Private George James

01 Jun 2008

George James enlisted at the age of 18 into the East Surrey Regiment in 1940, joining at the same time as Bill Aldcroft and both later volunteered for airborne forces in 1942.

They transferred to the Airborne Forces Depot at Hardwick Hall and began preparatory ground training under Royal Air Force instructors on Monday 26 October for Course 36. Having completed the preparatory ground training satisfactorily the course cadre, comprising of 202 personnel, moved into camp at RAF Ringway, Manchester, on Thursday 5 November to begin parachute training the next day. The course of seven jumps was completed on 12 November 1942.

George and Bill joined C Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion as reinforcements in January 1943 in North Africa, inspite of being torpedoed en route, and went on to serve with the Battalion through Sicily and Italy. Shortly after the Battalion returned to the UK  in December 1943, George transferred to Headquarters Company and later married a woman from Grantham, the area where they were billeted.
George was part of the 1st British Airborne Division's assault to capture the Rhine Crossings at Arnhem, by now working as the batman for Major Wallis, the Battalion's 2ic and who was killed in action. George was wounded during the fighting, and eventually taken prisoner by the Germans. 
George later emigrated to New Zealand, and died suddenly at his home in Hamilton in June 2008.

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