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Old 03-12-2010, 09:11 AM   #1
Tony Barton
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: York
Posts: 718

My father's glider.

My father Ted Barton , 87 , was just getting together some stuff to give a talk about his experience as an RAF glider Pilot at the end of WW2 , and I have been helping him out by doing a little digging on the web.

After an interesting but largely uneventful carrer as a Pilot Instructor in Canada ,as part of the Imperial Training scheme which trained thousands of pilots around Calgary , he returned return to idleness in the UK in late 1944 .
Along with many other excess pilots , he was placed into a sort of cold storage at a hotel in Yorkshire, not far from where I now live, bored witless with nothing to do.

After the tragedy of "Market Garden" in September of '44, he was
" seconded " from the RAF after Arnhem along with many of his colleagues , to replace the losses in glider pilots.

Trained all winter , he took part in the Varsity Rhine crossing on the 24th March 1945, landing his glider successfully despite the smoke and the flak : the losses all round were truly horrific.

He was carrying a jeep , 75mm howitzer and limber , and five crew.

He has no photographs of his own service at all , so imagine his and my utter delight when I quickly turned up this pic on the Paradata website :

There are quite a few pics of gliders on this operation , many of them crashed , but oin most of them it's impossible to discern the number .

This one , however , is HIS glider, chalk No. 356 !

The sheer luck of this find is extraordinary.

I shamelessly stole this from the Paradata website, but I have ordered some prints, and I think in these utterly remarkable circumstances they would forgive me.
It's just possible that's him on the right, middle ground, looking bored whilst guarding all those happy Germans.

I just sent this to him.
His response was to wonder who had nicked the unloading channels that ought to be sticking out of the fuselage of the glider...
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