Today in honour of Armistice Day I want to pay tribute to one man amongst the many thousands.
Why James Hill, well just because in September I had the privilege of visiting Pegasus Bridge where his statue is. Brigadier Hill commanded the 3rd Parachute Brigade on June 6, 1944 when 2,500 men jumped into enemy territory in Normandy with the vital task of holding the eastern flank of the Allied forces against the German counter-attack while the troops on the beaches secured a foothold in Europe.
His statue is one of only two commemorating British officers in France. The other belongs to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery - the commander of Allied forces in Normandy.
Text Below with courtesy of Wikipedia
James HillBritish Army OfficerBrigadier Stanley James Ledger Hill DSO & Two Bars, MC was a British Army officer, who served as commander of the 3rd Parachute Brigade, part of the 6th Airborne Division, during World War II. Born in Bath, Somerset, Hill was educated at Marlborough.Brigadier Stanley James Ledger Hill DSO & Two Bars, MC was a British Army officer, who served as commander of the 3rd Parachute Brigade, part of the 6th Airborne Division, during World War II. Born in Bath, Somerset, Hill was educated at Marlborough College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst before joining the British Army in 1931 and being commissioned into the Royal Fusiliers. He commanded a platoon for a short period, and was then attached to the command post of Field Marshal Lord Gort during the Battle of France in May 1940, where he oversaw the evacuation of Brussels as well as the beach at De Panne during the evacuation of Dunkirk. After a brief period of time in the Irish Free State, he volunteered for parachute training and joined the 1st Parachute Battalion, and was its commanding officer when its parent formation, the 1st Parachute Brigade, was deployed to North Africa.
Timeline1931:Born in Bath, Somerset, Hill was educated at Marlborough College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst before joining the British Army in 1931 and being commissioned into the Royal Fusiliers.1940:He then commanded a platoon for several months, when the battalion was stationed along the Maginot Line, before being promoted to the rank of Captain in January 1940 and joining the staff at Allied Headquarters.1943:By February 1943 he had recovered from his injuries, and was flown back to England where he met up with Brigadier Gerald W. Lathbury, commander of the newly raised 3rd Parachute Brigade.1945:In May 1945 Hill served as military governor of Copenhagen, for which he was awarded the King Haakon VII Liberty Cross, and then assumed command of the 1st Parachute Brigade and oversaw its demobilisation.2004:On 6 June 2004 he attended the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy landings, and a bronze statue of him was unveiled at Le Mesnil crossroads by Charles, Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief of The Parachute Regiment.2006:He died on 16 March 2006, aged 95.
The following links may be informative if you are interested in reading more.