Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



William (Bill) Frank Shield 28th February 1937 - 14th November 2020

By Ray Ogden

Bill was a founder member of the AEA Chatham Branch and remained a very active, enthusiastic, member ever since.

His father was serving with the army in Egypt where Bill was born, and the family returned to England when he was 3 years old. After school, Bill started his career as a Plummer, and on completion of his apprenticeship, was drafted into National service where we first met in the same intake during March 1958 at Malvern. This was the “Teddy boy era “and we were just getting to know each other, when we were asked to go for a haircut .after which we had a good laugh trying to learn who was who again!

From Malvern we completed our basic training at Cove. Bill then joined 9 Para. Sqn. RE. And I joined 36 Eng. Regt. Following our National service, we met again when we both joined 131 Para Eng. Reg. (TA) and during this time we went to Aden. It was the first time since the war that a TA unit was posted to active service. After 44 Para. Bde. disbanded, we were transferred to 395 Para Air Dispatch RCT, where Bill and I served 6 wonderful years as we had RAF food instead of the usual 24 hour ration packs!

In the next defence review we all transferred to 562 Para. Sqn. RCT who ran the minor units pre Para. Selection a job that bill thoroughly enjoyed. Bill was always an outstanding, example of what a fit, smart, disciplined paratrooper should look like and everyone respected and enjoyed his company. He had a barrel chest and whenever we did a right dress all our chins and feet would line up, but Bills chest was proudly way out in front.

Bill met his wife Sylvia when they were sixteen years old and they married in 1960. He was the only one with a girlfriend during our basic training and was the envy of the rest of us because he received letters from her. I ,my wife and children enjoyed a memorable camping holiday together with Bill, Sylvia and their 3 boys on the Isle of Wight, which before we had set up camp one of their boys ran into a barb wire fence and had to be taken to hospital to be stitched !

He was a very keen and regular member of the Chatham branch, where he and Sylvia made many friends. Bill will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all who were fortunate to know him.

Airborne Units served;

9 Indep Para Sqn RE  1958 - 1960

301 Para Sqn RE 1962 - 1967

395 Air Dispatch Sqn (Airborne) RCT 1967 - 1970

562 Para Sqn RCT 1970 - 1973



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