Tag Archives: Arnhem

My New Book

We have just finished publishing my new book about the High School’s casualties in WW2. Here is the front cover:

And here is the blurb from the back cover:

In the Footsteps of the Valiant: The Lives and Deaths of the Forgotten Heroes of Nottingham High School (Vol.1).

This is the first volume of a series detailing the Old Nottinghamians of all ages who sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom during the Second World War. After nearly five years of ground breaking research, I have been able to add at least forty new names to the official casualty list. I have also uncovered details of the fates of almost all of these hundred and twenty casualties wherever they died, from Saskatchewan to Iran.

This is not, however, a book just about death. I also tell the stories of their lives: their families, where they used to live and their years at school with Masters very different from those of today. You will discover their boyhood hobbies and their sporting triumphs, where they worked as young adults and the jobs they had. Most of all, you will find all the details of the conflicts they fought in and how they met their deaths, the details of which were completely unknown until I carried out my groundbreaking research. And all this is spiced with countless tales of the living Nottingham of yesteryear, a city so different from that of today.

No tale is left untold. No anecdote ignored.

Now available for purchase through Lulu.com:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/john-knifton/in-the-footsteps-of-the-valiant-the-lives-and-deaths-of-the-forgotten-heroes-of-nottingham-high-school-volume-one/paperback/product-24309191.html

The book has 348 pages and is 24 x 19 cms in size (9½ inches x 7½ inches). Any profits will go to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The title refers to “the Valiant” because for the last hundred years or so, the hymn sung in the very first assembly of the school year is that old favourite, “He who would valiant be”. The hymn was the only one ever written by John Bunyan, the author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. Here are the words of the three verses. They don’t write them like that any more:

“He who would valiant be ‘gainst all disaster
Let him in constancy follow the Master
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound – his strength the more is
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit
We know we at the end, shall life inherit
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say
I’ll labour night and day to be a pilgrim”

Here’s the video:

Apparently the boys back in the 1920s wanted to sing the original unexpurgated John Bunyan version, but were not allowed to. Verse 3 lines 1 and 2 used to be:

“Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend,

Can daunt his spirit “

Verse 2 lines 5 and 6 used to be equally exciting with:

“No lion can him fright,

He’ll with a giant fight,”

You can read all about it here.

This hymn has nowadays become the Battle Hymn of the SAS.

One Old Nottinghamian was killed fighting with the SAS in the Mediterranean theatre. Another died at Arnhem:

And another in Iran:

Another in Burma:

Another in Egypt:

In Leicester:

In Greece:

And in Saskatchewan, Canada:

And now, after nearly five years of completely original and ground breaking research, at least forty new names can now be added to the old list of eighty.

And the hitherto unknown details of the fates of almost all of these hundred and twenty casualties have been discovered.

The full story is available here.

 

 

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Filed under Aviation, Bomber Command, Canada, Film & TV, France, History, Nottingham, Politics, Russia, The High School, Writing

Anthony Bertram Lloyd

Corporal Anthony Bertram Lloyd was born in Staffordshire. He was the son of Bertram Harold Lloyd and Ada Lloyd, of Penarth in Glamorgan. He was a member of the High School from 1932-1939.

Tony had an:

“unswerving loyalty to the school, which he had revisited on several occasions during his military service…he was always in any mischief that was going, but under a seeming cloak of irresponsibility, there lay a deep respect for law and order…here was a comrade to have at one’s side in an emergency, a fellow whose courage steadied the nerves, and whose unfailing good humour showed a ray of hope in the blackest of moments”.

