Major Archibald John Bookless


Unit : Headquarters Company, 8th Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 121646

Awards : Military Cross


Major Bookless began the campaign in North West Europe as adjutant of the Battalion when it dropped on June 6th 1944 in Normandy. Within a month he had been promoted a major and put in charge of a company. During the trying weeks sitting in the Bois-de-Bavent in a defensive position covering the right flank of the British sector his cheerfulness and disregard of enemy fire did much to sustain and encourage the men under his command. On August 17th the Battalion began its move leading the Division across the River Dives Major Bookless commanded the leading company, with great dash and enthusiasm and with complete disregard for the possible danger ahead he made a break through of eight miles, thus ensuring the success of the Brigade. In the subsequent actions on the advance to the Seine his leadership and fearlessness were beyond praise. In the German breakthrough in the Ardennes he was Second-in-Command and for a time commanded the Battalion. In the difficult days in January his endurance was an example to all under his command.


Finally he took part in the Parachute operation on the Rhine in March 1945, and from the time he dropped as a pathfinder for the Brigade to the day that the Battalion reached the Baltic his command of his company was at all times outstanding and contributed greatly to the success of the operation.


In all actions in Normandy, the Ardennes, in Holland, and in Germany, Major Bookless's courage and leadership have been of a very high order.


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