2 PARA hosted a number of veterans and a P.R.A. Branch at Merville Barracks on Thursday, 8th September 2016. With the permission of the Commanding Officer, Lt-Col. Duncan Mann, a fantastic day was organised by RSM. Wattam and CSM. Morton.
The day started with an informal get together in the Officers Mess for lunch, and then moved to the Dakota for a talk and a chance to look inside, which for some of the veterans was the first time since the 17th September 1944! Then it was round to Battalion H.Q. for the stands and displays, before heading across to the Education Theatre for a presentation about the Battle of Arnhem.
The whole day was finished off at the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess, 2 PARA for a presentation from the widow of Sid Blackmore of his framed medals to the Mess, and the RSM repaying the compliment with engraved bottles of port to the veterans, Mrs. Blackmore and John Grayburn.
Three of the veterans inside the 2 PARA Officers Mess. Standing, L-R: Les Ransom (250th (Airborne) Light Composite Company, R.A.S.C.) and Bill Williams (4 Platoon, B-Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion). In the wheelchair is Arthur Letchford (Mortar Platoon, 2nd Parachute Battalion).
All three were taken prisoner at Arnhem in September 1944.
The painting is of Major-General. J.D. Frost. The wartime commander of the 2nd Parachute Battalion.