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SOMERBY

 

Sunday 7th September 2014

On Sunday the 7th of September 2014 Nottingham Branch members attended the commemorations for the 70th Anniversary of the men of 10 PARA, which were based in the village of Somerby leading up to the battle for Arnhem.

 

Somerby village are proud of this part of their village history and the links with the men of the Parachute Regiment. This year’s event, being the 70th Anniversary was a special one, and they held events from Friday through to Sunday. During this time they showed the film "A Bridge Too Far" in the memorial hall, and in the Church hall they had set up a museum of artefacts and photos, showing the men of 10 PARA in and around the village, during their time leading up to their deployment to Arnhem.

 

Sunday included a parade from Memorial hall to the church. The parade included three veterans of the 10th battalion and were led by the Regimental mascot Pegasus pony from Colchester, and the pipe band of the Seaforth Highlanders. 


During the church service a special presentation was made to the church. This was the original weather cock, which sat on the church steeple. This had several bullet holes in it, which were thanks to the men of 10 PARA during their stay at the village. It had been taken down some years ago and dedicated to the 10th Parachute battalion, who were then a Territorial Army parachute battalion. The 10th battalion disbanded in the late ninety's and as this year was the 70th Anniversary of the battle; it was restored to its new condition, including bullet holes, and returned to the villages All Saints Church, where it will now remain inside the church for all to see.

 

The 10th battalion were in the second drop into Arnhem, so by then the Germans were ready for them. Only 28 men of the battalion made it back to England after the withdrawal of the 1st Airborne Division. The rest had been either killed, injured, or captured. It was so good to see three of those veterans during the Sunday day’s event.

 

The Church service finished with two fly overs by a Dakota and a twin engine WW2 bomber, before the parade marched back to the memorial hall for refreshments.

 

A great day of celebration and remembrance, with a lot of effort put in by the village of Somerby, and John Gibbard and John Donovan of the Leicester Branch of the Parachute Regimental Association. Thanks to John Gibbard, he had managed to get the two WW2 Aircraft to do the fly past at the last minute. The good news is that the village and Leicester Branch of the Parachute Regimental Association intend to continue to pay their respects to the 10th battalion in the future.

 

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