The Red Berets

This page lists profiles of members of the 9th Parachute Battalion. Over time we hope this will build up to be a comprehensive collection of stories and photographs produced by the veterans and their families.

If you are able to provide a picture/bio for any of the 9th Para Battalion members, please contribute!

Dennis enlisted in the Army in 1942, and after initial training, joined the Middlesex Regiment. In 1943 he was recruited by Lt. Col. Martin Lindsay for the 9th Parachute Battalion, part of the British 6th Airborne Division. In the early hours of D-Day, June 6th 1944, Dennis’s aeroplane was diverted eastwards, across the flooded area of the River Dives instead of Drop Zone ‘V’ at Varaville, for the assault on the Merville Battery. After the jump, it proved to be impossible to return directly to Drop Zone ‘V’, and when he found his container, its contents were badly damaged and …

Frederick Glover enlisted into The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 70th (Young Soldiers’) Battalion in the Second World War and later volunteered for airborne forces while serving as a Lance Corporal. He qualified as a military parachutist on course 75, which ran at RAF Ringway from 26 July to 6 August 1943. The course instructors’ notes record ‘Finished in good style.’ L/Cpl Glover was posted to A Company 9th (Essex) Parachute Battalion, with whom he fought in the Normandy campaign. Fred Glover was wounded whilst in glider number 27 as they landed in Normandy, and was taken as a PoW …

Fred Milward was born on the 16th January 1924 the second son of Ben and Rose Milward in the village Ticehurst in East Sussex, his brother John was two years older. Ben their father was a farm labourer who tended to argue with his employers and Fred’s early memories are continually moving between different farms. At the age of 10 in 1934 the family moved to Westfield in East Sussex and between then and the start of the Second World War his father worked on four different farms in the village. In 1940 at the age of 16 Fred joined …

On June 8 the 9th Parachute Battalion moved into positions around the Château St. Côme. The château was a dominant feature on the high ground overlooking Ranville and the vital bridges over the Caen Canal and the River Orne. It was imperative that this ground remained in Allied hands and the Germans would fight hard to take it from them. On June 10, after two days of heavy combat where the Paras were outnumbered by three to one, Geoff was part of a patrol that was sent forward to the château to ascertain if the enemy were nearby and in …

George ‘Jock’ Moodie was born in Edinburgh in Feb 1925. A keen footballer, he was expected to play for Hearts until the war got in the way. When his call up papers came he wanted to join the R.A.F as a gunner. They promptly put him in the army. He joined the Royal Scots for 8 months when he saw the poster asking for volunteers for the Airborne he promptly applied (the extra 2 bob a week did it!). He soon found himself at Hardwick Hall, at that time the paras training depot. After passing through the training he went to …

Gordon was part of a glider force that was tasked with attacking the Merville battery. He was awarded the Legion D’Honneur at the French Embassy in March 2005. Gordon sat on the 9th Battalion Reunion Club Committee for over 30 years, and now holds the title of Chairman Emeritus.

James Kenneth French was known to his friends as “Jimmy”. Prior to the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Artillery and was trained as a signaller. In 1943 he volunteered to join the Parachute Regiment. He qualified as a military parachutist on course 96, which ran at RAF Ringway in December 1943, and subsequently served with 9 Para Bn HQ Coy Signals Platoon during the campaigns to liberate North West Europe in 1944-45. The first action he saw was on D-Day when 9 Para attacked and disabled the Merville Battery, they then defended part of the eastern flank of the invasion at the Battle …

John Murray – Memoirs Transcribed by his daughter Marion, in 2017 My parents were James Murray and Elizabeth Carson Workman. I was their eldest son. I was born on the 6th of February 1923 in Greenock Scotland. I did not go to high school as if you did you had to stay till you were 16yrs old, and a uniform needed to be purchased, as my parents could not afford a uniform with 5 children I left school at 15. I worked in Drummonds sawmill which made wooden boxes and tin boxes which were used for tobacco. Trades were not …

Joseph was initially from Battersea in London. Born on the 19th July 1926, the second son of Jeremiah and Belinda Holmes. He was initially posted into the Royal Ulster Rifles before undertaking Parachute training in the Peak District of Derbyshire, before the move down to the Newbury area in Berkshire. He always said that he and a few other comrades, from the RUR, were always proud of the fact that they continued to wear their black buttons from the RUR. During the course of the actions in Normandy, he was in the party who were to deploy the Bangalore torpedoes, …

Ron Tucker lied about his age and joined up at 16. He was just 18 years old when he parachuted into Normandy as part of the 9th battalion, tasked with assaulting the Merville Battery. He went on to fight in the Rhine Crossing campaign, and was awarded the Legion d’Honneur in 2016. At one point during the campaign he had a lucky escape when a bullet passed between his webbing and hit the crucifix in his pocket. Ron’s story is told in the book ‘A Teenager’s War‘.              

Terence was born in Cairo, Egypt on 15th June 1914 at the American Hospital. He returned with the family to England in 1915 where he stayed while his father served in France. From Dec. 1918 to autumn 1921 he was at Rushbrooke, County Cork, Ireland. The family returned to England where Terence attended the local Council school at Thame, Bucks, followed by Watford Grammar School. But , for the last 6 months of 1923, he was severely ill with whooping cough. As a result, on medical advice he was sent to Dover College where the sea air would help lungs …

After enlisting in the Army in 1942, Tom was accepted for parachute training after serving in a Royal Artillery anti-aircraft battery in London, and later the East Surrey Regiment. However, a few days before passing out at Ringway airport he fractured his foot in the gym, and this meant he had to go through the five-week parachute training course again. Too late for D-Day, he was posted to the 9th Parachute Battalion at Bulford as an Intelligence section reinforcement; however,  the battalion arrived home soon afterwards. He served with the battalion in the Ardennes Battle of the Bulge, and the Rhine Crossing, …