The Tank Museum | Market Garden Relics Donated to the Museum's Archive

Market Garden Relics Donated to the Museum's Archive

German Battle Honours brought back from Arnhem by a British Airborne Soldier

4th October 2019

September marked the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden. A recent donation of German military decorations, stirs memories of the operation 75 years on. 

Market Garden Badges Combined

Acquired by a member of the British Airborne in Arnhem, 1944, these badges have been donated to The Tank Museum's Archive. The Donor’s mother, then serving with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in Kent, was gifted the badges in late 1944 by a British Paratrooper returning to the UK. He had taken the badges in Arnhem during the Operation. Their previous owner’s fate is unknown.

Operation Market Garden, the brain child of British Field Marshal Montgomery, was a bold plan to capture a series of waterways and bridges in the Netherlands, to bypass the heavily defended German Siegfried Line, forcing a path into the the German industrial region of the Rhur, and on to Berlin. 

We don’t know whether the Wound Badge and Panzer Assault Badge belonged to the same German soldier or not, but both heavily tarnished. The tarnish is so significant that determining the grade of the decorations has proved a trifle tricky, but they are likely Silver Grade.

Both badges followed a strict award criteria. A Silver Grade (2nd Class) Wound Badge was awarded to soldiers wounded three or four times or suffered loss of a hand, foot, eye (and even partial hearing) or facial disfigurement/brain damage via hostile action.

A Silver Grade Panzer Assault Badge was awarded to tank commanders, gunners or radio operators who had taken part in three armoured assaults on three different days, or been wounded in an assault or won a decoration for bravery in an assault.