Unknown 6th Airborne Officer at Pegasus Bridge - ?

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Cee, May 24, 2014.

  1. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I wasn't aware the 7th Parachute Battalion had a newsletter ... ?

    Regards ...
  2. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    They do, it's a twice a year newsletter run by a lady called Frances ( her father was in the 7th)
    I'll email you her details.

  3. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Perhaps the following page from the "Musées et Collections de l'Aspeg" is the French site referred to by Nijmegen:

    Fr. Gondrée raconte l’opération du 6 juin 1944 à l’Ecole Militaire – Commission Culture et Défense de l’AA-IHEDN | Pegasus bridge : Musée du débarquement en Normandie:

    It contains the photo of the Officer and below Francoise Gondree, younger sister of Arlette (Gondree Cafe), tells us that Lt-Col. Bruce Harvey was sent to assist at her birth on November 3rd, 1944. A Google translation:

    "On November 3, 1944, the war is not over and units continue to pass the bridges of Bénouville and Ranville. It was as a noteworthy acknowledgement that Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce Harvey, the commanding officer of 225th Field Ambulance, left the front on special authorization from his hierarchy to assist the speaker's mother with her (Francoise) birth at Pegasus Bridge."

    The photo although much lager in size has been cropped slightly top and bottom and is of poor quality. The trees are still in leaf which suggest to me that it was taken earlier in the season and perhaps at a later date. Francoise Gondree was the original Founder and President of the museum before it was moved across the Canal to its present location.

    I discussed Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce Harvey in post 36.

    Regards ....
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
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  4. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Would explain the dark buttons then!
  5. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Here's what others in the thread have said about dark buttons (posts 13 and 14).

    With regard to Lt-Col. Bruce Harvey ParaData tells us:

    "Edward Ian Bruce Harvey originally joined the Royal Navy as a junior officer, before transfer to the Scots Guards. This was followed by a posting to West Africa. Later he resigned from the Army and became a medical student in Edinburgh.

    He re-joined the Army in 1939 and was serving with the 147th Field Ambulance when he was selected to command the 225th Parachute Field Ambulance (225 PFA) on its formation in June 1943."

    Harvey is seen here in a group photo with Officers of the 225th Parachute Field Ambulance. All of them except the Reverend have shiny (metalic?) buttons. Most also appear to have Pegasus patches. Harvey may be wearing the RAMC badge, though it's not very clear.

    225 PFA Officers.jpeg Lt-Col Harvey 225  PFA.jpeg Lt-Col Harvey 6 AB Awards July 44.jpg

    Now as for Eric Woodman he was commissioned into the QORWK Regiment in 1941 and was eventually promoted to war substantive Captain. However, he only officially became a Lieutenant on rejoining the Royal West Kent Regiment on August 31,1946.

    Here is an example of a RWK Officer's uniform - and surprise, surprise ... shiny buttons.


    So where does that leave us if we go strictly by button colour? Nowhere really ... :lol:

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
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  6. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. Tricky! Rifle brigade had dark buttons that's all I can add on that !
  7. Hi Cee, can you confirm for me if Eric Woodman was in 7 Para Battalion as part of Operation Tonga - I think he was but wanted to double check with you.
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Yes Eric Woodman was most definitely with the 7th Parachute Battalion. He was OC (Lt.) of 8 Platoon and jumped in the early hours of D-Day on Operation Tonga. He landed somewhere north of LZ N and was late to arrive at the bridge. According to Michael in the above quote it was late in the Day on June 6th when he hooked up with the Battalion. The only other note I have from Michael is the following:

    "8 Plt one stick believed on DZ (Mac) McCarthy mentioned in Parrish's account, second stick Lt Woodman North of DZ, four captured Woodman took all night to reach the bridges."

    On his failure to arrive on time his task to deal with a German strongpoint on the Canal north of the Bridge was given to Lt. Walter Parrish, OC 7th Platoon C Coy. He was later made OC (War Subs. Capt.) of C Company after Major Bartlett was wounded during a raid on Bob's Farm on June 20th. A photo scan from the book "The Tale of Two Bridges".

    Captain Eric Woodman.jpg

    Regards ...
  9. Excellent, thank you Cee, that is most helpful. I am sure I will have quite a few more of these. You don't by any chance have a decent photograph of Ron Perry or Nick Archdale taken around that time of service by any chance do you? They're both characters in the pilot we're shooting later this year.
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I'm not sure where I picked these up. Several of Ron Perry from the period although not the best. In the group photo he looks like the chap seated front row middle.

    Ron Perry Bn Photo April 44.jpg Ron Perry-1.jpg Ron Perry-2.jpg Ron Perry Possibly Seated Middle.jpg

    Fewer of Nick Archdale. He's the Officer standing middle rear in group photo.

    Nick Archdale.jpg Nick Archdale Middle Standing.jpg

    Regards ...
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  11. Superb, thank you. We are in touch with Howard, Ron's son, and we also have the last interview with him recorded which we're editing at the moment but I couldn't find the photo I had of him and it was one of these. Brilliant, thank you.
  12. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    I believe the tall chap in Jarche's photographs might be Bill Bartholomew of 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.


    Attached Files:

    Cee likes this.
  13. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Very good, it could well be, though I am not at all familiar with Bill Bartholomew. It's good to see these men in their later life. Quite a few tall chaps there.

    Regards ...
  14. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Captain in 1944 so maybe a major in 45/46

    John Hanson ( 1 CDN)
    brithm posted the pic on twitter and I thought, hmm looks like the unidentified chap.


    Attached Files:

  15. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Alex finds another potential Airborne Officer with moustache ... :)

    When we were looking for the Officer at the Varaville Bridge I considered him as a possibility until brithm discovered Major Beverley Hart. I have no idea if Major John Hanson, MC ever returned to Normandy postwar. He did remain involved with the military as he turns up in the early 60s Shawinigan Standard newspaper (Quebec). Personally I don't think it's him, but considering my record for misidentification I'm not sure that's worth much. There's an article here on Hanson with more photos.

    1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Museum - Major John Hanson, M.C.

    Regards ...
  16. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    It was the profile of him that caught my eye! Also being a captain in 1944 matches with the person being a higher rank in the bridge photo. Just throwing it out there
    Cee likes this.
  17. Perico

    Perico Member

    Hello! I am interested in Military History and new to this forum. I have read each post and realized that some candidates cannot be the "Unknown Officer" because of the button color and rank. So, what candidates do we really have so far? Thanks!
  18. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Welcome Perico,

    To be quite honest I'm not sure where we are at the moment. It seems any 6th Airborne Officer with a moustache gets a look over. We've also gone off on a few interesting tangents as well. It has been awhile so I'll need to review the thread for any likely candidates.

    Regards ...
  19. Perico

    Perico Member

  20. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    It's a fairly well known scene of Lt. Bob Midwood of the 22nd Independent Parachute Company briefing his Platoon at Harwell Airfield prior to departure to Normandy on June 5/6. It's somewhat staged and was captured by the AFPU pair Captain Malindine and his cine partner Sgt Harris. He may have actually been a Captain at this time? He was later addressed as Major Midwood in a 1979 letter informing him of an award.

    A few more of Midwood who kept his moustache in an upturned state.

    Bob Midwood at Harwell Airfield.jpg capt-midwood-recce-corps-1942.jpg

    Regards ...

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