A POIGNANT photograph will capture the loss of those soldiers killed in the Battle of Arnhem.

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the start of the battle, and to mark this milestone a group of people who all lost a relative in the fight will be photographed on the banks of the river Rhine on Friday morning.

They will each hold an image of their lost loved one.

They have been brought together by historian and author Dilip Sarkar, who describes them as “strangers bound by the invisible thread of having lost someone at Arnhem”.

Dilip is author of the recently published Arnhem 1944: The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far, which concentrates on the moving stories of individual casualties.

This research involved tracing many families, providing much previously unseen material – some of which, including medals and personal effects, are included in the exhibition on the book at the Airborne At the Bridge (AATB) annex of the Airborne Museum , which will open immediately after the families’ photograph is taken.

Sixteen casualties families are expected to attend including ‘Ted’ McSkimmings, brother of Carlisle Trooper Ray McSkimmings, and the niece of missing Penrith AT gunner Thomas Stanley Warwick.

Ray’s family owned a fish and chip shop in Carlisle and were a well-known family. Ray did well at the local grammar school, becoming an auctioneer before joining the elite Reconnaissance Unit in 1943.

By May 1944, Ray had qualified as a paratrooper and was a member of the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, commanded by Major Freddie Gough. On September 19 he was reconnoitring the Amsterdamseweg, south of Planken Wambuis, when ‘C’ Troop’s jeeps came under fire.

Ray was killed immediately.

His mother, Nora, was committed to keeping his memory alive, a torch now held by his younger brother, Ted, and wife Shirley. Trooper Ray McSkimmings was 19 and is buried at Oosterbeek.

Gunner Thomas Stanley Warwick, known as Stan, was a farm labourer from Penrith. He enlisted in 1939, initially serving as an anti-aircraft gunner on Gibraltar, returning in 1942 he married Beryl and the couple had a daughter, Patricia, born in 1943.

That year, be became an airborne anti-tank gunner. It is believed he was wounded near and died at the Hartenstein (now the Airborne Museum), but the 30-year-old remains missing.

His family, and niece Nadine Jeschko in particular, are still trying to find Stan’s last resting place.

Dilip said: “This unique photograph and exhibition is the culmination of a long and deeply moving journey, bringing together all of these families commonly bound by having lost someone at Arnhem.

“Rightly, there has been a great focus on survivors, so through this project and photograph we seek to provide the casualties a voice. All of this material could so easily have been lost – emphasising the crucial importance of this work.”