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President’s Round Up of the year

Airborne Forces Riders
Roundup of the Year 2021

We crept from 2020 into 2021 with varying degrees of optimism and hope for the year ahead, even while we were still in the depths of winter and yet another lock down. The question in my mind was ‘The New Year cant be as bad as the one we have left behind……. Can it?’
Well, as we all know now, it bloody well can !
That said, I’m sure that we all were determined to make the best of it and get on with life as best we could. Looking back, this year was certainly not a complete flop, although it’s fair to say that missing Arnhem for the second year was a bitter disappointment for those who just could not afford the time off for the 10 day quarantine in Netherlands. All was not lost, and we had a very successful ‘Arnhem in England’ tour. More on that later. Sadly, we also started the year with the loss of one of our own – Dave Pollock (9 Para Sqn RE) – who sadly passed away in March. There was a great turn out of Airborne Riders for Dave’s funeral and the family are very grateful for that great show of love and support. Dave was one of our original Airborne Riders from 2014 and attended every Arnhem trip since then. He will be missed.
So what did we do? My main focus of the early part of the year was planning the Falklands Ride of Respect due to take place in August and Arnhem in September, but I found time for some local rides including the Op Banner Ride of Respect in County Durham with Eights and Aces, visiting over 20 graves of lads lost in Northern Ireland who are buried in the County. I have been on some great rides in the north east and if any of you have never rode up here before I can highly recommend it. I can reach Edinburgh in about 2 hours, the Lake District in 90 minutes and the Yorkshire Dales in less than an hour. Perhaps an AFR gathering in the north east might appeal to a few?
Elsewhere, local rides were also taking place and in July, Jack Hawkins (216 & Pathfinders) organised the ‘Cotswolds Capers’ taking advantage of the light traffic, good weather and great roads. Riders who attended tell me that it was a great ride and good fun, so more of it please Jack. July certainly was a busy month in the Hawkins household as Jack and Tracey got married on July 01 and this conveniently led directly into Airborne Forces weekend in Aldershot. Good planning Jack ! It was a lovely wedding and well attended by friends and family and best of all blessed with great weather too. Congratulations to you both.
In July we also got a Patron – Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer. General John was a biker in the very early part of his career and a couple of years ago in Arnhem was overheard to say that he would like to get a bike once he retired. The seed was sown, and Vic Thorn (2 Para) approached General John at the presentation of new Colours in Colchester to see if he would like to be our Patron. He was probably a bit under pressure at this point as clutched in Vic’s sticky mitts was a new leather cut complete with Airborne Forces Riders patch and emblazoned with the name ‘General John’. The cut fitted well and General John graciously agreed to be the first ever Patron of Airborne Forces Riders. General John has now taken up post as the new Governor of the Isle of Man and we wish him all the very best in his new post.
The 2021 Falklands Ride of Respect was fast approaching at this point and without doubt, the planning and organisation required for this year far surpassed the previous two years. On a positive note, lots of people chipped in to help. They know who they are and for that I am eternally grateful. In addition, this year we had decided that the ride had to be self-funding, bearing in mind that the riders themselves had funded the ride in the two years previously. We did all sorts of fund-raising activities including a live auction at The Last Post veterans bar in Stockton. The support we received from all over the UK and further afield was just simply amazing. We thank everyone who supported us in a thousand different ways which enabled the ride to happen and be the success it was. I wont repeat what has already been written about the ride but at this point with all the bills paid, and money still trickling in, we have raised just over £13,000 for the South Atlantic Medal Association and most importantly, raised awareness of the Falklands war and where the graves are around the UK. It is the 40th anniversary of that war next year and we have proved and demonstrated to the families of the fallen that they are not forgotten. I want to record my personal thanks to the team for their outstanding support. Charlie McColgan, Tony McKie and Phill Damant – you are all a bit mad, but I could not have wished for better company on the ride. Thank you all.
No sooner had we got the Ride of Respect out of the way we were looking forward to Arnhem but things were not looking good. I was in constant contact with ‘our man in Arnhem’ – Frans Amerlaan throughout the year – and he was keeping me updated with the latest Covid advice from the Dutch Government. Here in the UK we were downgrading our Covid measures but because of the Delta variant in UK, the Dutch Government put us on their red list of countries ! We had always said that in the first instance we would always respect the decision of the Dutch people and secondly, make a go / no-go decision on Arnhem by the end of August. Sadly, it had to be no go. So we pulled out ‘Plan B’ which had been prepared since last year – ‘Arnhem In England’. One or two Airborne riders based in Europe did attend the Friday Ride of Remembrance in Arnhem and we thank Frans Steenhuis for making this happen. We hope to be there in 2022 of course, and look forward to riding with the Red Beret Riders and other friends in Arnhem once again.
