Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Sidney Burrell

Memorial To the late Sidney Burrell who passed away on December 7th 2013

I first met Sid in 3rd Airborne Sqn at Neumunster in Schleswig Hoistein, Germany where he was a member of the Sqn Speedway team "riding the cinders as they say" along with Sprs Luck and Ogilvy.

Anything I knew about his early army life was as related by him. He was in Cairo pre-war (I can just visualise him in a pith helmet) and also in Crete. He became a POW following the German invasion.

Post-war he joined 3 Airborne Sqn RE and remained Airborne until he became time expired. When 3 Sqn moved to Hameln, the OC Major D. A. Smith MC banned the speedway team following a severe injury to one of our team members.

Sid was a very good Carpenter & Joiner and was always in Park Troop. I really got to know him well when we were in the WO's & Sgt's mess in the Canal Zone and he was a joy to be with.  Always cheerful and, as always with Park Troop and HQ Troop, forming the backbone of the Sqn while the field troops went off on their Bn Group exercises or their IS duties. In his spare time he did a lot of wood carving and was extremely good at it.

On our return to the UK we were based at Waterloo Barracks East and Sid produced his great creation of Pegasus built from reinforcing rods and light concrete, which stood outside the Guard Room for a long time.

CpI Potter & Sgt Sid Burrell with their Pegasus sculpture

Sid was married at that time with two daughters and sadly his wife went off on a visit to Norwich and never returned.

Sid's final posting was as PSI to the Birmingham Troop of 299 Para Sqn, Hull. It was here that he became time expired and stayed in Birmingham driving a taxi.

I understand that he married or formed a partnership with a local lady producing two more daughters. Sid then left taxi driving taking up a post as chauffeur to a wealthy businessman, a builder I believe. He chauffeured him in his Rolls Royce wherever he wanted to go and imagine my surprise when the doorbell rang at my MQ at Bulford Camp, and there was Sid with the Rolls Royce parked across the road. It seems that he was returning from Southampton having dropped his boss off for a cruise. Well, all good things come to an end - both the job and the marriage/partnership, so Sid went back to his beloved at Cromer.

He did quite a lot of work with the British Legion helping to set up Bl villages. It was here he that he befriended another lady. However he was quite broken hearted when his lady friend died of cancer so he went off to become an ‘In Pensioner’ at Chelsea Hospital. There he met up with another of our members Eric Skentleberry, who when being invited to visit Spain to attend a dinner party with a local society (St Johns I believe) he persuaded Sid to go with him. So off they went and on the   day of the event Sid sat on the top table next to a lady called Celia, and that was that!

Celia had lived in Spain for several years and was quite a wealthy lady having been a very successful designer, manufacturer and retailer of costume jewellery. The couple lived happily together for many years and were regular attenders at our AGM Reunions. At these reunions you could always rely on Sid for a couple of choruses of Bungay Roger (a very old Norfolk Barrack Song) which, is worth looking up on Google for those of you who are computer friendly and interested.

In conclusion they say that a good soldier is one that can smile in the face of all adversity, in which case Sid was a very, very good soldier. Farewell old pal. RIP. Blenks



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