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Airborne Discussion of Historical Information Related to Airborne Forces in WWII Hosted by Historian & Author Mark Bando

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Old 03-12-2010, 08:11 AM   #1
Tony Barton
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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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Old 03-12-2010, 08:32 AM   #2
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Amazing find Tony!
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:08 AM   #3
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Tony...great find for you and your dad!!! I bet that the jeep crew took the loading channels so that they can use them to cross ditches.


PS - my wife's grandfather was with the 377th Parachute Field Artillery/101st Airborne Division during the war. He made every combat mission...both jumping and as a glider rider. Also please tell your dad 'many thanks' from me. My mom grew up in Metz, France during the war. Your dad's service, along with all WWII veterans helped to free many people from oppression.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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Absolutely wonderful Tony! I'm thrilled for you and your Dad.
"The term 'hero' is overused in contemporary commentary; take a moment to reflect on Private Martin Bell".
Lt. Col. Andrew Harrison, Officer Commanding, 2 Para
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:15 PM   #5
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Absolutely thrilled for you and your Father Great story. Add my thanks to your Dad for his service and a job well done.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:42 PM   #6
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What a fantastic find Tony! Please be sure and tell your dad that there are a lot of guys here who really value his service to our country.

BTW....we are all now waiting with baited breath for your 1/6 version of your dad
"Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!
Let us do, or die!"
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:30 PM   #7
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A great find Tony! I second the call for a 1/6 version of your Dad. Please wish him well for me. Have you ever thought about a 1/6 Horsa?
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:38 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. He is somewhat tickled, as they say , about this pic emerging.
And yes, there will be a 1/6th Ted emerging. I could hardly say no , could I ?
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tony Barton";p=&quot View Post
And yes, there will be a 1/6th Ted emerging. I could hardly say no , could I ?
Looking forward to see 1/6 Ted.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:02 PM   #10
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What a great find Tony! What are the odds?

Looking forward too, to seeing your dad in 1/6. It should be a real work of art.

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Old 03-14-2010, 12:33 PM   #11
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What a find, Tony
And some very interesting information on RAF glider pilots - thank you!
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:03 PM   #12
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Little update :
Ted was starting to have slight doubts about the glider number, memory being a little suspect after such a long time.

But it seems that the son of one of his jeep crew has been making enquiries about his father , and confirms that his father , Sgt.H.F Rowe, left details that he flew in glider 356.

The Jeep and crew drove off quickly , once unloaded, and headed for the sounds of the guns.
My father and his co-pilot sensibly retired in the opposite direction , where they found some lost US airborne men.
The Jeep and gun crew , including Sgt.Rowe, were captured and spent two months in Stalag XIB Fallingbostel.

My Dad and Ivan Lancaster his co-pilot ran into no such difficulties , and later found their rendevous point at a nearby farm, where they were largely untroubled by opposition, the area having been succesfully cleared.
The time was spent devouring delicacies hidden by the farm's inhabitants....
Within 48 hours they marched west , escorting prisoners, and flew back to the UK.

But the Sgt.Rowe story merely corroborates the glider number, which is good news.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:32 AM   #13
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My husband’s uncle, George Cousens, went into Arnhem by glider. Sadly he is no longer around to get any real information but my husband remembers one incident that was mentioned.
Apparently George and a friend were in a reconnaissance Jeep and went merrily driving along until they realised they had crossed enemy lines. They turned round and went back pretty sharpish. He was in the Staffordshire Regiment.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:43 PM   #14
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Re: My father's glider.

Have i missed the 1/6 Ted? Just found this thread again and thought i had missed it.
Great find!
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:42 PM   #15
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Re: My father's glider.

Great find and great story. My uncle was an instructor out in western canada with the RCAF through the war. There really are only 6 degrees of seperation.

A few years back a good friend of our family passed away. He was from Ottawa and served in the Canadian Army during WWII. We were looking through his old photos and standing next to him in a photo taken in London was my mother's cousin from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in his RCAF uniform. We had no idea that they would even have an opportunity to meet.
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