Reginald Harry Mayhew enlisted into The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was serving as a Corporal when he volunteered for The Parachute Regiment in 1943.
He qualified as a military parachutist on course 71, which ran at RAF Ringway in July 1943. The course instructors’ notes record: “Jumped consistently well – very good stick commander.”
Reg Mayhew was posted to 8th Parachute Battalion, and had been promoted to Lance Sgt in No 3 Platoon, A Company, by the time the battalion parachuted into Normandy on 6 June 1944 as part of the spearhead force to liberate France from German occupation.
Later that month elements of the battalion, including A Company, repulsed a major attack by German forces, which resulted in six gallantry awards (Military Crosses to Lts Fry and Miller and Military Medals to Sgt Reading, Sgt Mayhew, L/Sgt Littlewood [HQ Coy] and Pte Lewis).
His citation records: “For courage and leadership. At Le MESNIL on the 16th June 1944, L/Sgt MAYHEW was in command of a forward section. The enemy put in a heavy attack on the Coy position bringing an SP [Self Propelled] gun to within 100 yards of Sgt MAYHEW’S section post where it opened fire causing casualties to the section and slightly wounding Sgt MAYHEW. The enemy then launched an attack but Sgt MAYHEW by his personal example and courage rallied his section which was badly shaken and saved what well might have been a disastrous situation. Throughout the remainder of the day Sgt MAYHEW’S courage and example was an inspiration to all.”