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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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Double Hills ride out – a fabulous success!

What a belting weekend!

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

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

They were surprised and very pleased with the gift.

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

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

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

A poignant end to a super weekend.

Click here for video of the event

WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM

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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”