Bill Elvin served in The Rifle Brigade prior to volunteering for airborne forces during World War II, and qualified as a military parachutist on course 78 which ran at RAF Ringway in August 1943. The course instructors' notes record that he was "cheerful, calm, good in sticks".
He fought in the campaigns to liberate North West Europe, from Normandy in 1944 to the final mass allied parachute and glider assault of World War II, Operation Varsity, on 24 March 1945, and the subsequent advance to the Baltic, as a member of 4 Platoon , B Coy, 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion.
On the night of 7/8 April 1945 less than a dozen men of B Coy, including Bill Elvin, made it across Neustadt bridge before it was detonated by the German garrison killing and wounding most of 4 and 5 Platoons.
He went on to serve with the battalion in the Far East and Palestine before demobilisation in 1947.
Back in civilian life he worked for the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and then the Post Office.
He was a dedicated member of the East Anglian Branch of the PRA and for more than ten years served as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer, supported by his wife Edna, who he married in 1947.
Bill Elvin died suddenly of a heart attack on 29 January 1998, aged 73 years, and was layed to rest in Sproughton, Suffolk.
Compiled by Harvey Grenville with assistance from Bob HiltonRead More