Airborne Engineers Association

Robert Burgess

 

 

Captain Robert George William Burgess MC

Capt Burgess passed away peacefully on 5th April 2011 aged 93

Bob joined the Army in September 1939 and initially trained as an Infantryman. Within one year he was a sergeant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment but saw little future as an infantryman and applied for a commission in the Royal Engineers. After training as a sapper, and six months at the Royal Engineers Cadet Unit, he received his first pip.

Passing out in the top four cadets, Bob then volunteered for the Airborne. He was given the choice of parachuting or becoming a glider borne soldier, he chose parachuting and on completion of his para course he was posted to the 2nd Parachute Squadron RE. In 1943 he sailed to Algeria in a convoy of ships of which eight were sunk by German submarines. Throughout his period with the 2nd Para Sqn, Bob served in all the North Africa campaigns and later in Italy, Greece and the Balkans.

In October 1944 his squadron was in Athens and he was unfortunate enough to catch chicken pox and was hospitalised for three weeks. The partisans held the hospital and Bob made his escape by donning a civilian overcoat and walking out of the door. When he finally returned to his unit it was to find he had been awarded the Military Cross in recognition of the dangerous reconnaissance work he carried out behind enemy lines, often on his own.

 

 

 

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