Sergeant Richard Alfred Bloomfield
Unit : Intelligence Section, HQ Company, 156th Parachute Battalion
Army No. : 5618035
Richard Alfred Bloomfield was born on the 7th December 1912, at Willesden, Middlesex. Having worked as a shop assistant, he enlisted in the Regular Army at Whitehall on the 27th November 1933. He joined the Devonshire Regiment, and on completion of his training on the 30th July 1934, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion. Bloomfield was appointed as a Drummer on the 24th April 1937. On the 19th November of that year, he was posted to the 1st Battalion, then stationed in India, where he remained for precisely five years.
Bloomfield was promoted to unpaid Lance-Corporal on the 7th October 1941, but relinquished the rank when he volunteered for the Airborne Forces and was posted to the 151st Parachute Battalion. He carried out his parachute training at the Air Landing School, Chaklala. On the 23rd April 1942, he was appointed unpaid provisional Lance-Corporal and appointed provisional Corporal whilst performing the duties of Intelligence Corporal. This position was authorised and signed by the Adjutant of the 151st Battalion.
The Battalion, renamed the 156th, was moved to the Middle East on the 20th November 1942, and while stationed here, from the 18th January to the 6th February 1943, he attended the Intelligence Course at Middle East Intelligence Training School (MEITS) and passed with a Q.1 qualification. He was promoted to unpaid acting Corporal on the 27th January 1943, and then War Substantive Corporal three months later on the 27th April, and also, in July, studied the Syllable Cypher Course.
Promoted to Lance-Sergeant on the 2nd August 1943, he moved with the 156th Battalion to North Africa on the same day. Promoted to Sergeant, he left North Africa on the 22nd November 1943, disembarking in the UK on the 10th December. On the 10th June 1944, he married Elsie May Simons at Melton Mowbray.
By September 1944, Bloomfield occupied the post of Intelligence Section Sergeant, and as such he was flown to Arnhem on the 17th September 1944 with the 4th Parachute Brigade's Advance Party, 24 hours in ahead of the remainder. He landed on DZ-X near Heelsum, and on the next day moved to DZ-Y to help mark the rendezvous area for the 156th Battalion.
Sergeant Bloomfield was officially listed as missing in North-West Europe on the 25th September 1944, and was subsequently confirmed as a prisoner of war. The camp in which he was held is not recorded, however he was freed from captivity on the 10th April 1945 and returned home on the following day. He was posted to the Army Air Corps Holding Battalion at Boroughbridge, from where he was discharged from Regular Army Service, December 1945. Richard Alfred Bloomfield died 8th February 1987.
My thanks to Mr T. A. Bloomfield and Bob Hilton for this account.
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