Queripel, Lionel Ernest, born 13-07-1920 in Winterborne Monkton, Dorset, came from a well established and highly decorated military dynasty; his father, Colonel LH Queripel who was a CMG, Order of St Michael and St George , The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28-04-1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom
and had been awarded the DSO had served during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and later in Mesopotamia, France and Russia during the First World War. His grandfather who was awarded a CB and great grandfather were also soldiers. Captain Queripel had been commissioned into the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, now the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment just before the start of World War II. After the battle of El Alamein in 1942, where they sustained heavy casualties, the Battalion was selected to be converted to a parachute battalion. Originally, when the Battalion was scheduled for conversion it was known as ‘S’ Battalion. However, the War Office then decreed that a regular unit could not be transferred to the Army Air Corps and the Battalion remained on strength bolstered by men of the 4th & 5th Battalions. There were 200 or so men of the 2nd Battalion who volunteered for parachute training and they formed the basis of the 10th Parachute Battalion at Kabrit under Lieutenant-Colonel Kenneth Bowes Inman Smyth OBE of the South Wales Borderers. Lieutenant Colonel Smyth moved to the Oosterbeek Perimeter and was wounded when a bullet hit his right arm, but with a final determined charge, he led his men into the Divisional area. He again was severely wounded in the stomach. Unconscious, he was brought down into the cellar of No.2 Annastraat in the house of the family Voskuil, with the other wounded. Upon waking it became clear that he was utterly disorientated and kept on asking “Where am I?”. As he drifted in and out of consciousness, the owner of the house Mrs Bertje Voskuil tried to explain that he was in Holland, at Oosterbeek, but he didn’t understand.
The ultimate sacrifice of a British soldier who jumped in front of a grenade to save mother Bertje and her son Henry during the Battle of Arnhem has been revealed 75 years later. Private Albert Willingham in the house of Voskuil acted with immeasurable courage when a German soldier
threw the explosive into a crammed cellar the home of Nr. 2 Annastreet in Oosterbeek containing 20 Dutch civilians and two wounded British officers. The grenade was heading directly towards Bertje Voskuil and her nine year old son Henri before Private Willingham, of 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, dove towards it, with the impact of the blast killing him instantly.
Soon after, German troops moved into the buildings and captured most of those inside. A rather stereotypical German officer entered the cellar; a seemingly hideous man, with a centre parting and a monocle on a ribbon. Ken Smyth regained consciousness and asked to see a commanding German officer. The man spoke no English and asked Mrs Voskuil what “that man” wanted. She was quite outraged and abruptly said that “The Colonel” needed a doctor. He left and returned several minutes later with a German doctor. He briefly examined Smyth’s stomach wound and asked Mrs Voskuil to “Tell the officer I am sorry I have to hurt him but I must look at his wound. Tell him to grit his teeth.” As the doctor began to pull back the clothing around the wound, Smyth fell unconscious once more. The wound was fatal and it left Smyth paralysed from the waist down. His suffering ended one month later on the 26-10-1944, age 37 and is buried on the British war cemetery in Oosterbeek..
Attempts were made to retain the ‘S’ for Sussex in 10 Para’s title but the War Office ruled against this. Queripel was 24 years old, and a captain in The Royal Sussex Regiment, British Army, attached 10th Parachute Battalion during World War II when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Museum. By 1400 hrs on 19th of September 1944 the confusion and heavy casualties saw Captain Queripel acting as commander of a company composed of the men of three parachute battalions.
As they advanced along a main road on an embankment towards Arnhem they came under continuous machine-gun fire. At one point, the fire became so heavy that the company was split up on either side of the road and suffered considerable losses. Captain Queripel immediately began to reorganize his troops, crossing and recrossing the road while doing so, under extremely heavy and accurate fire from a strong point consisting of a captured British anti-tank gun and two machine guns. Whilst carrying a wounded sergeant to the regimental aid post under fire he was himself wounded in the face. Having reorganized his force, Captain Queripel personally led a party of men against the strong point holding up the advance. Despite the extremely heavy fire directed at him,
Death and burial ground of Queripel, Lionel Ernest.
Captain Queripel succeeded in killing the crews of the machine-guns and recapturing the anti-tank gun enabling the advance to continue. Later Captain Queripel was ordered to defend some woodland near the Wolfheze level crossing which was vital to the allied advance (Wolfheze is about 12km to the northwest of Arnhem Bridge but only a few hundred meters from the Drop and Landing Zones used). By this time he had received further wounds in both arms, was cut off with a small party of men and took up a position in a ditch. Disregarding his injuries and the heavy mortar and machine gun fire, he continued to inspire his men to resist with hand grenades, pistols, and the few remaining rifles. On at least one occasion he picked up and threw back an enemy stick grenade which had landed in the ditch. As the enemy pressure increased, Captain Queripel decided that it was impossible to hold the position any longer and ordered the men to withdraw. Despite their protests, he insisted on remaining behind to cover their withdrawal with his automatic pistol and a few remaining hand grenades. This was the last occasion on which he was seen. Lionel Ernest Queripel, age 24, is buried at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery.