Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.”


Posted on

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


Posted on

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
Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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




Posted on

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.

Posted on

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 😃😃

Posted on

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
Posted on

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.