While I was finalising the arrangements for the main Arnhem in England ride, Bob McKeegan-Brown kindly took on the organisation of Phase 1 – the Double Hills ride in Somerset. Double Hills near Paulton is the location of a Horsa glider crash on 17 September 1944 which killed 21 men from 9 Para Sqn RE and two men of the Glider Pilot Regiment. Several riders attended and paid their respects at the graves on Saturday and the service on Sunday, and made good links with Van Dieman MCC who invited the riders to their new clubhouse. Well done to all who attended and thank you Bob for organising.
A few days later, several Riders attended the memorial to the Tenth Battalion at Somerby in Leicestershire and had a really nice ride out followed by a nice Sunday lunch in the pub in the village. We were back there a week later on the main ‘Arnhem in England’ ride. We based ourselves in Woodhall Spa which was the HQ location of 1 Airlanding Bde in 1944 and for two days visited the base locations and take-off airfields of the units who flew to Arnhem in September 1944. For many of us this was the first time that these locations had been visited, and the locations and the history that goes with them really puts the scale and enormity of Op Market Garden into context. For example, almost 600 men of 10 Bn flew to Arnhem on 17 September 1944 but only 38 returned to Somerby. The rest being killed, wounded or captured. Elsewhere, Riders also took part in other commemorations such as in Donington near Spalding where 1st Parachute Squadron RE were based. Only 11 men answered the roll after Arnhem. Another commemoration Riders attended was the Cromwell Lock Service on the river Trent in Nottinghamshire to commemorate the ten men of 131 Parachute Squadron RE (V) who lost their lives in the river during an exercise on 28 September 1975.
The last formal event of the year was soon upon us. The Ride to the Wall. This is another event that has been cancelled for the last two years so everyone was a little excited to be going this year. In conjunction with other military bike groups, we had all agreed to start from one collective point which would be Whittington Barracks in Lichfield. There were several advantages to this such as secure location, the chance of a cup of tea, decent toilets, and no stupid o’clock starts! Airborne Forces Riders were by far the largest group having 59 Riders and 12 pillions registered to start from that point. We had originally planned to just stay in the background and do our own thing, but when I moved my bike forward to form an AFR line the other rider groups panicked and followed! There was a moment of confusion, but it all ended well as everyone just followed the Airborne Forces Riders and we were at the front and mostly together. I asked our Founder and Past President Titch Cornish to lay the wreath on our behalf at the monument, not because I did’nt want to do it, but because as our senior man, it is fitting for Titch to do it. Also, a big ‘Thank You’ to Ziggy Milemuncher AKA Mike Turnpenny for making the wreath centre, not only for the NMA / RTTW but for all the Ride of Respect wreaths too.
Our traditional gathering by the Airborne statue was extremely well attended for our annual photograph and we joined with Invictus MC for a rare joint photo opportunity which was really appreciated by both groups, and we may make a visit to Invictus HQ in 2022 as a result. One point of note was that we all stood in silence and respect while the Rifles made their collective act of Remembrance nearby. There were several comments made later on social media, of how this was appreciated by them as an awesome display of respect to the fallen of the Rifle Brigade by Airborne Forces. My reply was simple. No matter what Arm or Corps or cap badge, our respect for the fallen has no boundaries, and we are all part of the same team.
What of next year? Events will be posted on the Facebook page events section as early as possible so that we can all plan on attending. It would be handy if someone could take on the organisation of one or two of the rides during the year. Mostly they pretty much run on rails but I cant do everything myself so don’t be shy about taking one on and making it yours. We will have our first ‘Summer camp’ at Hathersage in the Peak District in July. The accommodation venue is full but there are plenty of other places to stay nearby so get booked early. It will be a good couple of days. Of course, we are hoping that Arnhem will happen in September – fingers crossed – but for some of us the big event of the year will be the 40th anniversary of the Falklands war. There will be events all over the UK, and the chosen charity of the Army v Navy rugby is the South Atlantic Medal Association. That will be a match to attend if you can.
So…..Thank you all for a great year. Lets look forward to a great 2022 with blue skies, dry roads and safe riding. Keep up the skills over the winter if you can but whatever you do, ride within your limitations, watch out for numpty drivers and be safe.
Paul Moore
President
Airborne Forces Riders

