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Skydiving Chelsea Pensioner to make 100th parachute jump with war veterans

Mike Smith will swap his famous scarlet uniform for a red jumpsuit as he takes to the skies with the Red Devils.

A skydiving Chelsea Pensioner will be joined by two Second World War heroes as he makes his 100th parachute jump.

Mike Smith, 68, will swap his famous scarlet uniform for a red jumpsuit as he takes to the skies again alongside veterans Fred Glover and Ted Pieri, both 91.

The intrepid trio are skydiving for charity with the Red Devils at Old Sarum Airfield, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, on Thursday.

It will be the 100th parachute jump for Mr Smith, who completed his first seven skydives at the Joint Services Parachute Centre while he was serving in the Royal Corps of Transport.

“I am very excited to be taking part in this jump as it is 23 years since my last one,” said Mr Smith, who has lived at the Royal Chelsea Hospital since January last year.

“This will be an extra special experience to be at the home of the Red Devils Parachute Team, and to jump with the Second World War veterans will be an honour.”

Last year Mr Glover parachuted into the Merville Battery in northern France, 72 years after a mission to land within its confines on D-Day.

The great-grandfather was member of the 9th Battalion’s A Company, tasked with entering the Battery in gliders.

But his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into a nearby orchard, before he was captured by a German patrol.

He will jump with fellow Para Mr Pieri, who is skydiving for the third time in two years for the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.

The charity provides entertainment, outings and specialised equipment for veterans, relying on London cabbies to provide their taxis and time for free.

Both veterans will be driven to the airfield in cabs from London and will be jumping alongside Mr Pieri’s granddaughter, Hayley, and London cabbie and Taxi Charity committee member Graham Pike.

The charity’s vice president, Dick Goodwin, said: “We’re often out with the vets collecting funds from the public at mainline London train and Tube stations to help to support our work, which includes overseas trips, an annual day at the seaside, lunches for the veterans and extraordinary activities like these parachute jumps.

“We are very grateful to Chelsea Hospital for raising money for us, and to Ted and Fred for taking to the skies again.”

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