University of Oxford
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Jack Leslie Thornton's Parachute Landing on D-Day

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:51 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

My father joined the South Regiment Staffordshire. Before D-Day, he was in the artillery. He went in as the airborne division. He was part of the air landing ant-tank. When he joined the airborne forces he had to learn to parachute. They went up in a balloon. At first, they were happy and laughing. For the second jump, they were frightened.

On D-Day, he went over to France by glider. On landing the glider pilot was killed. The plan was that they were one of six gliders which were to land near two bridges at Ranville (note the contributor's name). The aim was to capture the bridges from the Germans. they were in the second wave. But the glider had landed in the wrong place. They managed to find their way to the bridges; one over a canal and the other over the River Orne. Once there, he set up his anti-tank gun with the intention of stopping enemy tanks. Father and son went to Ranville in 1961 and they visited what had been the tank yard. Damage to the buildings caused by shells was still clearly visible. They went into the nearby village of Benouville where the people were very pleased to greet them and were very kind. After the Ranville operation, he went to the Ardennes and northern Germany.


Item list and details

1. Badges and Medals. 2. Photo of a group of 8 soldiers. 3. 4 Release book. 4. War Credits. 5. Release form. 6. Grade card. 7. Physical description of Leslie. 8. Order of Service. 9. Service. 10. Photo of a large group of soldiers. 11. Various service records. 12. Impending release form. 13. Service record. 14. TA Service form. 15. Service forms.

Person the story/items relate to

Jack Leslie Thornton, 4929061

Person who shared the story/items

Garth Ranville Thornton (aka Jim)

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Ahmadiyyah Mosque Hall, Warwickshire on 7 October 2023. The event was organised by Leamington History Group.

Record ID

95388 | LEA007