Corporal Gordon Townshend

26 Jan 1921 - 01 Jun 2009

Gordon Townshend, a butcher from Aston, Birmingham enlisted into the Royal Corps of Signals in March 1941 at Birmingham aged 20 years. He transferred to the Army Catering Corps and was attached to a Royal Signals Division in November 1941.

Private Townshend was attached to 541 Coastal Regiment, Royal Artillery in February 1943.

He volunteered for airborne forces in late 1943 and attended parachute training course 97 at RAF Ringway which ran from 3 January to 15 January 1944. The course was attended by 265 trainees who completed nearly 2000 descents. During the course the men were informed that their last jump was to be made with a kit bag strapped to their legs from the balloon. As this was an innovation some apprehension was expressed and it was feared that a considerable number of refusals might occur. However, after being told the reason for it by the Commanding Officer, and watching 40 demonstration jumps by PTS instructors, confidence was restored. It is noteworthy that for the kitbag jump there was neither a refusal or injury.

The course instructors noted Pte Townshend ‘Good performer, very good in sticks.’

Pte Townshend was posted to The 22nd Independent Company, the Parachute Regiment. He did not jump into Normandy in June 1944 but he crossed to the continent by boat as reinforcement and joined his unit on the advance out to the Seine in August 1944, returning to the UK in September.

Pte Townshend was granted leave to marry Dorothy Cross at Kings Heath Parish Church, Birmingham on 6 December 1944. He jumped into the Ardennes shortly after on 24 December.

He then went on Operation Varsity (The Rhine Crossing) in March 1945.

After the war in Europe the Company was attached and accompanied the 5th Parachute Brigade to the Far East in 1945-6.

Corporal Townshend returned to the UK in August 1946 and was demobbed in the October of that year.

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Service History

Gordon  Townshend


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