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Andrew 'Ossie' Osbourne

Born 25th January 1927
Died 5th December 2019



Name: Andrew (Ossie) Osborne.

Rank:  Lance Corporal

Army No: 22557217

PRA No: 11917

1935 - 45 Star
War Medal 1939 - 45 
Defence Medal
General Service Medal with Palestine clasp
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal
TA Efficiency Medal







Ossie followed his brother into the British Army in 1945 aged 18, he enlisted into The Parachute Regiment, after completing the rigorous selection course, he went on to complete his Para training course at RAF Ringway, Which was the base for No.1 Parachute Training School, this site is now occupied by Manchester Airport, the drop zone was located at Tatton Park. Once he had completed his training he was posted to the 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment. In late 1945, in response to full-scale riots in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and bomb attacks on the railway system, British troops from the 1st Infantry and 6th Airborne Divisions had to be deployed in support of the civil police. Ossie would serve as part of the 2nd Parachute Brigade based in Palestine, his battalion (4 Para) were based at Nuseirat Ridge Camp near the Gaza strip.

Following his discharge from the regular army, Ossie joined the 13th Battalion (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, which was then a Territorial Army unit and after a number of amalgamations, they eventually became the 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, in which he served until he reached his retirement age.

More information on Ossie's life and photos will be forthcoming shortly, please bear with us.


Ossie's funeral was very well attended, with lots of his family and friends, along with many members of Liverpool, Manchester and Bolton & District Parachute Regimental Association in attendance.

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Joseph Mawdsley: 
1st (Airborne) Battalion, The Border Regiment
Operation Market Garden.
















Joseph James Mawdsley was born on the 22nd April 1925 to parents Charles and Arabelle Mawdsley (nee Harding) in the village of Aughton, near Ormskirk Lancashire. Joe’s family had a tradition of Farm work, and after initially working as a Van boy he became a ‘Market Gardener’ soon after the start of the war. Classed as a reserved occupation, Joe would not be conscripted when he turned 18, but after watching all of his friends enlist, Joe signed up to join the Army on the 18th November 1943 and was posted to The Kings Regiment at 19 Infantry Training Centre, Formby. Whilst completing his basic training at Formby, an officer from the 1st (Airborne) Battalion, The Border Regiment visited the Infantry Training Centre looking for re-enforcements. The battalion had taken part in the Airborne assault of Sicily 8 months earlier and had suffered severe casualty levels and now needed to be reinforced for the forthcoming invasion of mainland Europe. The officer stood in front of the recruits and said, I need twenty-five recruits to join the Airborne Forces, and proceeded to point at twenty-five young men saying the words you, you, you and that was it, Joe was now an Airborne Soldier. Joe was posted to the 1st (Airborne) Battalion, The Border Regiment on the 28th March 1944 and left home for what was probably the 1st time to join his new Regiment at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.

In September 1944 the Battalion was stationed at Burford, and was billeted in Pig Sties on a local farm. Having completed his Glider Training and after a number of cancelled Airborne Operations Joe emplaned for Operation Market Garden on the 17th September. Joe and members of his Platoon left RAF Broadwell at 10:05 hours in Glider Chalk Number 183 piloted by Glider Pilots Staff Sergeants Foster and Ward. Soon after take-off, the Glider pilots started to experience difficulties in low cloud and were forced to cast off 10 mins into the flight resulting in the Glider landing in a field on the outskirts of Cricklade, just North of Swindon. Thinking that was it, the war was over for Joe before it even started, the troops were collected and taken back to Barracks where they were told, get ready again, you are going in with the 2nd lift.

Once again piloted by Staff Sergeants Foster and Ward, Joe’s second attempt to get into Battle was more successful, and as a young 19-year-old with less than 12 months Army service, Joe and his glider landed on the outskirts of Wolfheze on the afternoon on the 18th September. Once all of the 2nd lift was on the ground the Battalion set off for their objective of protecting the West Side of Arnhem, but after marching only 3 miles Joe and the men of A Company came under heavy fire forcing them to take up defensive positions in the Graftombe area of the Sonnenberg Estate in North West Oosterbeek. They remained there for 2 days before finally leaving the woods, and on the 20th September Joe and the men he was dug in with were attacked by German Armour. Under the instruction of Corporal Bunting, Joe was sent across the road to collect detonators for their PIAT weapons. Whilst Joe was crossing the road he was hit by a bullet and suffered a severe gunshot wound to his left shoulder and back. Joe and other wounded members of the company where given refuge in the cellar of a Dutch house where they lived off eating fruit and nuts provided by the family of the house. With the remnants of the 1st Airborne Division now ensconced in the defensive pocket around the Hartenstein Hotel Joe and his wounded colleagues where now behind enemy lines and after 4 days and nights they heard the German voices outside of the house and soon he men were taken out of the cellar and lined up outside and taken Prisoners of War.

After being taken prisoner Joe was taken to the Willem III Kaserne Barracks in Apeldoorn. The Barracks had been converted to a Hospital which later became known as the Airborne Hospital. It was manned by German, Dutch and Captured British Medical Staff and Joe was operated on by A German doctor who removed the bullet from Joes Shoulder. Joe remained in the Airborne Hospital until the 6th October when he and many other wounded Soldiers were loaded into Cattle trucks for the Journey to Prisoner of War Camp Stalag XIB at Fallingbostel. Arriving at Fallingbostel on the 9th October Joe was given Prisoner of War number 118609 and was admitted to the camp hospital where he remained for a period of 2 months after which he was transferred to the main camp. Following the liberation of the Fallingbostel Camps on the 16th April 1945, Joe was transported to Brussels from where he eventually flew back to the UK on 26th April 1945.

