England

WW2 glider veterans unveil plaque

Dorchester Keep Museum Image copyright Claire Budd
Image caption A group of veterans and their families met to unveil the plaque, including (L-R) Katrina Thompson, Gordon Humphries, his friend, Sarah Gleadell, Jim Bick and Chris Copson

A plaque has been unveiled to commemorate a group of World War Two veterans.

Members of the 12th (Airborne) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment met at the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester for the "final" time.

The Old Veterans Association, known as the Swedebashers, disbanded officially in 2012 after forming in 1945.

Chris Copson, curator of the museum, said the meeting was "poignant" as only about 10 veterans are still alive.

Image copyright Claire Budd
Image caption The plaque is to be kept at the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester with artefacts used by the battalion
Image copyright Katrina Thompson
Image caption General Paul Gleadell was credited with being the driving force behind the association

During World War Two the battalion flew into battle using gliders across northern France.

Katrina Thompson's father, General Paul Gleadell, was the driving force behind the association.

She said she believed this would be the final meeting.

"It will get to the stage where there aren't any veterans left, but it is being kept alive in their memory by the sons and daughters.

"It is the end of an era."

Mr Copson said: "The Swedebashers were a remarkable unit by any standards.

"It is the final chapter of an amazing story of what they did during the Second World War."

He said the Swedebasher name came from rural stereotypes about Devon, which was then adopted affectionately by the battalion.

In 1958 the Devonshire Regiment merged with the Dorset Regiment.

It became part of The Rifles in 2007.

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