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Branch of the Parachute Regimental Association – Approved

The Airborne Forces Riders are now an official Branch of the Parachute Regimental Association.  Our constitution has been approved by both the PRA and the Charities Commission.  We have been allocated a charity number, which is now shown on our opening web page.

The Trustees will be holding their first regular meeting at Cleethorpes on Friday, 26th April, prior to our Airborne Forces Riders Day at Cleethorpes on the 27th.


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President’s return to the Falklands

Falklands January 2023
Since before the Falklands 40 events last year, I and a few others have been working with John
Beale, a historian working on a Phd about the Falklands war. John’s tutor for the course was Dr
Helen Parr who just happens to be the niece of Dave Parr of 2 Para killed in the final hours of the
war on Wireless Ridge. We had originally planned this trip to take place before covid, so it was a
great relief that we were finally able to secure accommodation space at Liberty Lodge thanks to
the Falklands Veterans Foundation (FVF) and the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA82) who
were our sponsors for the military trooping flights.
In addition to John and myself there were two veterans who had not been back to the Falklands
since 1982 so this trip was a very big deal for them. They were – Paul Youngman (RN Medic
attached to 45 Cdo) and Ian Davis (a 17.5 year old EW operator on HMS Ardent). My role on the
trip was to support to the other guys and provide local knowledge and information having been
down before and have plenty of local contacts. This arrangement worked well for me as I just
went with their programme with little responsibility for organising anything other than introducing
everyone to my Falklander friends and sometimes acting as a guide. My ‘other role’ was to take
the Wreath of Respect to the Falklands. This was the first visit to the Falklands for the wreath, yet
my first thought was ‘Baggage Allowance’, although luckily, this did not seem to be a major issue
at RAF Brize Norton.
Although we had online meetings, except for John we had never actually met. However, on
meeting up at Brize it was as if we had known each other for years. On arrival in the Falklands, I
took the opportunity to introduce the wreath to my ‘housemates’ in Liberty Lodge who were all
Falkland veterans and their partners, they included Andy (HMS Coventry) and his lady Louise, Tom
MacMillan (2 Scots Guards) and his lady Elaine, and Mark (40 Cdo) and his son Dan. Over the next
several days we visited places that will be familiar, such as Darwin and Goose Green, Fitzroy, San
Carlos, Ajax Bay, Teal Inlet, Mt Kent, Mt Tumbledown, Mt Harriet, Mt Longdon, and Wireless
Ridge. I have to say that the best part of this trip was purely because we were a very mixed group,
and therefore listening to the experiences of the others was very enlightening, sometimes sad or
funny, but always very interesting. On top of that, the Para – Marine – Navy – 2SG banter was
One location we did go that I had never been to before was Mt Campito and Ajax Bay, the site of
the famous ‘Red and Green Life Machine’ that so many of our friends owe their lives to the skill of
Surgeon Commander Rick Jolly and his teams of nurses and medics. The top of Mount Campito
where the HMS Ardent memorial is, a 2.5 hour journey with about half of it across country,
overlooking Falkland Sound where the ship and her crew lie at rest. A big ‘Thank You’ to Keith
Heathman our very expert driver. This was the first time that any of us had been there, but it was
especially significant for one of our group – Ian Davis – who had been a 17.5 year old EW operator
on board his first ship when it was hit by at least five 500lb bombs on 21 May 1982.
Our itinerary was such that we did not have a lot of time at each location, but where we could, as
much time as possible was taken to mark our respects, listen to the eye-witness accounts and
especially meet the Falklanders who were there too. The wreath was always taken out to be
passed from hand to hand by anyone who had not yet seen it, and an explanation given of its role
and purpose on our journey, and that they too were part of the wreath’s journey by handling it

and passing it on. None of the Falkland Islanders that we met had heard of the wreath before but
were extremely engaged by the ethos behind the wreath, and many had their photographs taken
with it, both out in the field and in Stanley. News travels fast in the Falklands and the wreath
made it onto BFBS and Falklands news while we were there.
The trip was not all visiting battlefields and cemeteries though. In June 1982 I had been billeted in
7 Philomel Street so I took the current owner – Nancy Jennings for lunch at the waterfront, and
visited friends Geof (NP8901) and Bernadette Pring for tea. We were also invited to a farm for tea,
attended a PWRR band concert in the town hall and taken to see a colony of King penguins that
now inhabit York Bay which until recently was a minefield. We had a very nice visit to meet the
Governor but she was away, and the Deputy Governor was at MPA on business, so we had tea
with the Estate Manager John who was ex-RN. We also managed to pop into the hangar at
Stanley Airport to visit my old pal John McLeod who is the Chief Engineer there and who had been
a hostage in Goose Green as a boy. I also did some important ‘recce and liaison’ for the October
‘SAMA Ride in the Falklands’ which myself and Charlie will do later. We also met two police
officers in Stanley that are both former Parachute Regiment. Sgt Mark and PC Pete are both now
wearing Airborne Forces Rider pins in Stanley !
One of the important aspects of visiting – especially for those who had not been back – was to see
how the Falklands had developed since 1982, and is now a thriving and lively, independent
community. We saw fishing boats in to collect licences, we saw the farming process of sheep and
wool and the tourist industry is huge. On one day alone three large ships arrived in port and
delivered nearly 5000 tourists, thus tripling the population of Stanley in one day. It was chaos! By
lunchtime it was difficult to get served in a shop and there was a queue out the door at the Globe
pub and the Victory bar too. I made a tactical retreat back to Liberty Lodge and had a beer on the
balcony in peace and quiet. To be fair, in the summer season a lot of the Falklanders are involved
in the tourist industry so who can blame them, especially when the neighbours are still rattling on
about sovereignty 40 years after being kicked out.
We ended the trip by John conducting his final interviews with us all and later having all our
Falkland friends around for food and drinks in Liberty Lodge. All in all it was an excellent trip, and
extremely rewarding for those making the first trip back since 1982 and who now wish they had
done it years ago. Finally, I can only strongly recommend to any Airborne Brother who has not
been back to do so soon. It will be worth it.

Paul Moore
President Airborne Forces Riders
Ambassador to the Wreath of Respect
30 January 2023

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President’s Round Up of the year

Airborne Forces Riders
Roundup of the Year 2021
We crept from 2020 into 2021 with varying degrees of optimism and hope for the year ahead, even while we were still in the depths of winter and yet another lock down. The question in my mind was ‘The New Year cant be as bad as the one we have left behind……. Can it?’
Well, as we all know now, it bloody well can !
That said, I’m sure that we all were determined to make the best of it and get on with life as best
we could. Looking back, this year was certainly not a complete flop, although it’s fair to say that
missing Arnhem for the second year was a bitter disappointment for those who just could not afford the time off for the 10 day quarantine in Netherlands. All was not lost, and we had a very successful Arnhem in England’ tour. More on that later. Sadly, we also started the year with the loss of one of our own – Dave Pollock (9 Para Sqn RE) – who sadly passed away in March. There was a great turn out of Airborne Riders for Dave’s funeral and the family are very grateful for that great show of love and support. Dave was one of our original Airborne Riders from 2014 and attended every Arnhem trip since then. He will be missed.
So what did we do? My main focus of the early part of the year was planning the Falklands Ride of
Respect due to take place in August and Arnhem in September, but I found time for some local rides including the Op Banner Ride of Respect in County Durham with Eights and Aces, visiting over 20 graves of lads lost in Northern Ireland who are buried in the County. I have been on some great rides in the north east and if any of you have never rode up here before I can highly recommend it.
I can reach Edinburgh in about 2 hours, the Lake District in 90 minutes and the Yorkshire Dales in
less than an hour. Perhaps an AFR gathering in the north east might appeal to a few?
Elsewhere, local rides were also taking place and in July, Jack Hawkins (216 & Pathfinders) organised the ‘Cotswolds Capers’ taking advantage of the light traffic, good weather and great roads. Riders who attended tell me that it was a great ride and good fun, so more of it please Jack. July certainly was a busy month in the Hawkins household as Jack and Tracey got married on July 01 and this conveniently led directly into Airborne Forces weekend in Aldershot. Good planning Jack ! It was a lovely wedding and well attended by friends and family and best of all blessed with great weather too. Congratulations to you both.
In July we also got a Patron – Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer. General John was a biker in the very early
part of his career and a couple of years ago in Arnhem was overheard to say that he would like to
get a bike once he retired. The seed was sown, and Vic Thorn (2 Para) approached General John at the presentation of new Colours in Colchester to see if he would like to be our Patron. He was
probably a bit under pressure at this point as clutched in Vic’s sticky mitts was a new leather cut
complete with Airborne Forces Riders patch and emblazoned with the name ‘General John’. The cut fitted well and General John graciously agreed to be the first ever Patron of Airborne Forces Riders. General John has now taken up post as the new Governor of the Isle of Man and we wish him all the very best in his new post.
The 2021 Falklands Ride of Respect was fast approaching at this point and without doubt, the
planning and organisation required for this year far surpassed the previous two years. On a positive note, lots of people chipped in to help. They know who they are and for that I am eternally grateful.

