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Officers of the 1st Airlanding Light Regiment, May 1945

Major James Edward Fryer Linton

 

Unit : No.2 Battery, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment

Army No. : 41143

Awards : Distinguished Service Order

 

Major "Jef" Linton commanded No.2 Battery of the 1st Airlanding Light Regiment. The Battery was flown to Arnhem with the Second Lift, and once on the ground their role was to support the 4th Parachute Brigade. During the evening of Monday 18th September, Linton was summoned to Divisional HQ, then under the command of Brigadier Hicks, to take a message to the 4th Parachute Brigade and leave instructions regarding their actions on the following day, which were to advance towards Arnhem via the high ground of Koepel, to the east of LZ-L. Arriving shortly after 23:00, he passed these orders on to Brigadier Hackett, who asked for further details concerning a proper coordinated attack by the whole Division. Linton was of course unable to expand upon this, and in the early hours of the morning, most displeased with how the situation appeared to be unfolding, Hackett left for the Hartenstein for a frank exchange of views with Hicks.

 

On the following day, Tuesday 19th, when the Brigade's attack went in, Linton and Captain Chard, the commander of C Troop, were with the 156th Battalion so that they could direct the fire of No.2 Battery's guns, but alas the close terrain prevented adequate observation and so artillery support was not possible. He recalled the Battalion's attack was, "heavily and continuously sniped and repeatedly engaged by SP guns and tanks which moved in and out of the rides of the woods." When the order was given for the Brigade to withdraw, Linton and Chard attempted to locate Brigade HQ in the hope of providing support should targets become apparent. Unfortunately they were neither able to locate either targets or the Headquarters, and so Linton returned to No.2 Battery.

 

On Thursday 21st, Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, the commander of the Light Regiment, was ordered to assume control of all the infantry in his sector, named the Thompson Force and consisting of the 1st, 3rd and 11th Parachute Battalions and the 2nd South Staffordshires. To facilitate this, he handed over control of the Light Regiment to Major Linton, whom he had not seen since the Division left England. Linton's actions during the final days of Arnhem resulted in him being awarded the Distinguished Service Order:

 

On 24th September his gun position WEST of ARNHEM was attacked by infantry and tanks. He showed the highest degree of initiative and determination in stemming the attack and organising the defence of the sector and thereby preventing further enemy penetration. He set an excellent example under heavy fire and was to a great extent responsible for restoring confidence amongst the troops by his visits to all forward posts and by his own personal courage.

 

On the morning of 26th September he remained behind on the beaches to the last organising the loading of the boats and eventually he swam the river to rejoin his battery after the last boat had gone.

 

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