Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour

 

 

Cyril Williams

 

Cyril Williams, a former Sapper, served in 9 Field Company from 1943 to 1945. Cyril completed his parachute course in early 1943 and was immediately sent to North Africa where he joined up with the Company. He was posted to 3 Section and later took part in the ill-fated glider-borne invasion of Sicily, which consisted of over fifty gliders of the 1st Airlanding Brigade. His glider crash-landed in the cold and choppy waters of the Mediterranean Sea. After exiting the glider and climbing out onto the wing he saw his friend Spr Von Rossen washed into the sea and drown. Cyril, being a non-swimmer, clung to a piece of wreckage throughout the night until picked up by a merchant ship the next day. He was so cold that he was unable to stand for a considerable time. He later rejoined the Company and carried on with the War. In September 1944 Cyril, along with the remainder of the Company, landed by glider in Oosterbeek near Arnhem. His section fought their battle around the Lower Oosterbeek old church. Once again fate was on his side when a mortar shell landed in the room of the school where his section were in a defensive position. One of his friends was killed and another wounded. Cyril, having also been wounded was unable to withdraw across the river to safety when the order came. He was taken prisoner and later transported to Germany. Although quite ill he was made to work on railway repairs, much of it during the winter months. After liberation, his health, which had deteriorated so much during his months of captivity, gave reason for his demob on health grounds in 1945.

Back in civilian life he married and had one son, Kevin. For the whole of his working life he was a mining engineer but unfortunately suffered four strokes during that time. He died during 2000.

To his family and friends we offer our sincere belated condolences.

 

 

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