Veteran Stories:
Dennis Gleed

Air Force

  • Marching WAAFs in Leeds, 1942. Dennis' wife is on the outside right, 3rd row in the 3rd column.

    Dennis Gleed
  • Dennis took this photo from a German officer in Holland that shows a German unit standing for inspection on a beach in Normandy, France.

    Dennis Gleed
  • A photo that Dennis took from a German Officer's billet in Holland that shows a group of German soldiers posing under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

    Dennis Gleed
  • A propaganda post-card that Dennis found in a German Officer's billet in Holland, 1944.

    Dennis Gleed
  • A propaganda post-card that Dennis found in a German Officer's billet in Holland, 1944.

    Dennis Gleed
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"the majority of the people who were dropped in that particular area were slaughtered by the Germans there because all they had there was just small arms and very little ammunition there to defend themselves."

Transcript

My name is Dennis Gleed and I joined the RAF [Royal Air Force] in 1939. I was 19 years, started off with the RAF training to be a pilot. Finally got my wings after nine months. Battle of Britain, I got bombed in the airport there, where they landed, with shrapnel in my face and I got shrapnel in my right eye. Was sent to Ashcroft Hospital to have the shrapnel removed. Finally had an infection and we sent me to Hillingdon County Council Hospital, where I was visited by doctors from London to operate on my eye. And after the operation, it was fine, but I lost my 20/20 vision, so I got grounded from there.

After a period of time, I went to different airports, air traffic control. From air traffic control in 1943, I applied to the Secret Service Department. I had an interview in London in 1943 and I was accepted to go to CNC [Computer Numeric Controlled] School. CNC School, after completion of course there which I passed, then 1943, I worked between Bletchley Park and Leighton Buzzard [England] for the Enigma machine, decoding and coding cipher. And from there, went from Bletchley Park, I was assigned to a 1982 unit. I left a placed called Down Ampney, which is in Gloucestershire, attached to 6th Airborne Division. We went by glider where the airborne division was supposed to take Pegasus Bridge [that crosses the Caen Canal, France] and hold it until the main army come from D-Day to connect with the army. After they connected with the army, I went onto the RAF mobile signals unit. And the mobile signals unit, we used to travel with, attached with the army signals and we’d send coded messages back from front line to base about what’s going on from various places.

The most important thing I remember basically was [Operation] Market Garden [September 17-25, 1944]. And Market Garden was when the, I think there was a film made, what they called the A Bridge Too Far. From Eindhoven [Netherlands] to Nijmegen [Netherlands], there were delays in different places there, special planes called Hertogenbosch where the Germans were up on the hill and shelling the main people going through. And when we got to Nijmegen, the information we couldn’t get back from headquarters where there no tanks were allowed over the bridge because there were insufficient ground soldiers to help the people between Nijmegen and Arnhem [Netherlands]. Consequently, the majority of the people who were dropped in that particular area were slaughtered by the Germans there because all they had there was just small arms and very little ammunition there to defend themselves. The bridge in Arnhem was absolutely destroyed.

When we got to Arnhem , the Canadian troops were working with the British troops going through. Canadians went north into Holland, the British troops went into Germany. We went right through from Germany, right up to about ten miles outside of Berlin. From Berlin, we turned back to Brunswick [England] and I stayed in Brunswick until 1945.

From 1945, I was sent back to Britain, I was released on a Class A Reserve and still under what they termed actually in Britain, there’s a Secret Service Act. And I was not actually de-mobbed or released from the air force until 1959.

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