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XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

Article about: Hi Guys, as some of you already know, for the past 9 years I have had the great privilege of attending the reunion of these British Paratrooper Veterans. They all dropped at either Arnhem or

  1. #1

    Default XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    Hi Guys, as some of you already know, for the past 9 years I have had the great privilege of attending the reunion of these British Paratrooper Veterans. They all dropped at either Arnhem or the South of France. Plus they saw active service in Sicily, Italy, Greece, Norway and Palestine as well. I am an honourary member of their association and am now allowed to wear their club tie. I am also their Newsletter Editor.

    The reunion takes place in Newark, Nottinghamshire, as the Company was based there both before and after Arnhem.

    Even though theirs was a very small unit, the ties of comradeship are still very strong. There special task was to serve as Pathfinders and clear and mark out the LZ's/DZ's before the main force arrived. The unit was truly an elite and was hand picked. They developed many items of kit and did all the trial and testing work. One item they used was the "kit bag" or "leg bag" used to carry a Paras weapons and equipement during a drop. This is still used today in updated format.

    Time and infirmity has taken it toll on the members, but there were several of them at the reunion during the day. This photo was taken in the evening, after some had gone home, and just prior to the reunion dinner where some 40 family and friends sat down to eat. Afterwards there were drinks in the bar until 3.30am!

    Cheers, Ade.
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  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    great to see these lads still turning out Ade , there must have been some great conversations going on it must give you a thrill to be in attendance of this slowly shrinking elite group of men !

    cheers Al

  3. #3

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    Hi Al, I have heard some great stories over the years, some of which I cannot repeat here!

    There are two very good books on the unit. The initial one was called "First In!". I have this autographed by nearly all the Vets I have met over the years and it fills a whole page. This book is long out of print. However, a new book came out last year and is called "Leading the way to Arnhem". It is a beautiful book with lots of photos.

    Cheers, Ade.

  4. #4
    Rick
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    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    Thank you for sharing your Pictures with us Ade, i was lucky enough , a few years back, to spend an evening in the company of Canadian Bomber crew based at Middleton st George during the war, and as i am sure Ade will confirm it is a truly humbling experience to be in the company of such heroes.

    Rick

  5. #5

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    Hi Rick, it truly is.

    When I very first attended a reunion I was in awe of these men. They were, quite literally, people of whom I had read about in books. But one of the guys, Solly, (seated second from the left) told me not to treat them as heros or put them on a pedestal. He said they were ordinary guys doing a job and that he was sure I would have acted just like them if placed in the same situation. I don't know about that! But this was coming from a man that later won the George Medal for bravery. More in that later

    Another unique thing about the unit was that some of the men were German!

    Cheers, Ade.

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    Quote by a new book came out last year and is called [I
    "Leading the way to Arnhem"[/I]. It is a beautiful book with lots of photos.

    Cheers, Ade.
    i`ll look out for it Ade !

    Al

  7. #7
    Rick
    ?

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    Hi Ade, that is typical of these men, and true enough ordinary guys, but who did an extrodinary job, i would indeed like to think i could present my self with the courage, detirmination and compasion that these guys did on a day to day basis.
    I look forward to hearing more.

    Rick

  8. #8

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    Hi Guys, thanks for the comments.

    I though that you would be interested in seeing my friend Solly's George Medal? He became a Police Officer after the war and in 1967 he captured a criminal armed with a .22 rifle.

    During the fighting in Arnhem, Solly wore out his Bren gun's barrels and then switched a No.4 Lee Enfield, but when .303 ammo got in short suppy, he took to using a captured German K98 which he said he used to good effect! He took this rifle back across the Rhine when they pulled out.

    Cheers, Ade.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    He is a real charactor too! He has a very dry sence of humour. We were once doing a display of WW2 Para's kit and I (as usual) was doing the talk about it. Afterwards, Solly came up and said he had been listening to me. He said "Cor blimey, you ain't half got the gift of the gab! I think you would make a good con man!" I replied that as it was coming from him, I would take it as a big compliment

  10. #10

    Default Re: XXI Indep Para Coy Pathfinders reunion

    His original family name was Solomon, but his Dad changed it in WW1 to Scott. But all his comrades still called him "Solly".

    Here is one of his stories which his daughter submitted to the BBC People War website. He mentioned the K98 in this:

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Retreat from Arnhem, September 1944

    His mate, Fred, mentioned in the article was at the reunion.

    By the way, Solly is now 89. Here is a wartime pic of him. I will have to give you the recipie for a cocktail he invented called a "LuLu"
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