Previously unseen photos showing British and American soldiers liberating the Dutch city of Eindhoven 68 years ago have come to light.
The black and white snapshots depict scenes of jubilation among the local residents who had just endured four years and four months of Nazi occupation.
Many show captured German soldiers being rounded up and searched by the Allied troops while other servicemen are seen having a rest in the grass after taking the city.
Others are of women arm-in-arm with their liberators, children clambering over British army trucks and tanks and soldiers holding babies aloft.
But the scenes of celebration during the early stages of the doomed Operation Market Garden in September 1944 proved shortlived.
Hours after the pictures were taken, the Germans launched a devastating air attack on Eindhoven, destroying buildings and killing scores of civilians.
Market Garden – a daring mission to seize bridges across the Rhine and drive the enemy back towards Germany – ended in bloody failure.
On September 17, 1944 some 34,000 paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines at various points along the Rhine river in order to take the strategic bridges.
The British 30 Corps tank regiment were to provide back up by driving 40 miles along a single track road from Eindhoven in the south to Arnhem in the north.
But the British were unable to reach their final objective and, with three miles to go, abandoned the operation on September 25, leaving 10,500 British paratroopers stranded at Arnhem.
About 1,500 of them were killed in the Battle of Arnhem and 6,500 taken prisoner.
Another 2,500 soldiers were left on the wrong side of the Rhine but were heroically rescued by boat in a night-time evacuation under the noses of the Germans.
Despite the failure of the operation, Eindhoven remained free from the Nazis.
The unpublished photos were unearthed by British author Ian Gardner as he researched his book ‘Deliver Us From Darkness’.
It is a detailed account of the actions of the companion unit of the ‘Band of Brothers’ US paratroopers, who were immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s TV series of the same name.
Ian, from Aldershot, Hampshire, UK said: ‘Military historians have said Market Garden was a total disaster.
‘But try telling that to the Dutch for whom Allied paratroopers were liberators from German tyranny and occupation.
‘Upon entering Eindhoven, which was the first Dutch city to be liberated, thousands of people spilled onto the streets to embrace the paratroopers, overjoyed after four dark years of Nazi occupation.
‘When XXX Corps entered the city, the roads were so crowded their tanks and vehicles were unable to get through.
‘The celebrations were short-lived as Eindhoven was bombed the following evening by the Luftwaffe, causing hundreds of civilian casualties.
‘The German army began an audacious series of counter-attacks along the road to Arnhem and over the next two weeks the American paratroopers were called upon to defend the transport hubs north of Eindhoven.’