A DAREDEVIL military veteran is set to parachute from 2,500ft as part of celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

Robert Baillie, better known as Rab, spent 16 years in the forces, starting off in Colchester but serving in the Royal Corps Transport in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and the Middle East.

Since leaving the military Mr Baillie has maintained a close connection with the forces and, in particular, Colchester’s Parachute Regiment.

Each year he motorcycles to The Netherlands as a member of the Airborne Forces Riders, who help commemorate the battle, which was part of Allied Operation Market Garden. However, this year, Mr Baillie has chosen to go one step further and will join Dutch troops as they jump out of a historic military plane to mark 75 years since the battle finished.

Mr Baillie, 58, said: “I wasn’t a Para. I attempted to join but broke my leg while training.

“I am friends with people who have been in the Paras and I met a lot of people through my training at that time. There are graves scattered all over and as Airborne Forces Riders we visit them each year to ensure they are not forgotten.

“When the idea of jumping came up I grabbed the chance. It is a great way of remembering those who went before.”

Gazette: Mr Baillie captured mid jump during a practice runMr Baillie captured mid jump during a practice run

Mr Baillie is raising money for two charities.

He said: “One is Support Our Paras, which is the obvious choice. The other is for Colchester and Ipswich Hospital Charity’s Chuftkidz because my grandson Jacob was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was six-years-old.

“They provide help for young kids who have diabetes and arranges outings for them.

“My grandson thought he was the only one in the world with it at first but now he has met other children his age and they speak to each other and learn from each other.

“At his age he is growing up overnight. He has an insulin pump fitted but he has learned to monitor his diet himself. All the help with that comes from the charity, which has been fantastic and I wanted to help them to help others if I can.”

Mr Baillie, from Clacton, had to train with the Dutch Airborne Military in order to take part in the jump and has completed several practise runs.

He said: “I was anxious at first I must admit. I had a serious back injury a few years ago and I was worried jumping may have an impact on that but I came through them without a problem. It is massive for me to be able to take part. The fact I am accepted into the airborne fraternity even though I am not technically one of them means a lot.

“This will be the ultimate way to show my respect to those who gave their lives.”

“It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and a big achievement once I’ve done it. I have still got the buzz from the practice attempts and I am looking forward to it.”

The jump will take place on September 20 or 21. Donate at bit.ly/2FaoKRt or bit.ly/2XeTL14.