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Secondary. Year 10 plus

Sergeant Ted Charles

By Jacob Brady, year 10+, Elizabeth College

As I reached for the pull cord, I took a second to appreciate the privilege I have, but that was shortly overtaken by the sudden realisation that I am falling from 10,000 feet and the ground was getting closer every second. I began to panic. I quickly gave a sharp tug on the cord and the parachute flew open like a bird spreading its wings.

A sudden breeze of calmness passed over me, yet again I have defied gravity. I am Sergeant Ted Charles of the 12th Para-trooping regiment. It’s currently 1.00am on the 2nd of June 1944. Right now I am on a special deployment somewhere above Northern France, heading for the land. It may be the turning point of the war or it may turn out just another failed attempt to regain land. Either way, countless lives will be lost, possibly including mine.

As I glide closer to land I can see clearly the German Forces. I sight a place to land, a large open field with long grass to hide in and a stream to source water from. I can see the lights of two German tanks on the side nearest the coast and hear children, possibly Hitler youth, marching on the other side. In the eerie gloom of street lights I spot a few dozen people being dragged on to a train, they all have bands on their arms with stars on, I never see them again.

In my final moments of flight I quickly think about my family, say a prayer, prepare myself for landing, scan my landing zone, remember my tactical briefing. Then with courage and pride in myself , my feet touch down as the first British soldier on D-day to be on French ground ... then it starts to go wrong ...

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