|Name:||William Williamson |
|Address:||8 Dunelm Drive, West Boldon|
|Story||William "Geordie" Williamson joined the army and served as a dispatch rider with the Royal Artillery. He later made the transfer to The Parachute Regiment and joined the Defence Platoon of the Headquarters of 1st Parachute Brigade in Algiers, North Africa. He took part in Operation Husky, the airborne landings on Sicily. Williamson served as a PIAT gunner on Sicily. After Sicily he was also involved in the operation at Taranto, on the main land of Italy. On 17 September 1944 Williamson, 23 years old, landed near Wolfheze. At that time he was a Bren gunner with No. 1 Section. He managed to reach the bridge at Arnhem. He was wounded on the 19th September. A bullet hit him in the face and he lost all of his teeth and the jaw bone on the left side. As he was carried out of the house, a second bullet hit him in the shoulder. He lay in the garden for almost 18 hours. Then he saw some Germans approaching. When they spotted him they threw a handgrenade. It missed Williamson, but he was still hit by some pieces of shrapnel in his back. He was captured and brought to the St Elizabeth Hospital. He ended up in POW-camp Stalag XIb, near Fallingbostel, Germany. On the 16th April 1945 he was liberated from this camp.|
When Williamson returned home he needed extenive plastic surgery to reconstruct his shattered face and shoulder. His jaw bone was replaced with bone graft from his hip. Williamson was a member of the so-called Guinea Pig Club, a group of patients of plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, who had undergone experimental reconstructive plastic surgery.
In 1946 Williamson married Winnie, who he knew since his childhood. In 1994 William Williamson wanted to jump at Ginkel Heath, at the 50th commemorations of Market Garden, and he went in training for the jump. Unfortunately he was not fit enough to make the jump. He was at Ginkel Heath though, as seen on the photos below, where he can be seen together with Price Charles, Prince Bernhard and some other veterans. William a member of the HQ 1st Parachute Brigade died in 1997 age 76.