William Albert Leiper (Bill) was born 16 December 1917. He enlisted 12 December 1939 at the age of 21 and joined the RAMC, specifically No. 23 (Scottish) General Hospital. He was trained at Peebles Hydro and then, in June 1940, sailed to Palestine (on the Queen Mary.)
Until 1943 he was based in the Middle East then, after an appeal was put out for airborne troops, he decided to volunteer for them. He was placed with the 133rd Parachute Field Ambulance and saw service in Italy, based mainly in the hospital at Gioia.
William was parachute jump trained at Kabrit on course K38.
In September 1944 the 133rd parachuted into Arnhem with the 4th Parachute Brigade, where he was captured by the enemy. He subsequently spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps – Stalag XIIa, then Stalag XIB and finally Stalag VB. He returned home in April 1945.
On returning to civilian life, he took up again his career at ICI, at the Nobel works in Ardeer, Ayrshire. He married and had one son. He died in December 1976, aged 59. After his death, his family discovered his diaries, kept from 1939 to 1943 and full of detail of daily life for an ordinary soldier.
Created with information kindly supplied by Fiona Leiper.Read More