‘SO THE RECORDS STAND’ Norman Dellar (ex-2nd Para Battalion)

From the ‘ARNHEM 1944 VETERANS CLUB’, Newsletter. June 1987.


Norman Dellar (ex-2nd Para Battalion)

Like the majority of you reading this, I eventually had to leave the Army.

For me this came in January 1950 and my Army Service fell into two parts, as I first volunteered ‘For the Duration’ (no comments please) and then in 1947 signed on for a ‘Short Service Engagement’.

After a time I received from the Records Office an impressive Regular Soldier’s Discharge Book, attached to which was a Certificate for my previous service. On examining these two documents, I found two discrepancies: one related to medals awarded to me, and the other that my Arnhem service dated from 18 September 1944. As I dropped with the 1st Parachute Brigade on the 17th, I wasn’t having that and promptly wrote back to Records pointing out these two anomalies, stating that on the 17th I was at the Bridge with Lt-Col. John Frost, and was proud of the fact.

The Records Office replied partly amending my medal awards, but with regards to my Arnhem service, I got no joy and the ill-informed Records stated: “SO THE RECORDS STAND”.

GENTLEMEN – for over thirty years I resented the loss of that one day’s Active Service, a day which plays such a big part in our Regimental History and which we have commemorated for over 40 years. So, in early 1984 I took up my pen and commenced battle with the Records Office again. Two foolscap sheets of facts and arguments plus a copy of the 1st Airborne Division Order of Battle, taken from Major General. Urquhart’s book ‘Arnhem’ and this time Records conceded defeat, fully amending my medals award and Arnhem service. I happily trotted off to Arnhem for the 40th Anniversary, a fully fledged ‘Bridgeman’, with documents to prove it.

They say that there is a moral in every story and in this case it is simply the fact that: have you checked your documents and are they in order? The time will come when we all have to cross the Great Divide and when that happens, will your children or grandchildren, presumably with some knowledge of Regimental History, on looking through your papers say: “The old sprucer wasn’t at the Bridge, the dates are all wrong”. ??? Mine won’t - !!

Kindly supplied by R Hilton

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