Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour

 

 

Passing of an Arnhem Veteran, Arthur Hendy, 13th Jul 1918 to 18th Feb 2007

 

Arthur Hendy enlisted into the Royal Engineers in 1937. He completed his Basic Training and was posted to a Searchlight Regt and then to a Training Battalion as a physical training instructor he was a promising amateur boxer.

In 1940 he was with the British Expeditionary Force in France serving with a Searchlight Unit. Unable to reach the main force at Dunkirk the ever resourceful Arthur made his way to Calais and made his own way back to the England. He served as a PTI with a Chemical Warfare Training Battalion and in 1942 was posted to a Bomb Disposal School.

He volunteered for Airborne Forces in 1942 and following the completion of his parachute training he served with the 1st Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers in the battles in North Africa from January to April 1943, the invasion of Sicily, the seaborne landing in Italy and the Battle of Arnhem, September 1944.

Arthur's exploits at Arnhem are documented elsewhere, however it is important to record here that he was one of the men to reach the objective and was tasked, with others, to hold the school at the north end of the ramp. This they did with great distinction taking many casualties whilst doing so. Arthur was eventually taken prisoner at Arnhem. Bloody and with his uniform badly burnt he was issued with a Russian Army uniform, which almost had dire consequences at the end of the war.

He managed to get into a number of scrapes during captivity. One involved an attempt to smuggle twelve bottles of beer into the prison camp under his greatcoat, following a work detail outside the Camp. Another involved representing his fellow prisoners whilst working in a German coal mine. Food rations had been reduced, and the prisoners decided that 'if they did not get more food they would stop digging coal'. Arthur explained the situation to the Commandant who after a moments thought decreed that if they stopped digging they would be shot. Arthur's reply to his fellow prisoners intimated that they should continue to dig coal.

His repatriation was also a little unorthodox. When the guards finally deserted the prison camp in fear of the advancing Russians, the prisoners started to head west to meet the advancing Allies. A Russian column soon overtook them and spotting Arthur in a Russian uniform they assumed that he was a deserter from the Russian Army. He was put up against a wall where he fully expected to be shot; fortunately there was someone who spoke Russian who was able to explain the situation.

Having got back to the Allied lines and reported into a centre to be de-briefed he found that the authorities were `too busy to see him at that time'. Arthur wasted no time and went to an American Airbase; got talking to some pilots and thumbed a lift to England in order to see his girl friend, subsequently his wife, Madge. He stayed in England for about two weeks and then got another lift back with the Americans and was finally repatriated in the normal way.

Arthur had a fund of stories and has would regale all who he met with his stories of his military escapades, always humorous and always with a slightly different version.

Arthur left the Army in 1946 and in 1948 married Madge. He joined London Transport working as a Bus Driver in London where he also resurrected his boxing career representing London Transport over a number of years.

On his retirement in 1983, Arthur and Madge moved to Spalding and Arthur joined the Spalding Branch The Parachute Regimental Association where his enthusiasm and hard work proved of enormous support and benefit. He would be present at most of functions organised by the Spalding Branch and was always available to assist in any Fund Raising ventures, which were undertaken.

 

 

 

Welcome
Welcome
first image second image third image fourth image fifth image sixth image seventh image eighth image
Welcome
themed object
Bookmark and Share
follow us on facebook tweet me