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D-Day veterans, 90, parachute from plane into field where one was shot down 72 years ago, Evening St

D-Day veterans, 90, parachute from plane into field where one was shot down 72 years ago, Evening Standard

Two 90-year-old Second World War veterans parachuted into a French field where one of them was shot down by the Luftwaffe 72 years ago. Wearing bright red jumpsuits and goggles, Fred Glover and Edward “Ted” Pieri hurtled hundreds of feet to the ground in tandem jumps at the Merville Battery in northern France on Saturday. The fortified German bunker was the site of fierce fighting during the 1944 Normandy landings – and Mr Glover’s glider came down in a nearby orchard after being hit over the battlefield by anti-aircraft fire seven decades ago. But not content with just the one nonagenarian plunge, the pair each embarked on a second jump on Thursday, leaping from a plane above the Old Sarum airfield in Salisbury to raise money for the London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled, also known as the Taxi Charity. Speaking before the jumps, Mr Glover said he was "not at all nervous" and "really looking forward" to jumping with the Red Devils parachute display team. He added: "I've been returning to visit the area since the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994 and I have lots of friends in Normandy, they're a good crowd... I've been going for so many years now that some of the toddlers I've met are now grown up with families of their own." Mr Pieri, from Kent, joined the 1st Airborne Division in 1943 while Mr Glover was a member of 6th Airborne "A Company". The jumps helped raise money for next year's charity D-Day trip to Normandy, which is aiming to take around 150 veterans and 80 black cabs to Normandy for four nights, according to a committee member. The London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled was set up in 1947 in Fulham and relies on donations and volunteer London taxi drivers to provide their cabs and time for free. Mr Pieri said: "I've been on a number of outings with the charity including a trip to Arnhem last year. At each event I have had a different taxi driver who hosted and looked after me throughout. "Each showed a wonderful professional attitude and they go out of their way to do as much as they can. They do this in their own time, they are very special people."

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