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)
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
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:
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
Note: There is a fuel station at Sainsbury’s. Top up here.
1230 Hrs Depart to Tenth Memorial. (17 Miles – 30 Min)
Burrough on the Hill
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.
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
ETA Cleethorpes – 1800 Hrs
Move into accommodation.
RV at PRA 1900 hrs onwards.
Sunday 20 Sep.
No programme. Riders – Ride home Safe.
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.
It has finally been confirmed that the Ride to the Wall 2020 is cancelled. Here is the notice from Martin, the founder:
Roll on 2021 !! Ride safe
By popular request we have sourced long sleeve T shirts in Maroon !!
There is a limited supply, so get in early if you want one of the first batch. Order exactly the same as before but choose Maroon as the colour option.
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”
The PRA summer bash, organised by Coventry / Northants PRA, which is usually a fabulous event, is definitely cancelled until next year.
2021 date will be released soon
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
- Whiteways Cafe, Bury Hill BN18 9FD
- Devils Dyke, Brighton BN1 8YJ
- 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!
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:
Many thanks for all of your efforts Nigel. Let’s hope we can do it again next year!!
This Sunday the weather is predicted to be fabulous. Why not get the bike out and join the lads at the RV for a ride around the Polish Graveyards
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 😀😀
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
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.
Please acknowledge if taking part, for me to get an idea on numbers.
Bring packed lunch and drinks.
Berets for photos, ‘CUTS’ Optional.
Refuel before the ride please.
See SCENICAPP for the route map.
Sites on route: Lots of history and memorials.
Orton Hall, 3rd Bn Polish Paras.
Milton Hall. Stop: SOE, OSS JEDBURGH.
Suleyhay Woods. 2nd Bn Polish Paras.
RAF Kings Cliffe. Stop: Glenn Miller. Memorial.
Blatherwhycke Hall. Anti-Tank Polish Paras.
RAF Spanhoe: Stop: Memorial. For many the start point to Arnhem.
Easton on the Hill: Stop: 1st Bn Polish Paras. Memorial.
Stamford Rock House. Stop: Maj Gen Sosabowski HQ. Memorial.
Fotheringhay: Mary Queen of Scots, executed here.
RAF Polebrook. Stop: Clarke Gable, THOR Missiles. Memorial.
RAF Glatton. Stop: Glenn Miller. Memorial.
Norman Cross. Stop: First ever POW Camp.
Back to Start point.
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 !!
Arnhem T Shirts 2017
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.