Glider Pilot Regiment Memorial - Shobdon

haloman

Old-Salt
RAF Shobdon as it was during WW2, is now operated by the Herefordshire Aero Club.

Between 1942 and 1945 RAF Shobdon was No.5 Glider Training School. It was there that a number of the glider pilots trained on the GAL Hotspur glider before moving on to the larger Airspeed Horsa. The café on the present airfield is called the Hotspur Café.
Some 1345 glider pilots, 291 Instructors and 218 tug pilots were trained at Shobdon between 1942 and 1945.

The whole glider concept was predicated on the assumption that you were going to arrive on the battlefield in the middle of an aircrash! And the pilots, if they survived the crash, then became fighting soldiers along with their passengers, usually outnumbered, outgunned and attacking dug in positions.
After Arnhem there was such a shortage of trained Army glider pilots that the RAF were obliged to provide trained pilots to make up the shortfall.
They went on to make the Rhine crossing and numerous other air assaults against Axis military positions.

The Glider Pilot Regiment has been woefully unrecognised in comparison to most other units so the Herefordshire Aero Club members are planning to erect a large memorial stone and plaque on the airfield near the old wartime hangar. It will be dedicated to the servicemen and women who served there and also the civilian support staff. Also those who died whilst serving at Shobdon, mostly in accidents.
Attached is a proof of the plaque.

shobden.png


We are planning to unveil the memorial this summer and have tracked down a 95 year old ex-WAAF who served there. In fact that is where she met and married her late husband, also serving there We are hoping that she will be able to do the unveiling.
I will put a notice on the Arrse website when we have a firm date for the opening to which everyone will be cordially invited. We have a good bar in the clubhouse!
We are currently on target to raise the subscriptions needed to meet the cost but if anyone feels like making a small donation it will be gratefully accepted. Cheques or cash to: Herefordshire Aero Club, Shobdon Airfield, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 9NR. Please clearly mark your cheque or envelope Glider memorial fund.

Thanks chaps and girls.
 

Attachments

Good luck with this and please keep us all constantly informed as to progress and if anything as well as money, can be offered by Arrsers to assist.

Mods can this be a sticky?
 
I'll be there - I only live 3 miles away!
 

Bad CO

Admin
What an excellent idea and nice to see Shobden recognising their contribution. I've featured this on the front page which will hopefully help.

The GPR lineage is now maintained by the AAC and I know one very local unit that uses Shobden quite a lot for routine training (well at least they used to). I assume that you've been in touch with them to support the unveiling as I'm sure they would. If you don't have any contact details then please let me know.
 

Magic_Mike

Swinger
RAF Shobdon as it was during WW2, is now operated by the Herefordshire Aero Club.

Between 1942 and 1945 RAF Shobdon was No.5 Glider Training School. It was there that a number of the glider pilots trained on the GAL Hotspur glider before moving on to the larger Airspeed Horsa. The café on the present airfield is called the Hotspur Café.
Some 1345 glider pilots, 291 Instructors and 218 tug pilots were trained at Shobdon between 1942 and 1945.

The whole glider concept was predicated on the assumption that you were going to arrive on the battlefield in the middle of an aircrash! And the pilots, if they survived the crash, then became fighting soldiers along with their passengers, usually outnumbered, outgunned and attacking dug in positions.
After Arnhem there was such a shortage of trained Army glider pilots that the RAF were obliged to provide trained pilots to make up the shortfall.
They went on to make the Rhine crossing and numerous other air assaults against Axis military positions.

The Glider Pilot Regiment has been woefully unrecognised in comparison to most other units so the Herefordshire Aero Club members are planning to erect a large memorial stone and plaque on the airfield near the old wartime hangar. It will be dedicated to the servicemen and women who served there and also the civilian support staff. Also those who died whilst serving at Shobdon, mostly in accidents.
Attached is a proof of the plaque.

View attachment 239333

We are planning to unveil the memorial this summer and have tracked down a 95 year old ex-WAAF who served there. In fact that is where she met and married her late husband, also serving there We are hoping that she will be able to do the unveiling.
I will put a notice on the Arrse website when we have a firm date for the opening to which everyone will be cordially invited. We have a good bar in the clubhouse!
We are currently on target to raise the subscriptions needed to meet the cost but if anyone feels like making a small donation it will be gratefully accepted. Cheques or cash to: Herefordshire Aero Club, Shobdon Airfield, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 9NR. Please clearly mark your cheque or envelope Glider memorial fund.

Thanks chaps and girls.
Off topic slightly, but did I hear a rumour that the parachuting club will be reopening at Shobdon in the not so distant future?
 
