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President’s statement on Arnhem 2020

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)


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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

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The funeral of John Jeffries – Arnhem Veteran

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:


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New Arnhem Ride and PRA Visit

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
Market Harborough
LE16 7DR

Note: There is a fuel station at Sainsbury’s. Top up here.

1230 Hrs Depart to Tenth Memorial. (17 Miles – 30 Min)

Twyford Road
Burrough on the Hill
Melton Mowbray
LE14 2QS

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.
Royal Gardens
Woodhall Spa
East Lindsey
LN10 6QL

Arnhem Memorial
Cottage Museum
Iddesleigh Road
Woodhall Spa
LN10 6SH

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
Roughton Moor
Woodhall Spa
LN10 6UX

ETA Cleethorpes – 1800 Hrs
Move into accommodation.
RV at PRA 1900 hrs onwards.

Sunday 20 Sep.
No programme. Riders – Ride home Safe.


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Double Hills Ride out – latest details

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.

    Click for Map


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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”

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Rye Romp – 1st August

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
1130 Depart

Stops enroute

  1. Whiteways Cafe, Bury Hill BN18 9FD
  2. Devils Dyke, Brighton BN1 8YJ
  3. 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!

Whose in?

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Peterborough Ride declared a roaring success

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:

“Great ride out today to Peterborough and surrounding area… lead by Nigel Barnett. What a great day, very interesting visiting many of these memorial sites from the war and lovely countryside and roads to ride around.
Thanks again Nige, you must of put some work into sorting this out, Jack and I and the rest who joined us as a group, I’m sure are very grateful.  😎🏍”
and another one…
Sat here at the computer reading through the post’s from the ride yesterday that Nigel Barnett put together around Peterborough. The only thing I can do is to repeat what a great organised informative day it was ….. 👍👍👍
Looking forward to the next one I can get a pass for …

Many thanks for all of your efforts Nigel.  Let’s hope we can do it again next year!!

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”3″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]


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Three weeks to go !!

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 😀😀

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Doc Findlay RIP – bench update

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 


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Peterborough Ride Out – Sunday 19th July 2020

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.

ABFR Peterborough Ride Out Sunday 19 July 20. Polish Para’s and more.
RV: Peterborough Services A1M J17: PE73UQ.
RV OPENS: 1100-1130.
  1. Please acknowledge if taking part, for me to get an idea on numbers.
  2. Bring packed lunch and drinks.
  3. Berets for photos, ‘CUTS’ Optional.
  4. Refuel before the ride please.
  5. See SCENICAPP for the route map.
  6. 1130-Short Brief.
  7. Sites on route: Lots of history and memorials.
  8. Orton Hall, 3rd Bn Polish Paras.
  9. Milton Hall. Stop: SOE, OSS JEDBURGH.
  10. Suleyhay Woods. 2nd Bn Polish Paras.
  11. RAF Kings Cliffe. Stop: Glenn Miller. Memorial.
  12. Blatherwhycke Hall. Anti-Tank Polish Paras.
  13. RAF Spanhoe: Stop: Memorial. For many the start point to Arnhem.
  14. Easton on the Hill: Stop: 1st Bn Polish Paras. Memorial.
  15. Stamford Rock House. Stop: Maj Gen Sosabowski HQ. Memorial.
  16. Fotheringhay: Mary Queen of Scots, executed here.
  17. RAF Polebrook. Stop: Clarke Gable, THOR Missiles. Memorial.
  18. RAF Glatton. Stop: Glenn Miller. Memorial.
  19. Norman Cross. Stop: First ever POW Camp.
  20. Back to Start point.
Ride Safe


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Jack Hawkins leads the way !!

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 !! 

