Lieutenant Alan Thomas Green
Unit : No.20 Platoon, "D" Company, 1st Battalion The Border Regiment
Army No. : 247201
The following is the obituary of Alan Green, printed in the Daily Telegraph in January 2005.
The Revd Alan Green.
Platoon Commander at Arnhem and Sicily.
Honorary Canon Leicester Cathedral
Alan Green who has died aged 83, commanded 20 Platoon of D Company 1st Battalion The Border Regiment as they defended the Allied flanks at Oosterbeek, Arnhem in September 1944, eventually being wounded five times. The Border Regiment held a 3 mile line from the glider landing grounds to the west of the town, and took heavy casualties as they protected the Parachute Regiments assault on the bridge.
Prior to this, having joined the Border Regiment aged 22 in 1942, 2nd Lt Green commanded 15 Platoon C Company during the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. After landing at Oran, North Africa, the 1st Battalion prepared for operation Husky’ - the first occasion in history that an allied airborne glider invasion had been attempted. The plan was to attack a major bridge near Syracuse, Sicily.
The glider carrying Green with half of 15 Platoon landed several miles short in open sea. After a night clinging to the wreckage, Green and Pte O Hanlon swam ashore to raise help. Pte O’Hanlon was subsequently decorated.
The young Lt Green came to the fore again in command of 20 Platoon, D Company for nine days from 17th September 1944 at Arnhem. During the battle, Green had several close calls. On landing, his glider was raked with automatic fire, yet he emerged unhurt. He was unscathed again when on 18th September the Platoon Sgt Stanley Sears stood up beside him and was instantly killed by gunfire. In another incident that week, a mortar bomb fell through trees above Green’s head, striking him on the leg as it fell beside him. A Pte Powell picked up the bomb and threw it from their trench.
On 25th September 1944, 22 and 20 Platoon came under tank attack and Green took 2 men and a PIAT and set up an ambush and the tanks retired. Green was lightly wounded and withdrew.
As the Battle of Arnhem raged, on 25th Sept, a decision was made to seek a temporary cease fire with the Germans in order to save the wounded. As one of only two officers left alive in the Platoon, Green tried to attempt contact with the enemy but came under fire and was wounded four times. Green and what remained of the group were taken prisoner to camp Oflag 9A/Z near Rottenburg Fulda. In 1945, Green and other POWs survived a forced march west across Germany as their captors retreated from the advancing Russians. [Note: this is incorrect: the prisoners were marched eastwards, away from the Americans.] He rejoined the regiment and served in Norway before retiring from the Army in the rank of Captain.
Alan Thomas Green was born at Leicester on October 29, 1921 and educated at Loughborough College. He enlisted in The Border Regiment in 1942 and in July the following year commanded a platoon in Operation "Husky", the invasion of Sicily. The weather was bad, and the glider carrying Green and half his platoon landed in the sea several miles short of the battalion's objective, the Ponte Grande bridge near
Syracuse. After a night clinging to the wreckage, he and a comrade, who had been wounded, swam ashore to get help.
After the war, Green taught for 15 years. He trained for the priesthood at Launde Abbey, Leicestershire, and was ordained in 1964. He was one of three officers from the Border’s Arnhem battalion that entered the church. Green's first parish was Oaks-in-Charnwood, a farming parish in west Leicestershire. From there he went to Braunstone, one of the most deprived areas of Britain, where his ministry made the church a significant force. He returned to Launde Abbey before moving to Enderby, his final parish. After retiring, he took up computing and desktop publishing and until the last weeks of his life was printing and binding magazines for several parishes.
Green remained active in the Royal Leicestershire TA and also worked for the Chaplains department of the Regular Army Officers Reserve. He served several rural parishes in Leicestershire, until recently. He was appointed Honorary Canon of Leicester Cathedral in 1978.
Green wrote a history of the battle in his book Arnhem 17th Sept- 26th Sept 1944 and was co-author on When Dragons Flew an illustrated history of the 1st Battalion the Border Regiment, whose contribution at Arnhem, Green felt had received scant publicity.
Alan Green died in Oakham hospital on December 6th after a battle against cancer. He is survived by his son Peter, and his second wife Sheila. His first wife Marjorie, predeceased him in 1993.
Obituary: Lance Cole. Author and Historian.
The Revd Alan Green: Born 29th October 1912: Died 6th September 2004.
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