Norman Allwright

Norman Allwright at Ginkel Heath, 1985

Norman Allwright near the Wolfheze Hotel, 1985

Norman Allwright's battledress

Sergeant C. Norman Allwright


Unit : Headquarters / No.6 Platoon, "B" Company, 7th (Galloway) Battalion The King's Own Scottish Borderers

Army No. : 4751022


Although I was Sgt of 6 Platoon B Coy I was detailed to fly over with Company H.Q. and during the action was not involved with my platoon but was in the centre of various activities as the situations arose.


We took off from Down Ampney at approximately 1100 hrs and had a good flight landing as planned at approx. 1330 hrs being among the first gliders down.


The landing was good except that the nose wheel dropped into a ditch and burst through the floor causing the seat I was on with others to collapse trapping my legs so could not get out of the glider with the other men, however they were soon back in as we were not under attack, and released me and the two pilots who were also trapped owing to the cockpit doors being jammed which had to be chopped away from the bottom.


We moved quickly into the woods and took up positions around Battalion H.Q. being directed by the sound of bagpipes played by Cpl Ford playing the Regimental March.


From this area we moved onto high ground on the west of Ginkel Heath and dug in in the woods ready to defend the area for the 4th Para Bde which was due to drop on Monday morning.


We were soon dug in and although we had a quiet night we heard much activity from A Coy in the area of Planken Wambuis.


There was some activity in the morning which was dealt with by a patrol under Sgt Shaw, the 3" mortar was also used at very close range to deal with a german patrol with spandau which had inflicted several casualties.


4th Para Bde did not arrive until late Monday afternoon, owing to fog in England, and 156 Btn took over our positions.


We then moved back to Btn H.Q. and B Coy were advance guard to Johanna Hoeve and after a short rest near a farm we moved on in the dark but came under very heavy fire from fixed lines which caused quite a number of casualties, as it was beginning to get light we withdrew to the farm area and dug in at crossroads.


At this area we were able to have a wash and shave for the first time since leaving England, several times we were disturbed by air burst fire but I do not think it caused any casualties.


4th Para Bde then tried to do what we had failed to do but they also came under very heavy fire and suffered many casualties and like us were forced to withdraw.


Our next job was to defend the Poles landing zone, the woods we occupied were clear of enemy but we were straffed several times by Focke Wulf and ME109s our coy commander and his batman were both hit but fortunately the Majors wound was not serious, a bullet passed through his wrist without doing much damage and he was able to carry on.


The Polish gliders came under very heavy fire from positions we could not see and they suffered many casualties.


Our next job was a rearguard action to enable the rest of the battalion to withdraw across the railway, 6 pltn missed our R.V. and went with Btn H.Q.


Our rearguard action was rather hectic in the woods because the enemy had followed us, however there was a farm cart in the woods and on seeing the Germans go behind it cpl Berry put a burst of bren gun fire into it and apparently it was loaded with explosives because it blew up with a tremendous bang, this we took advantage of and chased the enemy back causing them considerable casualties, wiping out at least one spandau section.


It was established that the remainder of the Btn had passed through us and we were told they had gone on to Wolfheze but in fact they had not gone so far and were in the area of Oosterbeek station, Btn H.Q. being in a hotel which we called the "White House", this area we passed on the other side of the railway.


We then met up with 4th Para Brigade H.Q. and stayed with them over night to protect their transport.


Wednesday morning after covering the movement of 4th Para transport we tried to join our own Btn but ran into a very strong concentration of SS troops (I think it was the 9th Panzer SS) we were going to set up an attack but on checking our ammunition found we had very little, no 2" mortar bombs no mills bombs and only a few rounds of 303 and sten gun bullets per man.


By this time the enemy had come up behind us and we were surrounded and taken prisoner late in the evening.


My actual operational time was four days but it was full of incidents and we lost many men, I was one of the lucky ones to come out of it unscathed.


C N Allwright

Ex Sgt B Coy 7th KOSB


My thanks to Paul van Hoeven for this account.


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