Philip Walter Ward


Philip Walter Ward and born at Beachamwell in Norfolk on February 12, 1925.

He left school at the age of 14 in the summer of 1939 and became an apprentice carpenter.

Philip joined the Fincham Home Guard in 1941, aged 16. On 15 April 1943 he was conscripted into the General Service Corps at Beverley. He was posted to the Cheshire Regiment Depot where he trained as a machine gunner and then to the 2nd Bn Cheshire Regiment before volunteering for the airborne forces. 

He qualified as a paratrooper at 115 Training Center and deployed to the RAF in May 1944. It was noted on the course that he “worked hard”. He was first posted to No. 2 Airborne Forces Sustainment Unit at Clay Cross near Chesterfield, before being posted to the 9th Parachute Battalion at Bulford as reinforcement. Posted to Normandy in July 1944, he served as number 2 on the Vickers MMG of Corporal James McGuinness MM. He participated in the crossing of the Seine in August and saw fighting at Dozulé, Pont-l’Évêque and Beuzeville. 

Sergeant Ward fought in the Ardennes during the winter of 1944-1945 and attended the funerals of young men shot by the Germans while they were spies in Bande, escorting their coffins to the nearby village of Grune for burial. In February 1945, Ward was working as a machine gunner in the village of Horn in the Netherlands. He helped hold the line for two weeks until American relief arrived. He parachuted as part of the Rhine crossings during Operation Varsity in March 1945, then advanced to the Baltic with the 3rd Parachute Brigade. He remembered the German tanks rolling west, their guns lowered and their white flags waving. After the end of the war, Sergeant Ward served with the 9th Battalion in Palestine until his demobilization in September 1947 as a platoon sergeant in charge of four Vickers machine guns. His hand-colored profile photo was taken in 1946. Ward joined the St John Ambulance Brigade, establishing the Fincham Division in 1957. He was appointed to the Legion of Honor in 2019 in recognition of his service.

Ward sadly passed away on August 3, 2023.

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John Doe