In addition, this year we had decided that the ride had to be self-funding, bearing in mind that the riders themselves had funded the ride in the two years previously. We did all sorts of fund-raising activities including a live auction at The Last Post veterans bar in Stockton. The support we received from all over the UK and further afield was just simply amazing. We thank everyone who supported us in a thousand different ways which enabled the ride to happen and be the success it was. I won’t repeat what has already been written about the ride but at this point with all the bills paid, and money still trickling in, we have raised just over £13,000 for the South Atlantic Medal Association and most importantly, raised awareness of the Falklands war and where the graves are around the UK. It is the 40 th anniversary of that war next year and we have proved and demonstrated to the families of the fallen that they are not forgotten. I want to record my personal thanks to the team for their outstanding support. Charlie McColgan, Tony McKie and Phill Damant – you are all a bit mad, but I could not have wished for better company on the ride. Thank you all.
No sooner had we got the Ride of Respect out of the way we were looking forward to Arnhem but
things were not looking good. I was in constant contact with ‘our man in Arnhem’ – Frans Amerlaan throughout the year – and he was keeping me updated with the latest Covid advice from the Dutch Government. Here in the UK we were downgrading our Covid measures but because of the Delta variant in UK, the Dutch Government put us on their red list of countries ! We had always said that in the first instance we would always respect the decision of the Dutch people and secondly, make a go / no-go decision on Arnhem by the end of August. Sadly, it had to be no go. So we pulled out ‘Plan B’ which had been prepared since last year – ‘Arnhem In England’. One or two Airborne riders based in Europe did attend the Friday Ride of Remembrance in Arnhem and we thank Frans Steenhuis for making this happen. We hope to be there in 2022 of course, and look forward to riding with the Red Beret Riders and other friends in Arnhem once again.
While I was finalising the arrangements for the main Arnhem in England ride, Bob McKeegan-Brown kindly took on the organisation of Phase 1 – the Double Hills ride in Somerset. Double Hills near Paulton is the location of a Horsa glider crash on 17 September 1944 which killed 21 men from 9 Para Sqn RE and two men of the Glider Pilot Regiment. Several riders attended and paid their respects at the graves on Saturday and the service on Sunday, and made good links with Van Dieman MCC who invited the riders to their new clubhouse. Well done to all who attended and thank you Bob for organising.
A few days later, several Riders attended the memorial to the Tenth Battalion at Somerby in
Leicestershire and had a really nice ride out followed by a nice Sunday lunch in the pub in the
village. We were back there a week later on the main ‘Arnhem in England’ ride. We based
ourselves in Woodhall Spa which was the HQ location of 1 Airlanding Bde in 1944 and for two days visited the base locations and take-off airfields of the units who flew to Arnhem in September 1944.
For many of us this was the first time that these locations had been visited, and the locations and
the history that goes with them really puts the scale and enormity of Op Market Garden into
context. For example, almost 600 men of 10 Bn flew to Arnhem on 17 September 1944 but only 38
returned to Somerby. The rest being killed, wounded or captured. Elsewhere, Riders also took part in other commemorations such as in Donington near Spalding where 1 st Parachute Squadron RE were based. Only 11 men answered the roll after Arnhem. Another commemoration Riders attended was the Cromwell Lock Service on the river Trent in Nottinghamshire to commemorate the ten men of 131 Parachute Squadron RE (V) who lost their lives in the river during an exercise on 28 September 1975.

The last formal event of the year was soon upon us. The Ride to the Wall. This is another event
that has been cancelled for the last two years so everyone was a little excited to be going this year. In conjunction with other military bike groups, we had all agreed to start from one collective point which would be Whittington Barracks in Lichfield. There were several advantages to this such as secure location, the chance of a cup of tea, decent toilets, and no stupid o’clock starts! Airborne Forces Riders were by far the largest group having 59 Riders and 12 pillions registered to start from that point. We had originally planned to just stay in the background and do our own thing, but when I moved my bike forward to form an AFR line the other rider groups panicked and followed!
There was a moment of confusion, but it all ended well as everyone just followed the Airborne
Forces Riders and we were at the front and mostly together. I asked our Founder and Past
President Titch Cornish to lay the wreath on our behalf at the monument, not because I did’nt want to do it, but because as our senior man, it is fitting for Titch to do it. Also, a big ‘Thank You’ to Ziggy Milemuncher AKA Mike Turnpenny for making the wreath centre, not only for the NMA / RTTW but for all the Ride of Respect wreaths too.
Our traditional gathering by the Airborne statue was extremely well attended for our annual
photograph and we joined with Invictus MC for a rare joint photo opportunity which was really
appreciated by both groups, and we may make a visit to Invictus HQ in 2022 as a result. One point of note was that we all stood in silence and respect while the Rifles made their collective act of Remembrance nearby. There were several comments made later on social media, of how this was appreciated by them as an awesome display of respect to the fallen of the Rifle Brigade by Airborne Forces. My reply was simple. No matter what Arm or Corps or cap badge, our respect for the fallen has no boundaries, and we are all part of the same team.
Elsewhere, Charlie has been working hard to get this year’s issue of the Flower Children pin to them in Arnhem and had experienced the ‘Brexit Factor’ in doing so. In shipping the pins to our good friend Frans Amerlaan, the Market Garden Foundation were hit with an import bill of 450 Euros as we are not in EU any more. However, there was also good news on the horizon as after this was raised in the Dutch media an anonymous donor paid the 450 euros so it ended well. The Flower Children got their 2021 pins on time and it was good to see so many of them wearing them in September. Charlie has done a great job on this and is now planning the next stage in which we hope to place an Airborne Riders / Flower Children bench somewhere in Oosterbeek in 2022. Buying a 2021 pin will help this to happen so thank you to everyone who have done so.
What of next year? Events will be posted on the Facebook page events section as early as possible so that we can all plan on attending. It would be handy if someone could take on the organisation of one or two of the rides during the year. Mostly they pretty much run on rails but I cant do everything myself so don’t be shy about taking one on and making it yours. There WILL be another Falklands Ride of Respect in the first two weeks of May, the Queen’s Birthday Weekend in early June and we will have our first ‘Summer camp’ at Hathersage in the Peak District in July. The accommodation venue is full but there are plenty of other places to stay nearby so get booked early. It will be a good couple of days. Of course, we are hoping that Arnhem will happen in September – fingers crossed ! For some of us the big event of the year will be the 40 th anniversary of the Falklands war. There will be events all over the UK throughout April to July, and the chosen charity of the Army v Navy rugby at Twickenham on 30 April is the South Atlantic Medal Association. That will be a match to attend if you can.

So…..Thank you all for a great year. Lets look forward to a great 2022 with blue skies, dry roads and safe riding. Keep up the skills over the winter if you can but whatever you do, ride within your limitations, watch out for numpty drivers and be safe.

Paul Moore
Airborne Forces Riders

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Ride of Respect 2021- President’s overview

2021 Falklands Ride of Respect

The idea for the Falklands Ride of Respect came about originally due to our involvement in riding to the outlying graves around Arnhem, a task the Airborne Forces Riders have had the honour to perform since 2014. Later, Jimmy O’Connell was researching his book ‘Three Days in June’ about the battle for Mount Longdon, and he asked me to find a grave in Lanchester in County Durham. I soon found the grave of Pte Stewart Laing of Anti Tank Pln 3 Para but the thought that I had been unaware that he was laying only a short distance from a road I had travelled countless times shocked me, and I reasoned that there must be others who do not know where there friends are buried. The research that followed was the basis for the 2019 3 Para Ride of Respect where we visited all of the 23 graves, raising funds for SAMA and awareness of the Falklands fallen.

More research followed into where all of the other Falklands graves were in the U.K. This was a relatively easy task as the Falklands war was the first time that families had been given the option of ‘bringing them home’ therefore the funerals were well documented in newspapers and Regimental journals and websites. In 2020, in between lockdowns, we rode to all of the remaining Falklands graves in the U.K. This was a much longer ride than the first purely due to geographic spread but we completed it over eight days, met many more people and families, and raised yet more money for SAMA than the previous year. It should be noted that both of these rides were entirely self-funded by the riders themselves.

Shortly after the 2020 ride we took the decision to put these rides together and do one big Falklands Ride of Respect in 2021. Immediately it became apparent that this was a huge undertaking compared to the two previous rides, and that it would have to be done over a much longer period, more so for safety reasons as well as distance and time. Following many months of carefully planning routes from location to location, estimating timings, distance and fuel consumption, as well as rations and accommodation, it was clear that the ride would have to take place over 16 days at the beginning of August and that we would have to raise funds to cover our own costs as well as charitable fundraising.

The charitable fundraising bit was relatively easy as we used a Just Giving page online and the funds donated go direct to SAMA. However, having had two years of these rides behind us we knew that we would need to raise around £1500 per rider just to cover expences ! To offset the costs we were able to get sponsorships from a number of businesses and friends which helped massively. Stena Line provided our Irish Sea crossings for free which was very much appreciated especially as both Charlie and myself had been on Stena ships in the Falklands 39 years ago. We also hit on friends to provide some overnight accommodation and we even held an online auction from The Last Post veterans bar which raised a good amount. By the time we were about to start the ride we had enough to cover our costs with a bit of spare which would be donated to SAMA once the task was done. The weeks leading up to the ride dragged by. All our battle prep was done, equipment had been checked many times over, the bikes were ready but just like any real operation there was that nervous feeling of apprehension waiting for the off.

In planning, and following lessons learnt from previous rides, we had limited ourselves to around 200 miles a day with time for breaks and no early starts or late finishes. This was important from a safety point of view, but we knew a 16 day ride is a marathon and not a sprint, and the riders had plenty of tasks to complete along the way and to do that well, we had to be able to function properly. One small but significant task was that at the end of every day riding we would raise a dram to the fallen. This was at the specific request of a good friend Bill Nicholson, a fine retired Sapper SNCO who can no longer ride but wanted us to do this as his contribution. Bill provided four bottles of very good single malts, and each rider with an engraved glass so who were we to argue ?. Bill also went above and beyond the call of duty on the ride by meeting us in his camper van at Spean Bridge where he had bacon sarnies on the go and was doing a bit of fundraising for SAMA82 !

