Private Francis J Hillier

{ Rex, Umbriago }

20 Oct 1944

Private Francis Joseph Hillier enlisted into the Royal Armoured Corps and later volunteered for airborne forces.

He qualified as a military parachutist on Course 94/95 which ran at RAF Ringway from 6 to 20 December 1943 and joined 21st Independent Parachute Company in early 1944.

He served with 2 Section, 1 Platoon, 21st Independent Parachute Company as the No 2 Bren Gunner, with John Avallone as his partner, and took part in the Battle of Arnhem, during Op Market Garden.

On the sixth day of the battle, Avallone and Hillier were sited with their Bren at Oosterbeek crossroads when Avallone was killed. Lance Corporal Humphreys has always maintained that Rex became angry at losing his friend and threw caution to the wind, as a consequence he was badly shot.

Private Hillier died of wounds sustained during the battle on 20 October 1944, aged 21 years old, and is now buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany.

Further Reading:
'Leading the Way to Arnhem' by Peter Gijbels and David Truesdale Robert Sigmond Publishing 2008.

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Service History

Francis J Hillier


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