The Veterans Charity announces generous donation from family of D-Day hero

Lieutenant HJ ‘Tod’ Sweeney was one of the Platoon Commanders on the very first combat operation on 6th June 1944.

Commanding 23 Platoon of Operation Coup de Main, Lt Sweeney, together with Lt Fox and 17 Platoon, was tasked with leading his men in the capture of a crucial bridge over the River Orne. The bridge was later named in honour of the legendary aircraft that carried them to their objective; the Horsa Glider.

The Veterans Charity is hosting the Ride To Horsa; a very special cycling challenge between 5-8 September this year which will follow a route from Tarrant Rushton to Poole in Dorset before crossing the channel to Cherbourg. 

Once into Normandy, the Ride To Horsa will then visit many legendary sites which played a vital role on D-Day.

Danny Greeno, CEO of The Veterans Charity said,

“We have made ambitious plans to honour not only the heroic deeds of 80 years ago but also the extraordinary Horsa Glider which carried them so accurately to their objectives. Thanks to a wonderful donation from the family of Lieutenant Sweeney, and with the funds being raised on our Ride To Horsa, we will be able to create a striking new memorial which will honour the heroes of D-Day and raise the profile of the very first actions of that day.”

The Horsa Glider, built in England by the Airspeed company, was capable of transporting up to 30 troops or artillery and vehicles. Its size enabled both UK and US forces and equipment to be flown with immense accuracy, to their objectives on 6th June.

The Ride To Horsa will is set to be a hugely poignant and memorial event which pays tribute to the actions of both Operation Elmira, a US mission which saw 140 Horsa Gliders landing in the area around Sainte Mere Eglise, and also the famous Operation Coup de Main which targeted the capture of Pegasus and Horsa Bridges near Ranville.

During the ride, the group will pay respects to the courageous crews who so expertly piloted the gliders; some sadly lost their lives during Operation Elmira and several US Glider Pilots are buried at the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach. The cycling group will remember those who never made it home from Normandy by placing wreaths at a variety of memorials and graves along the 150 mile route, including the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer.

To attract as many riders as possible, The Veterans Charity has taken the bold step to reduce the entry fee for Ride To Horsa to just £80. There is a fundraising target of £500 per participant. Funds will help pay for the memorial project and also enable the charity to continue meeting demand for its urgent and vital support for Veterans who find themselves battling hardship.

Registration for the Ride To Horsa can be made at 

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By @Cobseo 55 years ago

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