Falklands anniversary marked at gardens
THE 70th anniversary of the founding of The Parachute Regiment has been commemorated at an Airborne Forces Day held at a beautiful Cornish garden.
Veterans were on parade, a Scottish pipe band played, and Second World War vehicles formed on the drive and then took those in need of a lift down to the beach at Trebah Garden, Mawnan Smith, where 7,500 men from the 29th US Infantry Division embarked in June 1944 and battled their way in rough seas to Normandy, suffering dramatic losses in the assault landings on Omaha Beach.
This year Airborne Forces Day commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Campaign and the 70th anniversary of the formation of No1 Battalion Parachute Regiment after Churchill dictated a memo to his Cabinet saying "we must raise at once a Parachute Corps of 5,000 men to take the war to the enemy".
There was no shortage of volunteers, and one of those was Tony Hibbert, who had been a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. He became a Brigade Major of the First Parachute Brigade and won the Military Cross.
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Major Hibbert bought Trebah Gardens in 1982 and restored them, and since then has held an Airborne Forces Day to raise money for Forces charities.
He was among those who laid wreaths at the memorials beside the pond at Trebah, others included Sergeant Ian Hogarth, from Nanpean, a Falklands veteran.
Mr Hogarth, 55, who served in the Parachute Regiment from 1971 to 1993, was a young Lance Corporal in the Falklands Conflict. "I lost friends in the Falklands. It is something you can never forget," he said.
A service was led by the Reverend James Francis, padre at RNAS Culdrose, and the Exhortation said by John McHugh, chairman of the Cornwall branch of the Parachute Regiment Association.