The first day of the ride started with us meeting Chris Lewis (ex 2 Para) and his girlfriend Katy who are walking the U.K. coast raising funds for SSAFA. Chris has been walking for around five years now and by coincidence was passing down the Durham coast that day. The day went well, and ended in Edinburgh hosted by the Airborne Engineers Association Scotland who had arranged to rededicate the headstone of Cpl Scott Wilson RE who was killed on Mount Longdon. Charlie and I were also presented with AEA President Certificates for our charitable fundraising for SAMA and the Arnhem Flower Children. It was an excellent first night!

I could give a day by day account of the ride but to be honest, it would probably be very boring and tedious, much like the ride itself. However, there were many memorable moments. Shortly before the ride started, a biker – John Savage (ex Light Infantry Bugler) messaged me to say that he would be touring Scotland at the same time as us and could he join us? John eventually stayed with us for three days and played at every grave and monument we visited. This was particularly special for the families, and we are very grateful to John for that. John also later met us in South Wales. We were escorted through Scotland by the Royal Marine Riders and our visit to Northern Ireland went well and we were met by a large contingent of RBL Riders there. We relied heavily on local guides in some cases, and Fraser Phillips, Moore Campbell, Dunky Lang and Geof Burrows all deserve a mention for keeping us on track and taking us the scenic route to relieve the boredom.

Overall, the weather was pretty good for the full two weeks although when it rained it really chucked it down, but we soon dried out. In fact, it was so warm I never actually put my waterproofs on once, and found that just a tee shirt under the bike jacket was usually more than enough to wear. Being ‘on the road’ for two weeks did bring its logistical challenges in terms of doing the dhobi , but we found an innovative way of blow drying the gear each night in the Premier Inn using the handy fan in each room. We had chosen Premier Inn as the overnight location of choice due to their availability, good standard and cost. We booked the rooms early and got some as low as £25 per head. Of course, we did keep costs down by staying with friends as well, but we found that by using Premier Inn we had our own space, and could have an early night when needed.

We did have a couple of minor mechanical and electrical issues with the bikes but these were quickly fixed without any loss of momentum. Thank you to everyone who helped. It was in the plan that if any rider had a breakdown he would be left behind to catch up later and this worked well as each rider knew the score, had a copy of the full plan and in good Airborne style, were happy to fend for themselves if need be. This did cause a bit of consternation among some other riders with us as the ‘biker creed’ says that you don’t leave anyone behind, but once it was explained that this was all part of the plan and we had to try to keep to our published timings it was fine.

Each day seemed just like the last and sometimes we got confused as to which day we were on. We had started to do the live Facebook feeds early in the ride and this helped to keep us on track, especially when people complained if we did’nt do one ! We had not realised how popular these were but we noticed that the Just Giving page donations were increasing, and we were getting more ‘likes’ as we progressed. We were also starting to pick up small but niggling injuries such as pulled muscles and strains, and towards the end of the first week tiredness was starting to show by some small mistakes being made. This was to be expected and our regular evening de-brief and dram was a much-needed source of a bit of ribbing and leg pulling to restore the equilibrium and team harmony, as was piping Charlie on board the Golden Galleon each morning. Media interest in the ride was slightly better than expected, certainly at a local level and this was good for the local awareness aspect. We had fantastic assistance on the media side by the SAMA Office staff Joanne and Marie, as well as help from the SAMA Trustees Tom Herring, Chris Howe and others who were also there to meet us at various places around the U.K.

The ride ended on Day 16 at the graveside of The Governor – Sir Rex Hunt – in North Yorkshire and we were met by many family and friends. This was a great way to end the ride but Phill Damant had a further 300 miles to go the following day back home to Devizes in Wiltshire. While it was over for three of us, we could only really relax when we knew Phill was home safe.

So was it worth it? It certainly was. We achieved our aims of Remembrance – Respect – Awareness – Support in many ways, and now many more people know where the Falklands graves are. We also raised a considerable amount of money for SAMA and at the time of writing stands at just over £12,500 when the funds of the Just Giving page, funds collected on the ride and what remains in the Admin Fund are taken together. We also met many families of the fallen and veterans of 1982. In every case they thanked us for raising awareness and for remembering the fallen. It was our honour to do so.

In February 2022 Charlie and I hope to travel to the Falklands on a veterans pilgrimage, and while there ride to the last 15 graves on land on a couple of borrowed motorbikes, and hopefully also pay our respects at sea to those still on patrol. We do not intend to mount a big ride around the U.K. next year as there will already be a lot on for the 40th Anniversary. However, we hope that bikers around the U.K. will make their own Falklands Ride of Respect to visit the graves and memorials in their own areas or regions using the location data which we will provide to SAMA to be published on the SAMA website shortly.

It would be impossible to thank and mention everyone who we met and rode with us throughout the ride, but in every case, we encountered nothing but support, friendship, brotherhood and kindness from everyone we met. It was truly humbling and we thank everyone for that. On behalf of the 2021 Falklands Ride of Respect Team – Charlie McColgan, Phill Damant, Tony McKie and myself, thank you to everyone for your support.

Paul Moore
Airborne Forces Riders

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Arnhem in the UK 2021

Update from Paul Moore:

Airborne Forces Riders
Arnhem in the UK 2021 (Provisional Programme)
(All distances and timings are approximate)
Thursday 16 September
Travel Day to Melton Mowbray under own arrangements.
Friday 17 September – Arnhem Day
0900 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
0930 Hrs Depart
1015 Hrs Arrive RAF Barkston Heath Arnhem Memorial (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1045 Hrs Depart
1130 Hrs Arrive Thorpe Camp Visitors centre. (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1330 Hrs Lunch – The Blue Bell
1430 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Donington (1 Para Sqn RE & Arnhem Tree) (19 Mile / 30 Min)
1600 Hrs Depart
1630 Hrs Arrive Bourne Church Abbey (1 Para) (16 Mile / 30 Min)
1700 Hrs Depart
1745 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
2000 Hrs Toast to the Men of Arnhem (Location TBC – Dress: Maroon)
Saturday 18 September
0945 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
1000 Hrs Depart
1030 Hrs Arrive Saltby Airfield. (12 Mile / 25 Min)
1100 Hrs Depart
1115 Hrs Arrive Stoke Rochford Church (2 Para) (5 Mile / 15 min)
1200 Hrs Depart
1245 Hrs 10 Para Memorial (19 miles / 45 Min)
1315 hrs Depart
1330 Hrs Arrive Somerby Village Hall (10 Para) (2.5 Mile / 7 Min)
To include lunch in the village
1445 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Langham Parish Church (1 AB Div) (4.6 Mile / 10 Min)
1530 Hrs Depart
1600 Hrs Arrive Corner Cottage, LE15 8DH (Capt Lionel Queripel VC) (6 Mile / 12 Min)
1630 Hrs Depart
1700 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
Sunday 19 September
Travel day under own arrangements



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What are we doing instead of Arnhem ?

Good question.  Here is the latest from our President:


Airborne Forces Riders visit to WW2 airfields, memorials and locations pertaining to Op Market Garden. We don’t really have the opportunity to do this but as this is our second year where we are unable to go to Arnhem, this is the ideal opportunity to visit these places to get ‘the big picture’. This ride will compliment the previous ride weekends at Double Hills in Somerset and Somerby where 10 Bn were based.
Airborne Forces Riders
Arnhem in the UK 2021 (Provisional Programme)
(All distances and timings are approximate)

Thursday 16 September
Travel Day to Melton Mowbray under own arrangements.
Friday 17 September – Arnhem Day
0900 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
0930 Hrs Depart
1015 Hrs Arrive RAF Barkston Heath Arnhem Memorial (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1045 Hrs Depart
1130 Hrs Arrive Thorpe Camp Visitors centre. (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1330 Hrs Lunch – The Blue Bell
1430 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Donington (1 Para Sqn RE & Arnhem Tree) (19 Mile / 30 Min)
1600 Hrs Depart
1630 Hrs Arrive Bourne Church Abbey (1 Para) (16 Mile / 30 Min)
1700 Hrs Depart
1745 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
2000 Hrs Toast to the Men of Arnhem (Location TBC – Dress: Maroon)

Saturday 18 September
0945 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
1000 Hrs Depart
1030 Hrs Arrive Saltby Airfield. (12 Mile / 25 Min)
1100 Hrs Depart
1115 Hrs Arrive Stoke Rochford Church (2 Para) (5 Mile / 15 min)
1200 Hrs Depart
1245 Hrs 10 Para Memorial (19 miles / 45 Min)
1315 hrs Depart
1330 Hrs Arrive Somerby Village Hall (10 Para) (2.5 Mile / 7 Min)
To include lunch in the village
1445 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Langham Parish Church (1 AB Div) (4.6 Mile / 10 Min)
1530 Hrs Depart
1600 Hrs Arrive Corner Cottage, LE15 8DH (Capt Lionel Queripel VC) (6 Mile / 12 Min)
1630 Hrs Depart
1700 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray

Sunday 19 September
Travel day under own arrangements


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Double Hills Ride 2021 – Agenda

Op Market Garden- Double Hills
Provisional Programme

Fri 03 to Sun 05 September 2021

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 03 September – 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 04 September – Cemetery service
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
BS39 6TG

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
BS23 2RP

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 05 September – Double Hills Memorial.

