Friday, 24 February 2012

Glider Pilot Regiment 70th Anniversary

The Glider Pilot Regiment was officially established by Army Order, 70 years ago today on 24th February 1942.

Much has been written regarding the formation of the Regiment (see recommended reading list) and there are now also several books dedicated to the overall history and actions in which the Regiment took part. With battle honours including; The Normandy Landings, Arnhem, The Rhine Crossing and Sicily. Let's not forget that the Regiment lived on until the formation of the Army Air Corps in 1957 and so also saw service in Palestine and Malaysia as well as some pilots taking part in the Berlin Airlift in powered aircraft!

The original Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Lt Col John Rock was tragically killed in a flying accident in September 1942. He was replaced by Lt Col George Chatterton who realised that he needed a unit of men who would be able to fight and fly to extremely high standards - total soldiers. To this end Brigade of Guards Drill Sergeants were brought in to manage an in-depth training period and through a unique partnership with the RAF these fighting men we also trained to fly.

Chatterton's now famous address to the Regiment shows his no nonsense approach and the level of commitment he demanded.

"We will forge this regiment as a weapon of attack... Not only will we be trained as pilots, but in all we do... I shall be quite ruthless... Only the best will be tolerated. If you do not like it, you can go back whence you came." (Pegasus Archive)

I will leave our final words to be those of General Sir John Hackett who says:

"Those who went to battle in gliders and above all those who get them there, the Glider Pilots, deserve our enduring esteem."

The Glider Pilot Regiment 1942 to 1957. We will remember them.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Reproduction 24 Hour Rations

Some time ago we decided to see if we could produce some realistic reproduction 24hr Ration boxes complete with contents for display purposes (these are not edible). Through a process of trial and error we were able to replicate the waxed outer box and sealing tape, and by utilising different papers and cards we were also able to make up some contents along with an instruction sheet. As some of you will know there is very little reference available for the 24hr Ration packs; a handful of photographs and a tiny bit of WD footage (available on the Pathe News site, link below. Watch at 00:53 seconds in). Waxing the outer box was an interesting and smelly process which needed an understanding partner and the use of their oven!

Attached are some photographs of the results in colour and black and white. We even made up a batch of empty boxes to litter around our slit trenches at living history events for added authenticity. Matt

Link: 24 Hour Rations 00:53

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

D Day Glider Pilot Photo's

These two pics were uploaded to the WW2Talk forum earlier this year and I thought I'd better put them on here as they contain some nice details. They were taken by Sgt. Dave Reynolds who jumped with 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. The GP's are waiting on the beach to be taken back to England should they be needed for further glider operations. Of note are the chap with the Thompson, the chap next to him with the German K98, use of respirator cases and the strangely fitted helmet which looks (to me) very much like a Dispatch Riders helmet. Feast your eyes! And follow the link to the WW2Talk forum for more information. Matt

Link: WW2Talk Forum Thread

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Bernard Osborn's Story

67 years ago to the day, (original article dated: 6th June 2011) Paul Fiddian's granddad was being towed over the channel to participate in one of the most famous operations of WW2: D-Day. In this article, he tells the story of his flying career, which took him from the green fields of England to the muddy grounds of Arnhem and back again.

With the kind permission of Paul Fiddian, Chalk would like to present a rather interesting article which I managed to stumble across during one a nice quiet afternoon whilst looking for anything related to the Glider Pilot Regiment... its amazing what you can find when you take the time to look!

Paul has very kindly allowed us to include the images taken from his original article on the Global Aviation Resource website as they really are extremely interesting pictures including a shot of the experimental 'white' Horsa as used in the Middle East and one or two of GP's and Airborne types on active service in Palastine 1946.

Please follow the link below and read Paul's article, if you'd like to leave any comments here then please do so.

Link: Aviation History

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Horsa Gliders Built By Austin

Not all Horsas, but some of them (mainly the fuselage) were built by the Austin Company. Follow the link to this excellent site which chronicles the activities of Austin through two World Wars and beyond. You'll need to scroll down almost to the bottom of the page to find the articles relating to Horsa production - be sure not to miss the Short Stirling on the way down!

Link: Austin Memories

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Superb Pathé News Link

I love looking through the Pathé site! Always something nice to see. This link is excellent, a real feast for the eyes! Matt

Link: Gliders Being Loaded

Monday, 13 February 2012

Interesting Glider Pilot Story on BBC People's War Website

I'm always searching around on the 'net, looking for interesting GPR related stories and information and thought it might be a good idea to post some links on here for you all (to save you the job of having to look yourselves!) The first one I'm going to link to is a multi part story by former Glider Pilot SSgt Bernard Black. I'll try to link to articles that I manage to find as often as I can. Please note that there are 27 Chapters to this story and you'll need to keep reverting to the 'Contributed by Gliderpilotinhollan' page in order to read all of them. Matt.

Link: People's War Stories