"Jim Wallwork, Glider Pilot Regiment" Topic
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|Jemima Fawr ||26 Jan 2013 11:23 p.m. PST|
Jim Wallwork, the captain of Glider No.1 during Operation 'Deadstick' (the assault on the Orne Canal and River Bridges at Benouville) passed away on Friday.
I was lucky to meet him as a cadet glider pilot during the 1980s and he was a true inspiration to me then, as he will remain to be. He told us that he only became a glider pilot "because it was an extra 2s/6d per day". However, he went on to say, with a chuckle and glint in his eye, that "It wasn't enough"!
Nevertheless, for someone who only did it for a few extra bob, he performed what Air Marshal Leigh-Mallory described as "the most audacious piece of flying of WW2": Landing on a tiny, waterlogged LZ in a heavy, unpowered transport aircraft, at midnight, without any visual or navigational aids other than a compass, with a tailwind and in extremely close proximity to the enemy
and then, not only to do all that, but also to breach the enemy wire with the aircraft
He truly lived up to the Glider Pilot Regiment's motto: 'Nihil est Impossibilis' ('Nothing is Impossible').
God's Speed, Sir.
|SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER ||27 Jan 2013 12:55 a.m. PST|
|zoneofcontrol ||27 Jan 2013 7:50 a.m. PST|
I often wondered how the operation would have turned out if he and the other pilots had not all but parked their gliders on the canal bridge deck. If they landed farther away and given the garrison time to react, there may have been more of a fight for the bridge. That in turn may have given the German armor more of a chance to form up, probe and make it a much more costly venture. As it turned out they landed so close as to be in amongst the Germans right off the bat. It was as if they dropped down the chimney and the element of surprise by a force highly trained and motivated carried the objective. They also aquitted themselves well after seizing the objective. Great men
|PzGeneral||27 Jan 2013 7:50 a.m. PST|
There is an article about the operation in this month's WW II History. It and his linked Obit list him as a Sergeant. It also says he and his Co-Pilot were the first British soldiers to return to French soil on D-Day because the flight crew got thrown out of the cockpit upon landing.
God Bless you, Sir
|Oddball||27 Jan 2013 8:35 a.m. PST|
Rest in Peace.
When I was in Normandy I was shocked to see the landing spot of the gliders near the bridges. They did drop them right next to the bridges.
|AzSteven||28 Jan 2013 8:52 a.m. PST|
I met him at the 1999 GI Joe Convention in Kansas City. A remarkably nice man, and happy to share his story without aggrandizing himself. He autographed the box cover of my convention set (which was a pair of 12" figures representing a British glider trooper and a German sentry from Pegasus Bridge).
|Tom Bryant||01 Feb 2013 11:20 a.m. PST|
Godspeed and Fair Winds sir. We thank you for your service and pray we may be worthy.