Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Major Michael James McGarry BEM OBE

Mike was born in 1924 in Gosport of Irish parents, and after what can be assumed to have been a fairly normal childhood for the times, enlisted as a boy entrant to the Army Technical School Chepstow, in 1938, at the age of 14, where he trained as a mechanic. He left boy service in the early forty's, badged into the Royal Engineers and reported to Frome in Somerset for his basic Sapper training. It was whilst he was there that he met Kathleen, an evacuee, who would later become his wife.

On completing his adult training he joined 1st Guards Armoured Division, and from there volunteered for service with the Engineer Parachute units, eventually joining 2nd Parachute Squadron, 1st Airborne Division.

With this Squadron he saw action in Italy, Southern France and Greece, making operational jumps into France and Italy. He was quite seriously wounded on the Italian Front when, with a half section of Sappers, he was clearing mines on road verges. One was accidentally detonated, killing 2 members of the section, including the commander, and wounding the others. He sustained blast wounds to his face and body and was temporarily blinded, but happily made a full recovery.

At the end of the Second World War he came home and married his sweetheart Kathleen, in Frome, in 1945.

He was soon back on operations, this time in Palestine, where he served in 1945 and 1946, reverting to home establishment in 1946.
1953 saw him once more in the thick of the action with the First Commonwealth Division, Korea and from there to Hong-Kong where he was stationed until 1956. In 1956 he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his outstanding service.

He continued in the UK and BAOR until 1965, when he was seconded to the Trucial Oman Scouts for a three-year period, coming home for commissioning. After commissioning he carried out the usual jobs of a Regimental Quartermaster in the European theatre of operations, eventually being appointed the QM of a TA Regiment in Belfast during the height of the sectarian troubles of Northern Ireland. On his return from N Ireland he was once more seconded, this time to the Army Air Corps, Netheravon, and saw out his service life there a Quartermaster.
He was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1978 for his continued outstanding service to Crown and Country, putting him in the elite ranks of those who had received the British Empire Medal and the Appointment to Membership of the Order of the British Empire, for which we in the Corps are justly proud.

Mike is survived by his daughters Laurie and Melinda and by two grandchildren.

He was an outstanding and distinguished soldier, who saw service in the hot spots of the world during several wars and campaigns, and certainly lived up to the Corps Motto "Ubique".



first image second image third image fourth image fifth image sixth image seventh image eighth image
themed object