The wail of a single bagpipe drifted across this village this week as Queen Elizabeth honored British paratroopers who died in one of the great Allied tragedies of World War II.
The queen visited a small cemetery on the outskirts of this eastern Dutch hamlet. Buried there are hundreds of members of a British airborne force that tried to secure a bridgehead across the Rhine in September 1944.Promised Allied reinforcements failed to arrive and the attempt to gain a foothold for an early invasion of Nazi Germany was crushed in what has become known as the Battle of Arnhem.
The battle was centerpiece of the movie "A Bridge Too Far."
Elizabeth and Prince Philip and their hosts, Dutch Queen Beatrix and her husband Prince Claus, paused at several graves as they walked through the Arnhem-Oosterbeek War Cemetery.
As a bagpipe played, Elizabeth laid a wreath of red poppies at the 17-foot memorial cross that dominates the cemetery. The wreath bore the inscription: "In Memory of the Glorious Dead from HM Queen Elizabeth II."
Those buried here were members of Britain's 1st Airborne Division, which took a forward position on the northern ramp of the Rhine bridge in the nearby city of Arnhem.
The 600 men ran into fierce opposition from German Army and SS units who used tanks and armored vehicles to crush the assault.
About 200 invited guests, many of them medal-bedecked veterans, watched the ceremony.
The cemetery was the final stop on a royal visit marking the tricentenary of the naval armada led by Dutch Prince William III in 1688 to topple the tyrannical James II from the British throne.
After the ceremony, Elizabeth and Philip left for the Royal Dutch Air Force base at nearby Deelen, and then departed for the United Kingdom