Service held to mark 74th anniversary of World War Two operation
- Credit: Archant
A service to mark the 74th anniversary of a famous Second World War operation has been held in Essex.
Operation Varsity took place on March 24, 1945 and was a vital part of what became known as the Rhine Crossings towards the end of the Second World War.
The Glider Pilot Regiment and other airborne units played a key role in the operation.
While ground forces crossed the river, British gliders and paratroopers landed further east in the middle of German occupied territory.
Those who landed by glider were tasked with capturing the strategic town of Hamminkeln and bridges over the River Issel.
You may also want to watch:
The mission to breach the Rhine was the largest successful airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day in one location.
A service of remembrance was held on Sunday, March 24 at Marks Hall estate, near Coggeshall, which was a base for a squadron of pilots who left from RAF Earls Colne airfield for the operation.
- 1 Matchday Recap: Town well beaten as Millwall win feisty friendly
- 2 Air ambulance called as tree falls on partygoers
- 3 Woman, 29, dies in crash with construction digger near A12
- 4 Man jailed after dangerous dogs mauled sheep to death
- 5 Cook will be looking to complete the puzzle as Town host Millwall in dress rehearsal
- 6 How the Ipswich Town players performed in their 3-0 loss to Millwall
- 7 'It could do us the world of good... it brings everyone down to earth with a little bit of a bump' - Cook on Millwall loss
- 8 Ipswich Town 0 Millwall 3: Town are well tamed by Lions
- 9 Biker injured in crash with car in south Suffolk
- 10 Jailed in Suffolk: The criminals put behind bars this week
The annual memorial service drew large crowds and included representation from the Glider Pilot Regiment Society, the Parachute Regiment, the Army Air Corps and the local community.
The guest of honour was Second World War glider pilot George Elliott, who had been drafted into the army’s Glider Pilot Regiment to make up the numbers for the operation.
Now in his late 90s, he is one of the last glider pilots left who took part in this operation, and has vowed to return next year for the 75th anniversary.