Officers with 8th Battalion on Tonga

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by welshmedals, Jul 7, 2021.

  1. welshmedals

    welshmedals Junior Member


    I just wondered if there was a list of Officers who jumped on Tonga in June 1944. I am just starting to research an officer Lt William Irving.

    Para data seems light on this battalion.

    thanks again.
  2. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member

    Lieutenant William Irving (285991)
    Commissioned R.A.C., 18th July, 1943

    Parachute Regiment
    Lieutenant William Irving (285991) from R.A.C.
    6th Nov. 1943 to Dec. 1946 +

    Lieutenant William Irving (285991)
    8th (Midland Counties) Parachute Battalion
    Reported Missing 10.02.1945
    Reported Not Missing D. N. R.

    Captain William Irving (285991)
    8th (Midland Counties) Parachute Battalion
    GSM Palestine 07.08.1945 - 14.07.1946

    From Pegasus Archive

    8th (Midland Counties) Parachute Battalion

    Battalion Headquarters

    Commander : Lieutenant-Colonel Alastair Pearson

    Second-in-Command: Major J. W. B. Marshall

    Adjutant : Captain A. J. Bookless

    Acting Adjutant : Lieutenant John Kay England

    Intelligence Officer : Lieutenant R. A. Casares

    Brigade Liaison Officer : Lieutenant E. G.Wells

    Medical Officer : Captain R. S. Holtan

    Chaplain : Captain/Reverend G. A. Kay

    Regimental Sergeant Major : RSM A. G. Parsons

    Headquarters / Support Company

    Commander : Major G. Payne

    Administration Officer : Captain C. E. Greenwood

    Signals Platoon : Lieutenant C. A. Cramp

    Anti-Tank Platoon : Lieutenant L. M. McLaine-Cross

    Medium Machine Gun Platoon : Lieutenant D. C. Scaife

    Mortar Platoon : Lieutenant R. C. Thompson

    Company Sergeant Major : CSM I. Hutchinson

    A Company

    Commander : Major S. Terrell

    Second-in-Command : Captain C. J. V. Shoppee

    Company Sergeant Major : CSM F. Cooke

    No.1 Platoon : Lieutenant G. R. Whitely

    No.2 Platoon : Lieutenant I. E. Nicholls

    No.3 Platoon : Lieutenant Richard Fry

    Attached Officer : Lieutenant B. G. Luxton

    B Company

    Commander : Major A. J. Wilson

    Second-in-Command : Captain D. B. Kelland

    Company Sergeant Major : CSM L. Jones

    No.4 Platoon : Lieutenant C. Connelly

    No.5 Platoon : Lieutenant B. Ridings

    No.6 Platoon : Lieutenant P. Durrance

    C Company

    Commander : Major G. Hewetson

    Second-in-Command : Captain H. McCartney

    Company Sergeant Major : CSM W. Burns

    No.7 Platoon : Lieutenant R. G. Ellen

    No.8 Platoon : Lieutenant J. Cooper

    No.9 Platoon : Lieutenant Colin William Brown

    Seaborne Echelon

    Commander : Lieutenant Thomas Ellemore Miller

    Died: 117 Wounded: 236 Missing: 110
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
    Cee, CL1, dbf and 2 others like this.
  3. welshmedals

    welshmedals Junior Member

    David thanks so much! Fabulous

    I can only assume he must have joined the unit post DDay. I will have to dig into his career further, the listed missing and found Is very interesting. He must have taken part in Varsity.
  4. arnhem2280

    arnhem2280 Member

    I have a nominal roll of all the officers that were with the 8th. If you are still looking for info I will dig it out and check it for you. It could be that he was a reinforcement as the 8th took heavy casualties in Normandy.
    Let me know if you are still looking for info.


  5. arnhem2280

    arnhem2280 Member

    A bit more info ,Lt Irving was on para cse 98 at Ringway which ran between 29/113 and 13/12/43.


