Parkes, William John “Bill”, born 1911, in Belfast Northern Ireland, was a tank gunner Nr 2717391, in the 3rd Squadron of the Irish Guards under command of:Lieutenant Brian Wilson, with the III Army of General Brian Horrocks, nicknamed “Jorrocks”. The Irish Guards were the first to cross the Dutch border, (see Jack Brook)who became a dear friend and presented me his original WW2 2nd Household Calvary baret badge (see Joe Ormsby Eveley Vandeleur) on 14.35 hours on 17-09-1944, the ground operation of Operation Market Garden, the XXX Army , under General Brian Horrocks “Jorrocks” had started. The 16 leading tanks, commanded by Lieutenant Keith Heathcote, drove with 8 miles an hour over the narrow Luikerweg from Neerpelt Belgium, towards Valkenswaard.
Keith Heathcode led the column, numbering 20,000 vehicles which, if all went to plan, would deliver XXX Corps to the Bridge across the Neder Rijn (Lower Rhine) in ‘2 to 3 days.’” The Irish Guards were ambushed and there was a hellish firestorm in which many of Keith’s comrades perished. Keith unlikely survived. He went on to become a very successful businessman but he was never the same again.
German paratroopers of Helmutt Kerutt’s Battlegroup with Kampfgruppe Friedrich Erich Walther, were waiting one mile away behind the house of Marinus de Brouwer, a local guy and the first nine tanks were switched out with Panzerfausts, bazookas and many British were killed in the first minutes some escaped in the woods and dishes around.when they were on the defensive, the Germans had an extraordinary ability to form ad hoc “Kampfgruppen” or, “battle groups” of almost any size, led by the most senior officer, or even NCO, non commissioned officer, available. Each Kampfgruppe could be created out of a larger formation or from a variety of smaller units or parts of units and it could take any shape and absorb soldiers from all arms. A larger number of thes were formed during the course of Market Garden and proved to be highly effective. Helmutt Kerutt survived the war and died 02-09-2000, aged 84, in Bornheim. Rheinland-Pfalz
Marinus de Brouwer . Horrocks. Helmut Kerutt.
In September 1944 Friedrich Erich Walther became battlefield commander, fighting in the Arnhem area. In the end of September 1944 he became Commander in the East Front, fighting in East Prussia. In January 1945 until he became a Soviet Prisoner of war on May 8 the same year, Walther was ranked Generalmajor. He died 26-12-1948 (aged 45) in the Soviet Special Camp 2
Death and burial ground of Parkes, William John “Bill”.
William Parkes had no luck and was shot creeping out of the turret
, and was later, age 33, buried on the British war cemetery of Valkenswaard close by the spot of his destiny, 222 soldiers are buried on this cemetery. The advance to Arnhem through my birthtown Eindhoven (see About) would be too slow and too bloody and the defeated remaining British Airbornes in Oosterbeek of the 1st British Airborne Division under command of Major General Robert Elliott Urquhart
had to withdraw over the river Rhine in the night of 24th September, Operation Market Garden was a failure. Another soldier killed there was Walter Batchelor, age 23, a 15th King’s Royal Hussar
. During World War II the Irish Guards lost a total 59 officers killed, 114 officers wounded, 645 other ranks killed and 1.464 other ranks wounded. During this time the following medals were awarded 2 Victoria Crosses, 17 Distinguished Service Orders, 33 Military Crosses, 18 Distinguished Conduct Medals, 72 Military Medals and 110 Mentions in Despatches. The temporary grave picture and the Parkes photo are copyright of “After the Battle” magazine.