Roy Wright belonged to ‘B’ Company, 9th Parachute Battalion. He was one of the 150 that actually made it to the RV and took part in the assault on the Merville Gun Battery.
After the assault, the survivors reformed at the Calvary Cross, just along the road from the Battery. These remnants of Colonel Otway’s force then headed south for Amfreville. On reaching the village, they came under fire and it was apparent that Amfreville was heavily defended, and so the 9th Battalion men took up position in the grounds of the Amfreville Chateau. During the morning, Colonel Otway sent out a small patrol led by Lieutenant Tom Halliburton. Roy Wright was a member of that patrol and was ordered, along with Bob Abel, to take up position in an outhouse. Halliburton led the remainder of the men towards and into the courtyard of a small chateau and ran straight into an ambush. Roy remembered, “Me and Bob Abel were firing through wooden slats and I was up in the aim [position]. The Jerry I was aiming at, shot first, just like in the films. I shot across this outhouse into the hay and I just passed out.” The bullet had hit him in the left side of the neck and passed out just below his Adam’s Apple.
Halliburton had been hit by a machine-gun fire and was to later die of his wounds, but fortunately Roy survived, recovered, and eventually returned to the Battalion.
During Operation Varsity, the Airborne Crossing of the Rhine, he was fortunate again when a bullet skimmed his arm. Roy was still wearing what he called his ‘lucky smock’ and this can be seen below.
The smock was graciously donated by the Wright family to the Airborne Assault Museum at Duxford, and I am indebted to Jon Baker for allowing me to see this piece of history.