Museum Welcomes Glider Veterans
Sixty nine years ago, Les Kershaw and Ken Plowman were amongst the many thousands of brave young men about to embark on the largest airborne assault of World War II. Operation Varsity, which took place on 24th March 1945, saw 16 000 paratroops deployed by more than 2000 aircraft and assault gliders in a mission to take strategic Rhine bridges and secure key towns as the Allies fought back against the Nazi occupation of Europe.
The two men, now both in their nineties met last month at Gloucestershire Airport’s new Jet Age Museum to see progress on the museum’s Horsa glider cockpit project; the flimsy wooden aircraft that they flew into battle, laden with troops and equipment.
Les and his wife Doris, from Shurdington, met Ken from Churchdown to reminisce on their wartime exploits.
Museum trustee and Airport operations director, Darren Lewington said:
We were contacted recently by an acquaintance of Leslie and asked if we’d mind if he and his wife visited the museum. We were honoured to accept and it will be our privilege to have these two heroes with us. There are many Gloucestershire connections to the assault glider story but to have two men who flew the aircraft will be an amazing opportunity for our volunteers to learn, first hand, about the aircraft. We aim to have our cockpit complete later this year and the ‘work in progress’ can be seen at the museum which is open form 10am-4pm every weekend.