Brian Dean Carr was born on 24 April 1918 in Reigate, Surrey and was granted an emergency commission in the Royal Sussex Regiment on 5 July 1940 as a Second Lieutenant. ‘Sammy’ Carr, as he was always known in the army, was posted to the 1st Battalion and was serving with them in the Middle East when he decided to volunteer for the Parachute Regiment. He had been promoted to full Lieutenant 4 January 1942 and was officially transferred to the Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps on 5 February 1943.
Lieutenant ‘Sammy’ Carr was put in charge of the Motor Transport Platoon in the 10th Parachute Battalion and as such took part in ‘Operation Slapstick’, the landing by the 1st Airborne Division at Taranto in Southern Italy, September 1943.
His main role at Arnhem was the command of the Advance Party, which flew to Arnhem with the First Lift on Sunday 17th September.
“I was in command of the 10th Battalion Advance Party of 19 men, and I had jumped in with the first lift. We had laid up with the KOSB, HQ during the night and had heard the enemy working their way into the woods. When it was light the situation worsened and I saw that they were in possession of our Battalion RV. Our job was to mark the RV with green smoke as the drop came in. We had heard that there would be a delay of two hours, so with Major M Page, 156 Battalion party, we went over to their RV in the woods on the NW corner, but we had to wait. Then as the aircraft approached, I ran across the DZ, with Sergeant Hollobone, to put up the green smoke; but the Battalion would have to fight for its RV. Soon they started to arrive, with Lt ‘Bill’ Burgess [12 Pl, B-Coy] in the lead; they took cover under the bank south of the road. The CO, Lt-Col Ken Smythe, came up and ordered Major Peter Warr [B-Coy] to clear the wood across the road, which was done; but L. ‘Pat’ Mackey [4 Pl, A-Coy] was killed charging a Spandau team”.
For his actions in defence of the Battalion Rendezvous he was awarded the Dutch Bronze Lion:
Lieutenant Carr jumped near Arnhem on 17th September as part of the advance group of 10th Battalion the Parachute Regiment. His task was to mark and defend the rendezvous for the battalions drop on the next day. When he arrived at the dropping zone on the morning of the 18th, the chosen Rendezvous was held by about a platoon of the enemy. Lieutenant Carr had 8 men, and it was five hours at least until the battalion would arrive. He attacked with his small force, seized the Rendezvous from the enemy and held it against counter attack until the battalion arrived. To do so demanded a very high degree of courage, activity and determination from this officer, but failure would have meant disorganisation for the battalion on its arrival and Lieutenant Carr did not hesitate to offer battle against heavy odds and at great personal risk to secure the successful arrival of the whole. His prolonged defence of the objective, once gained, made even greater demands than the assault, and is worthy of high praise.
When the 10th Battalion was forced to withdraw from near the Dreijenseweg blocking line on 19 September, Lieutenant Carr stayed behind to help the Medical Officer evacuate the wounded. German troops overtook them and Carr, together with Lieutenant Dodd of the Mortar Platoon who had also stayed behind, were forced to hide and eventually became separated. Dodd was later killed, but Carr successfully evaded capture and later returned to England after reaching the Allied lines.
‘Sammy’ Carr resumed his rank of Captain upon the return to the United Kingdom and was posted to the Parachute Regiment Reserve Battalion, in 1945. He was demobbed in March 1946.
‘Sammy’ Carr died on 4 July 2004 in British Columbia, Canada.
By Bob HiltonRead More