VILLAGERS in Keevil are to remember 21 Second World War soldiers who died trying to fly to the Netherlands to take part in the 1944 Battle of Arnhem.

In addition to the Annual Service of Remembrance at Stocks Tree today members of the Keevil Shed will erect a Horsa glider seat on the Village Playing Field to be enjoyed by generations to come.

The Reverend Dr Rob Thomas will conduct a short service at the memorial plaque at Stocks Green, Keevil, at 12 noon today.

The service and seat will remember 21 Sappers from the 9th Field Company (Airborne) Royal Engineers and two pilots from the Glider Pilots Regiment.

The servicemen lost their lives on the morning of Sunday, September 17 1944 when their Horsa Glider RJ113 crashed into a meadow called Double Hills in the village of Paulton in Somerset.

They became the first casualties of the Battle of Arnhem - Operation Market Garden, a failed military operation to take nine strategic bridges over the River Rhine.

The airborne part was undertaken by the First Allied Airborne Army with the land operation by XXX Corps of the British Second Army.

Cllr Ginny Sherman, Chair of Keevil Parish Council, said: "We are very grateful for all the work done by the Shed for us as a council and as a village and this seat is a wonderful addition to the playing field which overlooks the airfield."

Paul Lenaerts, of Keevil Shed, said the idea for the seat was suggested by Robin Blackmore, who had seen something similar in Wroughton near Swindon.

"We thought it would be nice if Keevil had one too, so we started scavenging around for some wood."

It took six to nine months to make the bench, from scraps of wood, they obtained or purchased, and the project has cost around £200.

The fuselage is made from walnut and the wings and the tailplane from oak. The seat is two and a half metres long.

The Keevil Shed has around 20 members and the Horsa seat project leaders were Mr Lenaerts, John Tucker and Mick Abrahams.