Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



WO1 Gerry Bonner

By Pat Neal & Chris Davies


By Pat Neal:

In the Summer of 69 a fresh faced 16 year old travelled down from Clydebank to Dover to join the Junior Leaders Regiment. It was the start of a 30 year career serving his Queen and country with loyalty and pride.

In 1971 he, with other JLs, like Jim Harrower, Brian Spivey, Lofty Bourne and his room Lance jack in Dover, Danny Gallagher, joined 9 Indep Para Sqn RE. Just a little matter of Pre -Para, P Coy and Abingdon to get through first. On passing successfully, he entered the Sqn and was sent out to join them in Nl where he became a member of 3 Tp.

Gerry went with the Sqn to Canada, Cyprus, a Tp job in Italy and many tours in Nl. Gerry actually spent time every year from 1971 until the early 80s in the Province. In 1975 he went with the Sqn to Germany to do the German wings course.

Much to his annoyance we left him behind when the Sqn went to Hong Kong. He, instead, had to go to Chatham to learn to become a P & D. He had a good friend and fellow Glaswegian as company, Mr Louis Gallagher.

In 1977 Gerry together with Angus Morrison, John Sparham and Dave Knowles volunteered for Selection at 22 SAS, which all three passed and became members of the elite Regt, and Gerry still at the tender age of 22 years.

He spent most of his time in in the Regt in B Sqn. They asked him to stay a while longer and he actually served 23 years in the SAS. He was de-mobbed as a WO1 in 2000. For the next decade or so Gerry was in the security business, mostly in Gaza but also various other locations.

Gerry was married twice, firstly to Anne, they had 2 children in Patrick and Louise and secondly to Pauline , 2 more children came along in Gerry and Sarah. Gerry doted on his grandson Finlay whose little body was ravaged by that awful Meningitis. They had great fun together when Gerry cared for him whilst Sarah was working.

Gerry, with Gus Hayles and Mick Leather were the instigators in forming the new Wales and South West Branch of the AEA. He was looking forward to kick starting the branch again after lockdown period.

On Sunday morning of 3 April Pauline came down to find Gerry on the sofa with the TV on. His hands were in his pockets and legs crossed. He had died of heart problems. He was just over 3 weeks short of his 68th Birthday.

In recent years we had been in touch quite a bit, we were having great fun re - connecting with old Sqn friends. He was a quiet man and would let me rabbit on and then he would come out with pearls of wisdom. He was an intensely loyal man and extremely proud of his Sqn roots. I do believe he may be wearing his Sqn beret on his next journey.

God Speed Gerry, you were a good friend to me and many others.

By Chris Davies:

"The first time I met Gerry. I had just arrived in Canada (Sqn construction project) to take over 3 Tp (from John Moss). I walked along the front rank asking chaps their names and I couldn't understand Gerry's muttered response. It was only on the third time of asking, when I asked him to open his mouth that the man next to him said "he can't open his mouth. It's wired up." Another Sapper (Adge Iles) had broken Gerry's jaw in a punch up a couple of days before. It wasn't a surprise to learn later that they were good mates! I have no idea what the punch up was about and I don't think they could remember either. Alcohol had been taken!!

Gerry was a quiet, private man of few words - but tough as they come. A good man to have at your back in a spot of bother as he could be relied upon to be rock solid. Such a pity he has left us early. RIP"



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