|Birth name||James Horley Wallwork|
|Born||October 21, 1919|
|Died||24 January 2013(aged 93)|
|Place of birth||Manchester, England|
|Place of death||White Rock, British Columbia, Canada|
|Years of service||1939 – 1945|
|Unit||Glider Pilot Regiment|
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Medal|
Staff Sergeant James Horley Wallwork DFM (21 October 1919 – 24 January 2013) was a member of the Glider Pilot Regiment who achieved notability as the pilot of the first Horsa glider to land at Pegasus Bridge in the early hours of 6 June 1944. This achievement was described as "the greatest feat of flying of the second world war" by Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory. Although most noted for his part in the Battle of Normandy, Wallwork flew gliders in every major British airborne operation of the Second World War. These also included the Sicily Landings, Arnhem and the Rhine Crossings. In later life he lived in Vancouver.
Early life[edit | edit source]
He was born in Manchester, son of an artilleryman who had served during the First World War. When Wallwork volunteered for the British Army in March 1939 his father advised him against joining the infantry. He ignored his father's advice but subsequently regretted it and, despite being promoted to Sergeant, he tried to join the Royal Air Force. This was blocked by his Commanding Officer although in 1942 he was accepted for training in the newly formed Glider Pilot Regiment. By May 1942 he was at flight training school.
Pegasus Bridge[edit | edit source]
After training at Tarrant Rushton airfield, Wallwork set off on the evening of 5 June 1944 for what was to be the beginning of the invasion of Normandy. He landed his Horsa glider (nicknamed Lady Irene by Wally Parr) in occupied France shortly after midnight. The force of the impact catapulted both Wallwork and his co-pilot John Ainsworth through the front of the cockpit. Although stunned, this made them the first Allied troops to touch French soil on D-Day.
Post war[edit | edit source]
After the war he worked as a salesman and then in 1956 he emigrated to British Columbia. He ran a small livestock farm to the east of Vancouver.
References[edit | edit source]
- After landing Wallwork was severely wounded in the head but managed to carry munition boxes up to the troops defending the canal bridge at Benouville (called 'Pegasus Bridge' some days after D-day by Royal Engineer-troops). Ambrose, Stephen (2003). Pegasus Bridge - D-Day: The Daring British Airborne Raid. London: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5068-X.
[edit | edit source]
- D-Day in his own words
- Decorated D Day glider pilot dies in hospital in White Rock
- 2001 GIJoe convention
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