Veterans Get Support to Attend Operation Market Garden’s 70th Anniversary

WWII Veterans George Jones and Gordon Mercier together with the staff of Lloyds
WWII Veterans George Jones and Gordon Mercier together with the staff of Lloyds.

Lloyds staff, Church green East branch, are working at raising £10,000 to send at least 70 WWII veterans of the Parachute Regimental Association’s Redditch branch together with their carers and families to Holland for the 70th year anniversary of the battle of Arnhem more known as Operation Market Garden.

Currently, the branch, along with others within the Lloyds Stratford District Group, had been able to raise over £4,000.

Additionally, staff, customers and working soldiers were able to increase last week’s total by walking the distance which compassed Redditch and the D-Day landings’ site in Normandy, which is about 255 miles in length, on a step machine the Choices Health Club in Alcester Street donated. the bank, then, is going to match whatever amount the staff raises.

Lloyds decided to on supporting this fundraising project after they heard of the trip from Barry Tansley, Redditch PRA branch’s leading member, at a funding fair arranged by Redditch MP Karen Lumley.

“Our business team were really moved by what Barry said, it struck a chord with us,” said branch manager Adam Preston.

Mick Manton, Redditch PRA branch chairman, further added that the trip was highly vital for many of the veterans due to their advancing ages.

“We just want to take as many as we possibly can, for some of them it will be their last time,” he said.

WWII veterans Gordon Mercier, 89, and George Jones, 88, are among those hoping to be included in the roost of making the trip to Holland. Mercier had served with the RAF during the war while Jones was a sixth airborne division member.

Gordon have spoken about how moved he is at the generosity the fundraisers are showing.

“It’s marvelous what the staff are doing. We feel as though we are not forgotten but the people that died there are the most important,” he stated.

“I saw D Day from the air and I just wanted to visit the places all the way along. A lot of the places bombed were near Arnhem and the Arnhem experience is the most moving thing I have ever been to.

“It doesn’t feel like 70 years. It is something you will never forget. I think everybody in the services really felt we were winning the war and were going to win it.”

Operation Market Garden, as the battle of Arnhem was known, happened between September 17 and 24, 1944 and was executed to force entry into Germany via the Lower Rhine eventually bringing an early end to WWII. The plan, however, failed resulting to the deaths of thousands of soldiers.

– Redditch Standard reports

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE