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Paul works on 2021 schedule

Here is the latest message from Paul Moore, our President, regarding the background work he is doing in preparation for next year:

All, I recently had an online meeting with a chap called Ian Parsons, who runs the London Taxi Charity. These are the guys who since 1945 have been taking veterans on days out etc and in recent years have been taking our elderly WW2 veterans to Normandy and Arnhem. They are also the guys who provide free taxi rides to Waterloo for veterans attending the cenotaph on remembrance day in London.
We discussed a possible alliance between Airborne Forces Riders and the London Taxi Charity, in order to visit elderly veterans in care homes / home locations in the south of the UK on significant dates such as birthdays, remembrance day etc. Clearly, there are currently restrictions in place and we must abide by those, but in the future this may become easier. We may also be involved in a possible joint venture to Worthing in West Sussex (day trip with WW2 veterans), Normandy and Arnhem in 2021. This is all in the ‘discussion stage’ at this time and I will keep you updated. No action required at this point. Stay safe all. P.

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President’s statement on Arnhem 2020

Well, most of us couldn’t make it. So, as you know Paul and Charlie went to represent us.

It was a massive success.  Paul reports that the Dutch truly appreciated us not going this year.  We showed, by not going, that we respected them.

The result was that there was a closer focus on Paul and Charlie and the reason for their visit.  That focus meant both newspaper and TV had pieces about the new commemorative pin.

Here is Paul’s report in full:

It was a great honour to be in Arnhem & Oosterbeek this weekend with my great friend Charlie McColgan, to formally present the Flower Children the 2020 pin in recognition and respect of their efforts since 1945. Charlie presented a pin to Kiki (age 9) as it was their meeting last year that sparked the idea that rekindles an old tradition of the veterans giving the flower children a souvineer. The pins are provided through funds raised by Charlie and presented on behalf of the Airborne Forces Riders to the Flower Children of Arnhem. The pin is a copy of the flower children statue and is dated 1945-2020 and in coming years the end date will change and there will be small variations, making each year unique and collectable. There will only be 2000 issued each year with the majority going to the flower children and the remainder sold to raise funds for the following year.
We are grateful for the advice and assistance of Frans Ammerlaan and Hans Kelderman of the Market Garden Foundation , Daphne and her mum of the organising committee of the Flower Children and the outgoing Elderman of Renkum/Oosterbeek.

Paul Moore RE, Maj (Retd)

President

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Charlie and the flower children

Charlie McColgan, our Vice President started the idea of an annual gift for the Flower Children of Arnhem.  The Riders, Supporters and friends responded superbly to his call for support.

He and Paul Moore, our President, decided that, despite the Covid restrictions, they would travel to Arnhem this year to oversee the distribution to the 1400 children.

Of course, this means that they will be quarantined for 14 days on their return but they both agreed the trip would be worth the sacrifice.

Here they are at the Flower Children memorial, the inspiration for the lapel pins that the children will receive each year.

 

The first Annual lapel pin for the Flower Children
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Arnhem Remembrance 2020

Unfortunately, we have been unable to join in the ceremonies in Arnhem this year.  The Coronavirus restrictions has kept most of us at home.  So sadly, we are watching from afar.

However,  Paul Moore, our President and Charlie McColgan, our Vice-President, have gone to Arnhem to represent the Airborne Forces Riders and to oversee distribution of the commemorate pin to the children.  Both will quarantine for 14 days on their return.

Today they were at the Airborne Museum paying their respects to the RAF

The RAF Memorial, Arnhem

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The funeral of John Jeffries – Arnhem Veteran

John “Jeff” Jeffries passed to Valhalla on 30th August 2020. 

Jeff was known to all of us as one of the regular attending Veterans in Arnhem each year.  He became, over the last five years, very firm friends with our Vice President, Charlie McColgan.

The Airborne Forces Riders did him proud at his funeral, both pallbearers and as a riding escort to the funeral procession.

Here are some of the photos taken by our riders on the day:

 

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Charlie says “Goodbye” on behalf of the Riders

Charlie McColgan has, over the past years, become a firm friend of Arnhem veteran, John “Jeff” Jeffries.

Sadly, Jeff passed away on 30th August 2020.  His funeral, rather fittingly was on 17th September 2020.  All Airborne soldiers know that date.  It was the start of Operation Market Garden in 1944.  On the 17th Jeff was preparing his kit for the drop on the following day.  Jeff was shot while parachuting down onto the DZ, DZ X Ray, now known to us as Ginkel Heath.  Jeff’s life was saved by two young Dutch girls who tended to him on the DZ.  Charlie was determined to mark his passing, on the actual DZ on the 18th September, the day he landed all those years ago.

Charlie has sent a video, from Ginkel Heath, Arnhem, which our President, Paul Moore posted on the Airborne Forces Riders Facebook page.  

Click to see video

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Double Hills ride out – a fabulous success!

What a belting weekend!

We arrived on Friday night and the festivities began.  A true airborne gathering with beer and banter in equal measures.

Saturday morning we set off to join members of the local biker’s club, Van Dieman MCC, who escorted us on a scenic ride to the Walnut Pub, Weston Super Mare, for coffee and a bite to eat.  Paul Moore, our President, presented them with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Airborne Forces Riders.

They were surprised and very pleased with the gift.

Suitably replenished we set off for the Milton Road Cemetery where we held a short memorial service at the graves of the 23 fatalities from Double Hills.

We then rode out to an addition to our programme.  We rode to the grave of the hero of Rorke’s Drift, Lt Chard VC, RE.  He was the one who pulled rank on Michael Caine in the film Zulu.  In real life he organised Rorke’s Drift to successfully defend against the Zulu attack.  It was a special privilege to visit his grave, especially for the 9 Sqn lads

Sunday, after another night of merriment, saw us ride to the Double Hills Memorial for the annual service.

A poignant end to a super weekend.

Click here for video of the event

WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM

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Inspiration for Charlie’s badges

Here is the inspiration for the design of Charlie’s badges.  Although Charlie McColgan drew inspiration for the design of the badges from the statue shown in the photo, we must NEVER forget that the inspiration for the idea was purely, simply and totally Charlie’s!

I, and many others, would like to be a part of this venture, and we will do everything in our power to make it succeed, now and in the future.  But, we cannot claim any part of the credit for the original idea (much as I and my Brothers-in-arms would love to).

Charlie, and only Charlie, came up with the idea of doing “something” for the wonderful children who lay the flowers on the graves of the fallen, each year, at Arnhem.  For this we must give him the total credit he deserves.

I would ask all my Airborne brothers, Supporters and friends to always, in the future, to refer to the badges as “Charlie’s badges“, so that we forever remind people that our very own Charlie McColgan, ex 9 Sqn, Falklands veteran, had a brilliant, wonderful and inspirational idea….and he followed up with action to make it happen.

We’ll done Charlie McColgan

 

 

 

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Charlie’s Arnhem badges sell out in minutes !!

Less than an hour and they were all gone!! That’s how long it took for 600 badges, of the total of 2000 that were for sale, to sell.  But, there is still a way that you can buy one.

The allocation was as follows:

  1. The flower children of Arnhem – 1400
  2. The Trafalgar Pub – 200
  3. Sale on Ebay – 400

The Ebay badges went almost immediately it was announced.  However, Richard Stacey, landlord of the Trafalger Pub, is yet to receive his allocation to sell through the pub.  If you want one then please contact Stace via Facebook to find out if he has any left.  When he runs out that is it !!

There will be no others made until next year.  2000 each year is the production run and it will stay at that to ensure rarity value for the children.

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New Arnhem Ride and PRA Visit

Hot off the presses from Paul Moore:

Airborne Forces Riders
Arnhem Weekend Sat 19 – Sun 20 Sep 2020

The weekend will consist of riders making an RV in the east midlands near Leicester. Riders will then visit the memorial to 10 Bn Parachute Regiment who had been billeted at Somerby in 1944. Of the 584 men who flew to Arnhem there were only 36 who returned to Somerby.
Riders will then make their way to Woodhall Spa to visit the Arnhem memorial located there in the grounds of the Cottage Museum dedicated to 1st Airlanding Brigade. Nearby is the memorial to those of 617 (Dambuster) Squadron RAF who did not return from the raid.
Riders will then ride to Cleethorpes PRA Club for an overnight of shenanigans and merry-making. Riders return home under own arrangements.
Riders who wish to make their own arrangement are welcome to do so.

Sat 19 Sep.

1145 – 1230 Hrs RV – Sainsbury’s Car Park, Market Harborough

Sainsbury’s
Saint Mary’s Road
Market Harborough
LE16 7DR
England

Note: There is a fuel station at Sainsbury’s. Top up here.

1230 Hrs Depart to Tenth Memorial. (17 Miles – 30 Min)

Twyford Road
Burrough on the Hill
Melton Mowbray
LE14 2QS

1330 Hrs Depart to Woodhall Spa (54 Miles – 1 Hr 30 Min)
Arrive at 1500 Hrs

1.
617 Sqn (Op Chastise) Memorial – located on road junction entering Woodhall Spa.
Junction of B1191 and B1192.
Royal Gardens
Woodhall Spa
East Lindsey
Lincolnshire
LN10 6QL

2.
Arnhem Memorial
Cottage Museum
Iddesleigh Road
Woodhall Spa
LN10 6SH

1630 Hrs Depart to Cleethorpes ( 35 Miles – 1 Hour 30 min including fuel stop)

En Route Fuel located at:
Moorland Service Station
88 Horncastle Road
Roughton Moor
Woodhall Spa
LN10 6UX

ETA Cleethorpes – 1800 Hrs
Move into accommodation.
RV at PRA 1900 hrs onwards.

Sunday 20 Sep.
No programme. Riders – Ride home Safe.

 

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Double Hills Ride out – latest details

Double Hills Memorial Ride – 4/6th September 2020

Paul Moore, our President, has been working at top speed trying to put together our ride.  Here is the latest details giving the RVs  and outline plan on each day. IMPORTANT COVID Counter-measures.  All riders are respectfully requested to bring face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser for their own use during the weekend, and use where appropriate.

Outline Of Events

Fri 04 Sept.

Travel day. Riders are requested to ‘team up’ en route by making your own arrangements and RVs depending on where you are travelling from. Please post these on FB page so that everyone can see and join if necessary.

Sat 05 Sept

0930 hrs  Depart Best Western Midsomer Norton. (Those that are staying there) 0945 – 1015 hrs  RV at The Farrington Inn car park. (next to a Texaco garage). (4 Miles – 12 min) The Farrington Inn Bristol Road Farrington Gurney Bristol BS39 6TG          Click for Map

1015 Hrs  Depart for Weston Super Mare. (22 Miles – 42 Mins)

1115 Hrs  Arrive at WSM All Arms Veterans Breakfast Club. Social distancing rules in operation. More info to follow. They know we are coming and looking forward to meeting us. Some have taken part in Double Hills Service before. We may also RV with Vandieman MCC at this point. They know we are coming and have offered to host / escort us around WSM area. 1230 hrs  Depart to Milton cemetery. (4.5 Miles- 15 Mins) Milton Cemetery Weston-super-Mare BS23 2RP                  Click for Map

1300 Hrs   Act of Remembrance at the graves of glider crew (21 men from 9 Para RE and 2 Glider Pilot Regt).  23 crosses to be laid. 1400 Hrs  Depart.  (Programme TBC but likely to be a ride out with Vandieman MCC and a visit to their clubhouse) . Return to digs afterwards etc.

Sun 06 Sept

1200 Hrs  Best Western latest check out time.  Depart Best Western for Paulton or perhaps a small ride out or pub lunch somewhere. TBC. 1330 Hrs  Arrive car park. Paulton, Bristol BS39 7ND

Police will be in attendance for security & safety purposes.

Meet & Greet. There is a 5 minute walk across a field to the actual location of the memorial.

