Menu Donate Request our help

Helpline: 0300 102 1919

Operation Market Garden 75th Anniversary

This year marks 75 years since Operation Market Garden, the largest ever airborne mission. Although ultimately a failure, General Montgomery's plan became known as a 'glorious defeat' and showed the bravery, tenacity and determination of the British Armed Forces.

There were five Victoria Crosses awarded during the mission, four for Army personnel and one for an RAF pilot, Flight Lieutenant David Lord. Flight Lieutenant David Lord of No. 271 Sqn was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions on 19 September, 1944.

Flight Lieutenant David LordRAF Pilot Flight Lieutenant David Lord of No. 271 Sqn

Born in Cork in October 1913, Lord, known as Lummy, was a pre-war regular who had already flown extensively on transport operations in the Far East and Middle East, and over Normandy.

On 19 September, he was tasked with flying resupply missions to the drop zones in Arnhem. The slow-moving supply aircraft came under heavy fire and Lord's Dakota was hit by flak and one engine set on fire.

Now illuminated for the enemy to see, all German guns targeted the stricken aircraft. On discovering there were two loads remaining in the cargo bay, Lord insisted on making a second run to drop all of his supplies before ordering his crew to bail out.

At this point, flying at just 500ft there was no way Lord could extinguish the fire or make an emergency landing. He attempted to hold his aircraft steady while his crew escaped but tragically only one managed to do so before the aircraft crashed, killing Lord and his six remaining crew members.

The greatest tragedy of Lord's actions is the drop zone below had been overrun by German troops. Due to the radio blackout, Lord and his crew would not have been aware they were risking their lives for supplies which would ultimately end up in enemy hands.

Related articles:

Sign up to receive the RAFBF e-newsletter