Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Bill Irving MM


Bill Irving MM died in Scotland on 12th November 2006 a month before his 85th birthday. Scottish by birth he joined 3 Para Sqn RE early in 1943 as a Sapper. By the time of the Normandy invasion he was a Sgt in 1 Troop, and like many others in 3rd Para Brigade was dropped several miles away from the intended DZ. he was on the front of the Jeep driven by Maj Tim Roseveare DSO, who made the epic journey through Troarn to destroy the road bridge beyond the town. Afterwards along with the rest of the Sqn, fighting as infantry, he helped defend the ridge along the bridgehead perimeter at Le Mesnil and Breville. It was during the battle of Breville (Parachute Regiment Battle Honour) that he was awarded the Military Medal.


Following Normandy, he took part in the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes) and on the Sqn's return to the UK in preparation for the Rhine Crossing he was sent to Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU). On completion he was commissioned into the Black Watch as an Infantry Officer. Later he was seconded to the Parachute Regiment, and served with them until the re-organisation of the Airborne Forces when he re-joined the Black Watch.

Bill served in Palestine sometime between 1945 and 1948, gaining the Palestine clasp to his General Service Medal

He was actively involved in the transportation of coal to Berlin during the Berlin Airlift (1948/49.) He remained in Germany till the mid '50s and was joined by his wife and two daughters. A third daughter was born while the family was based at Paderborn

On leaving the Army he joined an industrial company in the Midlands as a management trainee. By the time he retired he was Managing Director of a subsidiary company. Shortly before retiring Bill was able to accompany the Prince of Wales to his company's factory in Aberdare. Not long afterwards he and his wife moved to Spain and bought a house in the Costa Brava area where they enjoyed a very happy time until failing health compelled them to sell up and return to Scotland in February 2006 to be nearer their family.

Bill never forgot his time spent with 3 Para Sqn, and even though he retired to Spain, was a frequent attendee at the 6th Airborne Division annual dinner and the Normandy Pilgrimage.

Thank you to Bill's Daughter Sara Catlow for getting in touch with us and providing us with clarification of some
of our original text and some excellent photographs

Sgt Bill Irving receiving his MM
Bill Irving immediately behind King George VI.
It is thought this photo was taken at Jurby on the Isle of Man while Bill was attending the OCTU
Click the image to the right to view a newspaper clipping detailing Bill's exploits in Normandy
Click the image to the right to view a handwritten letter from Capt. EL Fox RE to Mrs Irving, informing her of Bill's award of the MM
Click the image to the right to view a transcript of the letter from Capt. EL Fox RE to Mrs Irving.

Bill (on left in light suit) with Prince Charles (1970s)

Sara asked us to include the photo on the left of Lt George Anthony Johnson (Tony) Wade MC. Tony was a good friend to Bill and Sara would like to make contact with his family

If anyone can help Sara please contact us via email, and we'll pass your message to Sara. Thank you



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