1430 Hrs Double Hills Service of Remembrance begins.  Brief History

The Double Hills Memorial Service, which remembers the 21 Sappers from the 9th Field Company (Airborne) Royal Engineers and 2 pilots from the Glider Pilots Regiment, who lost their lives on Sunday morning 17th September 1944, when their Horsa Glider RJ113 crashed into a meadow called Double Hills, in the village of Paulton, Somerset.  These were the first casualties of the Battle of Arnhem – Operation Market Garden. They had earlier taken off with their tug aircraft, a Stirling bomber, from RAF Keevil. 1530 Hrs. Act of Remembrance ends. Return to base locations under own arrangements or stay local & travel following day.

    Click for Map

 

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Charlie’s dream comes true

Charlie McColgan, ex 9 Sqn and Falklands vet, was so taken with the flower children in Arnhem that he hatched a plan last year.  The flower children lay a flower on the grave of the fallen men of Arnhem at the military cemetery in Oosterbeek.  His plan was to raise funds to enable a beret to be given to each of the children each year (some 1400 a year).  Initially he asked for beret donations and they flooded in.

After discussions with the organisers in Arnhem, it was felt that an annual pin badge would be a better idea.  They would be more discreet and would become collectable, something children (and adults) like to do).

Here is Charlie’s update:

It’s been a while since my “ last post” for the Flower Children of Arnhem”. Some of you know but if you don’t, last year I set out to try and present every kid who was laying flowers at the Oosterbeek Airborne Cemetery with a beret to wear this year… the response was incredible and between Richard Stacey and myself we have over 500 berets from all over the world… On negotiations with the committee who organise the “flower children” it was decided that giving the kids a beret wasn’t the way to go forward to thank them for what they do each year remembering our falling…( there is a plan for the berets and I will update soon) instead between both parties we have rekindled an old tradition of presenting the kids with a token of appreciation for what they do. This will be in the form of a Pin badge which hopefully will be a collectible item as each one will be the same but the year will change… my idea is to produce 2000 each year(1500) for the children and 500 up for grabs for a £5 including postage( details to follow). This way we can raise enough money to provide the pin badges every year …. I can only feel most humbled for the support this idea has had but at the end of the day, these children deserve our thanks as anybody who has been to Oosterbeek on that Sunday morning will understand.

Here is the pin:

The pin 😃😃

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ARNHEM 2020 – Cancelled

The following message has been released by Paul Moore, our President:

Dear all,
As you are aware, we have been paying very close attention to the COVID situation particularly in UK and Netherlands and the rest of Europe.
A few weeks ago things were looking very good and we were planning on attending in smaller numbers than previous years, and reducing our contact along with whatever social distancing measures were in place.
The UK Foreign Office advise against all but essential travel, and on Saturday the UK Government introduced new measures that mean that anyone travelling from NL / Belgium / France etc must self isolate for 14 days on return.  This makes the trip unviable as going against Government advice may invalidate insurances and employers are unlikely to look kindly on an employee having to take another two weeks off work on return.  On top of this, the Airborne Forces Riders must be seen to do the right thing and be socially responsible in order to help fight this virus.
Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I have made the decision that for this year the Airborne Forces Riders will NOT come to Arnhem for the Annual Commemorations.  However, we will be back in 2021 !
This year we are planning on some rides within the UK that are Market Garden related, and you will be able to follow these on our Facebook page.
Some riders have stated their intention to come to Arnhem no matter what situation is in place, and I have asked them NOT to wear any Airborne Forces Riders insignia while they are in Arnhem and surrounding areas.
I hope you all stay safe and well,
Best regards,
Paul
Paul Moore
President
Airborne Forces Riders
From the comments so far it would seem most people understand and agree with the decision.
Ride safe
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Double Hills Memorial – a ride with history

The first weekend in September sees the annual service at Double Hills.  This year the Airborne Forces Riders plan to have an arranged ride on Saturday and a short Service on Sunday, before setting off for home.

You may not know the tragic history of  Double hILLS.  It was the site of the very first casualties in Operation Market Garden.

Here is the history of Double Hills.  While you read it, imagine your thoughts, sitting in the glider taking off for the operation…

“Double Hills is the Annual Memorial to remember the 23 brave lives lost when Glider RJ113, enroute to Arnhem, crashed into a meadow called Double Hills in the village of Paulton in Somerset (Near Bath). They all died on a beautiful Sunday Morning 17th Sept.1944.

The men who died were the first casualties of the Battle for the Arnhem “Bridge Too Far“ Operation Market Garden, the plan to land an Allied Airborne Army behind German lines and end the war in 1944, and bring the boys home.

With their towing Bomber, a Stirling, they had taken off from RAF Keevil airfield, Trowbridge, Wilts. 21 Airborne Sappers from the 9th Field Company Airborne Royal Engineers and 2 Pilots from the Glider Pilot Regiment all died in the Double Hills meadow when their Glider broke up in the skies over Paulton and crashed to earth. All the soldiers who died were buried with honour at Weston Super Mare.

The Memorial which was built by the Royal Monmouth Regt. Sappers and established in 1979. It was unveiled by the commander of the famous British 1st Airborne Division, General Roy Urquhart.

As the years go on the numbers change. Except those of 21 Sappers and 2 Glider Pilots, who will remain in memory.

The Double Hills event is attended by many of the families of the fallen, whose attendance is growing every year, as new generations remember.

9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers and the Army Air Corps have been in attendance every year since inception.

The organiser and driving force behind this memorial is Mr Peter Yeates. Peter served in the Royal Navy and has been made an Honorary Member of the Airborne Engineers Association. Peter was also involved with 9 Para Sqn RE, when he was serving with the RAF Regiment Reserves in 1987, he did a BFT (Battle Fitness Test) at Rhine Barracks under SSM Baz Bassett in 11 mins, no mean feat aged 48. He also did a solo parachute descent at Thruxton airfield. In recognition of the work Peter has done over the years, particularly for getting a permanent memorial in place, in 1984 he was awarded the Institute of Royal Engineers Fowke Silver Medal by Arnhem Hero General “Shan” Hackett and General Shapland RE”

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Arnhem Changes

Quarantine of 14 days on return from Holland

HM Government have enlarged their list of places that require a 14 quarantine on return.

Clearly, this leaves many of us in an almost impossible position.  A decision regarding the Airborne Forces Riders, as an entity, will be made on 1st September.

Obviously, should it be decided that the Riders will not travel this year, then anyone is free to travel as an individual.