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Arnhem in the UK 2021

Update from Paul Moore:

Airborne Forces Riders
Arnhem in the UK 2021 (Provisional Programme)
(All distances and timings are approximate)
Thursday 16 September
Travel Day to Melton Mowbray under own arrangements.
Friday 17 September – Arnhem Day
0900 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
0930 Hrs Depart
1015 Hrs Arrive RAF Barkston Heath Arnhem Memorial (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1045 Hrs Depart
1130 Hrs Arrive Thorpe Camp Visitors centre. (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1330 Hrs Lunch – The Blue Bell
1430 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Donington (1 Para Sqn RE & Arnhem Tree) (19 Mile / 30 Min)
1600 Hrs Depart
1630 Hrs Arrive Bourne Church Abbey (1 Para) (16 Mile / 30 Min)
1700 Hrs Depart
1745 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
2000 Hrs Toast to the Men of Arnhem (Location TBC – Dress: Maroon)
Saturday 18 September
0945 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
1000 Hrs Depart
1030 Hrs Arrive Saltby Airfield. (12 Mile / 25 Min)
1100 Hrs Depart
1115 Hrs Arrive Stoke Rochford Church (2 Para) (5 Mile / 15 min)
1200 Hrs Depart
1245 Hrs 10 Para Memorial (19 miles / 45 Min)
1315 hrs Depart
1330 Hrs Arrive Somerby Village Hall (10 Para) (2.5 Mile / 7 Min)
To include lunch in the village
1445 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Langham Parish Church (1 AB Div) (4.6 Mile / 10 Min)
1530 Hrs Depart
1600 Hrs Arrive Corner Cottage, LE15 8DH (Capt Lionel Queripel VC) (6 Mile / 12 Min)
1630 Hrs Depart
1700 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
Sunday 19 September
Travel day under own arrangements

 

 

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What are we doing instead of Arnhem ?

Good question.  Here is the latest from our President:

 

Airborne Forces Riders visit to WW2 airfields, memorials and locations pertaining to Op Market Garden. We don’t really have the opportunity to do this but as this is our second year where we are unable to go to Arnhem, this is the ideal opportunity to visit these places to get ‘the big picture’. This ride will compliment the previous ride weekends at Double Hills in Somerset and Somerby where 10 Bn were based.
Airborne Forces Riders
Arnhem in the UK 2021 (Provisional Programme)
(All distances and timings are approximate)

