Frank Richards, a commercial artist, enlisted on October 10th, 1939 and joined the Corps of Royal Signals. He saw service in France and was evacuated at Dunkirk. He then volunteered for the Glider Pilot Regiment transferring on September 18th, 1942 despite the Royal Signals wishing to keep him. He began flight training in July 1943 at R.A.F. Booker. He did not see service on D-Day but he was involved in the first lift to Arnhem, taking across a 6 pounder and Jeep. He escaped across the Rhine and returned to the UK. His memories of Arnhem were such that he hardly ever mentioned the Battle.
He came in action again during the final major operation in WW2 the Rhine Crossing on the 24th March 1945.
He was assigned to attack a flak H.Q. at 10.30am with troops from the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry. They were due to take off at 07.30 on the 24th March however the Halifax that was towing them had major problems. Eventually he was towed back to the start position and took off some 45 minutes later and headed towards Brussels. The pilot of the Halifax tried to get him back to his original position in what was a huge line of gliders and attack aircraft. Upon release the Horsa went into a dive and was hit by flak. Despite being hit and having major contolling problems of the aircraft he landed the glider north of the intended target. The troops and the Jeep in the back were released with gun following. He made his way to a First Aid Post and eventually made it to the rendez-vous for the Glider Pilots. Whilst waiting they heard the sound of Panzers, he and his colleagues hit the deck and watched with awe as a couple of Tempest's put pay to the tanks. He was then taken to a British General Hospital on the outskirts of Brussels and flown back on a Dakota to the UK.
He was transferred to reserve on April 1st, 1946.
Post War he continued his love of painting and one of his works appeared on the front cover of the History of the Glider Pilot Regiment by Claude Smith.
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