MILITARY parachutist Paul Culshaw honoured those who fought in the Second World War by jumping out of a wartime Douglas AC46 Dakota as part of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Paul, of Whitwell, was required to undergo Dutch military parachute training in Holland to qualify for the air drops and was awarded with his B wings and international parachute licence.

He had plenty of motivation to carry out the challenge, not least to honour the bravest of the brave, including 23,400 airborne troops who were dropped in before the main invasion force landed in 1944.

Paul also wanted to remember his grandfather Alan Birch who served as a Sherman Tank driver between 1939 and 1945. He was attached to the legendary desert rats under the command of General Montgomery and saw action in North Africa, Italy, France, Holland and Berlin, and took part in Operation Market Garden.

Paul also wanted to raise funds for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital heart transplant units, which care for his brother Nick, who has a serious heart defect.

Paul jumped on June 5, his 48th birthday.

He said: "I boarded Drag Em Oot, a wartime Douglas AC47 Dakota which was a veteran of the D-Day landings in 1944.

"75 years have passed but she still bears all the scars of combat with its fuselage riddled with bullet holes. I boarded at Caen Airport and sat on the floor, and with a loud roar from the Pratt and Whitney radial engines we were airborne and heading for the dropzone of Sannerville.

"When airborne we charged to the door at high speed and in 12 seconds all 12 of us were out. I fell in the slipstream of heroes. I stopped for a moment to reflect on how different it would have been 75 years ago, jumping in the dead of night with the Germans shooting at you and I felt emotional and very humble.

"I jumped behind the 16th Air Assault Battalion and a huge crowd of the general public and VIPs including the D-Day Parachute Regiment veterans."

In September, Paul will again jump from a Dakota for the official 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden.

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