1200 Hrs. BW 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. 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.

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Arnhem statement by AFR President

Paul Moore, our President, has released this statement regarding the Arnhem commemoration trip next month.

“Arnhem 2021

The Dutch government issued its latest advice last Friday:

In short, the U.K. is on the ‘very high risk’ list as far as the Dutch government are concerned, therefore anyone travelling there will have to quarantine for ten days on arrival although this can be shortened to 5 days with testing and vaccination. Read the full document for all the details,but these restrictions make going to Arnhem as a group this year just about impossible. I see no other option but to once again cancel our involvement in the annual Arnhem Commemorations. Of course, you are all free to make your own decisions but I feel this is the most sensible option for most of us.

I have been looking at commemorating Arnhem in the U.K. and to this end I suggest the following:

Weekend of 3-5 September- Double Hills Arnhem Commemoration 2021
Travel day Fri 3rd . Accom: Best Western Paulton or own arrangements.
Sat 4th – ride over to Weston Breakfast Club, visit graves, fish n chips at seafront & ride back through cheddar gorge. Possible visit to Van Diemans MCC clubhouse.
Sunday 12 September – Somerby Commemoration of Op Market Garden
Possible Saturday morning / lunchtime RV. Visit to an area of interest.
Accom: tbc
Sunday morning. Bike procession into Somerby for annual service. Time tbc.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions for anything else please let me know.”


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Ride of Respect 2021 completed

A fantastic fortnight, well…16 days actually, has seen the four intrepid Riders complete the Ride of Respect 2021 today.

After a superb reception at Old Leamingtonians Rugby FC, especially at the bar, the boys set off for the last day of the ride.  The day ended with them paying their respects at the grave of Sir Rex Hunt.  A fitting end to a wonderful, if exhausting ride by our men.

They are now resting at home, no doubt reflecting on their epic trip.

Thank you boys.  Once again you have done us all proud.  We shall endeavour to return the favour by organising regional rides “of Respect” in the year of the 40th anniversary.

Montage by Phyllis Wiggins


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Ride of Respect 2021- update

The Ride of Respect 2021 has been a huge success with massive support nationwide.  The team are tired, but pressing on regardless with their daily tasks towards the fete on Saturday.

Old Leamingtonians Rugby Football Club is the venue for the PRA fete and the Riders,  accompanied by other AFR members, will arrive at 4pm.

If you want to ride in with them then RV at Worcester, as per the timings on the Outline Route on our website.

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Ride of Respect – Newspaper report

Write up on the ride in the daily record

A group of veterans will ride into Hamilton this week to pay their respects to a local fallen Falklands war hero.

Airborne Riders of Respect members Paul Moore, Charlie McColgan, (both Falklands veterans) Phill Damant and Tony McKie are on the third day of their motorbiking tour around the UK visiting the gravesites and memorials of men of who lost their lives in the Falklands in 1982.

The foursome will travel a total of 2600 miles in 15 days, visiting over 80 graves and memorials of the Falklands war in a bid to promote remembrance, respect, awareness and support.

And their tour will see them hold a memorial in Wellhall Cemetery, Hamilton, on Tuesday (August 3) to pay respects at the grave of a local lad Cpl David Hardman MiD, 2 Para, who was killed in action 39 years ago on May 28, 1982 at Goose Green, Falkland Islands.

They are expected to hold their memorial at approximately 4.45pm within the cemetery.

Veteran Paul Moore explained the reason behind the tour.

On his JustGiving page he said: “We are doing this ride to demonstrate that these men are not forgotten, to pay our respects to each one and their families, and to raise funds for the South Atlantic Medal Association who continue to support veterans of the Falklands war and most importantly, the families who have lost loved ones.

“During our first ride in 2019 we visited all of the 3 Para graves, and in 2020 we visited all of the other Falklands graves that we knew about in the UK.

“In 2021 we will be putting both of those rides together making a ride of over 2400 miles that will encompass the graves and memorials of 2 Para, 3 Para, SAS, Scots Guards, Welsh Guards, Royal Marines, SBS, Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Royal Engineers, Royal Signals, Gurkha Rifles, Army Catering Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps and Army Air Corps. We will cover the whole of the UK.

“During the ride, any of our supporters, families and friends are welcome to join us.”

The 40th anniversary of the Falklands war will take place in 2022.


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A new Patron for the Airborne Forces Riders

I am delighted to inform you that Lieutenant General Sir John Gordon Lorimer, KCB, DSO,MBE has agreed to become the Patron of the Airborne Forces Riders.  General Sir John is well known, and much loved and respected, by those that know him.  The Riders and Supporters will, once they meet him, understand why.  He is a soldier’s soldier, as we used to say in the old days.

Vic Thorn was the prime mover in obtaining and presenting the General with his “cut” at the Presentation of the Colours held on 13th July 2021 at Colchester.  You can see, by the grin on his face, that General John (as we now call him) was delighted to receive it.  Vic had asked Mike Turnpenny (know on Facebook as Ziggy Milemuncher) to produce a special version of the AFR backpatch.  He made a fabulous job of it as you can see:

General Lorimer enlisted as a “Tom” (They call them Joey’s now, God knows why), either way he joined as a private soldier in 1981.  Didn’t take him long though, he was commissioned Lieutenant in the Parachute Regiment in December the following year!  General John went on to command 3 Para from 2000 to 2003.  From then on his career went in only one direction, commanding a mechanised brigade in Iraq before moving on to the General Staff.

When you meet him you will be surprised.  Don’t expect the stiff colonel blimp type of “Staff Officer”…that’s not him.  He comes across as warm and self-effacing and has been, and still is, an outstanding Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment.  He is also the President of the Army Rugby Union.

He is currently a Lieutenant General and I would remind you (I know this because I passed my Army Certificate of Education Class 1 (…being a numpty at school) that this is HIGHER than a mere Major General.  One of the quirks of our military.  I’m sure it is only to confuse our colonial cousins in the good old US of A !!

General Lorimer once was a biker and intends to start riding again once he finishes his current role.  The Government however, never ones to let a good man go, have appointed him as Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man !!

Yes, I know, Paul and I are already putting the feelers out for AFR Outing 2022.

Thank you General John for honouring us by becoming our Patron.

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Coffin Shroud for Airborne Forces riders

Not a terribly nice subject, I know, but Nigel Barnett has been working behind the scenes since Dave Pollock’s funeral.  He felt that we should have a shroud especially for the Riders.  True to his word he has created the artwork and had one manufactured:

A great job he has made of it.  Let us hope it a very long time before we need to use it.  Dave, from all the Riders and Supporters, a big THANK YOU

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2022 AFR Rider Reunion – Pay now

AFR Summer Ride Out 2022

Paul Moore has just posted the following:
“I know it seems like a long time to go but you have to get in early on these things!
I asked for opinions on whether this would be a good idea and got a resounding and very positive response! Therefore, I have gone ahead and booked the location and paid the deposit. I have had confirmation back that we are booked Friday 22 July to Sunday 24 July 2022 at St Michaels Environmental Education Centre at Hathersage in the Peak District. Link:
There are 44 bed spaces available as I have also hired the attached cottage so it works out at a little under £50 per head for two nights self catering. Could I please ask that all those who said they would like a slot please send me £50 a head by Paypal asap so that I can pay the bill in full to get it done.
This will leave a small amount that I will put towards getting in the essentials for our stay such as brew making gear, snacks, a few cold drinks and possibly some pizzas for the first night shortly after arrival. Please note that I also have a reserve list of names that want to go on the trip but places at the centre are limited.
Note that once paid the fee is non refundable, but is transferrable to another AFR rider by your own arrangement if you find you cannot go. There are plenty of other accommodations in and around Hathersage such as a YHA just up the road, several BnB and a couple of campsites.
I am planning on doing a full recce of the area in the near future and will produce a detailed plan and itinerary in the early part of 2022. This is the first time we have attempted this and I’m hoping that it will be a great success and lead to us having a regular summer get together and ride out in the UK in the future.
Moore out.”

Send your payment through PayPal (as family and friends gift) to:

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Airborne Forces Riders – Ride out 2022

ADVANCE NOTICE (No bookings allowed yet)

Our planned weekend ride out is in the early planning stage.  The location has been decided.  The cost is likely to be around £50 per head, covering a two night stay.  Accommodation is much better than Albert Sreet Mill in Belfast in 1971…but it is “group” accommodation.  So, it is bunks and dorms.

Planned dates are Friday 22nd July 2022 from 1700hrs to Sunday 24th July.  Departing for home after breakfast (ps meals not included in the expected price).

More info when available

Click for location

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Ride of Respect 2021 confirmed

Meet the team of Airborne Forces Riders who are riding the SAMA82 Ride of Respect 2021

The Riders are:

Paul Moore (60)
9 Para Sqn RE
Bike: Honda GL1800 Goldwing
Andrew ‘Charlie’ McColgan (59)
9 Para Sqn RE
Bike: Honda GL1500 Goldwing
Tony McKie (45)
1 Bn The Parachute Regiment
Bike: Honda ST1100 Pan European
Phil Damant (57)
Royal Air Force
Bike: BMW K1600 GTLE
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Last farewell for an Airborne Rider

We sadly said farewell to Dave Pollock  at Nuneaton Crematorium on Friday 12th March 2021.  It was a sign of how loved and respected he was that, despite Covid restrictions over twenty Riders and Supporters turned up to escort him on his final journey.

