Private Leonard T Carlier

01 Jul 1925 - 20 Mar 1991

  • Africa Star medal
  • Italy Star medal
  • France and Germany Star medal

Leonard L Carlier volunteered for the airborne forces from the The Suffolk Regiment. After successfully completing parachute jump training at RAF Ringway on course 37 in November 1942 he became a member of 2nd Parachute Battalion, Support Coy, Mortar pln.  

During operation Market Garden he was wounded and taken POW. He was held in Stalag 11B. Leonard joined the Z/T Reserves 10 October 1946. 

His daughter Brenda recalls:

"My father joined the Royal Suffolks aged 15 in 1940. My grandad who was a London taxi driver tried to get him out of the army including a taxi protest  outside the Houses of Parliament because his son was under age to join. However, my father was sent out to North Africa . A long sea trip around the Atlantic in order to miss U-boats through to the Mediterranean followed. His first troop ship was torpedoed just past Gibraltar and then the pickup ship was sunk nearer to his destination.

He did not not enjoy the hot boring days in the desert, nor the bitterly cold nights, but was rescued when he was recruited into the second parachute regiment. He really enjoyed the regiment training back home.

He was sent to Sicily and went up Italy to Montecino. The Italian troops were trying to surrender to his platoon, but you can't do that when you are in the parachute regiment and leading the way for the following troops. 

After returning home he was trained for Operation Market Garden.

He was shot in the arm and had shrapnel in both eyes, he tried to hide in a pile of bodies but hours later discovered by the Germans. He was taken prisoner and operated on in a German field hospital with other wounded prisoners. They queued outside the tent.The wonderful German surgeon operated on the wounded troops without pain killers or antiseptics but he saved my father's sight.

My father was then loaded onto a cattle train wagon with other prisoners and sent to Belson. He said that the journey was slow, overcrowded and smelt of bodily waste. 

I think my father was in the soldier/political prisoner section of the camp, but they saw the main camp every day as they went out to fill in the potholes made by the British bombing. Food was in short supply and my father remembers when a starving prisoner working with him was shot for stealing a root vegetable from a field. 

My father escaped in the winter with a French political prisoner (Yves Frances was the Mayor of Grenoble) and they made their way across Germany to Brussels where they met up with the Allies. He never hated the Germans because he saw that they were hungry, suffering and even young boys were acting soldiers."


Created with information and imagery kindly supplied by Brenda McAuliffe (daughter).

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Service History

OS Leonard T Carlier in post war Para battle dress with insignia

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  • Leonard T Carlier wearing Suffolk Regiment cap badge

    Leonard T Carlier wearing Suffolk Regiment cap badge

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