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Yorkshire Branch - December 2019

Arnhem 75
From Yorkshire to Arnhem and back, for the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden. After months of preparation and planning it is over in a blink of an eye.

On Thursday 19th of September, by land, sea and air hundreds of Airborne Vets met at Arnhem. We from Yorkshire met up with other Branch members at the Holiday Inn, it was completely full like all the other hotels and B & Bs in the area not a bed space available. We were 50 Strong and our party was looked after by Ed van de Laan our Dutch friend who is an association member of our Branch, along with Tom a serving Major in the Dutch Military Police, they have been our friends for 20 years. They kindly organised a 50 seated luxury coach for the whole weekend, for free, it was so noticeable that the Dutch people around Arnhem cannot do enough for British Veterans.

Thursday night was a meet and greet and drink as much as you could before falling off the stall. Arnhem was buzzing, every square had music and singing, all the pubs were full and no one got to bed before 1 o clock most of us much later than that.

Friday morning 9 o'clock sharp our luxury coach was waiting for us outside the hotel, with members from the Aldershot, Birmingham and Scotland we joined up on the bus it made a very exciting party, Ed and Tom has arranged a very special morning for us. We had been invited to Koning Willem III barracks in Apeldoorn for a private commemoration service. These Barracks had been used to interrogate prisoners of war and also as a hospital for British and Polish wounded prisoners of war were cared for at this Airborne Hospital approximately 1800 in mates at any one time, once they were well enough they were taken to prisoner of war camps in Germany, but many died of their wounds. The Barracks is now used by the Dutch Army Military police, we were invited to the Officers Mess for tea and coffee and then attended a beautiful private service with the British and Polish Ambassadors laid wreaths school children read the history of a British POW. Others laid wreaths and the Military Police band played throughout the service, the weather was beautiful. We were then invited back to the Officers mess for lunch.

In the afternoon we did a full tour of the Battle Area including the church, Westerbouwing Heights while the re-enactment Artillery fired off 25 lb shells, we all engaged in a perimeter walk with Ed giving us the history of the Battle. Back to the hotel for some more liquid refreshment.

Saturday morning coach outside the door waiting for us, we were off to the Airdrop at Ginkel Heath , thousands of push bikes were passing us on both sides of the road, as we were in a traffic queue miles long, many of the lads got out and walked, but it was 6 Kilo too far for the old and bold. We arrived at Ginkel Heath to find approx. 200,000 people also waiting to see the drop, it was very impressive, we also saw the Dakota fly past, and also the helicopter commando landing, the mass drop included Sappers from 23 Para Engineer Regt. After a bite to eat we drove off to the Dyke near Driel for the commemoration service at the RE and Canadian RE monument. The Canadians had flown over a troop from 23 Field Sqn Canadian Engineers, we had the Engineer bikers led by Major (Retd) Moore and us vets, the wreath on our behalf was laid by Mr Mercer MP. One or two of the lads gave him an ear bending on why we cannot afford to have our serving soldiers represented at these various memorials. Back to the hotel, wash and brush up, and off to dinner at the restaurant de Smidse, we had the whole restaurant to ourselves, it is difficult to find words to describe the beautiful food on the menu, it was quite outstanding, back to the hotel full up and tired.

Sunday coach was waiting to take us to the Airborne cemetery, unfortunately the coach driver got lost and lads from the party had to show him the way, when we arrived the place was packed 53 coaches all trying to get in, hundreds of cars and more bicycles than you can count, we could not get into the cemetery it was full of dignitaries, not a problem we went to the side and got over the fence, the service as usual was very emotional with the children all laying flowers on the graves, the one good thing was the weather was brilliant. Back to the hotel where we decided to go back to the restaurant to have another plateful of the wonderful food

There were only a few veterans able to attend, this could well be the last big event here. We all enjoyed ourselves, thanks once more to our Dutch Friends.

The 2020 AGM/Reunion will be hosted by the Yorkshire Branch at the Cedar Court Hotel, Harrogate 16-18 October. Detailed information and booking forms will be contained in the June 2020 Journal.

Yorkshire Branch - State of the Nation April 2018
Adam Frame - Chairman

We are now back on an even keel and sights firmly set on the future albeit still not as strong in spirit since the calling of Bill Rudd to the great DZ in the sky.

Like all other branches in the association, I'm sure we are already looking forward to this years AGM and function in Chatham. If it matches the Aldershot spring lunch which Emma and I attended again this year, it will be fabulous. Dave Leibrick produced yet another outstanding event which I fear is becoming an annual tradition in it's own right within the association. Before that though we have the annual pilgrimage to Arnhem in Sep which Davy Grimbley has admirably taken on, which is always a hit amongst attendees however this year is another big anniversary. If you haven't booked already it will be a struggle to get in for accommodation now I'm sure.

Sadly Malcolm (Barney) Barnwell lost his beloved Myra in March this year. Myra was a staunch supporter herself of all branch meetings and functions with Barney and will be a great loss to us all.

It is fair to say that as we grow older as a branch, so do our members — no different to any of the other branches in the association. That is why new blood is so vital to our survival. So please search out all your ex Sqn comrades in your relevant areas and let's keep it strong.

Yorkshire Branch - June 2017 - State of the Nation post Bill Rudd
Adam Frame - Chairman

As you are all well aware now, the Yorkshire branch suffered a devastating blow with the untimely death of our President nee Chairman Bill Rudd in January this year. Bill has had problems with his legs for many a year but soldiered on with his left ankle fused. He started to get pains in his right leg and in sum had it amputated. He then had extreme complications and had his left leg amputated above the knee also. His body couldn't handle the shock and he sadly passed away on 27 Jan 17.

That left the branch with a great hole to fill and some hard decision making regarding our future, after all Bill was a founder and the backbone. I jokingly used to call it the Bill Rudd Appreciation Society as many members were associated owing to Bill's friendship with them over the years. Our biggest problem was keeping that attendance and active membership flourishing after his departure. Fortunately at the first meeting without Bill all the Troops rallied around and we reached a workable future solution: Dave Mellors has been care taking the secretary's job since Mike Pallott retired but at 80+ years of age he deserves a break. So with huge gratitude for his support, Dave has now handed over to Mick Wallace — Secretary. Mick has been replaced by Ron Hadden, who very kindly stepped up as Treasurer. I remain as Chairman and had intended asking Mike Pallott to care take the President's position. Mike then magnanimously accepted the office on a permanent basis, which I was very grateful for indeed. So our new committee is as follows:
Chairman — Adam Frame, President — Mike Pallott, Secretary — Mick Wallace, Treasurer — Ron Hadden

We are now hopefully back in line and looking to the future albeit still mourning the loss of one of the associations' largest characters.
Regardless of our trials and tribulations, since the branches last report, I am pleased to say that the branch has forged forward from strength to strength. As well as proactively recruiting and not only seeing an increase in hard to find members, we have and maintain a strong presence at every meeting.

It has been said several times already but I would personally like to thank Bunny Brown and his crew for hosting us, and a super function again in Coventry last October.

We are already looking forward to this year's function in Hull hosted by 299 Association.






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Airborne Engineers Association