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Roll Call Staff Sergeant Harold Padfield 12 October 1921 – 13 December 2014

Harold Padfield enlisted into the Royal Engineers and volunteered for airborne forces during World War II.

He qualified as a military parachutist on course 40, which ran at RAF Ringway from 1 to 11 December 1942, having completed ground training at Hardwick in the preceding week.

Considerable delays were experienced by the course owing to bad visibility and fog. Balloon descents were made in a wind of 12 to 16 mph and a thick mist, making exits from the balloon cage invisible from the ground!

Harold Padfield joined B Troop, 1st Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, as a reinforcement in North Africa and deployed on operations to Sicily, Italy and Arnhem, where he served as a Lance Sergeant.

He was captured by the Germans, after fighting in the bridge area at Arnhem for four days and held as a prisoner of war at Stalag XIIA.

After a posting to 20 Bomb Disposal Sqn, Harold joined 1st Airborne Sqn RE in 1946 and served with them in Palestine, where he was promoted to Sgt of C Troop. He was later awarded a Mention in Despatches for actions in the field in 1948.

On returning to the UK in mid-1948, he was posted to the 9th Independent Airborne Squadron RE, with whom he served in Germany as Sergeant, 3 Troop.

Harold was promoted to Staff Sergeant in 1952 and later posted to 25 Engineer Regiment.

For details of his personal account covering Arnhem and his experience as a PoW (on the Pegasus Archive), please click here.

by Harvey Grenville

Listed Operations

11/11/1942 – 31/05/1943 North Africa (Operation Torch)
09/09/1943 – 01/05/1944 Italy
01/09/1945 – 30/06/1948 Palestine
10/07/1943 – 17/08/1943 Sicily (Operation Husky)
17/09/1944 – 25/09/1944 Arnhem (Operation Market Garden)

Airborne Forces service history

1943-1944 B Troop, 1st Parachute Squadron RE, (Lance Sergeant)
1946-1948 C Troop, 1st Airborne Squadron RE, (Sergeant)
1948-1952 9th Airborne Squadron RE, (Staff Sergeant)

Paradata Survey