At school, not surprisingly perhaps, Tony was a promising boxer.
Shortly after war broke out, Tony enlisted into the Royal Welch Fusiliers and was serving with the 10th Battalion RWF when it began airborne duties in August 1942. Here he is, looking very dashing:

lloyd para

The Battalion was renamed the 6th (Royal Welch) Parachute Battalion and was incorporated into the 2nd Parachute Brigade. In early 1943, some of the 6th (Royal Welch) Parachute Battalion were engaged in fighting Axis forces in North Africa, during Operation Torch. On March 5th the Brigade handed this sector over to the Americans and moved eastwards to Tunisia.
On March 8th, a German force of divisional strength attacked the defensive positions of the 1st and 2nd Battalions. It was at this time that Anthony was awarded a Military Medal for his bravery:

“On the 8th March 1943 in the Tamera Sector, Tunisia, Private Lloyd was a member of a counter-attack Company. During the advance Private Lloyd and two other men became separated from their platoon. They came under heavy machine gun fire and Private Lloyd ordered the two men to cover him while he himself attacked the post. He charged over country showing a complete disregard for his own safety and succeeded in capturing the machine gun post and three men. By this act of gallantry Private Lloyd prevented severe casualties being inflicted to the Company which was advancing.”

On March 28th 1944, Tony was one of ten soldiers of the 1st Battalion who received their Military Medals at Buckingham Palace, all of them awarded for bravery in North Africa. It certainly looks to be a great moment when, with a group of your parachuting colleagues, you leave the Palace after the King has given you all a medal each:

receiving medals

Here is Tony, enlarged through the magic of Photoshop:

lllloyd 2

Once Generalfeldmarschall Rommel was defeated and North Africa was won, Tony was engaged in heavy fighting in Sicily, the island off the toe of Italy. Once Sicily was secured, he was part of the sea-borne landings at Taranto in mainland Italy in September 1943. Pushing north, they fought their way to Foggia before they were taken out of the line to return to the United Kingdom to prepare for D-Day:

2000px-Kingdom_of_Sicily_1154_svg

On Sunday, September 17th 1944, as the Allies pushed north eastwards, their bravery was again put to the test as the Battalion jumped onto Renkum Heath in an attempt to capture the Rhine crossings at Arnhem, the so-called, “Operation Market Garden”. By this time Tony was the Second in Command of 8 Section, No 11 Platoon, T Company.
Tony and his fellow parachutists suffered severe casualties around Den Brink and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as they tried to rescue the 2nd Battalion who had been cut-off and surrounded at the bridge at Arnhem, the famous “Bridge too far”. Eventually however, Tony, along with the survivors of the 2nd Battalion, was forced to retreat to the Division perimeter which was by now surrounded and besieged at Oosterbeek.

1 para busy
It is believed that Tony was wounded in the fighting at Oosterbeek, in the area near the Regimental Aid Post at Kate ter Horst’s house. Unfortunately, Tony died from his wounds and he was one of 57 parachutists given a temporary burial in mass grave in the house’s garden. Tony was only 21 years old when he died on September 26th 1944.
Many years later, on March 18th 2010, an appeal appeared in the “Penarth Times”. It was from R R Tolhurst (Lofty), who had borrowed a picture from H Rowan, of T Troop, the 1st Parachute Battalion. He was in the same trench, right next to Tony Lloyd when the latter was killed. Earlier, Tony had taken a photo of H Rowan, busily engaged in shooting at German soldiers. After Tony’s death, it managed to make its way back to Penarth in Wales. In a wonderful magnanimous gesture however, Tony’s parents, Harold and Ada, sent it on to H Rowan after the war, presumably because it showed him on the photograph rather than their own son. Photographs taken in the heat of battle are not common, but any which are taken by soldiers rather than official war photographers are extremely rare. Here is the photograph:

corner street

Corporal Anthony Bertram Lloyd MM was, by anybody’s standards, a real hero. He had spent most of his time during the war performing the same deeds of brave derring-do that boys in the 1960s used to read about in their comics such as “Victor or “Valiant”.

hurricane

Tony now lies in Oosterbeek War Cemetery in Arnhem, the town he fought so bravely to liberate from Nazi occupation. People throughout the whole of Holland are now completely free to live their lives exactly as they wish, thanks to Tony Lloyd, and his countless thousands of brave companions :

grave

The inscription reads:

“Simple joys

of hearth and home,

The happiness we knew

Thus we remember you”

I could not have written this article without the help of these two websites.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Aviation, History, Nottingham, The High School