Thursday 16 September
Travel Day to Melton Mowbray under own arrangements.
Friday 17 September – Arnhem Day
0900 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
0930 Hrs Depart
1015 Hrs Arrive RAF Barkston Heath Arnhem Memorial (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1045 Hrs Depart
1130 Hrs Arrive Thorpe Camp Visitors centre. (23 Mile / 40 Min)
1330 Hrs Lunch – The Blue Bell
1430 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Donington (1 Para Sqn RE & Arnhem Tree) (19 Mile / 30 Min)
1600 Hrs Depart
1630 Hrs Arrive Bourne Church Abbey (1 Para) (16 Mile / 30 Min)
1700 Hrs Depart
1745 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
2000 Hrs Toast to the Men of Arnhem (Location TBC – Dress: Maroon)

Saturday 18 September
0945 Hrs RV at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray
1000 Hrs Depart
1030 Hrs Arrive Saltby Airfield. (12 Mile / 25 Min)
1100 Hrs Depart
1115 Hrs Arrive Stoke Rochford Church (2 Para) (5 Mile / 15 min)
1200 Hrs Depart
1245 Hrs 10 Para Memorial (19 miles / 45 Min)
1315 hrs Depart
1330 Hrs Arrive Somerby Village Hall (10 Para) (2.5 Mile / 7 Min)
To include lunch in the village
1445 Hrs Depart
1500 Hrs Arrive Langham Parish Church (1 AB Div) (4.6 Mile / 10 Min)
1530 Hrs Depart
1600 Hrs Arrive Corner Cottage, LE15 8DH (Capt Lionel Queripel VC) (6 Mile / 12 Min)
1630 Hrs Depart
1700 Hrs Arrive at Premier Inn, Melton Mowbray

Sunday 19 September
Travel day under own arrangements

 

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Coffin Shroud for Airborne Forces riders

Not a terribly nice subject, I know, but Nigel Barnett has been working behind the scenes since Dave Pollock’s funeral.  He felt that we should have a shroud especially for the Riders.  True to his word he has created the artwork and had one manufactured:

A great job he has made of it.  Let us hope it a very long time before we need to use it.  Dave, from all the Riders and Supporters, a big THANK YOU

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Last farewell for an Airborne Rider

We sadly said farewell to Dave Pollock  at Nuneaton Crematorium on Friday 12th March 2021.  It was a sign of how loved and respected he was that, despite Covid restrictions over twenty Riders and Supporters turned up to escort him on his final journey.

Dave was a huge advocate of the Airborne Riders and will be remembered as our Escort Rider.  He, along with Rab Baillie, had escort marked bikes and did a fantastic job every year at our Arnhem Trip.  Interestingly, on the first trip, the police initially stopped both of them carrying out escort duties but soon relented when they realised how good they were!!  Our thoughts are for Scott his son, who despite his grief, insisted on riding as escort to the procession.

Farewell Dave, it was a pleasure to ride with you.  Report to the Final RV – Duty Done !!

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Ride of Respect 2021 Appeal

The outline route for this year’s Ride of Respect is listed below.  As in previous years the riders will be undertaking this mammoth ride at their own expense.  A fund raising page has been set up so that we can all “participate” in the ride by making a contribution to the costs.  All donations will be gratefully received and faithfully applied.  So, please donate to this magnificent cause…

Click here to donate to the ride

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FORWARD PLAN – Falklands Ride of Respect 2022

FORWARD PLAN – Falklands Ride of Respect 2022

Not publishing this openly yet as I don’t want people to get confused between this years Falklands Ride of Respect in August and what me and Charlie are planning for 2022……but this is an Airborne Forces Riders sneak peek at next year’s route.
Start point: Liberty Lodge
Stanley Cemetery (1)
Estancia House (2)
Teal Inlet (3)
Port San Carlos (4)
San Carlos Cemetery (5)
Goose Green (6)
New Haven Ferry (7)
Port Howard Ferry (8)
Port Howard (9)
Darwin Argentine Cemetery (10)
Fitzroy (11)
Stanley Falklands Memorial (12)
Liberty Lodge : Ride Ends
257 Miles and 11 hours of riding.

