It seems an appropriate day to post this. Indeed an appropriate time as the eleventh hour of Remembrance Sunday approaches. I have been exchanging emails with a chap called Gavin Parnaby for some time now. He is currently cycling across Europe, raising money for the charity Combat Stress as he pedals.
“In the year that sees the 75th anniversary of the landings in Normandy and Arnhem, I am cycling between the sites of the four major airborne operations carried out by the British Army during the Second World War. I begin at Caen, site of the seizure of Pegasus Bridge, crucial in securing the eastern flank of the Allied beachhead, then head east along the coast through France and Belgium to the Netherlands, where I will visit the site of the doomed attempt to seize the bridges over the lower Rhine in September 1944. I then head south along the river to Hamminkeln over the German border, where the Rhine was successfully crossed in March 1945, during the largest airborne operation in British military history. The final objective is Sicily, to which I will follow the Rhine cycle route before turning south at Basel and crossing the Alps at the St. Gotthard Pass, then heading into Italy. Retracing the original route, I will take a ferry from Salerno to Catania, from where I will cycle to the bridges of Ponte Primasole, captured during Operation Fustian, and the Ponte Grande, seized during the costly Operation Ladbroke of 1943, clearing the way for the Allied drive on Syracuse during the invasion of Sicily.”Gavin Parnaby
If you’d like to support Gavin, you can do so via his Just Giving page.