The Glider Pilot Regiment Society will hold its annual service at the National Memorial Arboretum at 11:00 am on 11th May.
Officially formed in 1942, the Glider Pilot Regiment was an elite unit of the British Army.
It was made up of volunteers from other parts of the Army. Only those who achieved the highest standards were selected for flying training, initially on powered aircraft before progressing to gliders. Training was perilous and many volunteers were killed in flying accidents.
Those who made it went on to fly huge unpowered aircraft, capable of carrying troops, jeeps, artillery and even tanks. They achieved extraordinary feats of flying, landing behind enemy lines and taking up arms to fight beside the troops which they carried into battle. They adopted whatever role was required of them and, as a result, became known as “Total Soldiers”.
The Regiment took part in major operations in WWII, including D-Day and Arnhem, and performed overseas service in post war years, until it was disbanded in 1957. During its short existence, many who served with the Regiment were killed.
The service is taking place to commemorate these men. Further details will be available at www.gliderpilotregiment.org.uk