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AFR Forthcoming Rides – 2020

AFR Forthcoming Rides – 2020 – COVID amended

Paul has got to work immediately and sketched out the provisional programme for 2020:

Cleethorpes- pre Season Ride Out.
25/26 April  (TBC) – Cancelled
Sgt Michael Willets GC Memorial
25 May  (TBC) – Cancelled
Nottingham PRA
Early June – Battlefield Tour of Normandy. Jack Hawkins leading. Limited spaces available.
2 Para Ride of Respect – National – various locations. In aid of SAMA82.
29 Jun – 03 July – Moved to August (See Facebook page for latest details)
Aldershot – Airborne Forces Day
04/05 July – Cancelled

Double Hills, Paulson, Somerset.
01 September. – to be confirmed
Arnhem – 17-23 Sep – Restricted events – (See Facebook page for latest details)

Cromwell Lock Memorial
28 Sep 1975 several members of 131 Para Sqn RE killed in incident on river Trent in Nottinghamshire.  (TBC)
Ride to the wall – Airborne gathering at 1500 hrs at the Airborne Memorial.
03 Oct  (TBC) for the annual photograph

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New President of the Airborne Forces Riders

New President of the Airborne Forces Riders

Delighted to announce that Major Paul Moore (Retd) has agreed to replace Michael (Titch) Cornish as President of the Riders.

Titch was one of the original founders (as was Paul) and put a considerable effort into launching the group and into the planning of the annual Arnhem Remembrance Rides. His efforts over the past five years have ensured that the Riders has a very strong foundation.

A foundation that Paul is determined to build upon (being an engineer (Ex 9 Sqn) I suppose that was inevitable 😉 We wish him all the best with his endeavours and our wholehearted support.

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Battlefields of Normandy

Battlefields of Normandy

One of our members runs guided tours of the Normandy Battlefields. Having been on one I can vouch that he is a superb, knowledgeable guide. It makes the whole experience come alive!!

His name is Mark (Jack) Hawkins, ex 216 Signals and a Falklands Vet and, if you are interested in speaking to him about a tour, he can be contacted on 07788 201337

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Battlefield Tours

Battlefield Tours

We’ve had an email from Richard Joyce, Ex 1 Para.  His son has just recently taken over a motorcycle tour company.

As yet he doesn’t have any details but is sure there will be battlefield tours and European tours on the menu.

Richard will send us some more details as soon as they are available

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Arnhem T Shirts 2017

Arnhem T Shirts 2017

The T Shirts for Arnhem proved so popular that we aren’t going to produce different ones for next year. So don’t throw your shirt away !! There are still some shirts left and we will produce more to meet demand as we near the trip next year

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Arnhem 2017 – ferry getting full

Arnhem 2017 – ferry getting full

Stena ferry from Harwich is showing “restricted availability” for the crossing on 13th September. Most of the boys are booked already but, if you are not booked, and want to go then, you’d better book soon.
Looks like the makings of another great trip this year. The visit to Duxford on the afternoon of the 13th is a treat I am looking forward to 😉

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Ben Parkinson made an Honorary Member

Ben Parkinson made an Honorary Member

My fault!! I meant to post this straight after Conrad’s Ride last year. We met and chatted to Ben at the ride. What an absolute star!! We presented him with a hoodie and sent him a Membership, framed Certificate. Ben,as you all know, is an absolute legend, his determination is overwhelming. Even more so is the dedication of his family , which is truly awesome. Welcome Ben!!

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Rest In Peace – Michael Bruce McIntyre MBE

Rest In Peace – Michael Bruce McIntyre MBE

One of our own, Mick McIntyre, has gone to the final RV. Mick never rode with us because he had moved to Malaga, Spain.
I visited him a year or so ago and, although he was in exceptionally good spirits at the time, his health started to suffer.

He will be sadly missed by all who had the privileged to serve with him or to know him.

Rest in peace

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Roly Collier’s Funeral

Roly Collier’s Funeral


We have many riders from 2 Para who attend the Reunion Club.  Roly was a stalwart of the Club for many, many years.  He tirelessly worked, with the committee, to make sure it was a success.

Roly’s funeral will be held, at, on Thursday 3rd November at,
Markeaton Crematorium,
Markeaton Lane,
DE22 4NH.

We believe the wake will be held at:

Premier Inn Derby West, Manor Road, Uttoxeter New Road, Derby DE22 3HZ.  (There are a few Premier Inns in Derby so make sure you book into the West one at the address shown if you are going.)

I’ve booked in for that night and I hope to see some of you there to join me, and the rest of the boys, in raising a glass to a fine man

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Pete has finished creating!!

Pete has finished creating!!

Pete Neaves has received the first prints back today of his Airborne Forces Riders picture (Yes, he painted it. It’s bloody amazing !!)

The photo shows the original, which he has had framed and made into two size of prints.

