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George Rider
Rank: Company Sergeant Major
Name
George Rider

Nationality
British

Unit

A Company, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry


Location
Normandy, France

Date
June 6, 1944

Survived the war?
Yes
Ox and Bucks Light Infantry

Ox and Bucks Light Infantry

A grand daughter's hero

My lovely Grandad, Company Sergeant Major (CSM) George Rider, was born in Hackney, East London in 1907. He was the eldest of 10 children born to Alfred and Mary Rider. At the age of 20, he joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and served for the next 9 years with the 52nd in India and Burma. He married my Nan in 1936 and his daughter (my Mum) was born in 1937. He left the army to become a French Polisher, following his father's occupation.

The Second World War

At the outbreak of the second World War, George was aged 33 years and he was mobilised with the 1st Battalion Oxf & Bucks to France with the BEF. He was involved with the Battle of Ypres - Comines Canal before making it off the Dunkirk Mole and back to Blighty. He then transferred to the 2nd Battalion Oxf and Bucks (A Company) which become a gliderborne unit.

Extract from a letter written by George to his wife prior to DDay 

Dearest Sweetheart,
Here I am about to take off in one of the biggest events in history and believe it or not, I am not worrying about it. All I am thinking of is you and Maureen. I am sorry I could not write and let you know where we were. The camp in which we were situated was sealed, by that I mean no-one was allowed to leave, those that entered had to stay, so great was the security measures taken. I have great faith in the Operation being a success. At the time you get this letter, I shall be "somewhere in France". Give my love to mum and family when you go down home and listen to the wireless and follow our course. Above all, keep smiling. So for the present I shall say cheerio, look after yourself and Maureen. I shall write as soon as I possibly can.
Yours everlovingly,
George xxxxxxx

D-Day

After over a year of training and preparation, on DDay 6th June 1944, my Grandad boarded a glider at Harwell Airfield under command of Lieutenant-Colonel M. W. Roberts, to his landing zone LZW, Saint-Aubin-d'Arquenay, Normandy just north of BĂ©nouville. A company crossed the Orne river bridge to secure the villages of Herouvillette and Escoville, and later dug in at Herouvillette. He was promoted to Company Sergeant Major in Normandy on 16th July 1944. They fought in Normandy for the next 90 days participating in the breakout to the Seine before returning to England on 4 September.

Ardennes

George made it through the Normandy Campaign and returned for some home leave on 4th September 1944, before taking part in the fighting in the Ardennes otherwise know as The Battle Of The Bulge.

Rhine crossing

On 24th March 1945, my Grandad once again boarded a glider from Birch Airfield, Essex to Hamminkeln, Germany in Operation Varsity, the Rhine Crossing. This Operation was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day and in one location. The 2nd Oxf & Bucks (52nd) suffered 50% casualties during this operation. There is a memorial to the 52nd Light Infantry in Hamminkeln.  George had made it to Bad Kleinen, Germany by 3rd May 1945 when the ceasefire took effect.

Getting home

George returned home to England on 1st July 1945. He was finally discharged from all army service on 10th February 1954. After the War, George worked for the Post Office (GPO) installing and maintaining telephone lines and exchanges. A job he carried out until his retirement. He died in 1988 and his ashes along with my Nan's are together in the City Of London Cemetery and Crematorium.

Later life

My Grandad lived until he was 80 years old. He told me that as he was a mature, wise and seasoned old soldier from the days of India and the Burma uprisings, that this stood him in good sted for the battles he would face. He said the youngsters didn't stand a chance. He spoke to me of places - Dunkirk, Pegasus Bridge, Ranville, Escoville and Caen, of the Horsa Gliders, taught me Morse Code on a teacup but never spoke of personal or battle experiences from the War.

Proud

George was always immensely proud of the Oxf and Bucks, as we, his family, are of him. He is my Hero đŸŒș

Story by Mandy Potter, George's granddaughter

Veteran's personal medals
India General Service Medal 1908-35
India General Service Medal 1908-35
1939 - 1945 Star
1939 - 1945 Star
France - Germany Star
France - Germany Star
Defence Medal
Defence Medal
War Medal
War Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Imperial Service Medal
Queen Elizabeth II Imperial Service Medal
Dunkirk Medal
Dunkirk Medal
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