WWII soldiers killed in Double Hills crash remembered

Service at Double Hills in Paulton A service at Double Hills in Paulton, Somerset, is held each year to remember the 23 soldiers killed there

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A remembrance service has been held in a Somerset village to honour soldiers who lost their lives during a daring World War II operation.

Gliders carrying 23 soldiers crashed in the Double Hills field in Paulton while en route to the battle of Arnhem in 1944.

All of the men were killed. Each year a remembrance service is held.

The battle was immortalised in the book A Bridge Too Far, and was subsequently made into a film of the same name.

'Still remember'

Organiser Peter Yeats, from Paulton, said part of the commemoration involved the reading out of the victims' names and a flypast.

"The relatives of the [victims] come, the grandchildren and great grandchildren still remember the fact that they lost [family] in 1944," he added.

"Maybe people as a whole don't remember, but family remembers and the village remembers.

"It's become an annual event, so it's something that always happens and they always want it to happen."

Glider Gliders, similar to this one, carrying 23 soldiers crashed in Paulton in 1944 during a WWII operation

The Battle at Arnhem took place during World War II and was part of the biggest airborne military operation ever mounted.

Soldiers captured

Called Operation Market Garden, its aim was to gain control over the major bridges over the Dutch rivers of Mass, Waal and Lower Rhine, clearing the way for an Allied advance into northern Germany.

Planned jointly with US forces, it was launched on 17 September 1944.

In total more than 16,500 paratroopers and 3,500 troops in gliders were dropped for the whole operation.

The American landings were a success, but this was not the case for the British, whose drops were located intentionally far from their bridges.

It took the British paratroopers four hours to reach their target and, by that time, the Germans had been tipped off about the attack.

On 25 September, the ninth day, the order was given to withdraw from Arnhem.

Overall the Germans took around 6,000 men captive at Arnhem, more than half of them were injured.

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