He is selling them as 1st Limited Edition prints and he is only going to produce 50.

If you want one then let Pete know through Facebook

They will be signed on the back with the number of the print i.e. 1 to 50.

Sizes are:

(Large) 26 inches X 20 inches.  Cost £68. Including UK P & P.
(Small) 20 inches X 16 inches.  Cost £56.00 Including UK P&P.

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Why bother going to Holland for a ride?

Why bother going to Holland for a ride?


You only have to look at the smile on Paul’s face to realise why.

All those years in 3 Para and, finally, here he was…standing on John Frost Bridge in Arnhem!! What a buzz! All of the history of Operation Market Garden, the march from the DZ, the taking of one end of the bridge, the battle that ensued, the bravery shown, the withdrawal executed under extreme fire…all summed up by “The bridge”.

It was Paul’s first trip to Arnhem with the Airborne Forces Riders…he’s already booked next year!

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Hug a hoodie

Hug a hoodie

We did it !!  We managed to turn ourselves from a bunch of old bikers into the Airborne Forces Riders.

Last year, at Arnhem, our brothers in arms the “Red Beret Riders” (the Dutch airborne veterans on bikes) turned up to ride with us to Ginkel heath for the day’s parachuting.  They were all wearing their hoodies under their riding jackets and when we arrived they looked incredible.  Just like smart, armed forces veterans should look…mean but cool.

It was time for Titch and I to get our heads together.  After a year of “behind the scenes” work we found ourselves back at the campsite, waiting for the Red Beret Riders to join us.  But, this time, we had our own kit!

As I told Arend, the leader of the RBR, “imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery”.

Thank you Red Beret Riders for leading the way.  We were proud to ride with you.

See you next year

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Ride to the wall 2016

Ride to the wall 2016

Well !!  It was wet and windy alright!

Our luck ran out this year at the National Arboretum.  The heavens opened from early morning and didn’t stop.  As a result, the parachuting and various other events had to be cancelled.  That said, it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits and, as you will see on the RTTW 2016 page, we had the largest turnout yet for the annual photo.

Roll on 2017 !

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Pete is at it again !

Pete is at it again !

Pete Neaves, ex 2 Para, is a stalwart of the Airborne Forces riders and is attends all of our events and rides.

Sadly, for family reasons, he was unable to travel to Arnhem this year.

Not one to stay idle, Pete cracked on and took his frustration out by painting the picture shown above and doesn’t it look fabulous!

Pete will be having some prints run off and he will make them available , should anyone want to buy one.  My order has already gone in!

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It isn’t just riding bikes!

It isn’t just riding bikes!

A mate of mine, one of those funny “civilian” people, asked me why I was so enthusiastic about my rides with the Airborne Forces Riders. “Surly” he said “you can get just as much fun with the local rides that you do”.

Mmm, bloody civvie!

Love him to bits but trying to explain “airborne brotherhood” to him would be like trying to explain nuclear physics to an infant.  So, using my ABI I did the next best thing.  I invited him along to Arnhem 2015 and he accepted.  Needless to say, he had a fabulous time and his whole attitude to life underwent a major alteration.  He said that stuff which had niggled him before going to Arnhem had become insignificant.  He had, in a very short time, realised that there are more important things in life and that life is too short to be small.

I, of course, was delighted with his positive response but felt that, before going this year (wild horses wouldn’t have stopped him) he needed a little more education in the ways of the Airborne warrior.  So, I lent him my DVD of “Kajaki” and told him to watch it before we set off.

“Got it!, got it! I understand now” he shouted.  “I watched that film in total silence with my missus and now I understand.  It’s more than friendship, as I know it, it’s much, much deeper.  That explained to me why you are all so disrespectful of each other.  I couldn’t understand why you were all taking the mickey out of each other, calling each other rude names and all that.  Now I get it.  It really is “brotherly love”

“Oh, yes” I said, with a grin “It is much deeper than that.  Our shared experience, particularly the hardships, have forged a bond that is lifelong and deeeeeep”

“Wish I was an ex-para” he said.

“Sorry pal” I said “This is one club you can’t just join, can’t buy your way into, can’t use you family connections, can’t marry into.  It is the best boy’s club in the world…and I love it”

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The Service in Arnhem

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.