THE DOUBLE HILLS MEMORIAL SERVICE
The Somerset Guardian, 8th September 2021
Two years ago, Peter Yeates, who has been the indefatigable organiser of the Double Hills Memorial Service since it started in 1979, said that 2019 would be the last year. Fortunately, by popular demand and thanks to his great energy, after a pandemic pause, it was back in full last Sunday.
What happened in 1944 is a reminder of the heroic bravery of the Armed Forces in war. Not always in charging at guns but the raw courage that saw twenty-three young men board a wooden glider to be towed over land and sea to enemy territory where it would land in a flat field. This glider never arrived, instead it crashed into a field in Farrington Gurney next door to Paulton and as the ammunition it was carrying exploded all the men on board were killed.
This year's ceremony seemed especially well attended both by dignitaries and local people who have supported the event so well for over forty years. The salute was taken by Brigadier John Clark who inspected young soldiers who had made the long journey from Suffolk to take part in the parade. The youth in their faces is a reminder of how young those killed in 1944 were.
Commemorations are important because they honour the dead and give thanks for their sacrifice but they also honour the living. Those who may go into battle, who have taken the Queen's shilling, know that when they do so they are supported and that their patriotism and courage are admired. This year, the parade was changed at short notice because the troops from the Parachute Regiment that had been expected had been in Kabul days before and therefore, could not come. That was a poignant reminder that the Thin Red Line is still protecting British people around the world.
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