Somerby parade pays tribute to paratrooper war heroes

Parachute Regiment members past and present march through Somerby to commemorate those who fought in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944.
Photo Melanie Davies EMN-170913-143618001
Parachute Regiment members past and present march through Somerby to commemorate those who fought in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944. Photo Melanie Davies EMN-170913-143618001
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Villagers turned out in force in Somerby on Saturday for the annual tribute parade to paratroopers billeted in the area during the Second World War.

It was a bigger than usual gathering because those who normally take part in a similar parade in Melton were also there due to the temporary closure of the town’s St Mary’s Church.

Pony Major Antoni Boyer and the Seaforth Highlanders lead the parade through Somerby.
PHOTO Melanie Davies EMN-170913-143651001

Pony Major Antoni Boyer and the Seaforth Highlanders lead the parade through Somerby. PHOTO Melanie Davies EMN-170913-143651001

The parade commemorated members of the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment who were based in Somerby and surrounding villages prior to taking part in the airlift in 1944 for Operation Market Garden, known as the Battle of Arnhem, in which heavy losses were suffered.

Those from Melton were marking the sacrifices made by members of the town-based 156 Battalion during the war.

Sunday’s parade was led by Pony Major Antoni Boyer and supported, as ever, by the Seaforth Highlanders Pipes and Drums from Leicester.

This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Leicestershire and Rutland branch of the Parachute Regiment Association, which was commemorated with a cake baked by Somerby villager Amanda Howe.

A Teddy bear parachutes in Somerby to raise money for the stone memorial to Second World War paras.
PHOTO Melanie Davies EMN-170913-143630001

A Teddy bear parachutes in Somerby to raise money for the stone memorial to Second World War paras. PHOTO Melanie Davies EMN-170913-143630001

A campaign has been launched, by Friends of the Tenth, to raise £75,000 for a stone memorial to be erected in Somerby in honour of the paratroopers.

Funds were raised for it on Saturday in the village with a fun parachute jumping event for teddy bears and other soft toys.

They were raised up in a cherry picker and parachuted down to earth.

l Arnhem veterans John Jeffries (95) and Major Jeffrey Noble attended the annual 156 Parachute Regiment’s reunion at Saltby Airfield on Saturday.

The event commemorates the battalion’s departure from there in September 1944.

Those present were thrilled when a Second World War Spitfire flew at low level down the runway during the event.