Private Walter James Painting, son of Mr and Mrs Walter Painting, of Malvern, Worcestershire, served as part of S Coy, 1st Parachute Battalion and took part in the North African campaign, during Op Torch.
When 1st Battalion returned to Beja after the Battle of Gue Hill in late November 1942, Maj Pearson reported to Blade Force HQ. Major Cleasby-Thompson was appointed as the new Second-in-Command (2-i-c) and the Battalion received orders to protect the 17/21th Lancers Tank harbour on the Sidi N’Sir - Mateur road. Major Pearson later commented the Battalion had been advised to move by day during the 26 November, with air cover provided to be in position by sunset.
With Maj Pearson travelling ahead with a recce patrol, the Battalion set out under Maj Cleasby-Thompson. The only aircraft to arrive however was German. The subsequent bombing and machine gunfire against troops from Battalion HQ and S Coy enroute caused several casualties. Eight men were killed and thirteen injured from S Company, 1st Battalion during these aerial attacks.
Private Painting was amongst those killed on 26 November 1942, aged 22 years old. He is now commemorated on the Memorial at Medjez-el-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Profile photo courtesy of CWGC
Profile compiled with assistance from Niall Cherry.Read More