HQ 1st Airborne Division
HQ 1st Airborne Division formed the headquarters for operations of the 1st Airborne Division, protected by the Defence Platoon.
Formed as The Airborne Division on 1 November 1941, its headquarters were initially in King Charles Street London, until moving to Syrencote House at Figheldean in Wiltshire. It was later redesignated as 1st Airborne Division on the creation of 6th Airborne Division.
The division's primary campaigns were brigade actions in North Africa and Sicily, landing as a division in Italy in 1943. It was not used for the D-Day landings and was on stand-by for numerous cancelled actions until the ill-fated Operation Market Garden in September 1944. During this operation the division was tasked with capturing the river crossings at Arnhem and the battle was later immortalised in the film 'A Bridge Too Far'.
At Arnhem, the divisional headquarters was established at the Hartenstein Hotel in nearby Oosterbeek. The Airborne Museum 'Hartenstein' now acts as a permanent memorial to the conflict, and a place of pilgrimage for veterans of the battle.
The division was virtually wiped out during the fighting around Arnhem and Oosterbeek. It was disbanded on 15 November 1945 after participating in the liberation of Norway and Denmark.
See also: 1st Airborne Division