J

JWBenett

Guest
Bump. Shobdon Airfield wartime history:
Altogether 1,345 pilots, 291 gliding instructors and 218 tug pilots were trained at Shobdon during World War II and they saw action in the major airborne operations, including the landings on Sicily and the Normandy beaches (D-Day), and the battles of Arnhem and the Rhine. No 5 Glider Training School also holds the record for the number of day and night glider training missions with 96,925 separate glider launches up to 1945.
 

haloman

Old-Salt
What an excellent idea and nice to see Shobden recognising their contribution. I've featured this on the front page which will hopefully help.
Many thanks @Bad CO. The more you read into the history and achievements of the GPR the more admiration I have for them. The guys who put the Horsa's down on Pegasus Bridge displayed airmanship of the highest order. No engines, at night, carrying a full load, onto a very small unfamiliar LZ studded with anti glider obstructions! Outstanding!

The GPR lineage is now maintained by the AAC and I know one very local unit that uses Shobden quite a lot for routine training (well at least they used to). I assume that you've been in touch with them to support the unveiling as I'm sure they would. If you don't have any contact details then please let me know.
I have been in touch with the GPR Association and had a letter published in the AAC Eagle magazine so word is getting around and we will advertise it more widely when we go firm on an unveiling date. Local units are aware.
 

haloman

Old-Salt
Off topic slightly, but did I hear a rumour that the parachuting club will be reopening at Shobdon in the not so distant future?
Sadly it is now off the menu.
Dave Skinner had some discussions with the Aero Club and an outline modus operandi agreed. The plan was to open a tandem jump centre. The BPA came and inspected the site and gave Dave it's approval. (There is a flooded gravel pit just beside the runways which is why the previous Hereford Parachute Club had to close as a training operation).
It then moved on to the CAA for approval. Since then, Dave has posted a message on the Hereford Parachute Club website saying that all bets are off. I don't know what happened or why it was abandoned. I know that Dave had got as far as looking for a suitable aircraft - a Cessna 206 or similar.
 
I have to ask - why is there an Air Cadet in the Honour Roll? Must be a story there.
 
I have to ask - why is there an Air Cadet in the Honour Roll? Must be a story there.
RAFCommands

Near the bottom, possible ID.

"Your Holloway on 9-9-1943 I think is cadet J A Hollowood (21) of 1526 Wolverhampton Sqdn ATC. He was passenger in Master EM262 from RAF Shobdon when it crashed at 1150hrs on 6-9-43. Doylerush notes that he died of his injuries 3 days later. "
 
RAFCommands

Near the bottom, possible ID.

"Your Holloway on 9-9-1943 I think is cadet J A Hollowood (21) of 1526 Wolverhampton Sqdn ATC. He was passenger in Master EM262 from RAF Shobdon when it crashed at 1150hrs on 6-9-43. Doylerush notes that he died of his injuries 3 days later. "
Obliged, Sir.
You have great, the Google Fu
 

Chef

LE
I don't know if it's still available but 'The gliders' by Alan Lloyd (Corgi 0 552 12167 3) 1982
is worth a look.

The British pilots were trained soldiers as well as pilots. They played their part on the ground after getting the troops there.

The American system was different with the pilots being pretty much superfluous after landing their gliders.
 

slick

LE
I don't know if it's still available but 'The gliders' by Alan Lloyd (Corgi 0 552 12167 3) 1982
is worth a look.

The British pilots were trained soldiers as well as pilots. They played their part on the ground after getting the troops there.

The American system was different with the pilots being pretty much superfluous after landing their gliders.
Plenty of used copies about....
 

haloman

Old-Salt
I have to ask - why is there an Air Cadet in the Honour Roll? Must be a story there.
Near the bottom, possible ID.

"Your Holloway on 9-9-1943 I think is cadet J A Hollowood (21) of 1526 Wolverhampton Sqdn ATC. He was passenger in Master EM262 from RAF Shobdon when it crashed at 1150hrs on 6-9-43. Doylerush notes that he died of his injuries 3 days later. "
The plane was being flown by Sgt Marsh-Jones.

Thanks to @Harry Clampers post it looks like the Cadet John A Holloway on the memorial tablet proof is actually Hollowood so we can correct this if it is in error. Our info came from Kew records. The file we looked at had the crash down on 3/9/1943. I'm afraid that the records are often inaccurate or have conflicting info. Many thanks @Harry Clampers.
 
Great plaque.

Just one typo ... it needs to be "Their name liveth" and not "names", partly because "liveth" was only used in the singular (so you would have said "he liveth", but "they live") and also because that's the wording of the original quote from the Bible:
Ecclesiasticus 44:14: “Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.”

The idea is that notable dead have a collective name, or reputation, hence "name" and not "names".
 

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