Printed in the Liverpool Echo on April 18, 2011.
War veterans from around the country will gather on Merseyside for a final reunion.
Among them will be Ken McKernan, 86, who served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers during the World War II allied forces mission famously depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far.
His wife Ann has arranged the get together in Southport for 150 former British and Dutch servicemen who fought in operation Market Garden.
The operation which began on September 17, 1944, was an attempt by the Allies to take control of several bridges in the German-occupied Netherlands.
This would have allowed forces to enter the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial heartland, and could have won the war for the Allies almost a year earlier than it officially ended.
Mr McKernan, of Huyton, said: “The reunions are a chance to get together and talk about the war.
“I met someone I had not seen for 50 years who had been wounded during D-Day. He said he recognised me by my laugh.
“This will be the last one because we are all getting too old now – I am 86 and am one of the youngest!”
“It will be sad, but Ann is determined to make this the best one we have had in 22 years.”
Mr McKernan lived in Coniston Street, Everton, when he was called for service in 1942.
He was 19 when he helped to capture the Nijmegen bridge, in the Netherlands, but the allied operation failed when airborne troops were unable to defeat the Germans at the Battle of Arnhem.
Mrs McKernan, 67, who has been on the Market Garden Veterans’ Association North West branch committee for 23 years, said: “We are trying to make this a really special reunion, and we hope to make it a free weekend for the veterans.”
The four-day long event will bring together the seven regional branches of the Market Garden Veterans’ Association, and will be held in The Prince of Wales Hotel, Southport, from June 17.
The committee hope to raise £30,000 to cover the cost of the weekend.
Anyone wishing to contribute can contact Mrs McKernan on 0151 289 0099.