The Glider Pilot Regiment was a British airborne forces unit of the Second World War responsible for crewing the British Army's military gliders. It saw action in support of Allied airborne operations. Established in 1942, the regiment was disbanded in 1957. Its motto was proven by its record in the field: 'Nothing Is Impossible'.
As an elite regiment of the British Army, members were primarily volunteers from other parts of the Army, though the RAF also contributed pilots.
The highest standards were applied in flying training, initially on powered aircraft before learning to fly gliders. Glider pilots would only have one chance of landing in the correct spot and this called for a high degree of airmanship.
Once fully qualified, they would fly unpowered aircraft capable of carrying everything from troops to light tanks. They would achieve extraordinary feats of flying, landing on unprepared landing zones behind enemy lines, and taking up arms to fight beside the troops they carried into battle. After landing they operated as infantry and even sometimes medics and became known as 'Total Soldiers'.
The Glider Pilot Regiment participated in some of the most influential turning points in the War including the invasion of Sicily, D-Day (memorably the action at Pegasus Bridge) and Operation Market Garden.
In post-war years The Regiment saw action in Palestine, and participated in the Berlin Airlift as well as serving on Operation Firedog in Malaya.
There is a specialist site dedicated to this elite band of warriors The Glider Pilot Regiment Society
As part of the excellent Pegasus Archive, there are many first-person action reports from members of the Glider Pilot Regiment here
See also Paradata: living history of Airborne Forces
The Assault Glider Trust
has a splendid site covering a number of topics including the restoration of a Horsa glider.
MIssing Soldiers in the Netherlands information on the Glider Pilot Regiment is here
Excellent information on US glider operations is at ww2gp.org/eight-missions.php
. This is a huge and comprehensive site.
Operations Covered in Database:Ladbroke, Fustian, Market Garden, Varsity, Elaborate, Overlord, Tonga, Mallard, Beggar, Turkey Buzzard, Freshman, Firedog, Dragoon, Planefare.