Dave was a huge advocate of the Airborne Riders and will be remembered as our Escort Rider.  He, along with Rab Baillie, had escort marked bikes and did a fantastic job every year at our Arnhem Trip.  Interestingly, on the first trip, the police initially stopped both of them carrying out escort duties but soon relented when they realised how good they were!!  Our thoughts are for Scott his son, who despite his grief, insisted on riding as escort to the procession.

Farewell Dave, it was a pleasure to ride with you.  Report to the Final RV – Duty Done !!

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Arnhem – prepare for Brexit fallout

Those of us going to Arnhem in September will be aware that, as we are no longer in the EU, things have changed.  So, how is it likely to affect us on the ground?  Here is a post from Facebook from someone who is in Europe on a bike.  It’s an interesting read:

I use my bike as primary transport and I’m on my way to Germany. I know a few people will be traveling to Europe when lockdown is eased. Just a couple of observations for you guys –
1. I have been stopped twice today (in France & Germany) by the Police who wanted to see my green card insurance. So make sure you take a physical copy with you.
2. I was informed by the French Police that the GB sticker on your number plate is no longer legal. GB drivers should display the old style white background with black GB.
3. I walked into a German petrol station with my flip front helmet up & my neck tube covering my face. I was told to I must remove my helmet & wear a FFP2 medical face mask to be served. This is the law in Germany if entering any retail premises. Luckily I had one!
May save someone hassle in future 😃👍

So…things have changed and there us clearly some mild ill will.  I’ve ordered a supply of small, motorbike GB stickers for distribution.  Green cards are simple to get by contacting your insurers.

Ride safe


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Ride of Respect 2021 Appeal

The outline route for this year’s Ride of Respect is listed below.  As in previous years the riders will be undertaking this mammoth ride at their own expense.  A fund raising page has been set up so that we can all “participate” in the ride by making a contribution to the costs.  All donations will be gratefully received and faithfully applied.  So, please donate to this magnificent cause…

Click here to donate to the ride

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FORWARD PLAN – Falklands Ride of Respect 2022

FORWARD PLAN – Falklands Ride of Respect 2022

Not publishing this openly yet as I don’t want people to get confused between this years Falklands Ride of Respect in August and what me and Charlie are planning for 2022……but this is an Airborne Forces Riders sneak peek at next year’s route.
Start point: Liberty Lodge
Stanley Cemetery (1)
Estancia House (2)
Teal Inlet (3)
Port San Carlos (4)
San Carlos Cemetery (5)
Goose Green (6)
New Haven Ferry (7)
Port Howard Ferry (8)
Port Howard (9)
Darwin Argentine Cemetery (10)
Fitzroy (11)
Stanley Falklands Memorial (12)
Liberty Lodge : Ride Ends
257 Miles and 11 hours of riding.

Paul Moore, President

Map of intended route


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Dave Pollock RIP

Message from our President

Passing – Dave Pollock

It is with great sadness that we have been informed of the passing of Dave Pollock in the early hours of this morning, having succumbed to his fight with cancer. (Wed 10 Feb 2021)
Dave was a former member of 9 Parachute Squadron RE, and active Airborne Forces Rider, often to be seen cutting about on his escort bike with great skill. He will be missed.
As soon as funeral arrangements are known a further bulletin will be issued regarding an escort and Guard of Honour.

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Post Brexit – what to consider!

Nigel Barnett put this excellent briefing on Facebook.  Just in case you missed it, here it is in full:

Green Cards, International Driving Permits (IDP) and travel insurance.
As we are all aware, the rules for travelling abroad have changed, nothing too onerous but boxes that need to be ticked.
Green Cards can be ordered free from your insurance companies/downloaded. Valid for 90 days. They can take up to 5 days if being delivered by post. You also require your V5.
IDP’s for the most part are not required for European travel. For those who only have a paper driving license get an upgrade to a plastic one, this in the main for Europe ticks all the boxes.
Travel insurance, make sure you get travel insurance it costs at most £15. The EHIC may not provide medical cover.
Also check on amount of days outside the UK, it appears to be 90 days, followed by 180 days back in UK. Something to check on if regularly travelling abroad.

Thanks Nigel.  For Arnhem…consider getting the Green Card ASAP rather than wait for the rush when lockdown is lifted 😃😃

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Wise words from our President

Paul Moore, our President, has been in reflective mood lately, since he gained his Masters Degree.  The work for the “Masters” took all of his time.  Then he remembered something he’d read on the lessons he had gained from his time in the military.  I’m sure we can relate to every single one.  Here are those wise words:

Ten life lessons the Army taught me

1. “No plan survives contact with the enemy
– You may have things mapped out but life will change so learn to adapt and keep moving forward.
2. “Soldier on”
– Life is tough, it will hurt and you will suffer but you must not stop. Strength comes from never quitting.
3. “It’s character building”
– When you go through challenges and come out the other side you are stronger for it. Challenges are there to be overcome.
4. “Five minutes before”
– You are part of something bigger, if you are not where you’re meant to be, when you’re meant to be then others will suffer. Plan ahead and be ready to go.
5. “Buddy, buddy”
– Look after your friends and they will be there for you when you need them most.
6. “It is what it is”
– Some things can’t be changed so accept them and move on with your life.
7. “The thinking rifleman”
– You are not some cog in a machine, you have something to offer. Never be afraid to share your ideas, they may be the difference between failure and success.
8. “Train hard, fight easy”
– Push yourself hard in all aspects of your life, prepare for the worst so that when the unexpected happens you are ready for it.
9. “Prior Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance”
– If you have no idea what you are trying to achieve then there is little hope of achieving it. Making a plan enhances your odds of success, think things through beforehand and you will be more prepared should the unexpected happen.
10. “Fire Support”
– You cannot go it alone. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help, you will be stronger for it.

Share the lessons with your civvie friends…it may help them to understand you a bit better !!

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Riding in France – filtering banned

Just a quick heads up!

France has banned the practice of filtering in traffic for motorcycles.  If you are planning, when we can, riding out in France it would sensible to read the latest rules send requirements.  France police will issue fines and points at the drop of a hat following Brexit.

Be aware 😀

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What3words – the way to locate anywhere instantly

We have set up navigation pages on the site with locations of our RVs and points of interest for our rides.  Over time we shall be adding to this “library” so that you will always have locations, like an RV,  exact to a 3m square.   An  example of this that will demonstrate the the usefulness of this app is the Ride to the Wall.  Because of the size of the place we have not been able to join as a group for the Service of Remembrance.  We are usually spread all over the Arboretum.  The location using “What3words” will take you to exactly the spot where we will be standing.  Just using your normal phone navigation of Google Maps on walking mode and you will get there!!

On the bike, if you get into trouble you can send the Waht3words location to anyone and they will get exactly to you!!

As with all things “new” I was reluctant but thought I would give it a go.  Once the location is pinpointed you click “Navigate” and it asks which of the navigation app loaded in your phone you want to use.  It then sends the exact location to the app.

Take a look at the information given on the page:  Navigation points for our rides and try it out on your phone.

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George Firth – Why ride?

I bought a BIKE for a personal dream.
One day when I am very old and when I can not walk anymore, it will be in my garage as a trophy of my memories.
I met people who taught me something and have the same spirit and I met others that I’m glad I forgot.
I got wet,
I felt cold,
And I felt warm,
I was afraid,
I fell,
And I stood up,
I even hurt myself,
But also, I laughed out loud inside the helmet.
I spoke a thousand times with myself.
I sang and shouted with joy like a madman,
And yes … sometimes I cried.
I have seen wonderful places and lived unforgettable experiences.
I often made curves that even Marc Marquez would be proud of; other times I made curves full of terror.
I stopped a thousand times to see a landscape.
I spoke with perfect strangers, and I forgot people I see every day.
I went out with my demons inside and returned home with a feeling of absolute peace in my heart.
I always thought how dangerous it is, knowing that the meaning of courage is to advance even feeling fear.
Every time I go up to my machine I think about how wonderful it is.
I stopped talking to those who do not understand and I learned through gestures to communicate with other riders.
I spent money that I did not have, giving up many things, but all these things are not worth even a moment without my BIKE.
It is not a means of transport or a piece of iron with wheels, it is the lost part of my soul and my spirit.
And when someone says to me “You should sell your bike and do something less dangerous”… I do not answer. I just shake my head and smile as only a person who loves bikes would understand the way I feel.
Be Blessed my friends and their bikes and may we have many more adventures together!
Airborne Forces Riders and camaraderie with beeer n smiles

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Back patches for your Cut

There have been quite a few members asking for information on the back patches that some of us wear on our cuts (Waistcoats )

The Riders back patch was produced by our President, Paul Moore, to raise funds for SAAFA.

He sells them for £30 and all profits go to SAAFA.

If you would like  one to stitch on to your cut then please email Paul at

The Battalion patches are produced by another of our members, Clive Butland.  Again, should you want to order one email him at .  They are priced at £25 each

And for those Riders and Supporters who attend Arnhem the year strips are produced by Rab Baillie.  Again please contact him direct by email at

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End of year message from our President

Dear all,

As we enter into the unknown of 2021, its time for a little bit of reflection on this year, which for everyone has been an ‘Annis Horribilus’.

I think we are only now really starting to feel the effects of the Covid pandemic and the measures the Government have taken to reduce the impact on the NHS and keep us safe. Personally, I dont know many people who have actually had Covid, but thats not to say it does not exist.  While the majority of us are relatively fit and well, many are vulnerable and it is our duty to protect them as much as possible.  Inevitably, we have lost some friends and relatives this year due to illness, accident or old age, and I’m sure you will join me at the turn of the year in raising a glass in remembrance and in honour of absent friends.

