Lt Jimmy Cleminson “General Roy Urquhart told me at Arnhem, that I had a dammed silly moustache”

Lieutenant Jimmy Cleminson “I was the one with the silly moustache”

Sir James Cleminson KBE MC MiD  (1921 – 2010)

Lieutenant Jimmy Cleminson commanded No 5 Platoon of B Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion, in the assault on the bridge at Arnhem.

Their role was to lead the 3rd Battallion’s advance and act as scouts ahead of the main force. Making good progress on the first day, east of Wolfheze, they approached the German Battallion Krafft’s defences. Jimmy’s platoon was split either side of a junction. when they were suddenly aware of a German Citroen Staff car coming towards them. The entire platoon opened fire on the car, killing all the occupants. He recalls that his men were so enthusiastic with their firing, that he had to intervene to get them to cease firing. They had in fact taken out, the German Commander of the Arnhem area, General Friedrich Kussin. He had unwisely decided to return to his own HQ, having visited Krafft.

Lt Jimmy Cleminson

General Friedrich Kussin

The next day, having reached the Hartenstein Hotel, a mile short of the bridge at Arnhem, Cleminson and another captain found themselves helping the divisional commander, General Roy Urquhart, who had been cut off from his staff. Sheltering in an attic from a German gun position, Urquhart took exception to Cleminson’s large moustache, which he described as “damned silly”.

Lt Jimmy Cleminson was featured in the film ‘A Bridge Too Far’ played by Michael Graham Cox.

Seen here with Sean Connery playing Major General Roy Urquhart

You can see Jimmy Cleminson’s full memoir of Arnhem in our new film Remembering Arnhem.

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