Thursday, 26 March 2015

Airborne Forces Memorial - Tatton Park, Cheshire

I actually visited this memorial last year on a journey back from Shrewsbury but only just found the photos on my phone.

Tatton Park in Cheshire was the original drop zone for parachute drops from nearby Ringway Airfield (the home of No.1 Parachute Training School [No.1 PTS] of the Central Landing School) which later became Manchester Airport we know today. Between 1940 and 1946 Ringway provided training to 60,000 allied paratroops including Americans, Belgians, Canadians, Czechs, Dutch, French, Norwegian and Poles.

The memorial sits in the grounds of Tatton Park and overlooks the surrounding countryside, a very nice spot indeed.

The inscription reads:
Throughout most of the Second World War
Tatton Park was the dropping zone for
No.1 Parachute Training School, Ringway.
This stone was set in honour of
those thousands, from many lands
who descended here in the course of
training, given or received, for 
Parachute service with the Allied Forces
in every theatre of war

As the men of the Glider Pilot Regiment were known as Total Soldiers there were even plans for pilots to attend No.1 PTS and become qualified parachutists! As far as I can find out this scheme was short lived although certain individuals may have completed the course - if anyone has any details or information please get in touch with us.

Please note: the image of a parachute drop over Tatton Park was taken from the website:

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Operation Varsity 70th Anniversary Memorial Service

On Monday 23rd March I travelled down from Leeds to Marks Hall in Essex, met up with friends to pay our respects to the men of the Glider Pilot Regiment, British 6th Airborne Division, RAF and their U.S. Counterparts who took part in the largest (one day) Airborne invasion in history.

Some of us spent the night at the White Hart Hotel and Inn in Coggeshall then after a hearty breakfast we headed up to Marks Hall Estate Arboretum for a welcome coffee and a catch up with other GPRA members and friends.

Attendance at the service was superb, with veterans and their families, family members of veterans who are no longer with us, The Army Air Corps honour guard, military band and of course members of the British Legion. A fly past of two Apache helicopters added to the ceremony and the weather behaved itself well.

Afterwards, we all made our way down to the visitor centre for an excellent curry provided by the AAC catering staff. And over a coffee we made new friends and caught up with others.

My journey back up to Leeds was long but uneventful (as all good motorway journeys should be) and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again at the National Arboretum in May.

I forgetfully left my camera at home so was limited to using my iPhone to record the day.