The events of this year have inevitably meant a few sacrifices on our part and I’m sure you all missed our ‘routine’ visits to Cleethorpes, Arnhem and the Wall as much as I did.  We missed other events too. I was gutted to miss the battlefield tour to Arnhem with Jack Hawkins in June, but we were able to visit the Double Hills Arnhem Memorial in early September as a group for the first time. That was a good weekend and I hope we can do that again next year.  I was very happy that the Falklands Ride of Respect was able to take place in August and planning for the 2021 ride is in an advanced stage.

We all missed Arnhem this year.  The decision to NOT go was not taken lightly, and taken in full discussion and co-operation with our Dutch friends, they missed us as well and appreciated the fact that we considered their safety and opinion in our decision process. As you may know, Charlie and I flew across to formally present the flower children their pins. This trip enabled us to meet some new friends and strengthen our relationships with others.  Airborne Forces Riders will have a role to play with the Flower Children in Arnhem 2021 and we are also in discussion with the town about a permanent fixture. I will brief on that when everything is arranged.

We will continue to plan for events as normal and they will either go ahead or be rescheduled according to the situation. Rule 9 / 216 always applies: Stay Flexible and be prepared for a change of plan !

Check out the Events section on the AFR Facebook page for what is planned and if anyone wants to include an event let me know.

We have all missed each others company and banter, and to some degree we have all experienced a bit of isolation. However, there are many ways to stay in touch so reach out to others if you can, stay in touch and if someone needs help lets all rally round to fix it.  I know that our lovely lady of Arnhem Connie Bateman appreciated all the cards, flowers and messages on her 94th birthday recently, and especially the personal visit from that equally lovely ‘young man’ Vic Thorn who rode up personally to wish Connie happy birthday on behalf of us all. Thank you Vic !

Finally, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and wish you all the very best for the coming year.


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Carry on camping 2021 !!

Paul is in the process of organising a ride out in 2021.  Dates yet to be agreed but the outline plan is:

Friday – Ride to Aldershot for RV  evening in the Trafalgar Pub (Lord help us!)

Saturday – Ride (carefully after Friday night) to Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth for an overnight CAMPING (you know, the stuff civvies do when they want to play soldiers) , with BBQ and band possibly

FORT CUMBERLAND, Eastney, Portsmouth

Sunday – Ride home (or those going to Normandy board the boat if last weekend in May is chosen)

More details to follow

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Ride of Respect – Airborne Engineers



Here is a fabulous article, written by our President, Paul Moore, for the Airborne Engineers Journal.  It gives a detailed account of this year’s Ride of Respect, from the viewpoint of the riders.  Enjoy !!


Airborne Forces Riders
South Atlantic Medal Association 2020 Ride of Respect
01-08 August 2020

Maj (Retd) Paul Moore (9 Para Sqn RE attached to 3 Para in 1982)

Some of you reading this will recall that last year’s ride was inspired by Jimmy O’Connell (3 Para) who had details of all the 3 Para graves from the impressive research he did when writing his fantastic account of the Battle for Mount Longdon ‘Three Days in June’. Jim called me one day and asked if I lived anywhere near Lanchester in County Durham. I drive through that village almost every day and Jim told me that one of the 3 Para lads rests there – Stewart Laing – so I set off to find the grave. Since then I have made it my task to honour Stewart every year on 12 June on behalf of all 3 Para and attached arms, the same as I do in Edinburgh at the grave of my section commander in 9 Sqn and good friend – Scotty Wilson.

This revelation shocked me as I realised that if I did not know where one of my mates was buried, there must be others out there. There started the research into where all of the Falklands gravesites are located and following the success of the 2019 Ride of Respect where we visited all of the 3 Para gravesites, this year we planned to include all of the other Falklands war graves and memorials in the UK as far as possible. Right from the start we knew this ride was going to be much harder than last year. Planning the ride took over 8 months and included a route planning distance of around 2400 miles, over 40 graves to visit and a dozen or so Falklands memorials, not to mention arranging accommodation, ferries, fuel, and fundraising – all complicated by a little thing called Covid19.

We found that the minimum time we could fit the ride in was over 8 days. Originally it was planned for early July but due to the situation we postponed the ride until early August. As it happens this was a good decision but in conducting the ride, we found that it was not all plain sailing. The full program and sheer tempo of the ride meant that we got very tired and there were mistakes made along the way, but we also learned a few things and met some wonderful people. In order to keep costs down we asked for help from our wider Airborne and Corps family and the offers of beds, meals, brews and beers were outstanding. Our program did not allow us to visit all but to those who did offer assistance we are very grateful.

This year the team consisted of Charlie McColgan (9 Sqn), Tony McKie (1 Para), Phil Damant (RAF) and myself, and later Iain Omerod (264 SAS Sig Sqn). So is this just about the gravesites? Most certainly not. Our ride is conducted for the following reasons:

Remembrance – to demonstrate that the fallen are not forgotten.
Respect – for their families, the pain of their loss of a son, husband, or brother continues.
Awareness – to let people know where our fallen lie so that they may give due respect.
Support – by fundraising for SAMA82 whose support gives comfort to veterans and families.

To give you some idea of the itinerary and diary:

Day 1 – Sat 01 Aug 20
0700 Hrs – Depart
0745 Hrs – Whitley Bay, Hesleyside Road, NE25 9HB – Memorial, – Captain Chris Dent 2 Para
1100 Hrs – Mortonhall Cemetery, Edinburgh, EH16 6TX – DSgt Daniel Wright 2 Scots Gds
1245 Hrs – Kennoway Cemetery, KY8 5LN – Captain David Wood, 2 Para
1500 Hrs – Western Cemetery, Arbroath, DD11 3RA – Cpl Peter Fitton 45 Cdo, Cpl Ian Spencer 45 Cdo, Cpl Laurence Watts 42 Cdo, Mne Paul Callan 45 Cdo.
1545 Hrs – Visit Falklands Memorial Garden, 45 Commando, RM Condor. DD113SP
1700 Hrs – Laurencekirk Cemetery, AB30 1HF – LSgt Clark Mitchell 2 Scots Gds
1915 Hrs – Macduff Myrus Cemetery, AB44 1 PQ – Cpl Peter McKay 45 Cdo.
Day total – 399 miles
Overnight – Kinloss Barracks, IV36 3UH

Diary Notes: What an epic day ! We were met by around 20 bikers at Whitley Bay from the Widows Sons and Eights and Aces plus others who escorted us all the way to Edinburgh. There we were met by Invictus MC who also escorted us all the way to Arbroath in a very professional manner. This helped us to stay on time. We were blown away by the support of bikers, veterans and the public who turned up at cemeteries along the way. It was lovely to meet Shenia the wife of DSgt Danny Wight in Edinburgh. We could barely get our bikes into Kennoway Cemetery and then had trouble getting out again due to the number of supporters there. The support shown has been fantastic, not just by bikers but many members of the public too. Mick Walker of Airborne Engineers Scotland was there to support us and good to see Mick looking so well it was.

The visit to 45 Cdo Memorial Garden in Arbroath was a detail we only added in at late notice thanks to Fiona – Jenny Wren – of the Royal Naval Association Riders – but well worthwhile as it is a memorial to all 45 Cdo personnel lost on operations since the 1970’s, including the Falklands. The RN Riders escorted us the rest of the way to Kinloss. At Laurencekirk we were honoured to meet Theresa the wife of LSgt Clark Mitchell. She made a very moving speech telling us about Clark, and how he was taken so young shortly after their marriage, but how our ride has given her pride and lifted her spirits. This helps us to know we are doing the right thing. After a brief visit to Macduff to pay respects to Peter McKay 45 Cdo, we made our way to 39 Engineer Regiment for an overnighter in Kinloss Barracks and a well earned beer ! Many thanks to Lt Col (QM) Gus Thompson RE and Cpl ‘Griff’ Griffiths for your hospitality. Very much appreciated.

Day 2 – Sun 02 Aug 20

0700 Hrs – Depart
0900 Hrs – Spean Bridge Commando Memorial, PH34 4EE
1130 Hrs – Penny Fuir Cemetery, Oban, P34 4QA – Mne Gordon MacPherson 45 Cdo
1400 Hrs – North Dalnotter Cemetery, G81 4SL – Sgt John Simeon 2 Scots Gds
1500 Hrs – Cardonald Cemetery, G52 1SB – Gdsm Archibald Stirling 2 Scots Gds
1600 Hrs – Sandymount Cemetery, G32 0HW – Gdsm Derek Denholm 2 Scots Gds
1700 Hrs – West Cemetery, Hamilton, ML3 9BY – Cpl David Hardman 2 Para
1845 Hrs – Knadgerhill Cemetery, Irvine, KA12 0YE – Gdsm James Reynolds & Gdsm David Malcolmson 2 Scots Gds
Day total – 295 miles
Overnight – Premier Inn, Prestwick, KA9 2RJ

Diary Notes: This day was just a blur. It started with a stunning early morning ride down the north shore of Loch Ness to Spean Bridge Commando Memorial. There was no way on this earth would we ever ride past this and miss out honouring our Royal Marine and Commando Brothers. Departing at 0700 hrs meant there was very little traffic on the road and the ride down the loch was just breath taking. The Royal Marines Association did us proud by providing a Standard Bearer and Charlie laid a wreath in honour of those brave men. Following this we headed down to Oban to pay our respects to another Royal, then on leaving Oban – travelling back on the same road we rode in on – disaster struck ! Tony lost control of his bike on the wet road and struck the rear of a parked car, writing off his bike and the car but luckily, with cat-like agility (or sheer paratrooper instinct) he went over the roof of the car and landed in the bushes at the side of the road ! He had a few bruises and he burbled like a shell-shocked budgie for a bit but thankfully otherwise fine. A lucky lad. Assuming this was game over for him in good paratrooper style we stripped Tony of any essential equipment, made sure he had food and water and carried on with our mission, leaving him to sort out recovery back to Durham. We had a very memorable service at Irvine where two Scots Guardsmen are buried together. The story here is that Gdsm Jim Reynolds was an orphan and there were no family to claim him therefore he was buried alongside his good pal Gdsm David Malcolmson. We also met the brother of David Malcolmson who gave us a very significant bottle of whisky to auction for SAMA. We later found out that it may be worth over £5000. Safely parked up for the day we reflected on the day’s events, what led to the accident and what we must do to ensure it does’nt happen again. We also called Tony to see how he was, (to take the mick) only to find that he intended to buy another bike the next day and will catch us up later……..yeah, right ya 1 Para loony!

