I had the pleasure of sharing the return journey from Holland with Harold Padfield, 90, who rang me yesterday to tell me what a delight the trip had been. Also, that our driver Danny had gone back to the Union Jack Club the morning after we returned from Holland to pick him up and drive him all the way home to Oxford. The veterans had nothing but kind words to say about the drivers on the trip, obviously moved by […]
Whilst the taxi charity planned this trip to Holland to enable British veterans to take part in Dutch liberation celebrations, any journey there is especially poignant for veterans from the Glider Pilot Regiment Association; they took part in the airborne invasion of Holland in September 1944, flying in with thousands of other pilots and paratroopers. Seven glider pilots came on this trip, a real band of brothers. I really enjoyed talking to Joe Patient, 95 next birthday and Iain Bonner, […]
…so said Jim, 89 (pictured here during wartime and below, last week) after tripping over when we arrived back at the Union Jack Club last night. ‘No need to worry’, he said, when I asked if he was ok. He jumped up, brushed himself down and said he was made of rubber. Jim is just one of the wonderful veterans I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with. He’s full of the most incredible stories – too many to recall. […]
Just returned home from the Union Jack Club in Waterloo, where this epic trip began last Wednesday. Wonderful to see Geoff Roberts, 87, being reunited with his grand-daughter Grace. She’d been excited about seeing him all day. Many proud families out there – veterans’ children, grand-children, great and even great-great-grandchildren, and cabbies’ families too of course. The charity must be delighted by how it’s all gone. Sad to say goodbye to all the wonderful veterans I’ve met. They’ve been so […]
I’m in Danny Bedford’s cab with veterans Harold Padfield and Geoff Roberts. Geoff on the right never smiles in front of cameras. People waving us off. Everyone is feeling ‘a bit choked’ to be leaving Arnhem, although looking forwards to a ‘proper cup of tea’ in England. Harold has been given some gorgeous stroopwafels by his friends who host his regular visits to Holland, where he parachuted in at 7 minutes past 2 on 17th September 1944.
Wonderful scenes at the Airborne Museum in Arnhem yesterday. Great cab ride with Julian the driver. In the back were veterans Danny McCrudden, who sang The Good Life on the way, and Ernie Davies, my friend and photographer Matt, and me. As we approached Arnhem, it was as if the whole town had come out to meet the convoy. Danny had tears in his eyes. The museum had laid on quite an event, complete with bagpipe players, the local medical […]
Today has made me realise just what an incredible job this taxi charity, in collaboration with the Market Garden Association of Holland, has done in organising this trip. Shepherding 160 guys (and a few gals) in their 80’s and 90’s is unlikely to be straightforward at the best of times. In Holland, in 80 Black Cabs, with several events and functions each day, it’s a rather different kettle of fish. Huge respect to all the cab drivers who are valiantly […]
Yesterday afternoon, the convoy of taxis took the veterans to a beautiful memorial service at Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, otherwise known as the Airborne Cemetery. It was established in 1945 and is home to 1759 WWII graves. Most of the men buried were servicemen killed in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 or during the liberation of the city in 1945. I noticed that most were in their late teen’s or early 20’s. Many of the graves are unidentified. Standing […]