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President’s Report on the ROR 2020

Dear All,

SOUTH ATLANTIC MEDAL ASSOCIATION 2020 RIDE OF RESPECT 2020

On behalf of the Airborne Forces Riders and the 2020 Ride of Respect team, – Charlie, Tony, Phil, Iain and myself – please accept our very grateful thanks to everyone for all of the support given during our ride, especially your very generous donations to SAMA and practical help along the way.

Overall, the ride went very well, and we were able to keep to the allotted timings within a few minutes each day. Much of this was down to your local knowledge, escorting us through the difficult bits and the support of riders who were able to pre-recce routes, graves and memorials before we got there. This saved a huge amount of time and enabled us to spend more time with the families of the fallen, and former friends and colleagues. It was an honour to meet so many of the families of the fallen, our only regret being that we had to move on so quickly to keep up with the programme.

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Falklands war we feel that we fully achieved our aims of Remembrance, Respect and Awareness. We sincerely hope that now that we have mapped out where the Falklands graves and memorials are, that others may pay these a visit from time to time, keep them tidy and presentable, and honour those who fell for the freedom of others.

An additional bonus is that I am delighted to inform you that so far we have raised over £7000 for SAMA on our Just Giving page, some 300% over target due to the generosity of everyone who supported us. the page will not close for a couple of months yet so if you have not donated yet there is still time.

Already we are planning the SAMA 2021 Ride of Respect, and following lessons learnt over the last two years, it is likely to take place over a longer period of 01-15 August 2021. I will publish more information on this in the New Year.

Once again, our many thanks for your help and support. It is very much appreciated.

Paul Moore
Charlie McColgan
Tony McKie
Phil Damant
Iain Omerod
Airborne Forces Riders
Ride of Respect Team 2020

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Day Seven Report

After a good night in Aldershot the team set off for Basildon for the start if the penultimate day’s riding.  When they arrived they were met by other stalwarts of the Airborne Forces Riders.

And then…

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Day Six Report

TEAM UPDATE

Tony Mckie has not only replaced his scrapped bike, but has ridden down to rejoin the ride.  Outstanding!! Ian Ormerod had joined the team to replace Tony. So, the team is now five Riders.

I was going to write the report for today’s ride but Vic Thorn has already published one on the Facebook page which gives you a flavour of the day.  Here’s what he wrote today:

“Yesterday, was day 6th of the Ride of Respect, Phil Hannah will give you full details in his own update, this post is purely my perspective of the day, sorry Phil pictures to big for email. Phil and I got to Fort Cumberland in Southsea early and had a look round, the site is well appointed with admin, social and specialist rooms (you can see some of this from the first few photos). The staff there were brilliant, giving us a choice of toilets and allowing us to use their tea making facilities. Finally the main body arrived as did Gary Weaving the Boss of Forgotten Veterans. Paul Moore, as always was eloquent both in his explanation of what the ride of respect was all about, but also about the great things that Forgotten veterans are doing.Gary then gave us more information and was presented a wall plaque from the Airborne Riders. We then moved to the yomping statue outside the old (now defunct) Royal Marine Museum on Southsea seafront, where a small memorial service took place, the route to the yomping statue was interesting. We then moved to 18 battery where we were met by local representatives of SAMA and I believe some one from the Falklands was there. From there we drifted up to Tidworth and then onto Frimley finally arriving at Aldershot Military Cemetery in the afternoon. Please tag yourself if you are in the pictures. This was followed by a convivial evening at the Trafalger, with everyone only having two beers and all in bed by 9pm…….. I wish the team and others all the best for the last two days of the ride and would say to you now, ride safe, ride proud! Ad Unum Omnes!”

Thanks Vic…no need for me to add to his excellent review, other than to spend the next eight hours uploading the photos of the day !!

Here is a link to the ceremony at the Marines Memorial

Posted by Barrie Jones on Thursday, 6 August 2020

Airborne Forces Riders: On Thursday 6th August the riders arrived at Aldershot Military Cemetery to remember the fallen of 2 PARA. The event, in aid of the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA82) has seen the participants travel over 2,267 miles across the UK in one week. In this short video, we hear from Paul Moore, President of the Airborne Forces Riders.

Posted by The Parachute Regiment on Saturday, 8 August 2020

After an exhausting day, leading the Ride of Respect 2020 for the sixth day Paul rode into the Premier Inn, Aldershot for a well deserve rest, clean up and off for refreshments. But, his daughter had other ideas!! She thought he should have a surprise family moment. Here’s the lovely picture when he was surprised by Matilda, his lovely granddaughter.

Nothing quite like a hug from Matilda

Phill Damant becomes our first Honorary “Rider”

In view of his unstinting work, not only riding as part of the team of Ride of Respect 2020, but also, his tremendous assistance to Charlie throughout the whole event (Charlie has been in pain with his joints, a condition that he has had for some time) Phill was made an Honorary “Rider”. Phill has been a tremendous supporter since the Riders began, as have many other terrific Supporters, But, it was felt that this arduous ride and his support of Charlie by encouraging him throughout merited this honour. Congratulations Phill !!

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Day Five Report

Today we met the Royal Marines on the M5 and they escorted us for most of the day. It rained – heavily ! It was lovely to see Gill And Frank in Plymouth and I think its fair to say I think we all did Mick well. Many thanks to the Standard Bearers and Bugler.
We are now in Poole having just paid our respects to a brave Royal / SBS. We are very well hosted by Squadron stalwart Johnny Jonny JB Nichols with top food, great basha and good craic.
Tomorrow – Portsmouth and Aldershot.
BZ to all for your support. It has been outstanding and great inspiration to the riders. Please keep up the donations to SAMA either to the Just Giving page or to us on the ride.”

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Day Four Report

A safe crossing saw the lads arrive at Liverpool, fresh and raring to go.  A long day ahead through Wales.

