"It's remarkable that a treasure trove of memories and photos from the veterans of such a small formation was so painstakingly collected, carefully preserved, and thoughtfully crafted after all these years into an excellent unit history. Great work!
With so much source material on hand from such a high proportion of the 21st's veterans, the authors reconstruct the action practically on a minute-by-minute basis, well illustrated with photographs and maps."
Stone books (Stone & Stone)
Leading The Way To Arnhem' tells the story of the 21st Independent Parachute Company, the elite Pathfinder unit of the British 1st Airborne Division.
The Pathfinders were to drop in advance of the Airborne Division.
Their task was to clear the dropping and landing zones of the enemy and lay electronic and visual markers to ensure accurate landing of parachute and glider borne troops.
When their initial tasks were completed the Independent Company was to be at the disposal of the Divisional Commander as a 'trouble shooting' unit for employment in any capacity he might think necessarry. This included deep-penetration patrolling, tank hunting, sniping and any other tasks which required unorthodox or specialised combat knowledge.
Being first on the ground in enemy held territory they were to use their initiative and make their own decisions, hence their motto:
'Independent by name and independent by nature'