The military historian and broadcaster Colonel Mike Dewar spoke about his life in the Green Jacket Regiment, and how, on retirement, he became Editor of Pegasus, the Journal of the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces. There then followed a short, overpowering and extremely scary Nazi propaganda film used in Germany during the lead-up to the Second World War. As Col. Dewar said: “this is what we were facing”.
The first part of the evening was spent describing the assault on the Wurzburg radar establishment, near Bruneval, in France. After being discovered by an ace low-level flyer, a plan was devised to send in a small force, who would dismantle the vital parts and return with them to England. With a circular wall to contend with a further plan was set in motion to send in a mixed force of C Company 2nd Bn. The Parachute Regiment, and Royal Engineers These people were parachuted in, duly made off with the right parts, and returned to England. This was the first example of what airborne British forces could achieve.
Secondly Col. Dewar spoke about the Normandy landings of June 1944. In particular the Pegasus Bridge operation. Photos of paratroop and glider landings were shown, as he described how they successfully took control of, and kept intact, the Pegasus Bridge. Mention was made that some of the landings were not too accurate, but the whole landing was successful, as the bridge was kept open and the battle for Caen went ahead. Mention was made of the Gondree Café, Benouville, nearby, which became such a landmark. Lastly, the subject of Arnhem was discussed. In September 1944 it was suggested that several river crossings were to be seized. Concern was raised about the success of this campaign, but it went ahead. It did not succeed. This sombre note rounded up a very interesting talk which provoked a spate of questions. Jan Fray