ELMER, Ernest James "Sonny"

No. 6023363, Private, Ernest James ELMER
Aged 30

2nd (Airborne) Battalion, Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Killed in Action on Monday, 2nd April 1945

Ernest James Elmer was born in 1914 (Newmarket Q4-1914 3B:752), son of Ernest and Lizzie ELMER (née FROST) of Barton Mills.

In 1939 his widowed mother [23-2-1886] was housekeeper at 3 Vine Cottage, Seckers Court with Frank and Phyllis LAST. His father had died in 1931.

The 2nd (Airborne) Battalion, Ox & Bucks Regiment formed part of the 6th Air Landing Brigade, a brigade of glider infantry, which formed part of 6th Airborne Division.
As such they wore the red beret, with their regimental badge on a rifle green felt disc.
As part of Operation "Deadstick" just before the landings on D-Day on 6 June 1944, D Company commanded by Major John Howard as well as 30 Royal Engineers and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment (a total of 181 men), were to land in six Horsa gliders to capture the vital structure which became known as Pegasus Bridge.

War diary for 2nd April 1945:-
"2nd April 1945 - Place: Dortmund-Ems Canal - We had to wait until 0730 hrs for our tpt which had been held up because the RE's bridge took longer than had been anticipated. We passed through LADBERGEN, held up by the Cdn Para Bn and shortly afterwards "D" Coy leading came under small and Hy. AA fire from a position at 015932. The pos'n was engaged by fire from Mediums, light art'y, mortars and MMG's. "D" Coy then attacked. The equipment in this pos'n included 12-10.5cm. AA guns & some 20mm. 4 Germans were killed & 5 taken prisoner, the remainder having run away. "D" Coy then pushed on, being occasionally held up by slight opposition. At X roads 039930, A Coy pushed through "D" and riding on Churchills of the 4th. Guards arm'd Bde. turned N towards LENGERICH, which we entered at 1700 hrs.
Place: Lengerich 0989 - After a skirmish on the wooded high ground NE of the town the Regt finally took up a fairly tight pos'n around the NE edge."

Elmer was initially buried just east of Ladbergen and re-interred on 17th May 1947 in Reichswald

photo: nick-2 via warmemorialsonline.org.uk

he is also commemorated on his parents gravestone in Barton Mills

2ND APRIL 1945, AGED 30

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Ernest Elmer is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany, grave 33:C:6

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details