Edmond, William McKinlay.

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Edmond, William McKinlay, born 30-12-1917 of Musselburgh, Midlothian, a son of William Allan Edmond (Coalminer) and Eliza Jane Anderson. They may have had 5 siblings, all born at Inveresk, unable to prove, as some are less than 100 years. Mary White Anderson Edmond born 1912, Jane Edmond 1922, Magdalene Edmond 1925, Thomas William Edmond 1927 and Adam Edmond 1929. William was married to Janet L.A. Edmond, of Musselburgh. Edmond served with No 9 Section, C Troop. service No: 656814, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ronald John Frederic “Ronnie” Tod. Ronnie Tod survived the war and died 05-04-1975 (aged 69). On 17-09-1944, he landed near Wolfheze. In the plans for Market Garden the Reconnaissance Squadron under command of Major Freddie C.F.H. Gough, , was given the task to get to the bridge at Arnhem as fast as they could. Freddie Gough survived the war and died whilst on holiday in Sorrento, Italy, on the 19-09-1977, aged 76.

C Troop, consisting of 8 jeeps with 5 men in each jeep, would be leading the Squadron. They left from Renkum Heath around 15.45 hrs. Lieutenant Peter Lacey Bucknall proceeded in one jeep with the first three men available from his section. Sergeant Thomas McGregor  followed in a second jeep with five more men. When C Troop left the heath Sections 9 and 7 were leading, with No. 8 behind them. HQ Troop brought up the rear. After departing the heath they made good progress and stopped to rendezvou on the approaches to Wolfheze. There No. 8 section would take over from No 9 and move into the lead. No 7 was behind them. After crossing the railway at Wolfheze the jeeps advanced down a sand track called Johannahoeveweg, which ran eastwards from the station, next to the railway. About a third of a mile from the Wolfheze crossing the road dips down and up again. As the first jeep proceeded down into the dip and up the other side it was ambushed by a defensive blocking line of men from the SS-Panzergrenadier Ausbildungs und Ersatz Bataillon 16, commanded by SS Sturmbahnfuhrer Josef “Sepp” Krafft.   Krafft survived the war and died age 79 on 04-03-1986, in Munich. At this spot it were men of the battalion reserve platoon under command of SS Hauptscharfuhrer Hilberger Wiegand. All four men in the first jeep were killed. Of the six men in the second jeep 1 was killed, 4 were wounded and captured and 1 was seriously wounded and left behind. Section 7, which was behind No 8, stopped and took cover as soon as they heard the shooting in front of them. They then moved forward on foot to investigate. At that moment the men of the 2nd jeep were still laying around their vehicle and it was decided that section 7 should move nearer to the scene of the action and section 9 should move to the south side of the railway in order to guard the right flank. Sergeant Stacey of No 7 was seriously wounded while trying to reach the 2nd jeep. It was decided to collect the wounded and withdraw and section 9 was ordered to get back to the north side of the railway to cover section 7. They moved up with speed and came within 50 yards of section 7. Because the Medical Officer was fired upon, although he was bearing a Red Cross flag it was decided to try to recover Sergeant Stacey under cover of a smoke screen. Again they failed and two of the men of section 9 were also wounded. While trying to withdraw William Edmond was hit in the back and dropped about five yards from the edge of the wood. The author of the book Remember Arnhem, John Fairley, writes about this on page 49 and 50. On page 50 he writes: “Meantime, Lieutenant Bowles and his Section Sergeant, David Christie, had gone out after Edmond. It was generally believed that the sniper responsible for shooting Chandler was the one who had also got Edmond and, certainly, as they dragged him to cover, Bowles and Christie suffered a number of near misses and were made very conscious of the accuracy of the German’s shooting. Despite all this, both wounded men were brought safely back, each was given morphia and had his wounds dressed. It was obvious that Edmond was the more serious casualty, as he had been hit in the left lung and had lost a lot of blood. Laid out on a stretcher, he was placed on Christie’s jeep and, with Miles and Palmer in the back, they set out for the regimental aid post. On the way back, Edmond kept asking for water and saying that he was going to die. “You won’t die, Jock”, Christie kept assuring him although, as he adds, “I didn’t believe a word I said.” They arrived at where the RAP had been just three hours earlier to find its gone, and so, there was little that they could do except unload the casualties and treat the wounds as effectivel as possible under Douglas Swinscow’s direction……By the end of the short journey Edmond, too, was unconsious and, when Christie cut away his clothing, he found a three inch hole in Edmond’s back. “The wound was sucking in air,” says Christie, “and making a noise like someone pressing the air from a cycle tube. I took a field dressing and pushed it right inside the hole, and then covered it with a shell dressing. Just after I had finished this, I gave him a drink of brandy from the flask that I carried, and shortly afterward he recovered consiousness for about two minutes. During that time he sai to me, ‘Jock, I’m dying. Tell my wife I love her and ho and see her for me.’ ‘Yes, Jock, I will,’ I replied. He lost consiousness after that and died the following morning.“Edmond was sent to the 181st Airlanding Field Ambulance at the Duitsekampweg in Wolfheze. Here he died. He was given a field burial in the back garden of Duitsekampweg No 9, together with the bodies of the men killed in the first 2 jeeps, whose bodied were retrieved on 18 september. Corporal Ron Mills of 181 Airlanding Field Ambulance RAMC kneeling at the field grave of William Edmond at Duitsekampweg. According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 2011) The Airborne museum was the hradquarter of Major General Robert Elliott “Roy” Urquhart

the commander of  commanding the 1st Airborne Division which fought in the Battle of Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

Edmond was given a field burial in the garden of Duitsekampweg 9. In 1945, he was reinterred at the nearby Oosterbeek Airborne Cemetery in the Netherlands – where annually since that year, Dutch schoolchildren have laid flowers on all 1,750 graves every September.

Here is the helmet of Trooper William McKinlay Edmond at his graveside again 75 years later. It now resides in the care of original ‘Arnhem Flower Child’ Willemien Rieken, now 84, who has tended to his grave for over 70 years. Plot 16. Row B. Grave 9.

 

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