This is a great story of paratrooper, veteran of WWII and subsequent conflicts, having his ashes scattered at the site of one of the famous locations in airborne military history.
Ernest Venus passed away earlier this year and his daughter Joan Venus Evans thought it would be a fitting tribute to have his ashes parachuted down and scattered over Arnhem. Lance Corporal Chris Duggan, of Hull TA unit, 299 (Parachute Squadron) Royal Engineers, volunteered to jump out of an aircraft, carrying Mr Venus’s ashes.
The Dutch town of Arnhem in the Netherlands and its Bridge were considered to be key strategic objectives in the closing stages of the war. Operation Market Garden as it was known was later immortalised in the classic war film A Bridge Too Far (Arnhem being that Bridge)
Mr Venus joined the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1940 and qualified as a military parachutist in December 1941. He rejoined the army soon after being de-mobbed and served in the unit the late 1960s, reaching the rank of staff sergeant.
Mrs Venus-Evans said funeral director Mark Horton gave her the idea of having her father’s ashes scattered from the air. Air the Regiment were there to help for an old comrade.
Once Lance Corporal Duggan completed the task, Mr Venus’s family held their own tribute in west Hull.
Mrs Venus-Evans said: “I had a text from Major Wilcock to say the ashes had been released over the drop zone in Arnhem.
“We went outside and set some rockets off. It was more emotional than the funeral.”
Lance Corporal Duggan said he was honoured to have carried out the task on behalf of his regiment.
He said: “It was an incredible experience for me to be parachuting into Arnhem, let alone have the honour of scattering the ashes of a former member of the Squadron onto the drop zone.”
This story is exactly what we hope to say on the website – celebrate, make it memorable, make it your own and if possible remember with a smile. The article has a lovely quote from Mrs Venus Evans: “Dad was never happier than when he was on manoeuvres or parachuting. “It could not have been more fitting. Anyone who knew Dad would know he would be laughing his head off.”