Cadets and Staff of 2502 (Hamilton) Squadron Air Training Corps paraded along side the Melton Mowbray Branch of Royal Air Forces Association and Serving US soldiers at the unveiling of the memorial to members of the 82nd Airborne Division who were stationed in Scraptoft during the Second World War.
The memorial has been built in memory of the casualties and losses of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, and the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment who found a home from home 69 years ago, in Scraptoft and Evington during the Second World War. The 82nd Airborne division, spearheaded allied invasions in Sicily and Normandy and were at the forefront of the allied push through Holland & Germany. The new memorial is situated in the Edith Cole Memorial Park in Scraptoft.
The ceremony started with an introduction into the history behind the memorial and its conception. Veterans and relatives then spoke emotionally of their pride for what the 82nd Airborne Division achieved during the war but also of their sad losses. 93 year old Herb Heubschen, who travelled from his home in Wisconsin, told the crowd of how he met his wife in Leicester whilst she was selling tickets for a local dance. Besty Matthes Ostberg daughter of the Commanding Officer of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, Edwin J Ostberg, spoke of her immense pride in her father. He sadly lost his life in the Battle of the Bulge, in February 1945. Father Andrew Poole of Scraptoft All Saints Church then blessed the memorial and the assembled standards then dipped for the national anthems of both American and Great Britain.
Also present were a colour guard of serving US soldiers from the 709th Military Intelligence Battalion, former members of the 82nd Airborne Division and a representative from Ratcliffe College Combined Cadet Corps.
The memorial will also house a time capsule so other people in the future will know of the men of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, and the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and their bravery.