Captain Thomas James Wainwright


Unit : Support Company, 156 Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 101367

Awards : Bronzen Kruis, Mentioned in Despatches


Captain Wainwright commanded the 156 Battalion's Support Company. For actions at Arnhem, he was awarded the Dutch Bronzen Kruis and was Mentioned in Despatches. The citation of the former reads:


Captain Wainwright was acting as second in command of a company of 156 Parachute Battalion during the fighting at Arnhem. Throughout the fighting he showed great courage and determination. At this end, when cut off from his battalion and with only two men left, he showed great initiative in evading captivity. During this period of lying up behind the enemy lines, Captain Wainwright played a leading part in the organisation and collecting of evaders, thereby exposing himself to considerable danger. During the planning of the mass escape across the river it became necessary to patrol the river front to ascertain the exact layout of enemy posts. Captain Wainwright was selected for this task and carried out two extremely difficult patrols which necessitated moving for two complete nights through an area very strongly defended. The successful evacuation was largely due to this Officer's skilful and determined patrolling.


On the night of the evacuation, he himself guided the party through the enemy position. An enemy patrol opened fire at a very critical moment, and the situation might have become very difficult, but for Captain Wainwright's prompt and bold actions in dealing with this patrol.


Throughout, he had conducted himself in a most exemplary manner and carried out duties far beyond those required in the normal course.


The citation for his Mention in Despatches is as follows:


On 19th September 1944 when trying to withdraw their company from Vulheze near Arnhem, Captain Wainwright and another officer were cut off by the enemy. For a week they hid in woods and for a further three days in a greenhouse at Wolfhezen living on rations stole from the German Hospital. After selecting from their map an isolated farm at Rhenen, they made their way to it and there found help.


On 19th October 1944 and 21st October 1944, acting under orders, Captain Wainwright and a Warrant officer carried out extensive reconnaissance to find a route for an immediate mass evacuation of Allied service personnel. When this took place on 22nd October 1944, Captain Wainwright and the Warrant Officer acted as guides, and it was to a large extent due to their excellent work that sixty men reached safety.


See also: CSM Grainger.


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