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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 jumpmasters pulled in the static lines and we got handed them. The 2nd stick moved across to the other side and ‘Stand up’, Hook up’,even writing this my hands are shaking,’ Equipment check’, ’15 Ok’, ’14 OK’,….. ‘8 OK’, it was my turn now and I bellowed out ‘7 OK’ …’1 OK – Starboard stick ready’.’Action stations’ and I was off, I followed the arm of the guy in front, left foot in door, right leg out, Whoosh! The air stream pulled me, ‘1000…2000…..3000…Check Canopy’, it’s there big and round, I looked around and saw the stick opening behind me and with the Dakota going away, below me were the fully opened chutes. I looked around the periphery of the Heath and it was packed out with WW2 vehicles and people watching. I turned into the wind and looked for my DZ. Remember feet together, feet together, arms up, I landed and rolled in a lovely soft patch of heather, got up, ran round the chute, I’d done it.

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I looked around and give the thumbs up to one of the guys next to me. I watch the chutes landing so gracefully around me. I tied up my lines and rolled my chute up to start heading for the RV (rendezvous) point. I met up with the other jumpers and big smiles abounded, the relief of making such a momentous jump was clear. As we neared the RV point we saw lots of waving people and some very happy veterans seeing us in WW2 uniforms having jumped where they had too but without the trials and tribulations that faced them.

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Soft landings

Dave, our 74 year old Suez veteran landed safely and got mobbed by the kids trying to help him.

The parachutists dropping onto Driel went off to Lelystad to meet the Dakota and get kitted up, the rest became DZ crew and we headed off to Driel (Polish Drop Zone). After marking out the DZ zone and chasing cows off the fields we sat and waited.  Having time to stop allows you to contemplate why we do this and what happened all those years ago, we are resting in a green field yet 63 years ago this was a killing field.

The unmistakable noise of the Dakota started rumbling from the distance, the first pass is for the wind streamers to check wind speed, the next 3 passes drop 18 parachutists and all land safely on the minute DZ we where using.

We assembled together and marched up to the Polish memorial, having only marched once before I keep a close eye on Beau’s feet to keep in time.

After an eventful day we finally got transport back to the campsite courtesy of an unknown group to me. We climbed aboard their trucks in a 12 vehicle convoy and went the long way around to Oosterbeek. Rattling along in the back of a truck sure gives you a numb rear end. Wearing full Battle Dress and the smock made for a hot day – the veterans did it for 9 days!

Back at the camp site the food was waiting for us and so was a cleansing shower. We walked into the Schoonard bar and enjoyed a drink surrounded by Veterans and re-enactors who I hope will jump one day.

Sunday 23rd September

Sunday was a day purely for the veterans so I wore civvies for the first time in ages. I was woken early and got up to say goodbye to the roesbeek (American Drop Zone) jumpers. After they left the camp went quiet and we helped with a few chores, the main de-camp not being completed till they return later this afternoon, our flight being 16:25 means we have to leave around lunchtime.

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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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