Joe later described his time in Fallingbostel as “Ropey to say the least. We had very meagre rations. I went into the camp weighing 11 stone and came out at eight stone and sometimes my wounds were dressed with just toilet roll”. The poor medical treatment in the POW camp caused his wounds to break open and become badly infected and Joe spent many months rehabilitating in the UK and was again admitted to Military hospital on the 27th April 1946. After a period of convalescence leave, Joe was finally medically discharged on the 27th December 1946 having served for 3 years and 40 days and was given the following testimonial “A keen hard working willing and steady man. He is reliable and honest”

Joe eventually recovered from his wounds and married his beloved wife Florence on the 17th September 1955, 11 years to the day that his War started. Joe’s love of gardening remained and as well as tending his own garden he started to work for many people in the area surrounding Aughton. It was whilst working in a local garden he had a chance meeting with a Joiner called Joe McAllister. The conversation started and it soon became apparent that they had a lot in common other than the fact that they were both called Joe. Both men had fought at Arnhem (Joe McAllister with the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment), both men had been prisoners of war at Stalag XIB Fallingbostel, both men now lived around the corner from each other in Aughton and both men had married girls named Florence.
The legend of Liverpool two Arnhem Joe’s had become and they remained life long friends.

Joe’s funeral will take place on Monday 18th November 2019, 76 years to the day that he enlisted in the British Army.

Your duty done Sir, Stand down.

Rest in Peace
Joe Mawdsley 24th April 1925 – 5th November 2019



George Melling

Parachute Regiment

26th March 1926 - 29th October 2019

Members of The Liverpool PRA were in attendance along with other PRA Branches, local Associations with Standards and representatives from 4 Para who carried George Melling's coffin draped in the Union Jack.

George Melling was aged 93 and was a very proud ex-member  of The Parachute Regiment, having served in WW2 and taken part in Operation Varsity, which was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day and in one location, it was done to help the surface river assault troops secure a foothold across the Rhine River in Western Germany, by landing two airborne divisions on the eastern bank of the Rhine near the village of Hamminkeln and the town of Wesel.
After WW2 George went on to serve in various areas of the world including peacekeeping operations in Palestine.


Funeral of James (Jim) Ward:

11th October 2019 at 10.00 am.

Our Lady of Annunciation Church, Bishop Eaton.

Followed by Springwood Crematorium.

It is with great sadness that I inform fellow members of the death of Jim Ward ex 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment. 
Born 9th January 1939:

Died 25th September 2019:







































Members of the Liverpool PRA were in attendance, and more details will be supplied at a later date, from Jim's daughter Jackie, who has some photos of Jim's army days.  

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16th July 2019:
John Speechley:

John's funeral service took place in Blacon, Chester.

John started his military career at age 18, he joined the Buffs - Middlesex Regiment and later went on to join the 9th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, C Company, 12 Platoon. He served throughout WW2 from 1942 - 1947, serving in St Com, Varaville, Pontlave, Remond, Falaise Gap, Ardennes, Holland, Bandi, Toumai.
uring this time he was wounded but quickly returned to active service. 
His funeral was attended by several members of PRA Liverpool Branch.

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26th June 2019:

Major John Jones, a fellow Airborne Brother, passed away 19th June 2019. During his long career, he served in WW2, firstly in the Royal Navy and then the Parachute Regiment and later in the 1950's he served in 4 Para, and then went on to serve in the West Lancashire Army Cadet Force. (later the Merseyside ACF)
His funeral was attended by several members of Liverpool PRA including the Branch Standard.

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It is my sad duty to inform you all of the death of Private Stephen George Morgan who passed away peacefully this morning.

Below is the message from Steve’s niece Debbie Bets - who has looked after Steve for the last five years of his life. We are forever in debt to Debbie for all she has done for him and ultimately, has enabled us to spend precious time and many wonderful moments with Steve -

“I have some very sad and difficult news for the people in Steve's life. He peacefully passed away this morning in his sleep at a care home nearby. He recently said he had had a lot of luck in his life but had grown weary of struggling to stay healthy. The heart murmur that he was born with had developed over the years into severe heart failure and despite the best medication available, nature took its course. I don't need to tell any of you why he was a hero to many people but he always said the real heroes lay in Oosterbeek Military Cemetery never to return home. Each and every one of you gave him the willpower to carry on these past few years and on behalf of his family, I thank you so very much for all the things you have done for him. I don't like to single anyone out in particular but I am compelled to mention four people for their utter devotion in staying with Steve during the hours I couldn't be there and for making sure he had everything he needed. Elaine Overend, Allen Thomasson, Peter McCombe and Johanna Washington I am indebted to you. Steve has now gone to join the magnificent officers and men of the Second Parachute Battalion he fought alongside at Arnhem Bridge 17th-21st September 1944. Rest in Peace Steve. xx

Funeral arrangements to follow 
Thoughts and prayers with Steve’s family and friends at this extremely sad time 

3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Pte Mark Blain:
Mark served as a member of 3 Para and was a veteran of the Falklands War 1982.
He took part in the battle for Mount Longdon where he was wounded in the left arm. Over the past several years Mark suffered with cancer and finally succumbed on 23rd December 2018.
His funeral was very well attended with a fantastic turn out by the Liverpool Branch of the PRA.
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