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Billy's Death

by royyoung

Contributed by 
royyoung
People in story: 
Roy Young/Billy Stephens
Location of story: 
Venlo, Holland
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A2718867
Contributed on: 
07 June 2004

VENLO

This story is about my friend Billy Stephens. We were at Gennep in Holland having just built a Bailey Bridge when I went with an advance party of six men, Sargeant Eveleigh and four of my comrades driven in a half track by Billy. We arrived at Venlo and found six houses empty a hundred yards up a trackway from the main road. The company came the next day and occupied the houses in the morning approximately 10am. Billy drove his half track down through a field opposite the houses, he couldn’t get down the trackway.

Unbeknown to him the field was mined, his front right wheel hit a mine and he was killed instantly. The vehicle went up on its side and caught fire with him in it. He was burned to a cinder. We got to the remains and took his charred body out. My friend Mickie and I got a sheet from the house, wrapped him in it and put him in a chicken house for the night. The next day we took him in a 3 ton lorry to a burial ground in Venlo, dug a grave and buried him, having had a service for him. I shall never forget.

He came from Scotland and had 5 children.

We went on to build a 70 ton Bailey Bridge over the Maas in Venlo, which took the heavy traffic needed for the crossing of the Rhine on March 23rd.

Sapper Roy Young
72 Field Company, Royal Engineers

crossing of the Rhine on March 23rd.

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