HART team remember war dead while training in France
Trio visit scene of daring World War 2 raid.
A NATO training exercise in France during the week leading up to
Remembrance Day proved to be a poignant experience for three
members of the NEAS Hazardous Area Response Team.
Marianne Ellison, Sean Storey and Graham Brooks were the only
non-military personnel who travelled across the channel for the
five-day day course near Lyon.
The three began the journey back to Newcastle on Friday November
11. As 11am approached, they pulled over at a French motorway
service station en-route to the Caen Ferry Terminal to observe a
Marianne said: "It was an impressive sight to have 25 people who
had been on the NATO exercise paying their respects alongside ten
vehicles. Some passing French motorists also stopped and joined us.
It was a very humbling experience to think about those who had lost
their lives fighting for their country."
As they approached the ferry terminal, the trio made a
spontaneous decision to visit the near-by war museum at Pegasus
On the night of 5 June 1944, a force of 181 men took off from
southern England in six gliders to capture Pegasus Bridge. The
object was to prevent German armour from crossing and attacking the
eastern flank while the allies landed at Sword Beach.
Five of the gliders reached their target, and soldiers
poured out of their battered gliders taking the Germans by
surprise. The bridge was taken within 10-minutes, with the loss of
just two men in the process - Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and
Lance-Corporal Fred Greenhalgh. The mission was later described as
"the most outstanding flying of World War 2."
On the ferry back to Portsmouth, the NEAS team were joined on
board by some members of the British Veterans Association. Another
short Remembrance ceremony followed, where Dave Bull said a few
words, before Marianne threw a poppy wreath overboard.