Friday 30 September 2016

Second World War veterans, 90, complete tandem parachute jumps for Taxi Charity

Published 25/08/2016 | 18:46

D-Day veteran Fred Glover, 90, lands after a tandem parachute jump at Salisbury's Old Sarum Airfield
D-Day veteran Fred Glover, 90, lands after a tandem parachute jump at Salisbury's Old Sarum Airfield
D-Day veterans Ted Pieri, left, and Fred Glover, both 90, after they made a tandem parachute jump at Salisbury's Old Sarum Airfield
D-Day veteran Fred Glover, 90, prepares to make a tandem parachute jump at Salisbury's Old Sarum Airfield

Two 90-year-old Second World War veterans made their second tandem parachute jump in just five days on Thursday, with one even landing in a battlefield where he was shot down 72 years ago.

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Wearing bright red jumpsuits and goggles, Fred Glover and Edward "Ted" Pieri hurtled hundreds of feet towards the ground at the Old Sarum airfield in Salisbury to raise money for the London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled, also known as the Taxi Charity.

Last Saturday they parachuted into the Merville Battery in north-west France, a fortified German bunker which saw fierce fighting during the 1944 Normandy landings.

It was a fitting site for Mr Glover, from Brighton, whose glider was hit over the battlefield by anti-aircraft fire more than seven decades ago, making him crash into a nearby orchard.

After being injured he recouped at a Parisian hospital and later escaped with French Resistance support.

Speaking before the jump, he said he was "not at all nervous" and "really looking forward" to jumping with the Red Devils parachute display team.

He added: "I've been returning to visit the area since the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994 and I have lots of friends in Normandy, they're a good crowd... I've been going for so many years now that some of the toddlers I've met are now grown up with families of their own."

Mr Pieri, from Kent, joined the 1st Airborne Division in 1943 while Mr Glover was a member of 6th Airborne "A Company".

The jumps helped raise money for next year's charity D-Day trip to Normandy, which is aiming to take around 150 veterans and 80 black cabs to Normandy for four nights, according to a committee member.

The London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled was set up in 1947 in Fulham and relies on donations and volunteer London taxi drivers to provide their cabs and time for free.

Mr Pieri said: "I've been on a number of outings with the charity including a trip to Arnhem last year. At each event I have had a different taxi driver who hosted and looked after me throughout.

"Each showed a wonderful professional attitude and they go out of their way to do as much as they can. They do this in their own time, they are very special people."

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