Paul Moore, President

Map of intended route

 

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Dave Pollock RIP

Message from our President

Passing – Dave Pollock

It is with great sadness that we have been informed of the passing of Dave Pollock in the early hours of this morning, having succumbed to his fight with cancer. (Wed 10 Feb 2021)
Dave was a former member of 9 Parachute Squadron RE, and active Airborne Forces Rider, often to be seen cutting about on his escort bike with great skill. He will be missed.
As soon as funeral arrangements are known a further bulletin will be issued regarding an escort and Guard of Honour.

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Post Brexit – what to consider!

Nigel Barnett put this excellent briefing on Facebook.  Just in case you missed it, here it is in full:

Green Cards, International Driving Permits (IDP) and travel insurance.
As we are all aware, the rules for travelling abroad have changed, nothing too onerous but boxes that need to be ticked.
Green Cards can be ordered free from your insurance companies/downloaded. Valid for 90 days. They can take up to 5 days if being delivered by post. You also require your V5.
IDP’s for the most part are not required for European travel. For those who only have a paper driving license get an upgrade to a plastic one, this in the main for Europe ticks all the boxes.
Travel insurance, make sure you get travel insurance it costs at most £15. The EHIC may not provide medical cover.
Also check on amount of days outside the UK, it appears to be 90 days, followed by 180 days back in UK. Something to check on if regularly travelling abroad.

Thanks Nigel.  For Arnhem…consider getting the Green Card ASAP rather than wait for the rush when lockdown is lifted 😃😃

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Wise words from our President

Paul Moore, our President, has been in reflective mood lately, since he gained his Masters Degree.  The work for the “Masters” took all of his time.  Then he remembered something he’d read on the lessons he had gained from his time in the military.  I’m sure we can relate to every single one.  Here are those wise words:

Ten life lessons the Army taught me

1. “No plan survives contact with the enemy
– You may have things mapped out but life will change so learn to adapt and keep moving forward.
2. “Soldier on”
– Life is tough, it will hurt and you will suffer but you must not stop. Strength comes from never quitting.
3. “It’s character building”
– When you go through challenges and come out the other side you are stronger for it. Challenges are there to be overcome.
4. “Five minutes before”
– You are part of something bigger, if you are not where you’re meant to be, when you’re meant to be then others will suffer. Plan ahead and be ready to go.
5. “Buddy, buddy”
– Look after your friends and they will be there for you when you need them most.
6. “It is what it is”
– Some things can’t be changed so accept them and move on with your life.
7. “The thinking rifleman”
– You are not some cog in a machine, you have something to offer. Never be afraid to share your ideas, they may be the difference between failure and success.
8. “Train hard, fight easy”
– Push yourself hard in all aspects of your life, prepare for the worst so that when the unexpected happens you are ready for it.
9. “Prior Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance”
– If you have no idea what you are trying to achieve then there is little hope of achieving it. Making a plan enhances your odds of success, think things through beforehand and you will be more prepared should the unexpected happen.
10. “Fire Support”
– You cannot go it alone. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help, you will be stronger for it.

Share the lessons with your civvie friends…it may help them to understand you a bit better !!

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What3words – the way to locate anywhere instantly

We have set up navigation pages on the site with locations of our RVs and points of interest for our rides.  Over time we shall be adding to this “library” so that you will always have locations, like an RV,  exact to a 3m square.   An  example of this that will demonstrate the the usefulness of this app is the Ride to the Wall.  Because of the size of the place we have not been able to join as a group for the Service of Remembrance.  We are usually spread all over the Arboretum.  The location using “What3words” will take you to exactly the spot where we will be standing.  Just using your normal phone navigation of Google Maps on walking mode and you will get there!!

On the bike, if you get into trouble you can send the Waht3words location to anyone and they will get exactly to you!!

