Lieutenant-Colonel Terence B H Otway DSO

23 Jul 2006

  • Distinguished Service Order medal
  • Legion d'Honneur medal

Terence Otway was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1914 and educated at Owen College and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1934 and served in Hong Kong, Shanghai, India and the North West Frontier. In September 1939 he became Adjutant and in 1940 the Battalion returned to the UK.

In December 1940 1 RUR was warned that it was to become Airborne. Terence Otway was promoted Major to command an armoured reconnaissance unit and convert it to an Airborne role. On being posted to the Staff College in June 1941 Otway handed over command to Major Freddie Gough.

In December 1941 he went to Iceland as Brigade Major of 147 Brigade which returned to Wales in June 1942. This was followed by a posting to M01 War Office as senior GS02 responsible for briefing the Director of Military Operations and the CIGS for the daily War Cabinet Meetings.

He rejoined 1 RUR in July 1943 as a Company Commander and was then sent to the 9th Battalion The Parachute Regiment as second-in-command. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and took command of the battalion early in 1944 and was immediately involved in planning the Merville Battery Operation to support the Normandy landings.

After taking the Merville Battery, his battalion pushed into Le Plein, where it encountered stiffening resistance and, despite their depleted numbers, took the Chateau St Côme on the ridge. Shortly after, he was wounded and evacuated to hospital. In October 1944, medically downgraded, he went to MT6 War Office, responsible for the Army side of inter-service air training.

In May 1945, fit again, he went to India to form the 15th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment in 44 (later 2) Indian Airborne Division.

In August 1945 he became GS01 (Operations) (Chief of Staff) of the Division. Most of his time was taken up with organising the relief of Allied Prisoner of War Camps all over the Far East and in planning for the partition of India.

He returned to the UK in January 1947 as a GS01 in the Land/Air Welfare Directorate to write 'The Second World War 1939-1945 Army Airborne Forces" published in 1951.

He left the Army in 1948 and went into business, spending a year in Africa with the Colonial Development Corporation before returning to the UK and going into publishing and marketing. Later he started his own business retiring in 1979.

From 1968 to 1972, as Colonel X, he fought the Government successfully over a number of cases where parts of war disability pensions had been withheld, for no reason, for over 20 years. During retirement he devoted much of his time in helping members of the Armed Forces, successfully taking up cases of men who were seriously injured on duty to whom the Government had refused compensation.

In 1990, to mark the 50th anniversary, Lt. Col. Otway co-operated with the Imperial War Museum to produce a public edition of his originally restricted official history.

He was awarded the Legion d’Honneur in 2001.

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Service History

  • 1934
    1st Royal Ulster Rifles (Captain)
  • 1940
    31st Independent Reconnaissance Company (forerunner to 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron) (Major)
  • 1941
    Staff College, Camberley (Major)
  • 1941
    Brigade Major, 147 Brigade (Major)
  • 1942
    General Staff Officer 2nd Grade (GSO2), War Office (Major)
  • 1943
    Company Commander, 1st Royal Ulster Rifles (Major)
  • 1943
    Second In Command (2-i-c) 9th (Essex) Parachute Battalion (Major)
  • 1944
    Commanding Officer (CO) 9th (Essex) Parachute Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1944
    War Office (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1945
    44th Indian Airborne Division (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1945
    Commanding Officer (CO) 15th Kings Parachute Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1945
    General Staff Officer 1st Grade (GSO1) 44th Indian Airborne Division (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1947
    General Staff Officer 1st Grade (GSO1), War Office (Lieutenant-Colonel)


Terence B H Otway

Official accounts_1

Pre-combat reports_1


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