Top paratrooper helps unveil Second World War plaque in Melton

John Jeffries, who fought with 156 Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, at the Battle of Arnhem, is pictured with Mayor of Melton, Councillor Jeanne Douglas, at the unveiling of a plaque at Pera in Melton, where the battalion was based in 1944 prior to being deployed to the Battle of Arnhem EMN-151020-164019001
John Jeffries, who fought with 156 Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, at the Battle of Arnhem, is pictured with Mayor of Melton, Councillor Jeanne Douglas, at the unveiling of a plaque at Pera in Melton, where the battalion was based in 1944 prior to being deployed to the Battle of Arnhem EMN-151020-164019001
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A leading member of the Parachute Regiment was in Melton on Saturday at the unveiling of a special plaque commemorating the service of paratroopers stationed in the town during the Second World War.

Lieutenant General Jonathan ‘Jacko’ Page, the regiment’s Colonel Commandant, was one of 100 guests at the ceremony in the grounds of Pera Business Park, where 156 Battalion were billeted in 1944 prior to being deployed in the iconic Battle of Arnhem.

Serving members of the Parachute Regiment were present, along with service personnel from the Defence Animal Centre in Melton and dignataries including Mayor of Melton, Councillor Jeanne Douglas.

Earlier in the day around 50 people attended the annual reunion service for 156 Battalion at the town’s St Mary’s Church, with the Rev Brian McAvoy officiating.

On Friday, paratroopers gathered at Saltby Airfield for a service at the location where the battalion were flown out from to their mission in Holland, where they suffered massive casualties during their bid to secure stragetically important bridges in Holland.

A veteran of the operation, John Jeffries, attended the service with his daughter and they led the singing of favourite wartime songs. A reunion dinner was held in the evening at the Melton branch of the Royal British Legion.