As with all things “new” I was reluctant but thought I would give it a go.  Once the location is pinpointed you click “Navigate” and it asks which of the navigation app loaded in your phone you want to use.  It then sends the exact location to the app.

Take a look at the information given on the page:  Navigation points for our rides and try it out on your phone.

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Back patches for your Cut

There have been quite a few members asking for information on the back patches that some of us wear on our cuts (Waistcoats )

The Riders back patch was produced by our President, Paul Moore, to raise funds for SAAFA.

He sells them for £30 and all profits go to SAAFA.

If you would like  one to stitch on to your cut then please email Paul at  paul508@me.com

The Battalion patches are produced by another of our members, Clive Butland.  Again, should you want to order one email him at clivebutland@hotmail.com .  They are priced at £25 each

And for those Riders and Supporters who attend Arnhem the year strips are produced by Rab Baillie.  Again please contact him direct by email at

rabbaillie@yahoo.co.uk

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End of year message from our President

Dear all,

As we enter into the unknown of 2021, its time for a little bit of reflection on this year, which for everyone has been an ‘Annis Horribilus’.

I think we are only now really starting to feel the effects of the Covid pandemic and the measures the Government have taken to reduce the impact on the NHS and keep us safe. Personally, I dont know many people who have actually had Covid, but thats not to say it does not exist.  While the majority of us are relatively fit and well, many are vulnerable and it is our duty to protect them as much as possible.  Inevitably, we have lost some friends and relatives this year due to illness, accident or old age, and I’m sure you will join me at the turn of the year in raising a glass in remembrance and in honour of absent friends.

The events of this year have inevitably meant a few sacrifices on our part and I’m sure you all missed our ‘routine’ visits to Cleethorpes, Arnhem and the Wall as much as I did.  We missed other events too. I was gutted to miss the battlefield tour to Arnhem with Jack Hawkins in June, but we were able to visit the Double Hills Arnhem Memorial in early September as a group for the first time. That was a good weekend and I hope we can do that again next year.  I was very happy that the Falklands Ride of Respect was able to take place in August and planning for the 2021 ride is in an advanced stage.

We all missed Arnhem this year.  The decision to NOT go was not taken lightly, and taken in full discussion and co-operation with our Dutch friends, they missed us as well and appreciated the fact that we considered their safety and opinion in our decision process. As you may know, Charlie and I flew across to formally present the flower children their pins. This trip enabled us to meet some new friends and strengthen our relationships with others.  Airborne Forces Riders will have a role to play with the Flower Children in Arnhem 2021 and we are also in discussion with the town about a permanent fixture. I will brief on that when everything is arranged.

We will continue to plan for events as normal and they will either go ahead or be rescheduled according to the situation. Rule 9 / 216 always applies: Stay Flexible and be prepared for a change of plan !

Check out the Events section on the AFR Facebook page for what is planned and if anyone wants to include an event let me know.

We have all missed each others company and banter, and to some degree we have all experienced a bit of isolation. However, there are many ways to stay in touch so reach out to others if you can, stay in touch and if someone needs help lets all rally round to fix it.  I know that our lovely lady of Arnhem Connie Bateman appreciated all the cards, flowers and messages on her 94th birthday recently, and especially the personal visit from that equally lovely ‘young man’ Vic Thorn who rode up personally to wish Connie happy birthday on behalf of us all. Thank you Vic !

Finally, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and wish you all the very best for the coming year.

Paul

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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)

President

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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

Sainsbury’s
Saint Mary’s Road
Market Harborough
LE16 7DR
England

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

1.
617 Sqn (Op Chastise) Memorial – located on road junction entering Woodhall Spa.
Junction of B1191 and B1192.
Royal Gardens
Woodhall Spa
East Lindsey
Lincolnshire
LN10 6QL

2.
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!!

 
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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.

ADMIN ORDER:
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 2.pm, on Thursday 3rd November at,
Markeaton Crematorium,
Markeaton Lane,
Derby,
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.