All down through Wales today, the highlight of which was tea with the lovely Jean Jenkins and meeting lots of lovely people who had turned out to support us. We spent last night with the Patriots – and a jolly nice night it was too. Many thanks to President Alan, my good mucker Denzil Connick, and Mitch for the

 

Kirkdale Cemetery

https://www.facebook.com/groups/668426986597844/permalink/3112809872159531/

Video of the team leaving Kirkdale with supporters

excellent cooked breakfast

And another video

https://www.facebook.com/100005271392066/posts/1428415514010815/

Just look at the support at St Martin’s, Hereford.

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Day Three Report

Message from Team Leader, Paul Moore

“On a boat to Ireland now on Day 3 of the SAMA 2020 Ride of Respect . The last two days have been very intense and busy covering over 700 miles and 20 or so graves and memorials. We have had some fantastic support from loads of people – actually too many to mention here individually – but we are very, very grateful for that. Today we are on our way to Ireland to meet with our Brothers there and to visit the grave of Tony Cork of 2 Para. Today is an easy day compared to the last two so chance to rest a bit. Some pics attached. None of these are mine so thanks to people for sending them.”

UPDATE

Fantastic reception at Larne – 30 Riders !!! Fabulous 😁

Parting words from Phill Damant:
Day 3 précis:

We left Prestwick after a hearty breakfast and took the A77 to Cairnryan. The weather was mixed but nothing awful. The route was 50 miles of joy. Got the ferry without incident, being sure to try to make ourselves look a little less military, not difficult at the moment. We were met a Larne by Moore Campbell, Invictus (NI) MCC and some of the RBLR NI team. They took us on a ride over to Glenarm, truly stunning place and fabulous road to it. After a refreshment break we headed over to our first stop at Lisburn where we were joined by Tony Cork’s son, Daughter and local PRA. For a change we had some time so took the opportunity to have a more formal service, as Padre Andy was in attendance. It was nice to not have to rush away. From Lisburn we had a great ride through the Ulster countryside to Palace Barracks, where we were given a tour of the memorial garden and laid our wreath at the Tri Service memorial. This a beautiful place, which we all found very moving. Again we had a bit of time for a catch up and banter, before Moore escorted us back to Belfast for the ferry. All of us have said what a truly brilliant day we’ve had. Everyone in Northern Ireland, who came and supported, in any way, thank you. Much Love and Respect from us, a memorable day, for all the right reasons

And from Team Leader, Paul Moore:

End of Day 3 and we are on the boat to Liverpool. A great day today with special thanks to my good pal Moore Campbell, northern Ireland Pra Ni Branch for their very significant donation to SAMA82, RBL Riders NI for their help in moving about, and Albert Owen and son Daz Owens for organising very very interesting and moving visit to Palace barracks memorial garden. Of course, the real reason for our visit was to pay our respects to Tony Cork of 2 Para, and we were made up to meet Tony’s son and daughter, Chris and Antonia. A very special moment. Finally, a big thank you to Padre Andy for his words during our act of remembrance. A great day and thank you to everyone who helped and attended.

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Day Two Report

Day Two route

Day Two takes the team form the East coast of Scotland over to the West Coast

Nice early start for Day Two

Nice early start for the team on Day Two. Weather just about holding. As Team Leader, Paul Moore  puts it simply…

“Day 2, spitting on to rain here in Kinloss. Looking forward to ride down Loch Ness to join our Commando Brothers at the Commando memorial at Spean Bridge.”

MAN DOWN – TEAM DOWN TO THREE !!!

Tony Mckie decided it would be a good idea to scrap his bike en route by joining it to a little red car…the plan worked…he is FINE but his bike is scrap.

Here is the latest news from the team:

“Morning started 07:00, slight drizzle, but everyone in good spirits. We had a brilliant ride down along Loch Ness to Spean Bridge and the Commando Memorial. More brilliant biking roads toward Fort William for coffee and fuel, only managed to get the fuel. On to Oban with more stunning bike roads and challenging weather. It was on this leg that Tony decided to rearrange the configuration of his bike and a little red car, both now are scrap. Good news, Is that Tony is fine, but will be going home in the tow truck. The weather was testing most of the time. but still brilliant riding. From leaving Oban we headed toward Glasgow, where we had 3 geographically close visits. From Glasgow we headed out to Irvine for our final visit of the day. Again the support throughout the day, from other clubs and associations was great. In no particular order, many many thanks to: The Scots Guards Association, Invictus MCC, RMA Riders, Widows Sons and all families and friends of the fallen. Your support and encouragement are really appreciated. Thanks again. More adventures tomorrow.”

STAY SAFE OUT THERE BOYS !!

from Paul Moore, the team leader:

End of day 2. Over 700 miles covered. We just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who turned out to ride, or to visit graves , support families or who have donated here or to us in person. It is all very much appreciated. We are off to Northern Ireland soon to give due respect to a really nice guy and his family. Please keep track of what we are doing and support where you can. Thank you.
Paul

A link to the video of the recovery of Tony’s bike:

https://www.facebook.com/100000050148819/posts/3547052081973095/

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Day One Report

DAY ONE – Saturday 1st August

Day One route

An early start for the boys at the start of the Ride of Respect 2020

The team made an early start which was soon forgotten when they reached the first couple of stops at Kenoway and Edinburgh.  There was a wonderful turnout of supporters to greet them. This was terrific for the team and hopefully it is an example for the week of riding ahead.  At each stop the numbers just increased.

Well done to all the  people who came to meet the team it was truly heart warming and appreciated

Kenoway
What a reception at Edinburgh !!

Summary by Phil Damant

Well the end of day one, fantastic. We are all a bit tired but it was truly brilliant. So many people came out to support us and the families. It would be remiss of me not to thank those clubs and associations who have helped the day go so well. So, in no particular order, big thanks to: Invictus (Scotland) MCC, Widows sons, Durham and Scotland, 8s and Aces MCC, Scots Guards Association, RMA Riders, Legion Riders Thank you all, what a brilliant effort from everyone. Much love and respect.”

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Ride to the Wall 2020 cancelled

Sadly, the Ride to the Wall this year has been cancelled.

Airborne Forces Riders have been represented every year since the Riders formation.  Culminating with David ‘Spud’ Murphy laying a wreath at the memorial before we all scoot over to the Airborne Memorial for our annual photo.

