During World War Two, Melton Mowbray became home to ‘Red Devils’ when hundreds of paratroopers made the town their home after returning to England from fighting in North Africa and Italy. Whilst in Melton they were based at both the Vet Camp and local hosues/lodges in town whilst training for operations for D-Day and Arnhem.
In the early part of 1944, No 156 Battalion Parachute Regiment set up base in Melton Mowbray and used Staveley Lodge on Nottingham Road, Newport Lodge on Scalford Road and The Spinney on Thorpe Road as their billetts.
Prior to World War Two, Newport Lodge was also the family home of the Laycock family and Robert, one of the children, became Major General Sir Robert Laycock KCMG, CB, DSO otherwise known as the Commando General and Commander of of the Lay Force.
The 10th Battallion set up base around Somerby, Burrough on the Hill and Twford and the 11th Battalion who were originally at Glen Parva near Leicester but moved to Melton in May 44 and set up base on the Vet Camp (Remount Depot).
The Friends of the Tenth is a registered charity that is committed to perpetuating the memory and legacy of the brave men of the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment so that their part in history shall never be forgotten. They have produced an excellent guided trail around the sites of Somerby, Burrough Hill and Thorpe Satchville plus other locations connected to the 10th. The trail guide can be purchased from their website via here: Friends of the Tenth Trail
These units made up the 4th Brigade and during their time in Melton, the Paras trained for operation as part of the D-Day campiagn, but due to changing circumstances in Normandy and the Allied advacnce through France, they were not used.
Their time finally came in September when they took part in Operation Market Garden and the Airborne landings at Arnhem in Holland.
After arnhem, the survivors of 10, 11 & 156 Battalions returned to their bases in the area. In December 1944, the 1st Airbiorne Division was re-organised and the 4th Division and 10, 11 & 156 Battalions was disbanded.
As part of this re-organisation, No 3 Battalion Parachute Regiment came to Melton and set up base on the Vet Camp. In 1945, the Melton Paras were sent to Copenhagen as part of the force to Liberate Denmark from German Occupation.
As part of this Airborne Tour, we will visit some of the locations in Melton Mowbray used by the Paras as billets, for training and where the enjoyed downtime relaxing when off duty.
120 minutes (2 Hours)
£5 per head
Date of next tour:
Tour Meeting Point: Outside Sainsbury’s Supermarket, Nottingham Road, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0UL.
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