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  6. welshmedals

    welshmedals Junior Member

    Arnhem et all,

    Thanks for that. Having spoken to Mark at Pegasus I have received copies of the War Diary. Irving is listed as joining the battalion on the 13/12/1943. He was in the Officers Roll on the 6th May and 30 November. I would assume he must have dropped with the battalion on D-Day although I have not found mention during the period they were in France including joining.

    He was listed as missing on a patrol on the 8th Feb. I post the details he appears to have gone off with another man on a 24hr patrol and never returned, there is no record of him being a POW as I could find but he did not resurface for some 8 weeks later. He later served in Palestine as a Capt in the battalion.

    I am sure there is some interesting story with this disappearance.

    I stumbled on an Obit entry in the April 1988 Pegasus Journal for W (Bill) Irving of B Coy 8th Btn Parachute Regiment who died on 11th Dec 1987. I found a close match a William Irving who died in Carlisle on the 8th Nov 1987 born in 1923 this could be the man?

    I am looking to discover if Irving dropped with the battalion on DDay and a positive ID. With a single first name its a tricky one to track down.

    Attached Files:

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  7. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member


    You've been busy. Just a reminder that not everyone landed on D-Day.

    He is not on the list of officers for D-Day that I have already posted.

    My instincts tell me you should think about an entry in the War Diary that reads:

    8th Parachute Battalion
    5th July 1944
    Place: 140723

    Reinforcements of 5 officers and 92 OR's arrived from R.H.Q.

    Judging by the composition of these reinforcements, I suspect that this is the Reserve Company.
    I would not be surprised if one of its platoon commanders was Lt. William Irving.

    However, documentary proof is required to be certain.

    Assuming that he arrived on the 5th July, 1944 and was given a new appointment in the battalion.
    The change would be seen in the Field Return Of Officers.
    Obtaining copies from before and after 5th July, 1944, may answer your question, as it would give the date of his new appointment.

    The 8th Parachute Battalion had lost a number of platoon commanders by 5th July, 1944. So there were plenty of positions to fill.

    8th Parachute Battalion Casualty List.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
  8. arnhem2280

    arnhem2280 Member

    Irving is definitely not on the list I have of officers who dropped on D Day. He is an officer with the battalion on D Day so I suspect for some reason he was a member of R (Reinforcement) company which remained in the UK until members of it were required to replace those who were either injured or KiA. I suspect as has originally been mentioned by David Woods that if there was a list of those who joined the battalion on 5th July he would appear on it. Unfortunately that list has not come to light yet.


    BrianHall1963 likes this.
  9. welshmedals

    welshmedals Junior Member

    Gents, just a brief update i have just got off the phone with Bill Irvings son Michael. Bill owned a family farm in Cumbria and the family still live on the farm he joined in 1941 in tanks, he died in 1987 after a short illness.

    Michael confirmed that Bill did not jump at D-Day but was captured with an NCO from Whitehaven and was incarcerated until liberation at the end of the war. He spent alot of his time in solitary confinement and had a rough time in his 3 months. He is getting photos and other bits for me and i will update this thread in due course including photos as i get them.

    Once again thanks everyone for your assistance.
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  10. welshmedals

    welshmedals Junior Member

    Lads received his POW card this week, not much but confirmation of capture.
  11. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    When was he captured? February I think you said, which would obviously mean 1945. At that time they were on the river Maas in Holland. A few men were lost (from all battalions) on river crossing patrols there.

  12. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member


    Some information that could be useful to you.

    The closed file on Lieutenant William Irving (285991) at the National Archives was opened on the 3rd August, 2021, for public viewing. You can also order a copy if you wish.

    Attached Files:

  13. welshmedals

    welshmedals Junior Member

    thanks gents yes that’s me and I opened it which was the attached card above. I await his service records but a biblical wait at the moment.
    BrianHall1963 likes this.

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