Here is the link to the sad announcement made by RTTW:

https://www.rttw.org/article.php?nid=1

 

 

 

 

 

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Change to Ride of Respect Itinerary

From the Team Leader:

AMENDMENT – Day 6 and 7.

Due to Aldershot military cemetery closing at 1700 hrs we have had to drop off one serial from that day to include it the following day. Timings have amended slightly and we now visit LCpl Thomas (Welsh Guards) at Brookwood on Friday morning. See below.

Day 6 – Thu 06 Aug 20

0900 Hrs – Depart
1030 Hrs – Courtesy Call – Forgotten Veterans UK, PO4 9LD – Fort Cumberland
1140 Hrs – RM Museum Southsea PO4 9PX ‘ The Yomper’
1220 Hrs – Royal Navy Falklands Memorial, 18 Gun Battery, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2JE
1400 Hrs – Tidworth Military Cemetery, SP9 7JR – Maj Roger Nutbeem RAMC
1530 Hrs – St Peters Church, Frimley Green, GU16 7AQ – LCpl Simon Cockton AAC
1630 Hrs – Aldershot Military Cemetery, GU11 2DD

Day 7 – Fri 07 Aug 20

0800 Hrs – Depart
0845 Hrs – Brookwood Military Cemetery, GU24 0JB – LCpl Christopher Thomas 1WG

1045 Hrs – Holy Trinity Church, Twydall, Chatham, ME8 6JU – Memorial – Cpl Andy McIllvenney 4 Tp 9 Para Sqn RE
1230 Hrs – All Saints Church Basildon, SS16 4PX – Pte Stephen Dixon 2 Para
1430 Hrs – Courtesy Call (1 Hr) – PRA HQ & Pegasus Magazine, Merville Barracks, Colchester,
CO2 7UT
1730 Hrs – St Michaels Church, Oulton Broad, NR32 3JP – Pte Dave Parr 2 Para

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Harley Davidson Riders step up to the mark

The Harley Davidson Riders Norfolk England have very kindly offered to provide rest and refreshments to the ROR 2020 as they pass through Norfolk. It turns out that their clubhouse is very near the overnight stop. This means no time problems!

Paul Moore leading the team said “It’s an awesome offer that would be rude to refuse. I shall make contact asap”

Many thanks to the lads at Norfolk, from all of the Airborne Forces Riders, for showing true motorcycle generosity

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The Ride of Respect 2020 – this year’s team

The Ride of Respect 2020 – this year’s team

Preparations are in full swing for the start, on Saturday, of the Ride of Respect 2020. The team are delighted with the response to the call for support and would like to thank everyone, in advance.

The ride last year was exhausting for the four Riders, but they all agreed that every time they were joined en route their spirits were lifted.

For the undecided amongst you why not have a close look at the detailed look at the Itinerary   See if you can  meet the team at one of the cemeteries or join them for a portion of the day’s ride

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Ride of Respect – not long to 1st August !!

Not long now to 1st August when four lads will start the Ride of Respect. Please look at the itinerary and see if you can support them by either riding a stretch or joining them at one of the RVs. 

Have a look at this video post by The Parachute Regiment on Facebook.

 
Your support would be much appreciated by the team.  
 
All donations received are being given to SAMA 82
 
Go direct to the donation page by clicking here
 
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Rye Romp – 1st August

Details from Jack Hawkins on a new ride out

The Rye Romp 1/2 August 2020

A two day ride out in the Hastings/Rye area of Kent, going round in big circles!

Trace and I have booked into Travel Lodge Hastings for the Saturday evening, it’s a bit pricey @ 89 quid but it’s close to the seafront (10 min walk) rather than the middle of nowhere!

If you wish to attend just one days ride then no problem, keep me informed.

Day One 01 Aug

1100 RV @ Rykas Cafe, Boxhill RH5 6BY
1130 Depart

Stops enroute

  1. Whiteways Cafe, Bury Hill BN18 9FD
  2. Devils Dyke, Brighton BN1 8YJ
  3. Bomber Command Memorial, Beachy Head BN20 7YA

Ride ends at the Travel Lodge Hastings TN34 1ET

Points to note:

Full tanks please
Bring food and drink if you so desire
(I’m NOT feeding 9 Sqn again!)

Day two to follow.

I will collate all the information into one post at a later date.

Social distancing as required.

Rule 216 applies!

Whose in?

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Peterborough Ride declared a roaring success

The Peterborough Ride on 19th July, that was organised by Nigel Barnett was declared a roaring success by the participants.

Here are a couple of the comments that were posted on our Facebook page:

“Great ride out today to Peterborough and surrounding area… lead by Nigel Barnett. What a great day, very interesting visiting many of these memorial sites from the war and lovely countryside and roads to ride around.
 
Thanks again Nige, you must of put some work into sorting this out, Jack and I and the rest who joined us as a group, I’m sure are very grateful.  😎🏍”
 
and another one…
 
Sat here at the computer reading through the post’s from the ride yesterday that Nigel Barnett put together around Peterborough. The only thing I can do is to repeat what a great organised informative day it was ….. 👍👍👍
Looking forward to the next one I can get a pass for …
 

Many thanks for all of your efforts Nigel.  Let’s hope we can do it again next year!!

 
[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”3″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]

 

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Three weeks to go !!

It’s three weeks before four of our members ride 2000+ miles to visit the graves, and pay respects, to the fallen of the Falklands War.

Over the week 1st – 8th August they will place a cross on the graves and say a few words, at each the graves. A full itinerary is show on the Ride of Respect pages under Where and when.

Please study the route and touch points. It may be that you can ride to one cemetery or meeting point to join our lads. You could then ride for some or all of the day with them.

Look at the timings and work out if you can ride with them for a bit. It might be that you can RV with them just to pay your respects then back to work or home.

Either way, you get the idea….SUPPORT THEM IF YOU CAN. It will give you a run out and be truly appreciated by the riders.

PS I’m doing Day 6 complete, ending with a night in the Shot 😀😀

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Doc Findlay RIP – bench update

Ron Webster has ordered the memorial bench for Doc (KIA Wireless Ridge, Falkland Islands).  Here is a picture of the back of the bench

Ron sent an update saying that the bench would be ready end of July. He believes he has agreement from the council regarding the location.

