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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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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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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.