Airborne Engineers Association

Robert Merrell

 

 

Brigadier RM Merrell MBE

Born 3 February 1924, died 16 August 2010 aged 86.

Robert Maurice Merrell was educated at Sevenoaks School and St John's College Cambridge.

He was commissioned in 1943 and in 1944 he joined 591 Parachute Squadron RE and saw active service in North West Europe with 6 Airborne Division until being wounded in the Ardennes early in 1945. He rejoined the Division shortly after the end of the war in Europe and went out to the Far East with 5 Parachute Brigade which first formed part of the force which reoccupied Malaya and then went on to assist in keeping the peace in Java.

In 1947 he moved to Palestine where he served first as 21C 9 Parachute Squadron RE and later as Adjutant of the Divisional Engineers before returning to the United Kingdom in 1948 to become Adjutant of 16 Parachute Divisional Engineers (TA). In 1950/51 he attended a Supplementary Course at Chatham and then went up to Cambridge. In 1952 he returned to Chatham as GSO 3(SD) at HQ RSME.

During 1954-55 he was specially employed by the Foreign Office to build a tunnel in Berlin, so that all telephone calls by Soviet Army HQ in Germany could be monitored. He was awarded an MBE for this operation.

He then served as DAQMG 4 Div before being appointed to command 9 Independent Parachute Squadron RE. In 1961 he returned to BAOR as GSO 2 RE HQ 1 (BR) Corps. In 1963, after JSSC, he went out to Aden as GSO 2(SD) HQ Middle East Command at the time of the campaign in the Radfan.

He returned to the United Kingdom in 1965 to become CRE of 53 (Welsh) Division (TA), and subsequently CO of the reconstituted Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia).

In 1968 he was posted to the MOD as GSO 1 in the Combat Development Directorate, from which, in 1969, he was promoted to be Colonel GS of .ASD 7. In January 1973, on further promotion, he was appointed Chief Engineer UKLF. His final appointment was as ACOS G3 until his retirement in 1979.

Following retirement he became a much-respected member of the Lord Chancellor's Panel of Independent Inquiry Inspectors, holding the longest road Inquiry on record.

Bob Merrell was a splendid soldier. But he was also a devoted family man and a very courteous one too. He will be much missed by his many friends in his village, as well as by his numerous service friends.

 

 

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