Day 3 – Mon 03 Aug 20
0700 Hrs – Depart
1030 Hrs – Cairnryan DG9 8RG – Larne BT40 1AX
1615 Hrs – Blaris Cemetery, Lisburn, BT27 5RA – LCpl Tony Cork 2 Para
1715 Hrs – Palace Barracks Memorial Garden, BT18 9RA
1900 Hrs – Stena Line Ferry Terminal, Belfast, BT3 9JL
Day Total – 111.5 miles
Overnight – On ship

Diary Notes: A nice little early morning ride down to Cairnryan after a bit of breakfast. A luxury. A pleasant two hours on the boat and we were met by my old mucker Moore Campbell and around 30 guys and gals from the NI branch of the RBL Riders. We had a bit of time for a little ride out along the beautiful North Antrim coast to Glenarm for a burger on the sea front and a nice ride down to Lisburn to pay our respects to Tony Cork of 2 Para. We were once again amazed at the number of people who turned out to meet us and join with us in paying respect. We were especially grateful to meet Tony’s son and daughter. Riding with us was former Royal Marine Padre Andrew Rawding who assisted us by conducting a short and simple service of remembrance which everyone appreciated. We were then escorted up to Palace Barracks in Belfast to visit the Memorial Garden. Albert Owens MBE (1 Para) gave us the guided tour completely from memory. It was fantastic. We also paid our respects to all those who lost their lives on Op Banner. While this slightly detracted from our Falklands theme, we felt it was appropriate due to our current location, all of us having served on Op Banner and the fact that Albert is so passionate that their sacrifice should never be forgotten. Padre Andy once again did his bit, his strong voice booming out in the relative silence of the Memorial Garden. I don’t mind admitting that this was an emotional service. We had all lost mates over there and elsewhere, and the thought that we had almost lost another just the day before was not far from our mind.

Day 4 – Tue 04 Aug 20

0830 Hrs – Depart
0900 Hrs – Kirkdale Cemetery, Aintree, L9 9EN – Gdsm Ronald Tanbini 2 Scots Gds
1100 Hrs – Stockport Cemetery, SK2 6LS – Pte Mark Fletcher MID 2 Para
1300 Hrs – Welsh Guards Memorial, Wrexham Town Hall, LL11 1ZA
1630 Hrs – SAS Memorial, St Martins Church, Ross Rd, Hereford. HR2 7RJ
1700 Hrs – Move to Ross on Wye HR9 5QQ – Tea Break with Jean Jenkins
1730-1830 Hrs – Tea Break
1900 Hrs Yew Tree Brake Cemetery, Cinderford, GL14 3 HU – Spr Chris Jones 59 Cdo Sqn RE
2015 Hrs – BP Garage, Newport Rd, Chepstow, NP16 5YS – RV with Patriots MC
Day total – 242 miles
Overnight – Patriots MC South Wales, NP11 4PT

Diary Notes: As we got off the ferry in Liverpool it was raining but we had time for a quick trip to Macdonalds to keep the fires burning. It was a pleasure to meet Danielle the daughter of Ronald Tanbini and his baby grandson at the cemetery where his grave had been carefully tidied up by two lads from the Scots Guards only a couple of days before our visit. On arrival in Wrexham we had quite a following, probably around 20 bikes. We found the Welsh Guards Memorial easy enough and met two ex-Welsh Guards guys there who had only found out about the visit the night before. We paid our respects to all those lost on the RFA Sir Galahad, including two of our own Andy MacIllvenny and Wayne Tarbard. However, soon we were on our way to Hereford where the SAS Association met us and Gordon Mather MM – former SAMA Chairman – gave a guided tour of the SAS Memorial plot and we were allowed into the church to view the stunning stained glass window dedicated to the SAS Regiment. At this point we were also joined by ex-264 SAS Sig Sqn rider Iain Ormerod in Hereford for the rest of the trip replacing Tony McKie.

Our next visit was to see the lovely Jean Jenkins. We had met Jean last year on the 3 Para ride, we kept in touch and she is a great follower of the Airborne Forces Riders. Sadly, Jean is not too well at the moment, but we had a nice hour nattering while she filled us with tea and sandwiches, and hugs all round because ‘little bugs’ were not going to stop Jean hugging her boys ! It was already a long day by the time we met up with our old mucker Denzil Connick (3 Para) and The Patriots in Chepstow and we were certainly glad to get off the bikes into the Patriots Clubhouse for a well-earned beer and some much needed down time. The Patriots looked after us extremely well and before we knew it, from our sleeping bags we could hear Patriot Mitch rustling up a full cooked breakfast for us. Top bloke ! We knew that Day 5 was going to be a long motorway day but we were looking forward to being met by some Royal Marine Riders who would escort us from Taunton down to Plymouth.

Day 5 – Wed 05 Aug 20

0900 Hrs – Depart
0930 Hrs Courtesy Call – SAMA82 Office, Pontypool, NP40LS
1330 Hrs Buckland Monochorum Cemetery, Yelverton, Devon, PL207NA – Cpl Jeremy Smith RM
1430 Hrs Weston Mill Cemetery, Plymouth, PL2 2EP – Cpl Mick Melia 59 Cdo Sqn RE
1530 Hrs – Drake Cemetery, Plymouth, PL7 1UQ – Sgt Roger Enefer RM
1830 Hrs – Cenotaph, Blandford Forum, DT11 9AZ – LC Adrian Wellstead RN
1930 Hrs – St Michaels Church, Hamworthy, Poole, BH15 4HR Sgt Nicholas Hunt RM SBS
Day total – 296 miles
Overnight – Nichols Family – Poole. BH12 5AD

Diary Notes: We made the obligatory courtesy call to the SAMA office in Pontypool mainly because the lovely Joanne Stephens spoils us rotten with brews, biscuits and sarnies, but also as we had to offload our very valuable whisky cargo and around £1400 in cash we had been given in donations so far. We certainly were getting nervous about carrying that lot !. It was a long day on mostly motorway or fast A roads but we were well escorted by a group of Royal Marine Riders who we met at Taunton Services. These guys knew where they were going which saved us a load of time. It was raining lightly as we got to Plymouth but we knew it would get worse. And it did ! It was great to see so many friends from 59 Cdo Sqn RE at Mick Melia’s grave and especially Micks wife Gill and partner Frank – also ex RM. By now it was lashing down, we were tired and soaking wet and traffic was heavy so the recipe was just right for another accident to happen so we opted to miss out one serial in order to have a 30 minute break for a brew before moving on. We felt bad about missing out visiting the memorial to LC Adrian Wellstead of HMS Sheffield, but it was always the case that if we were behind time or needed time for some reason then we might have to miss out a serial. Knowing that it was a memorial as opposed to a grave, we had to miss this one out but we also knew that Adrian would be remembered at the Royal Navy memorial in Portsmouth the following day.

After a short visit to Hamworthy to pay respect to Sgt Kiwi Hunt SBS we were relieved to arrive at Colonels Cottage and the Nichols family residence for our overnight stop. Johnny (ex 9 Para sqn RE) and Denise laid on some excellent food, the rain had now stopped and we had a very pleasant evening yarning about old times and blowing the froth off a couple…..but then we had an arrival ! Tony McKie – he of the earlier crashed bike fame – had ridden his replacement bike which he had bought the previous day down from Durham to Poole to re-join us. Now we were five and we unanimously voted Tony McKie the Airborne Riders ‘Man of the Match’ for such a fine display of Airborne initiative and spirit !


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
Lt Jim Barry RSigs
CSgt Gordon Findlay 2 Para
Cpl Steve Prior 2 Para
Cpl Paul Sullivan 2 Para
LCpl Gary Bingley MM 2 Para
LCpl Nigel Smith 2 Para
LCpl Badharparsad Limbu 1/7 Gurkha Rifles
Pte Steve Illingsworth DCM 2 Para
Pte Tommy Mechan 2 Para
and others from Airborne Forces.
Day total – 171.5 miles
Overnight – Premier Inn, Aldershot, GU11 1SQ

Diary Notes: There were a few sore heads this morning but the cracking bacon butties and a brew sorted us out for a cracking ride up to Portsmouth in busy traffic picking up riders on the way. As we entered Fort Cumberland there were already some Airborne Forces Riders there to meet us and we were given a fine welcome and photo shoot by the staff of Forgotten Veterans UK. We were met by my old mucker and former Sapper Gary Weaving who has been instrumental in helping veterans in the Portsmouth area as well as further afield, and Gary gave us a briefing on how they support veterans from Fort Cumberland. Great work Gary and the team! Leaving the Fort we must have had around 35 bikes and to our surprise there were more waiting outside the fort and at the Yomper to meet us. Here I made a slight navigation error which took us into a private estate dead end much to everyone’s amusement…….but not the neighbours !

