Airborne Engineers Association

Tom Carpenter

 

 

Tom Carpenter

 

Born in Birmingham in 1925, Tom, was too young to enlist at the beginning of the War in 1939, so started off by becoming a messenger boy with the local ARP, later moving on to the Local Defence Volunteers, which shortly became the Home Guard.

Tom had wished to follow in his father's footsteps in the Coldstream Guards, but instead enlisted as a Royal Engineer and later trained for the airborne forces with 9th Field Company RE.

After being posted with the Middle East Land Forces in 1943, Tom returned to the UK and started training in earnest for D Day, although he wasn't involved in the final operation.

In September 1944 Tom was one of the glider borne forces to be landed in Arnhem with the initial objective of capturing the Railway Bridge. However this was blown up whilst they were attempting to cross it. Moving on to the road bridge in the centre of Arnhem Tom's Platoon joined up with A Company 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment.

Tom suffered numerous injuries whilst fighting at the bridge, his legs being burned by phosphorous on the Tuesday and later being wounded by shrapnel in the shoulder on the Wednesday. Being too wounded to withdraw in the early hours of Thursday morning he was left in a slit trench in the grounds of Brigade HQ where he was captured by the German forces and eventually taken to Stalag XIB, Fallingbostal, where he spent the remainder of the war.

After liberation in April 1945 Tom returned to the UK where he undertook leave and rehabilitation until, in September 1945 he was discharged due to his failure to fulfil army medical requirements.

Tom settled into family life, getting married, having 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Over the following years he returned many times to attend the Battle of Arnhem Commemoration parades. He also made two visits to Fallingbostal, the last time being the weekend before his unexpected passing.

Tom passed away peacefully in his sleep on the 1st May 2014. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

 

 

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