1st Airlanding Squadron Recce Corps
Missing since: 25-09-1943
Cause: Killed in Planken Wambuis ambush on 19-09-1944.
Case forwarded on 15 June 2021.
Trooper David Giles, No.3445870, C Troop, 1st Airlanding Squadron, Reconnaissance Corps, missing 25-09-1944, believed to have been killed in the Planken Wambuis, ambush on the Amsterdamseweg on 19-09-1944.
After suffering heavy casualties running into an ambush at Wolfheze, trying to reach Arnhem on Sunday 17 September 1944, C Troop was again in trouble when running into another ambush along the Amsterdamseweg between Ede and Wolfheze.
Six members where killed an first buried beside one of the destroyed jeeps (see attached photo) by Dutch red cross ,as on the cross it say’s: ENGELSE SOLDATEN (BRITISH SOLDIERS) later they were where buried in the Temporary Military Cemetery near Ginkel Heath (see attached photograph) and after that re-buried at Oosterbeek Cemetery.
Lance-Corporal A.C. Baker, No.14277635, C Troop, Oosterbeek 1.B.1
Trooper F. Brawn, No.14265164, C Troop, Oosterbeek 1.B.2
Lieutenant H.E. Pearson No. 24524, C Troop, Oosterbeek 1.B.4
Trooper J.G. Salmon, No.14655734, C Troop, Oosterbeek 1.B.13
Trooper R. McSkimmings, No.14583993, C Troop, Oosterbeek 1.B.17
Trooper David Giles, No.3445870, C Troop, missing since 25 September, but known to have been killed in this ambush.
Oosterbeek War cemetery holds an unknown soldier in grave 1.B.3. who was also found on the same location, the temporary cemetery at Ginkel Heath map reference 641839. And as he has been buried between Trooper Brawn and Lieutenant Pearson it seems to me that there must have been found a connection with the 1st Airlanding Reconnaissance Squadron.
A total of 24 men were spread out over 7 jeeps, they set out at 06.30hrs in the morning of 19th September for a Recce around Wolfheze area.
Trooper Giles was in the 2nd jeep, together with Sergeant Fred Winder (made it back across the river), Trooper Stanley Tickle (missing since 25/26-09-1944), and Trooper Ken Cross (made it back across the river).
At around 15.30 after a conference with Lieutenant Pearson, Lieutenant Sam Bowles and Lieutenant Ralph Foulkes, Captain Hay decided to make a dash back towards Wolfheze as it became too dangerous for the men to hang around at the Planken Wambuis area.
At 15,45 the jeeps packed tight and as a convoy set of at 60 miles an hour, along the road they spotted a few British soldiers which later turned out to be prisoners and after passing a bend in the Amsterdamseweg they run into the ambush.
Trooper Gerry Fergus who was in the 3rd jeep wrote too me (P.Reinders):
“Alan (L/Cpl Baker) was the radio operator and was in the back with me, Lieutenant Bowles was driving. The last thing I remember was seeing the jeep behind us beginning to overtake us, I turned to look at Lieutenant Bowles but I don’t remember seeing him. The next thing I remember was to by the side of the road I tried to stand up but passed out again.”
He was later found by Dutch civilians who due to the wounds he had, handed him over to the Germans.
Lieutenant Ralph Foulkes who was in the 5th jeep wrote too me P. Reinders)
“Our Troop CO Captain Hay, who was not to bright had what he thought , was a bright idea , Shit or bust. Our 7 jeeps were to proceed through the woods for about three miles to the point where my section (7th) the previous day had been watching the main road into Arnhem and observing plenty of traffic.
The order was to proceed down the main road at maximum speed to Arnhem bridge a distance of 6 miles. We paused deep on the woods check that all was secure . My section 7 Section with our two jeeps was to be the Rear Guard the two Vickers K machine guns would take care of the left and right sides of the road and two guys would sit on the back with the useless stenguns”.
“We lined up on the grass verge and the CO gave the signal and we made a good Formula One start on a beautiful day, 60mph, on an empty main road, apart from two shot up German Red Cross vehicles on the side of the road. A bend in the road and all hell broke loose at the front of the column, from both sides of the road in seconds was blocked with remains of 4 or 5 jeeps. We hadn’t time to stop we just veered of the road into the woods without hitting a single tree, when deep inside we stopped to listen and take stock. Having no radio we didn’t know what was going on elsewhere”.
He was later taken prisoner of war.
Of the 24 men 6 were killed:
No.1 jeep, 2 killed, 2 POW.
No.2 jeep, 1 killed/mia, 3 escaped back to Oosterbeek.
No.3 jeep, 2 killed, 2 POW.
No.4 jeep, 1 killed, 4 escaped back to Oosterbeek.
No.5 jeep 4 escaped back to Oosterbeek.
No.6 jeep 3 escaped back to Oosterbeek.
No.7 jeep ?? no names known but none of the missing of 1st Airlanding Recce Squadron were in these jeeps other than Trooper David Giles.
When the jeep made it back to Oosterbeek one of the Recce man of the support troop, Troop Alan DeLooze noticed the following:
“Trooper Ken “Ginger” Cross was with HQ Section, C Troop for he was a driver of one of its jeeps, All I remember very clearly, is his jeep tearing up the road to where most of the squadron was, his face deathly white and alone in the jeep, which was covered with blood, he was very shaken and said that he thought the crew of the other jeeps had all been killed. I never saw him again after that”.
For this we know that it was total chaos and that those who were killed or wounded fell out or off the jeeps, which could be the reason why Trooper David Giles went missing after the ambush, and could have been buried as unknown by either the Germans or Dutch civilians, as it is known that Dutch civilians were in the area shortly after the ambush, but also looked for bodies short after the battle was over.
Case out come: 19 Junev2021.
contact details are removed for privacy reasons.
Dear Mr Reinders,
Unfortunately, your case has been rejected and closed at triage.
- There are no known identifying features (rank, regiment, personal artefacts etc.) for the unidentified casualty within I.B.3. The only information we have is the location where the body was concentrated from; 641839 Ginkel Temporary Burial Ground.
- There are 35 casualties recorded as being recovered from this location including a separate unidentified casualty now buried 16.A.5. Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery. Therefore, there is no distinction between these two unidentified casualties and could both equally be argued as potential graves.
- Although your evidence shows that a cross was placed by the jeep, the cross reads ‘Engelse Soldaten’ and so does not help to confirm any identified casualties, or where this location is or where the remains (if any) were removed to.
- Similarly, the image of the crosses to Baker, Braun, Pearson, Salmon and Wasley do not show any other graves/crosses to either Trooper Giles or an unidentified casualty.
o These burials were not made sequentially when they arrived at Arnhem Oosterbeek so no association can be made to the now neighbouring graves as these casualties have been moved at least once prior to reaching this cemetery.
- We would need to see an evidential trail back from Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, to 641839 Ginkel and then to show how Trooper Giles was buried here from his place of death. Unfortunately this is not possible in this case due to the limited information known about the unidentified casualty now resting in 1.B.3.
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Philip Reinders, 2016