Phillip Goldsmid was born on 27 September 1918 in Forest Gate. He enlisted into the Army shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939 and served in the Royal Signals as a driver until volunteering for Airborne Forces in 1943.
He qualified as a parachutist after attending Training Course 89 at RAF Ringway which ran from 28 October to 9 November 1943. The cadre of 9 officers and 272 other ranks also included the actor Richard Todd. The course notes recorded that Phillip “'has done extremely well, worked hard'. Initially posted to 6 Airborne Division Signals it is believed he was later transferred to 1st Airborne Division Signals. After operational service in North West Europe he participated in Operation Doomsday to oversee the surrender of German troops in Norway in 1945. While in Norway the Division assisted in the recovery of prisoners of war, apprehended war criminals, allocated German units to staging reservations and employed them to disarm their own minefields.
After Norway he returned to the UK to South West District Signals and was discharged in January 1946. His discharge certificate recorded his conduct as “exemplary” and provided the following testimonial: 'Has been a willing and reliable worker. He is honest and sober and is smart in appearance. A sensible and intelligent man.'
Phillip returned to his civilian occupation as a fish trader at Billingsgate Market and wore his Denison smock for many years to keep warm while on his stall.
In 1977, the year the film “A Bridge Too Far” came out, Phillip auctioned his smock for charity. Hopefully the successful bidder wasn’t allergic to fish!
At the age of 59 looking for a fresh challenge, Phillip moved to a Kibbutz in Israel where he planted avocado and mangos and looked after the volunteers. He was known as Phildozer as he was very strong and brought his hard work ethic to the Kibbutz. He became a very valued and respected member of the Kibbutz.
Phillip died on Kibbutz Zkim in Israel in 1989 and is now buried in a plot overlooking the sea. He is fondly remembered by his family. The Airborne connection lives on as both his son and grandson served as Israeli Paratroopers.
Compiled by Harvey Grenville based on information provided by his daughter Billie JosephsRead More