RV Durham enlisted into The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was serving as Sergeant in 13th Battalion, The Warwickshire Regiment, when it was turned over to airborne forces and redesignated as the 8th (Midlands) Parachute Battalion in November 1942.
At the end of the following month 17 officers and 193 other ranks from the battalion attended course 44, which ran at RAF Ringway from 28 December until 8 January 1943. The course instructors’ notes recorded the following assessment: “Confident stick jumper. Useful NCO.”
He served with No 3 Platoon, A Company, and parachuted into Normandy on 6 June 1944 as part of the spearhead force to liberate France from German occupation.
During the second week in France elements of the battalion, including A Company, repulsed a major attack by German forces.
Sgt Durham was subsequently wounded on 27 June while advancing to clear a farmhouse of enemy troops, and evacuated to a field hospital.