Private Sid Jeavons
Unit : "D" Company, 2nd Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment
Army No. : 4923382
'I was a member of the 2nd Battalion South Staffs, 1st Airlanding Brigade. As we flew from Manston airfield on that Sunday morning, September 17, I had my fingers crossed. The last time I flew over water I found myself trying to keep afloat in the Mediterranean about a mile offshore from Sicily. I was to be lucky this time. We had a good flight and apart from spasmodic flak here and there, everything went well. Our glider pilot made a good landing. Other gliders weren't so lucky. One did a complete somersault, killing all the occupants.'
'My most memorable event happened on Monday the 25th, the last full day of the campaign. There was a large potting shed in the garden where we were dug in. It was built as a lean-ton off a brick wall. There was a doorway made in the wall leading to the orchard. The shed was about 12 ft. by 10 ft. My mate and I decided to go in for a smoke and a chat. There were others who followed us in, so I would say there were about 12 or 15 crowded in there, discussing the things we were going to do if and when we got out. Suddenly there was an almighty bang and the world seemed to have turned upside down. I had been sitting on a bench and I now found myself on the floor at the other end of what remained of the shed. Much to my surprise I hadn't got a scratch on me. My sergeant had also been lucky. One of the lads was shouting out: "My eyes, my eyes, I can't see!!". He groped on the wall and found the doorway, panicked and ran through the orchard bumping one tree after another. I chased him and had a hell of a job to catch him but he had quietened down when I him to the first aid post. When I got back I found out that my mate also had the blast in his eyes. I took him to the first aid post while the sergeant was trying to sort out some order. Three of us were Ok, five wounded, the rest were dead. The remainder of the wounded were taken between us to the first aid post.'
'That night the order came to withdraw. We had to follow the white tapes laid down by the glider pilots. Silence was the operative word as we walking ground controlled by the Jerries. Well, we moved a few yards then stopped. It was one hell of a long queue to that River. We never made it that far. Daylight came and we were out in the open surrounded by the German army.'
'I registered as a POW on the 3rd day of October, my 22nd birthday. And I was one of the old 'uns.'
'We all know that Arnhem was a disaster but for all that I'm still proud of the fact that I was part of it. The red beret will always part of me. It was an experience in my life but one I would not like repeating.'
Thanks to Ramon de Heer for this story.
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