Since 1945, it has been a tradition for all primary school children to lay flowers on the graves of the fallen brave soldiers at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek, The Netherlands in the first weekend of September. They are known as “the flower children”. The commemoration is concluded each year with a flypast over this cemetery by a Douglas C-47 or Dakota (as it was known in RAF service).

Children prepare to lay flowers graves of the fallen at Oosterbeek’s Airborne Cemetery. [Photo via Keith Perkins at Aero Legends]

One of the flower children, Myrthe Pas, is now 23 years old, and having become older than most of the soldiers she has laid flowers for, the act of remembrance means a great deal to her.

Myrthe Pas with Aero Legend’s C-47 KP220 Pegasus. [Photo via Keith Perkins at Aero Legends]

Last year, when the Dakota that usually flies over the cemetery couldn’t take off due to bad weather conditions, UK-based Aero Legends stepped in. They flew over the cemetery while thick mist hung overhead. The daughter of Geoff Roberts, a WWII Arnhem veteran who has been visiting the Pas family for years, said it seemed as though it looked like ‘the ghost of Arnhem’.

Together with her father Wiljo Pas, Myrthe felt she needed to do something with the phrase and she designed a patch and created nose art for Aero Legends’ C-47 KP220, G-ANAF – The Ghost of Arnhem. Together with her father, she travelled to England to paint it on the aircraft (also known as Pegasus) as a tribute to all the brave men who served during World War II in the first airborne division during the Battle of Arnhem.

Myrthe’s father Wiljo provides assistance in applying stencils. [Photo via Keith Perkins at Aero Legends]

Later this year both Pegasus – The Ghost Of Arnhem and Aero Legends’ other C-47, N473DC Drag ’em Oot, will be joining aircraft of the U.S.-based D-Day Squadron for part of that group’s 2024 Legacy Tour (as previously reported by Vintage Aviation News).

The completed nose art in place on KP220. [Photo via Keith Perkins at Aero Legends]

For more information on Aero Legends (including how to book flight experiences) visit their website. To learn more about the 2024 Legacy Tour visit the D-Day Squadron’s website.