Divine Wedding Dress
From the collection of the ‘Hartenstein’ Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek
h 130 cm x w 60 cm
The Allies wanted to put an end to the war as quickly as possible, so in the autumn of 1944 they launched a dangerous plan: Operation Market Garden. On the 17th of September 1944, 35.000 British and American paratroopers jumped from planes above the Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Gelderland or landed by glider.
The sky was filled with thousands of parachutes in all sorts of colours. The soldiers had orders to take the bridges over the big rivers and wait for ground troops from the south. The assault on the first bridges went well, but near the city of Arnhem the enemy military presence was in fact too strong, reinforced by German tank divisions that had been resting in the nearby regions Achterhoek and Veluwe. It also took troops from the south too long to arrive. The bridge over the Rhine remained in German hands. Operation Market Garden was a failure. After this aerial assault countless parachutes were left behind. The material from these chutes was more than welcome due to the large textile shortage in 1944. There are many known instances of women making a wedding dress from a white parachute.