THE life of a Colchester soldier will be celebrated at a service to remember the bonds formed between British airborne forces and the Netherlands almost eight decades ago.
A service to honour the heroes of the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 will take place at the Colchester War Memorial, in High Street, at noon on Wednesday.
This year’s event will be themed around the experiences of Sgt Eric ‘Herbie’ Atkinson.
Sgt Atkinson, a gunner in 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery Royal Artillery, was originally from Tilbury and trained in Colchester.
Having already fought at Dunkirk, North Africa, and Sicily during the Second World War, he was rescued by the Dutch resistance during the Battle of Arnhem.
After the war, one of the resisters - Jac van Someren - became an artist, and visited Sgt Atkinson to give him a sculpture.
Called Verwondering, which translates to astonishment, it shows a woman looking up at the sky to see all the planes and gliders flying to Arnhem and represents the hope of liberation given by that fleet of aircraft.
Both Mr Van Someren and Sgt Atkinson have passed away and the Atkinson family has donated the sculpture to The Minories gallery in Colchester, where it will go on permanent display.