The Air Despatch Memorial stands on a site close to the Oosterbeek Cemetery.
17th September 1994 marked the 50th anniversary of 1st Airborne Division’s landing at Arnhem.
On Sunday 18th September 1994, 50 years to the day of the first re-supply drops taking place,
a new memorial was unveiled. The wording on the memorial is as follows :-
To the memory of the Air Despatchers of the Royal Army Service Corps who, together with the
aircrew of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force, gave their lives in valiant
attempts to resupply the airborne forces during the Battle of Arnhem.
The names of the Air Despatchers who lost their lives are listed on the monument’s panels.
The Memorial was dedicated by the Reverend E J Phillips who was the Padre of the 3rd Battalion
the Parachute Regiment at Arnhem. A Wreath was laid by the last remaining Air Despatch unit,
47 Air Despatch Squadron Royal Logistic Corps. Wreaths were also laid on behalf of the companies
of the fallen.
271 Sqn was part of No 46 Group Royal Air Force which within Air Transport Command specialised in supply by
air, parachute drops and glider towing. The responsibility for packing, installing and despatching loads was assumed
by the RASC Air Despatch units. The operations from Down Ampney, in particular Operation Market Garden,
typify the close co-operation between the two. As a result of their part in the operation the Air Despatch units were
awarded the right to wear a formation sign of their own. The now familiar Yellow Dakota on a blue background is
shown in the memorial window. Since 1942 Air Despatchers have lived, worked and died alongside their
Flight-Lieutenant Lord. RAF Transport Command
Flight-Lieutenant David Samuel Anthony Lord was born on 18 October 1913 in Cork, Eire. At the time of the campaign,
Lord was a member of No. 271 Squadron, Transport Command, and Royal Air Force.
The citation for his Victoria Cross is reproduced below (London Gazette 13 November 1945):
Flight Lieutenant Lord was pilot and captain of a Dakota aircraft [KG 374 YS-DM] detailed to drop supplies at Arnhem
on the afternoon of the 19th September, 1944. Our airborne troops had been surrounded and were being pressed into a
small area defended by a large number of anti-aircraft guns. Air crews were warned that intense opposition would be
met over the dropping zone. To ensure accuracy they were ordered to fly at 900 feet when dropping their containers.
While flying at 1,500 feet near Arnhem the starboard wing of Flight Lieutenant Lord's aircraft was twice hit by
anti-aircraft fire. The starboard engine was set on fire. He would have been justified in leaving the main stream of supply
aircraft and continuing at the same height or even abandoning his aircraft. But on learning that his
crew were uninjured and that the dropping zone would be reached in three minutes he said he would complete his
mission, as the troops were in dire need of supplies.
By now the starboard engine was burning furiously. Flight Lieutenant Lord came down to 900 feet, where he was singled
out for the concentrated fire of all the anti-aircraft guns. On reaching the dropping zone he kept the aircraft on a straight
and level course while supplies were dropped. At the end of the run, he was told that two
containers remained. Although he must have known that the collapse of the starboard wing could not be
long delayed, Flight Lieutenant Lord circled, rejoined the stream of aircraft and made a second run to drop the remaining
These manoeuvres took eight minutes in all, the aircraft being continuously under heavy anti-aircraft fire. His task
completed, Flight Lieutenant Lord ordered his crew to abandon the Dakota, making no attempt himself to leave the
aircraft, which was down to 500 feet. A few seconds later, the starboard wing collapsed and the aircraft fell in flames.
There was only one survivor, who was flung out while assisting other members of the
crew to put on their parachutes.
By continuing his mission in a damaged and burning aircraft, descending to drop the supplies accurately, returning to the
dropping zone a second time and, finally, remaining at the controls to- give his crew a chance of escape, Flight Lieutenant
Lord displayed supreme valour and self-sacrifice.