Love it or hate it ‘The Yomper’ is an iconic image from the Falklands war, and while in Portsmouth it would be remiss of us not to pay our respects there or to miss the opportunity for a photograph. SAMA Chairman Tom Herring also spoke about what we were doing and outlined plans for the 40th anniversary of the Falklands war in 2022. We were guided around to 18 Gun Battery and the Royal Navy Falklands memorial by a local rider (I’m not daft enough to get lost twice in a row !) where I was concerned that not only were we early but there were by now around 50 bikes to park up without causing any problems. We made our act of remembrance there, assisted by several standard bearers and veterans from all over the Portsmouth area. It was very moving especially as one lady spectator introduced herself to us as coming from the Falklands and after throwing a couple of names about we found we have several mutual friends in Stanley. By the time we got to Tidworth there must have been around 70 bikes in the convoy and I was starting to get a little worried about the size of the traffic tail…..however, all I had to worry about really was the five of us and being on time. It was hard to tell how many people were at Tidworth cemetery but it must have been around 150. We arrived at Aldershot military cemetery a little early which was just as well. We could not believe how many people were there to join us in our act of remembrance. On some previous occasions we have had buglers turn up to play, but in Aldershot we had Falklands veteran and our old friend John Ferry (9 Para Sqn) who played a lament after our act of remembrance. This was a nice touch and I think appreciated by the many people there. This was on one of the hottest days of the year and by the time all of this was over we were ready to get showered and a beer. A nice surprise awaited me at the hotel as my daughter and grand daughter had came over from Basingstoke to surprise me. We had a really nice evening in the Trafalgar in Aldershot courtesy of Richard Stacy (1 Para) and the Traff now has a nice new 2020 Ride of Respect plaque on its wall as a small show of respect and thanks from us.

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
Day Total – 266 miles
Overnight – Bickel Family, Attleborough, NR172RL

Diary Notes: It was an early start from Aldershot much to the annoyance of the team (who all had headaches!) but we had an extra serial to go to at Brookwood cemetery near Pirbright, – that of LCpl Chris Thomas 1 Welsh Guards who was one of the last soldiers to be killed in the war. By now this being our seventh day on the road we were feeling a bit tired and mistakes were starting to be made…..and I’m not just talking about my navigation ! The route to Chatham was fairly straight forward but one missed GPS turning point and we ended up taking the back streets up the hill and through Gillingham to get to Twydal church and the memorial stone to Cpl Andy McIllvenney. We were met by my old mucker from 9 Sqn days Tim van der Kraan who had secured access to parking and the church itself, which was very much appreciated, as was the reception by many mates of mine and Charlie’s from days gone by. Heading up the M20 towards the Dartford Tunnel, the traffic started to increase and Chris Rea was playing ‘Road to Hell’ on my Ipod……..very apt. We had to filter through the traffic approaching the tunnel. Drivers were mostly kind to us and allowed us through – filtering is NOT illegal – and knowing that one of the bikes was limited in range – yes it was a Harley – we pulled into Thurrock services for fuel.
We quickly set off again and I got onto the motorway slip road when my bike (a GL1800 Goldwing) lost all power and blew out a great cloud of white smoke. For some bizarre reason I thought the clutch had gone but the evidence was there and a quick check of the fuel receipt confirmed it. I had put diesel into the bike by mistake ! I was in disbelief that I could have done such a thing but such is tiredness and getting distracted at the pumps. No excuses. It happens. In true paratrooper style I was stripped of all my ‘must-go’ gear and off they went (making a ‘hurry up’ waving sign to me as they went !) to continue the mission, leaving me by the side of the road to try to get the bike sorted. It was hot – nearly 30C and the motorway slip road on the M25 is a dangerous place to breakdown, but luckily help came within about an hour and I was taken to Tilbury dock where the bike was de-fuelled, tested and refuelled all by around 1700 hrs.
I thought the M25 at teatime on a Friday was going to be a nightmare but it was not too bad as I made my way direct to Attleborough in Norfolk, our final RV for the day and the home of my good mate Dave Bickel RE and his lovely wife Gill. In the meanwhile, the remainder had been to show respect at graves in Basildon, Colchester, and Oulton Broad where they were met by the Norfolk Harley Owners group who escorted them all the way to Attleborough and their bike night at a bar called Route 11. That’s where me and Dave found them. Sipping non-alcohol beers and enjoying the hospitality of the HOG guys. I quickly lost count of the number of ‘Diesel’ jokes that came my way……’Would you like a diesel…err I mean a drink?’  A very enjoyable night followed at big Dave’s place, accompanied by Dave’s son Joe who is in 2 Para, and another mate Craig ex 3 Para. Dave produced an enormous BBQ, the beer and banter flowed, and many toasts were made. We even made a few from Charlie’s desert boot. The Port went down well, but when the whisky started to flow it was game over for me and the events of the day caught up. It had been a long, hot day. Not one of my better ones, but at least we were all safe.


Day 8 – Sat 08 Aug 20

1000 Hrs – Depart
1330 Hrs – St Mary’s Church, Marston on Dove, Derby, DE65 5GB – Spr Wayne Tarbard 4 Tp 9 Para Sqn RE
1430 Hrs – St Mary’s Church Cemetery, Boulton Lane, Alveston, Derby, DE24 0GE – Mne Michael Nowak 45 Cdo
1630 Hrs – Eckington War Memorial, S21 4BH – LCpl John Pashley 9 Para Sqn RE
1930 Hrs – All Saints Church, Hutton Rudby, TS15 0EY – Sir Rex Hunt CMG
Day total – 307 miles
Ride total – 2267.5 miles

Diary Notes: We could afford a bit of a late start on our last day which was good because we needed it ! We had received a lot of messages from friends and strangers who wanted to ride with us on our last day, and one guy even rode from Leeds to Attleborough this morning just to join us for the final day ! Good effort. He was rewarded with a mug of tea and one of Big Dave’s sausage sarnies before we set off down the A14, picking up more and more riders as we went on our way to Marston on Dove in Derbyshire. We were met there by more bikers and the Derby and Leicester Branches of the Parachute Regiment Association who both kindly presented cheques to SAMA in recognition of our ride. We were also met by Wayne Tarbard’s sister and niece who told us that it gave the family some comfort that by doing our ride they know Wayne and the others are not forgotten.
We were really pleased to be able to honour Mne Mike (Blue) Nowak as his grave had been very hard to trace. However, someone who knew Blue back in 82 had contacted us during the ride to correct the location we had published, this got us to the correct place and we were able to honour him too. That made my day. By the time we got to Eckington memorial the Standards of the PRA and REA were flying. This was the penultimate location on the ride and a memorial to our old mate John Pashley (9 Para Sqn RE) who was killed on Tumbledown. It was great that so many turned out to join us in remembering Pash, but especially good that a local landscaper had renovated the area around the memorial with proper paving free of charge the week before we arrived. Thank you whoever that was.
Very aware that we were now on the final leg, it was a busy Saturday evening on the roads and we were all tired we set off for Hutton Rudby in North Yorkshire and the grave of Sir Rex Hunt – The Governor of the Falklands in 1982 and our final act of remembrance on this ride. The church is situated in a dip in the village and on a bend in the road so we did not know how many people were there until we rounded the corner ! The place was mobbed ! It seemed like the whole of Teesside PRA had turned out en-masse and even brought the beer and the buffet too ! Priorities first though and we paid our respects to Sir Rex in exactly the same way as we had with all of the other graves we visited. I read out the obituary published in the Guardian when he died and many people remarked afterwards that he was a truly remarkable man, an RAF Spitfire pilot at the end of WW2, Diplomat in the British Embassy at the fall of Saigon and a real no-nonsense character. A bit old school if you like but certainly the right man at the right time in the Falklands in 1982. A short time later we were all home, beer in hand and able to reflect on the week.

Was it worth it? Certainly. Even if just one relative gets some comfort by knowing that we don’t forget their loved ones then it is worth it, but on this trip we were thanked many times by relatives for doing just that.
Did we achieve the aim? Certainly. We made over 50 separate acts of REMEMBRANCE and demonstrated our RESPECT to the fallen and their families. We brought about AWARENESS of where the graves and memorials are and we hope others will visit them in the future, and everyone contributed to SUPPORT the South Atlantic Medal Association by helping us to raise over £7400 – some 300% over our original target.
Will we do it again? Certainly. We are already planning next year’s ride where we will put the rides of 2019 and 2020 together making one big ride, but we will be doing it over a period of two weeks. The dates of the 2021 SAMA Ride of Respect are: Sat 31 July to Sunday 15 August 2021.
Thank you all for your support.

Paul Moore, Charlie McColgan, Tony McKie, Phil Damant, Iain Omerod



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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)


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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


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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

Saint Mary’s Road
Market Harborough
LE16 7DR

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

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

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 Moore
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,


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


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

Video of the team leaving Kirkdale with supporters

excellent cooked breakfast

And another video

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.”


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.”


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.”


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.

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

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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

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:






Posted on Leave a comment

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,
1730 Hrs – St Michaels Church, Oulton Broad, NR32 3JP – Pte Dave Parr 2 Para

Posted on Leave a comment

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!!

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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.

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, on Thursday 3rd November at,
Markeaton Crematorium,
Markeaton Lane,
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.