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William (Bill) Carter

Portrait picture of Veteran Bill Carter Portrait picture of Veteran Bill Carter

1st Airborne Parachute Regiment, 2nd Battalion - Arnhem Battle

Bill was dropped from a Dakota aeroplane 6 miles from Arnhem Bridge at around 1pm on the 17th of September 1944. Some members of the Division were also dropped by Horsa gliders. At the time, Allied intelligence was aware that the enemy had, at the same time, decided to rest up a large number of Panzer tanks and their support soldiers at Arnhem. Because of this the campaign to secure the last bridge (Arnhem) in Montgomery's plan was the worst British defeat in World War II.

Bill had just turned 20 years old when he parachuted down at Oosterbeek on the 17th of September 1944. His Battalion entered Arnhem via the railway bridge on the Utrecht Road that lead straight into the centre of Arnhem. What happened after was total mayhem for the Paras (as well as the Polish 2nd Airborne Division that had also taken part).

They had no food for 9 days but put up a tremendous show with the light armament they had. They were then ordered to retreat from the house they had dug in at (at Arnhem Bridge itself).

Bill was in the rearguard but was machine gunned in both legs in the fighting retreat to the river. He and many others were then taken prisoner but were looked after by British medical teams, who were also taken prisoner (including Major Smith).

Arnhem cost the lives of 1,770 men (many from the 1st Battalion) as well as over 6,000 injured or taken prisoner.

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