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Posted on Oct 13, 2007 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Market Garden Commemorative Jump 2007

By Martin Fielden

The second jump was in a stick of 8 with the South Africans – little did we know of their habits. As the plane started to taxi the clapping started and got more intense as the plane neared take off, then Up! Up! Up! until the plane was off the ground – superb for clearing the nerves. The plane climbed to 1,500 feet and the door opened. I was 4th out of 8 and slid after the 3rd guy, feet over the edge and pushed off, ‘1,000’,’2,000’,’3,000’ – ‘Check canopy’, it had a twist on the lines again, no worries this time and it was undone straight away. I looked up at the stick and it looked great, I spotted one of the experienced guys close by so I followed his trajectory and went in for the DZ.  I spotted the dykes and could just imagine the grief I would get if I went in. I floated over and landed close to the flag, lovely PLF and up around the chute.

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The third jump was the scariest of them all, only because I had packed my chute with Ian’s help, I had helped Ian pack his so he was scared too! We boarded the plane and my mind was going through the reserve drill again and again. The plane again climbed to 1,500 feet and the door opened, this time we had cloud below us but we could see the airfield through gaps. I slid out the door in 4th , ‘1,000’,’2,000’,’3,000’ – ‘Check canopy’ and the chute opened like a dream, no twists at all, I checked around me and aimed for the DZ, I was on my own this time and I could see the dykes around me, I used the steering of the chute to clear the dykes and turned into wind, legs together, arms up, I was down, I did the PLF, and got up. The wind pulled on the chute before I could run around and pulled me airborne again – thud right on my helmet, I grabbed the lines on the ground and pulled for ages or it seemed like it then the chute collapsed. I was OK and on the DZ – Basic wings complete!! – time for a drink!!

The rest of the course was controlled by the weather making it dangerous to jump, we packed all the chutes up and practiced our drills. Peter helped pack mine and this would help my confidence when it came to the Dakota drop.

The Antonov arrived and although we couldn’t jump because of the weather we could practice the drill for the Dakota,‘Stand up’ ,‘Hook up’, ‘Equipment check’, ’6 Ok’ ‘5 Ok’, ’4 OK’,’3 OK’,’2 OK’ , ‘1 OK – Port stick ready Sir’.

Friday

We left the island of Texel and headed to Oosterbeek, at least we had figured out how to use the GPS unit now.

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We arrived in Oosterbeek and stumbled across the cemetery, so whilst it was quiet we popped in for a walk around the headstones. The veterans were there quietly saying hello to old comrades as they do every year, although there are less visiting as there numbers dwindle. I met several veterans but one springs to mind, a very young 83 year old glider pilot, he was talking to his co-pilots headstone. Speaking with any of the veterans they were pleased to see us there, upon asking why I was here telling them that I was jumping out of the Dakota over Ginkle Heath, their eyes lit & the tone of the conversation changed to one of respect as we were honouring them that way.

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5 Comments

  1. Lovely, never seen this before! Found it almost 6yrs after this jump!
    I’m the F.A.N.Y.!

    • Well written articles like yours renews my faith in todâaâ€y„¢s writers. You’ve written info I can lastly agree on and use. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks to Monica I also found this site with pictures and stories….
    I was no. 13 – first stick who jumped that year, together with Monica…..it was my first time jumping from a C47 and first time jumping Ginkel Heath….
    Now at this moment I jumped the C47 many times with lots of commemoration jumps on several original DZ’s in Holland and Normandy.
    This year I will join and jump the Market Garden 2013 event again :-)

    Airborne – all the way

    Blue skies,
    JumpingMM

  3. And I was no. 4, first stick!

  4. Short, sweet, to the point, FRE-eExactly as information should be!

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