It is hoped that a delegation of the Airborne Forces Riders could attend the ceremony of unveiling 

 

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Peterborough Ride Out – Sunday 19th July 2020

Nigel Barnett is leading a ride out on Sunday, 19th July 2020.  Here is his Admin Order.  Join him to have a good ride visiting the Polish Memorials in the area.

ADMIN ORDER:
ABFR Peterborough Ride Out Sunday 19 July 20. Polish Para’s and more.
RV: Peterborough Services A1M J17: PE73UQ.
RV OPENS: 1100-1130.
  1. Please acknowledge if taking part, for me to get an idea on numbers.
  2. Bring packed lunch and drinks.
  3. Berets for photos, ‘CUTS’ Optional.
  4. Refuel before the ride please.
  5. See SCENICAPP for the route map.
  6. 1130-Short Brief.
  7. Sites on route: Lots of history and memorials.
  8. Orton Hall, 3rd Bn Polish Paras.
  9. Milton Hall. Stop: SOE, OSS JEDBURGH.
  10. Suleyhay Woods. 2nd Bn Polish Paras.
  11. RAF Kings Cliffe. Stop: Glenn Miller. Memorial.
  12. Blatherwhycke Hall. Anti-Tank Polish Paras.
  13. RAF Spanhoe: Stop: Memorial. For many the start point to Arnhem.
  14. Easton on the Hill: Stop: 1st Bn Polish Paras. Memorial.
  15. Stamford Rock House. Stop: Maj Gen Sosabowski HQ. Memorial.
  16. Fotheringhay: Mary Queen of Scots, executed here.
  17. RAF Polebrook. Stop: Clarke Gable, THOR Missiles. Memorial.
  18. RAF Glatton. Stop: Glenn Miller. Memorial.
  19. Norman Cross. Stop: First ever POW Camp.
  20. Back to Start point.
 
Ride Safe

 

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Jack Hawkins leads the way !!

Jack Hawkins organised the Cotswolds Caper Run on Sunday 5th July.  Twenty riders turned up for the run and, following socially-distanced greetings (difficult to give an airborne hug from a distance), set off in two groups of ten.

The Cotswolds is a beautiful part of the country and the ride was superb.  At the lunch break at Bibury we discovered an ice cream van.  This led the “Born to be wild” paratrooper veterans to rush for the queue for a lovely 99.

The run ended with the lads and lasses paying homage to the late Winston Churchill by visiting his grave.

Thankfully the weather held and a fabulous day was had by all.

Great job Jack !! 

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AFR Forthcoming Rides – 2020

AFR Forthcoming Rides – 2020 – COVID amended

Paul has got to work immediately and sketched out the provisional programme for 2020:

Cleethorpes- pre Season Ride Out.
25/26 April  (TBC) – Cancelled
Sgt Michael Willets GC Memorial
25 May  (TBC) – Cancelled
Nottingham PRA
Early June – Battlefield Tour of Normandy. Jack Hawkins leading. Limited spaces available.
2 Para Ride of Respect – National – various locations. In aid of SAMA82.
29 Jun – 03 July – Moved to August (See Facebook page for latest details)
Aldershot – Airborne Forces Day
04/05 July – Cancelled

Double Hills, Paulson, Somerset.
01 September. – to be confirmed
Arnhem – 17-23 Sep – Restricted events – (See Facebook page for latest details)

Cromwell Lock Memorial
28 Sep 1975 several members of 131 Para Sqn RE killed in incident on river Trent in Nottinghamshire.  (TBC)
Ride to the wall – Airborne gathering at 1500 hrs at the Airborne Memorial.
03 Oct  (TBC) for the annual photograph

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New President of the Airborne Forces Riders

New President of the Airborne Forces Riders

Delighted to announce that Major Paul Moore (Retd) has agreed to replace Michael (Titch) Cornish as President of the Riders.

Titch was one of the original founders (as was Paul) and put a considerable effort into launching the group and into the planning of the annual Arnhem Remembrance Rides. His efforts over the past five years have ensured that the Riders has a very strong foundation.

A foundation that Paul is determined to build upon (being an engineer (Ex 9 Sqn) I suppose that was inevitable 😉 We wish him all the best with his endeavours and our wholehearted support.

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Battlefields of Normandy

Battlefields of Normandy

One of our members runs guided tours of the Normandy Battlefields. Having been on one I can vouch that he is a superb, knowledgeable guide. It makes the whole experience come alive!!

His name is Mark (Jack) Hawkins, ex 216 Signals and a Falklands Vet and, if you are interested in speaking to him about a tour, he can be contacted on 07788 201337

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Battlefield Tours

Battlefield Tours

We’ve had an email from Richard Joyce, Ex 1 Para.  His son has just recently taken over a motorcycle tour company.

As yet he doesn’t have any details but is sure there will be battlefield tours and European tours on the menu.

Richard will send us some more details as soon as they are available

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Arnhem T Shirts 2017

Arnhem T Shirts 2017

The T Shirts for Arnhem proved so popular that we aren’t going to produce different ones for next year. So don’t throw your shirt away !! There are still some shirts left and we will produce more to meet demand as we near the trip next year

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Arnhem 2017 – ferry getting full

Arnhem 2017 – ferry getting full

Stena ferry from Harwich is showing “restricted availability” for the crossing on 13th September. Most of the boys are booked already but, if you are not booked, and want to go then, you’d better book soon.
Looks like the makings of another great trip this year. The visit to Duxford on the afternoon of the 13th is a treat I am looking forward to 😉

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Ben Parkinson made an Honorary Member

Ben Parkinson made an Honorary Member

My fault!! I meant to post this straight after Conrad’s Ride last year. We met and chatted to Ben at the ride. What an absolute star!! We presented him with a hoodie and sent him a Membership, framed Certificate. Ben,as you all know, is an absolute legend, his determination is overwhelming. Even more so is the dedication of his family , which is truly awesome. Welcome Ben!!

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Rest In Peace – Michael Bruce McIntyre MBE

Rest In Peace – Michael Bruce McIntyre MBE

One of our own, Mick McIntyre, has gone to the final RV. Mick never rode with us because he had moved to Malaga, Spain.
I visited him a year or so ago and, although he was in exceptionally good spirits at the time, his health started to suffer.

