Major David W Wallis

Major David William Wallis, son of Frederick and Katherine Elizabeth Wallis, of Rannoch, Perthshire was granted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry - Territorial Army in July 1939.

He volunteered for airborne forces and undertook parachute jump training course 51 which ran at RAF Ringway from 15 to 27 February 1943. This was a standard course of eight descents comprising three balloon descents, including one at night, and five aircraft descents. The instructors’ report reads: ‘Mjr Wallis Excellent Officer- set a perfect example to all men – parachuting very good’

Major Wallis was killed in action during Operation Market Garden.

The Pegasus Archive website provides the following write up:

David Wallis was Second-in-Command of the 2nd Battalion, and had joined them after they had returned from Italy in 1943. He had been good friends with Lt-Colonel Frost since before the war, and his new commander was delighted to have him as his deputy. Frost regarded Wallis as very gifted and ideal for the post; having set about licking Battalion HQ into shape, while also relieving the Colonel of the worries of parachute and weapons training. At Arnhem Bridge, once Brigadier Lathbury had been declared missing, Frost was asked to assume command of the 1st Para Brigade at the Bridge, and so command of the 2nd Battalion was passed to David Wallis. After Graebner's assault early on Monday morning, Wallis wrote a report on the progress of the battle, which was to be flown to London by an obliging carrier pigeon. According to Frost, the bird was reluctant to take to the skies at first, but did so after a measure of verbal abuse from the R.S.M. Wallis was killed on Monday night. German troops had overrun two of A Company's outlying positions, and Wallis visited their HQ to see what could be done. As he left the house he was hit in the chest by machinegun fire and died instantly. The shots came from a friendly gun, and from a building defended by sappers of the 9th Field Company. A fellow officer said that Major Wallis was quietly spoken and was not always comprehensible, and so when he was challenged by a sentry, his answer was not heard and he was fired on. A comrade of the unfortunate sentry who fired the shot said "It was at a time when the next shape in a doorway could be the enemy, such was the proximity of the fighting; response time was very short, and a German grenade had a short fuse". Command of the 2nd Battalion passed to Major Tatham-Warter.

Major Wallis died on 18 September 1944, aged 29 years old. He is now buried at Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Arnhem.

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David W Wallis

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