For The Fallen

War To Wildlife - Remembering Arnhem 2018

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On Sunday the 16th September we welcomed 30+ visitors for a guided walk, wreath laying, lunch and lecture to commemorate the airfields role during Operation Market Garden. I am so very grateful to all those who attended and their kind donations, raising over £600 for airfield research, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and the RAF Benevolent Fund, with the help of Bellinger's Brewery who supplied a bottle of their excellent Arnhem ale for each visitor.

We stood on the centreline of the surviving end of the main 2000 yard runway that is normally closed to the public and imagined the combined take off of 34 Dakotas and 34 Horsa Gliders from 437sqdn and 223sqdn carrying 454 troops into action at 0956hrs on the morning of the 17th September.

Many men who boarded these gliders and Dakota’s never returned and today I read out the names of those known to us in the archive logs, whilst the The Glider Pilot Regiment Society wreath was laid for the Horsa crews and for fathers that never returned.

 

As the sound of the ghosts of the 8 Dakotas faded, the last post played and we remembered their sacrifice;

20th September 18 Dakotas ot 233 left at 1311hrs – only 14 returned to base - three were shot down, enemy action damaged another over the DZ but landed near Brussels. Wireless operator F.O Sharp was injured by flak and Air Dispatcher L/Cpl Clements was dragged from the aircraft whilst releasing a pannier.

21st September x10 437sqdn Dakotas took of at 1311 hours to drop supplies west of Arnhem but only 4 returned at 1828hrs. 12 aircrew were killed
 

Flight Lieutenant Alexander
Flying Officer McLintock
Flying Officer Cressman
Flying Officer Blair
Flying Officer Steffin
Pilot Officer Brennan
Pilot Officer Mahn
Pilot Officer Kennedy
Pilot Officer MacAloney
Warrant Officer English
Flight Sergeant Hackett
Sergeant Evans

 

23rd September x17 233 dakotas took off at 1323 to drop supplies. One Dakota of 437 Squadron never returned.
 

Flight Officer Paget
Flight Officer Jack
Flight Sergeant Pinner
Sergeant O’Sullivan

 

24th Oct – one of 437’s Dakota failed to return from Antwerp – Flt/Sgt Schneider declared missing - air nursing orderly Margaret Campbell was later buried at Calais – crew killed – mercifully the aircraft carried no wounded on board that could have been heading back to Blakehill.

 

They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old;
age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning,
we WILL remember them.