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Lance-Corporal Raif Mercer Duguid

1st Airlanding Brigade Signals Section, October 1943

Lance-Corporal Raif Mercer Duguid

 

Unit : "L" Section (No.2 Company-Brigade and Artillery Signals), Headquarters, 1st Airlanding Brigade

Army No. : 2577280

Awards : Bronze Star

 

Raif Mercer Duguid was born on 26th August 1916, in Ballater, Scotland, the second child of Charles John Duguid, formerly of the Royal Engineers, and Margaret Thomson Mercer. Raif joined the Royal Corps of Signals prior to 1942, and although it is unclear whether he volunteered for or was already serving in the Signals Section of the 31st Independent Infantry Brigade when it was converted to the 1st Airlanding Brigade, by 1943 he was certainly with "L" Section of the 1st Airborne Divisional Signals, who provided communications throughout the Brigade. From May to December 1943, he served with them in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

 

On Sunday 17th September 1944, he took off from Blakehill Farm in a Horsa glider bound for LZ-S near Wolfheze as part of Operation Market Garden. He was a Despatch Rider (Don R) for the Brigade Headquarters Signals Section and fought throughout the battle until withdrawn across the river on the night of 25/26th September 1944. Duguid was recommended for the Military Medal, but instead received the American Bronze Star as announced in the London Gazette on the 14th November 1947. It is believed that this was given as a result of an incident described on page 119 of By Air To Battle, "Signalman R.M. Duguid had two jeeps shot under him, the second of which he repaired under heavy fire."

 

He went on to serve with "L" Section in Norway from May to August 1945, alongside his close friend Ronald Booth (1921 - 1978). Booth's son, Stephen, provided the following information, "They were involved with among other things running and repairing the radio and teleprinter station at Hollmenkollen (site of the ski jump), where they got so drunk that Duguid could just about get my father back in a wheelbarrow (he was blind drunk). I still have a swastika flag from a captured motor launch in Norway, and my father's liberation certificate from Crown Prince Olav."

 

Duguid married Elizabeth Jackson Addison on the 25th June 1942, and they had a child in 1949, Brian Robert Mercer Duguid. Raif worked as a Telephones Cable Engineer after the war before becoming a self-employed electrician. He died on the 10th January 1978 In Peel Hospital, Galashiels.

 

My thanks to Bob Hilton and Stephen Booth for this account.

 

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