He will be sadly missed by all who had the privileged to serve with him or to know him.

Rest in peace

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Roly Collier’s Funeral

Roly Collier’s Funeral

 

We have many riders from 2 Para who attend the Reunion Club.  Roly was a stalwart of the Club for many, many years.  He tirelessly worked, with the committee, to make sure it was a success.

Roly’s funeral will be held, at 2.pm, on Thursday 3rd November at,
Markeaton Crematorium,
Markeaton Lane,
Derby,
DE22 4NH.

We believe the wake will be held at:

Premier Inn Derby West, Manor Road, Uttoxeter New Road, Derby DE22 3HZ.  (There are a few Premier Inns in Derby so make sure you book into the West one at the address shown if you are going.)

I’ve booked in for that night and I hope to see some of you there to join me, and the rest of the boys, in raising a glass to a fine man

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Pete has finished creating!!

Pete has finished creating!!

Pete Neaves has received the first prints back today of his Airborne Forces Riders picture (Yes, he painted it. It’s bloody amazing !!)

The photo shows the original, which he has had framed and made into two size of prints.

He is selling them as 1st Limited Edition prints and he is only going to produce 50.

If you want one then let Pete know through Facebook

They will be signed on the back with the number of the print i.e. 1 to 50.

Sizes are:

(Large) 26 inches X 20 inches.  Cost £68. Including UK P & P.
(Small) 20 inches X 16 inches.  Cost £56.00 Including UK P&P.

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Why bother going to Holland for a ride?

Why bother going to Holland for a ride?

 

You only have to look at the smile on Paul’s face to realise why.

All those years in 3 Para and, finally, here he was…standing on John Frost Bridge in Arnhem!! What a buzz! All of the history of Operation Market Garden, the march from the DZ, the taking of one end of the bridge, the battle that ensued, the bravery shown, the withdrawal executed under extreme fire…all summed up by “The bridge”.

It was Paul’s first trip to Arnhem with the Airborne Forces Riders…he’s already booked next year!

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Hug a hoodie

Hug a hoodie

We did it !!  We managed to turn ourselves from a bunch of old bikers into the Airborne Forces Riders.

Last year, at Arnhem, our brothers in arms the “Red Beret Riders” (the Dutch airborne veterans on bikes) turned up to ride with us to Ginkel heath for the day’s parachuting.  They were all wearing their hoodies under their riding jackets and when we arrived they looked incredible.  Just like smart, armed forces veterans should look…mean but cool.

It was time for Titch and I to get our heads together.  After a year of “behind the scenes” work we found ourselves back at the campsite, waiting for the Red Beret Riders to join us.  But, this time, we had our own kit!

As I told Arend, the leader of the RBR, “imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery”.

Thank you Red Beret Riders for leading the way.  We were proud to ride with you.

See you next year

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Ride to the wall 2016

Ride to the wall 2016

Well !!  It was wet and windy alright!

Our luck ran out this year at the National Arboretum.  The heavens opened from early morning and didn’t stop.  As a result, the parachuting and various other events had to be cancelled.  That said, it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits and, as you will see on the RTTW 2016 page, we had the largest turnout yet for the annual photo.

Roll on 2017 !

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Pete is at it again !

Pete is at it again !

Pete Neaves, ex 2 Para, is a stalwart of the Airborne Forces riders and is attends all of our events and rides.

Sadly, for family reasons, he was unable to travel to Arnhem this year.

Not one to stay idle, Pete cracked on and took his frustration out by painting the picture shown above and doesn’t it look fabulous!

Pete will be having some prints run off and he will make them available , should anyone want to buy one.  My order has already gone in!

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It isn’t just riding bikes!

It isn’t just riding bikes!

A mate of mine, one of those funny “civilian” people, asked me why I was so enthusiastic about my rides with the Airborne Forces Riders. “Surly” he said “you can get just as much fun with the local rides that you do”.

Mmm, bloody civvie!

Love him to bits but trying to explain “airborne brotherhood” to him would be like trying to explain nuclear physics to an infant.  So, using my ABI I did the next best thing.  I invited him along to Arnhem 2015 and he accepted.  Needless to say, he had a fabulous time and his whole attitude to life underwent a major alteration.  He said that stuff which had niggled him before going to Arnhem had become insignificant.  He had, in a very short time, realised that there are more important things in life and that life is too short to be small.

I, of course, was delighted with his positive response but felt that, before going this year (wild horses wouldn’t have stopped him) he needed a little more education in the ways of the Airborne warrior.  So, I lent him my DVD of “Kajaki” and told him to watch it before we set off.

“Got it!, got it! I understand now” he shouted.  “I watched that film in total silence with my missus and now I understand.  It’s more than friendship, as I know it, it’s much, much deeper.  That explained to me why you are all so disrespectful of each other.  I couldn’t understand why you were all taking the mickey out of each other, calling each other rude names and all that.  Now I get it.  It really is “brotherly love”

“Oh, yes” I said, with a grin “It is much deeper than that.  Our shared experience, particularly the hardships, have forged a bond that is lifelong and deeeeeep”

“Wish I was an ex-para” he said.

“Sorry pal” I said “This is one club you can’t just join, can’t buy your way into, can’t use you family connections, can’t marry into.  It is the best boy’s club in the world…and I love it”

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The Service in Arnhem

Theirs is the glory

Most of us, particularly the Para Regt guys, will remember the film “Theirs is the glory”. It was shown to recruit platoons in the Depot to provide them with regimental history.

Perhaps what not of them knew was the chain of events that came from the production of the film. When the lads, from 1st Airborne Division who had taken part in Operation Market Garden, returned to Arnhem, in 1945, to make the film an idea was born. The suggestion was made that there should be an annual commemoration of the battle and a memorial service at the Airborne Cemetery.

The very first Memorial Service was held on the 25th September 1945 and Dutch schoolchildren laid flowers on the graves. They have continued to do this ever since.

It is always the most emotional part of our ride to Arnhem when the children enter the cemetery, stand in silent respect and then lay their flowers on the graves.