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George Firth – Why ride?


THE DREAM THAT MANY WILL NOT UNDERSTAND:
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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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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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”