Parade set to mark battalion milestone

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There will be a parade through Melton town centre on Saturday morning to commemorate the 75th anniversary of an iconic paratrooper regiment which flew from Saltby Airfield, between Melton and Grantham.

The procession will follow a service at Melton’s St Mary’s Church to mark the formation of 156 Battalion, which suffered terrible losses during a pivotal battle in the Second World War.

The paratroopers were dropped into the Battle of Arnhem in Holland in 1944 with the aim to secure key strategic bridges.

They were billeted at the Pera Business Park site in Melton and flew from Saltby Airfield, where a service of remembrance will be held today (Friday) at 11am.

Family members of servicemen will be present, as well as personnel from the Defence Animal Centre at Melton and various standard bearers representing the armed forces and the Royal British Legion.

Members of Buckminster Gliding Club will also be present and anyone with an interest is invited to attend.

Refreshments will be served from 10am.

Guests will eat lunch at The Wheel pub at Branston before tea is taken at Thoroton Hall.

An evening dinner to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the regiment will be held at the Melton branch of the Royal British Legion.

The St Mary’s service on Saturday will be officiated by military clergyman Brian McAvoy, who will also take the Saltby service the day before.

Organiser John O’Reilly said: “As it is the 75th anniversary we are trying to make the event a bit special.

“There will be a piper playing on the green opposite the church for Saturday’s service and we hope to have an opera singer performing.”