Commemorating Gliders Past and Present

‘ Gentlemen commemorating the anniversary for the largest airborne operation during the Second World War. (Photo: Ministry of Defense)

Soldiers from the past and present gather together in Essex to commemorate the anniversary of the largest airborne operation during the Second World War.

Operation Varsity: in March of 1945, 40,000 British and American soldiers landed by glider or parachute successfully across the Rhine River. They were able to secure passage over the river and opened the way for the final advance into Germany.

A service at Marks Hall located near Colchester, marked the 69th anniversary of the mission, more importantly the involvement of the Glider Pilot Regiment.

The Regiment had disbanded in 1957 and was later absorbed into the Army Air Corps. 98 Regiment Pilots were killed and another 77 were wounded during the mission. Of the 416 British gliders who participated on the mission, only 88 came out unscathed. reports the annual commemoration is organized by the 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, which is based in Suffolk at Wattisham. They fly the Apache attack helicopter with the 664 Squadron, which is currently deployed with duties in Afghanistan.


Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE