Staff Sergeant Jim Wallwork
Glider Pilot Regiment
Born in Salford in 1919, Jim Wallwork signed up when the threat of war began to loom large. By May 1942 he was training with the Glider Pilot Regiment, piloting a glider into Sicily the following year. A third of the gliders were lost in the invasion, but Sgt Wallwork narrowly made his target.
Soon afterwards he returned home, where he was immediately selected for one of D-day’s most daring operations. Six gliders were to land on a narrow strip of land in the early hours of the invasion. The troops they carried were to attack and hold two key bridges over the Caen Canal and the River Orne, preventing German tanks from reaching the beaches where Allied forces would land a few hours later.
Despite landing in complete darkness with only a compass for guidance, Sgt Wallwork brought the glider in bang on target and the Pegasus Bridge operation (as it became known) was a blinding success.
Just 24 when he landed, Sgt Wallwork was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts on D-Day which Air Chief Marshall Leigh-Mallory described as "one of the most outstanding flying achievements of the war".
Sgt Wallwork went on to take part in glider landings at Arnhem on the Rhine. After the war he moved to Canada where he lived happily with his family until his death on January 24th 2013.