Private Arthur James Wrigley
Unit : 1st Parachute Battalion
Army No. : 5946661
Arthur Wrigley joined the Territorial Army on the 28th March 1927 and was posted to the 5th Battalion the Bedfordshire and Herefordshire Regiment as a Signaller. On the 16th August 1940, despite the necessity of having to forgo his achieved Sergeants rank, he joined the special services and was posted to No.2 Commando; later renamed 1st Parachute Battalion. He participated in the Battle of Arnhem, where he was severely wounded, taken prisoner, and sent to Stalag XIB. He survived the experience and returned to the U.K., but the wound eventually took its toll and he died on the 25th April 1947. The following obituary was printed in the Bedfordshire Times and Standard:
Paratrooper A. Wrigley
Wounds which he sustained in the fighting at Arnhem, where he was dropped with the 1st Airborne Division, caused the death in a Newmarket Hospital on the 25th April, of Paratrooper Arthur Wrigley, age 37, the eldest son of Mr and Mrs A. E. Wrigley of Gladstone Street, Bedford.
Before the war, Mr Wrigley, who was educated at Clapham Road School, worked at Queen's Engineering Works.
Mr Wrigley's early war service was with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. He joined the 5th Battalion (T. A.) in 1927 and served as a signaller. When the chance came in 1940 for soldiers to volunteer for parachute training, he gave up his sergeant's stripes and volunteered. He took part in the paratroop and commando attack on the radio location station at Bruneval [Note: This is actually incorrect, he did not participate in the raid]. Shortly after he was injured while in training. In 1944 he was with the paratroops who captured a vital bridge near Mount Etna [Note: This refers to Primosole Bridge, Sicily, in 1943, not 1944. Also Wrigley is again not believed to have been present]. Here German and Allied airborne troops were dropping at the time and the fighting began before the men reached the ground. He was later in other airborne landings in Italy. [Note: Wrigley was with the Battalion in Italy, though the landing at Taranto Harbour was seaborne, not airborne.]
At Arnhem he sustained a wound which completely incapacitated him. In captivity he received little or no proper medical treatment, and captured British medical orderlies nursed him. When Germany was overrun, he was flown back to England. Although he had to remain on his back all the time, he was always stout hearted and confident of recovery.
The funeral took place at Cardington Church on Wednesday, the Rev. W. A. Thomas ( R.A.F. Padre at Cardington Air Station) officiating. Sergeants from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental Depot bore the coffin, and a bugler sounded the Last Post at the graveside.
The mourners were Mr and Mrs A. E. Wrigley (parents), Mr and Mrs R. N. Wrigley (brother and sister-in-law), Mrs Wainwright (cousin), Mrs L. Wrigley, Mr and Mrs B. Leach, Mr Jenkins and Mr W. Deamer.
Capt. A. Sale , a former Commanding Officer of Paratrooper Wrigley, represented the 5th Batt. Bedfs. And Herts Regt. Mr C. R. Price (Machine Shop Superintendent), Mr L. A. Wells, Mr A. H. Bright and Mr D. Bright represented the workers and management of Queens Engineering Works.
My thanks to Dean Wrigley for this account.
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