are
twisted together. Because of that, a part of his parachute does not unfold. He tries to get
rid of his kit but doesn't succeed and with a hard bang he hits the ground
He then goes to the assembly point and already sees his mates Jock, Bill and Andy.
Andy asks if Andrew has brought the tea with him but in his hurry Andrew left the bag
with tea and sugar behind next to his parachute.
Well, go and get it then says Andy and Andrew goes on his way to the spot where he hit the ground
Suddenly there is a burst of machinegun fire and he runs back to the the assembly point, without
When they are halfway between the Wolfheze Station and Oosterbeek they run into the enemy.
Suddenly there is machinegun fire and bursting shells. Andrew discovers a machinegun not far away
and the platoon gets the orders to come in action. They crawl through the terrain to find a good
spot for their machinegun and then they opened fire towards the German Positions.
The Platoon advances further, that night it is raining and the fightings in the woods
are getting heavier. Everywhere you hear the screaming of the wounded and dead soldiers are laying all around.
The Platoon is in action whole the night and in a fight with a German Tiger tank the machinegun went out of action.
Later that night they had to retreat in the direction of Oosterbeek but they think that the 2nd Army will
arrive on monday or else tuesday morning.
On the 19th of September Andrew gets the order to drive to the bridge at Arnhem
Andrew asks for volunteers. Dobrozyski, Williams and Sergeant Birmingham volunteer for the job.
In a Jeep they drive to the bridge, Andrew doesn't feel comfortable about the job and he is tired.
They take position in a garden near the bridge but soon the fightings begin. Grenades and shells
land on their position and then suddenly there is a big flash..two of the volunteers are dead and
Sergeant Birmingham is severely wounded. Andrew is laying unconscious on the ground.
When he awakes he is in a German Hospital behind the enemy lines, when he looks around he sees a man
busy with coffins. Andrew begins to cry and shout, "What is this, I am dying, or am I already dead, let me out of here I don't want to die".
Andrew did not die but he lost his two hands and an eye.
After the Battle Andrew was 3 months in German hospitals and POW camps.
When he finally returned to England he first worked in the coalmines and later at the
"Civil Service Ministry of Pensions".
In 1952 he wrote the book "Lease of Life" about his experiences during the Battle of Arnhem.
He had a son named Ronald.
Andrew Milbourne MBE died aged 86 in february 2009.
Andrew Milbourne on the Airborne Cemetery Oosterbeek at the grave of
F.P. Dobrozyski who was killed when he and Andrew were hit by a shell.
At this spot on the road to Wolfheze Andrew had positioned his Vickers Machinegun.
At the spot where Andrew was fighting with the Germans he and his wife Peggy
find a rusted part of an ammonution box.
Andrew Milbourne with the owner of Hotel Dreyeroord-Oosterbeek(AKA The White House) G.W. van der Sraaten
and next to him his wife Peggy.
He shows van der Straaten the spot where he was dropped.
Andrew Milbourne on the grounds of "Klein Amerika" at the Johannahoeve Oosterbeek,
the spot where he was dropped.
Andrew Milbourne having dinner with his wife Peggy.