The remarkable true story of a Canadian paratrooper’s escape from behind enemy lines following the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944.
On September 17, 1944, over 8,000 men of the British 1st Airborne Division landed in German-occupied Netherlands as part of the largest airborne invasion ever undertaken. Twenty-two-year-old Canadian paratrooper Leo Heaps was one of them.
Told with authenticity and clarity, Heaps’ personal account of the nightmare battle fought after the paratroopers dropped at Oosterbeek paints a remarkably vivid picture of one of the most dramatic and little-known events of the Second World War.
Captain Leo Heaps volunteered to serve with the British Army early in 1944 and arrived in England in May of that year. Attached to the Dorset Infantry Regiment, he took part in the D-Day assault on Normandy in June. After twelve days, he was wounded and returned to England. In August, he applied to join a British Parachute Regiment and was accepted. A mere three weeks later, Heaps made his first and only jump as the Arnhem assault commenced.
Escape from Arnhem is a powerful and personal account of a young man’s experience fighting in the Battle of Arnhem. His capture by the Germans and incredible escape was only the beginning. His immediate return to Holland as part of Operation Pegasus and his vital work with the Dutch resistance to help rescue hundreds of Allied soldiers behind enemy lines resulted in Heaps being awarded the Royal Military Cross for “outstanding gallantry.”
Written only a year after the war ended, the images of the Battle of Arnhem are as fresh and raw as the wounds of war themselves and offer a stark reminder of the triumph and tragedy during and after the Battle of Arnhem.